Googling apartment rentals for Moscow is frustrating, because the only thing you find are ridiculously overpriced dodgy small panel-house flats. Most of them are also located so far away from the center that with the famous Moscow traffic it's going to be a tedious torture to get from one place to another. The reason is that real estate prices are very high in Moscow: it costs at least $2000 per month (long-term rate!) to rent a more or less decent 1-bedroom apartment in the center of the city. That's why if you see anything less than $130 per night it's going to be either outside of the center or dodgy (the hosts prefer to earn at least 30% more than they normally would renting out long term, plus they have overheads and the average occuppancy for short-term rent is about 70%). Another option is to rent a room and $50-$70 per night can get you a nice room in the very center of the city. Do not use the agencies that advertise short-term rent over the internet. It's much better to connect to the private hosts directly using the websites like CouchSurfing
(free apartment sharing) or AirBnB
(private apartments for rent). Also, be prepared that most apartments look ugly and beyond tacky cool, more in the direction of depressingly tasteless. Below we list some of our favorite apartments, centrally located, well-designed (plus one badly designed, just so that you have an option:), and fairly priced.
Krasny Oktyabr Studio: €150 per night (Moscow center, studio, sleeps 4)
Price: €150 per night, €750 per week
Best for: easy access to all the sites and clubs, safe area, comfortable accommodation
Not so sure about: the price is a bit high
This apartment is located between Kropotkinskaya and Tretyakovskaya metro, next to the Kremlin, Tretyakov Gallery and Church the Savior Cathedral. The location is superb, because it's right on Krasny Oktyabr – the creative cluster of Moscow hosting Strelka design institute, many media and design agencies, cool bars and clubs.
The apartment is quite small (it's a studio), but perfect size for a couple. And the interior is quite good – quite a rarity for Moscow where most apartments look tacky.
Book online (instant reservation)
Sokol Apartment: €55 per night (Moscow center, 2 rooms, sleeps 4)
Price: 55 EUR per night for 2 rooms (sleeps max 4 persons, 1 double bed, 1 foldout sofa)
Best for: people who are on the budget, need a small but good-looking place
Not so sure about: the location is not super central, although not too far away; the host doesn't always respond.
This is a true gem of an apartment. Located 15 minutes from the center of the city (by metro) near Sokol area, it's one of our little favorites. Very nicely decorated, simple and tasteful, the apartment is small, but has everything you need. There is a double bed and a fold-out sofa, fully equipped kitchen, wi-fi. The area itself is full of expats on the budget, so it's not really suburbs. Although you'll need to walk 5 minutes to the metro and then take the train for 15 minutes to get to the center. It's about 20-40 minutes by taxi depending on the traffic. The host doesn't always respond apparently, but if you're lucky, it's a very good deal for the price that will be very hard to find elsewhere in Moscow.
Back to the USSR Apartment: €95 per night (Moscow center, 2 rooms, sleeps 4)
Price: 95 EUR per night for 2 rooms (sleeps max 4 persons, 1 double bed, 1 foldout sofa)
Best for: people who don't mind tacky Soviet style interiors or want something exotic :)
Not so sure about: can probably be a bit stuffy, but then that's what you're paying for.
While the apartment obviously has super tacky interior, you probably won't have a chance to experience something like this outside of Russia. The host himself calls the flat "greetings from communism", so at least it's good he has a sense of humour :)
Apart from the design issues, everything seems to be fine with the flat: it's centrally located between Tverskaya and Belorusskaya metro (close to Belorussky train station where the airport express from Sheremetyevo arrives to), the host responds instantly, the price is quite fair for the location. In fact, we think this flat is kind of cool in its own non-hipster or maybe even post-hipster way that no other place could match.
Book online (instant reservation)
Designer Studio apartment: €100 per night (Moscow center, studio, sleeps 2)
Price: €100 per night, €600 per week
Best for: romantic holiday, a couple. great interior, nice view.
Not so sure: the area is very close to all the good spots, but is not the best one itself. small room.
This is perhaps the best-designed studio apartment in the center of Moscow that you can find on the internet. Nice wooden floors, cute kitchen, great view. The location is also quite good: only a 10-minute walk from Kitai Gorod, which is the mecca for local nightlife and just a simply great area to walk. The place where apartment is located itself is not so good though, but it's also quiet, which may be a positive thing. Also a 24-hour supermarket is just around the corner.
Private Rooms for Rent in Moscow
If your budget is low, you can also rent private rooms in Moscow. Prices in the center of the city start at $60 per night. We recommend getting something in Kitai Gorod area or around Tverskaya: this way everything is within a pleasant walk's reach. Check out some rooms on AirBnB here.