The Riviera is 7kms Away
By Ulf-Erik Lett
In Moscow most of what you wish for on the water is only roubles away from you, and even though the ocean is far, the beaches aren’t. Along the shores of the Moscow River there are speedboats and cruisers that make St Tropez look like a small fishing harbour. At the many yacht clubs along the river, you get all the beaches, beach-bars, water-sports facilities, restaurants and hotels that you could want.
So, whether you want to spend your weekend in quiet surroundings with your feet in the water drinking frozen margaritas in the sun, or jet-skiing in the tail of your Sunseeker, forget the long plane journey to St Trop, and drive instead the 7 kms beyond the MKAD in the direction of Dimitrovskoe Shosse. Which club you choose is a question of taste and the size of your moneyclip.
When you think of yacht clubs, maybe you think that you have to own a boat. No, not the case. All the clubs we mention below have facilities for yacht or boat owners; but in Moscow, where the sea is far away, yacht clubs are essentially private beaches – only better, and many of them don’t require membership or charge an entrance fee, so you are free to take advantage of them as long as you buy some cocktails. In some, you will find tennis courts, volleyball, billiards; but if you are into water sports they are also the place to buy or rent jet-skis, speedboats and yachts. You can choose between swimming pools or actually swimming in the river. You can be pulled by a boat while wearing a parachute, and enjoy the water any way you like. But it may surprise you to know that only half of all visitors actually come for the boat facilities; most of these clubs have good restaurants, and corporate parties are one of their biggest money earners.
Just before you cross the Klyazma Reservoir at Dimitrovskoye Shosse you will find the Admiral Yacht Club on your right. It is fashionable, but definitely affordable. We visited it on a sunny Monday morning in the beginning of June. On the five hectares of the club you can choose between several different restaurants, four swimming pools, sun chairs and sports activities. There is a small beach as well, where you can rest your feet in the waters of the river. High season is from May to September, but it is open all year round. On the shores of the club a large riverboat houses the general offices and 28 hotel rooms, and yet more restaurants and bars.
Just opposite the Admiral Yacht Club you will find the even more fashionable Burevestnik Yacht Club. This is a ‘members only’ club, and if you don’t know two insiders who can recommend you, forget it. Nothing here is for rent, as members are expected not to care about such things. The mandatory restaurant is there, and leaving your yacht costs $5 per metre per day – a fee that must run up to considerable amounts for some members. There is a helipad, of course; and if you think that the short distance from downtown Moscow means that members prefer to arrive by car, you should see the number of helicopters.
Another yacht club by the shores of Dimitrovskoye Shosse is the Neptune. Here there is only a pier for 25 vessels; but it might be the place to go if a yacht school is what you need. Lying in their harbour costs from $250-500 a month. Neptune has several water sports facilities for rent, including a yacht with a sleeping berth for four persons (crew provided). Their boats for rent range from five to twelve metres. This is not a place to buy equipment, but they claim that they can build what you want or repair your boat if necessary.
Zavidovo Marine Club and Algol Club both lie more than 100 kms from the MKAD and are a little cheaper than those at Dimitrovskoye Shosse. Boat renting is never really cheap, however. Zavidovo Marine Club provides an enormous amount of water sports services, for very reasonable prices. Boat rental is from 5 to 15 persons, and you pay per person. Accommodation is rather expensive, starting at $150 for two persons per night; but then you can also play almost every single sport you can think of, including tennis, horse-back riding, badminton and skating. Algol Club is considerably smaller, especially with respect to facilities. Still, it keeps a reasonably low price level. Where Zavidovo Marine Club only rent boats during the day, Algol Club rent out one yacht for 14,000 roubles for 24 hours.
In a city where there are no beaches with soft sand and clear blue water, then yacht clubs are definitely the best opportunity for anybody with a love of water. So, when summer in the city gets just too hot, and you absolutely have to go jet-skiing – remember, the Moscow Riviera is only 7 kms away.
1. Admiral Yacht Club
Klyazminskoye Reservoir, Dmitrovskoye Shosse,
7 km away from MKAD.
Tel. (095) 782 3889, 105 7702, 730 8219, 741 7250
Open 24 hours. Pier for up to 100 vessels. Hotel with 28 rooms on a 6-deck ship, 5 hectares of land with beaches, playgrounds, restaurants, cafes, 4 swimming pools. Various vessels for rent.
2. Algol Club
Dmitrovskoe Shosse, 121 km from MKAD, near Dubna.
Tel. (095) 542 2726, 8 903 228 5420
Hotel, restaurant, sauna, swimming pool, solarium and gym. Motorboats and yachts for rent from 250 to 3000 roubles per hour. Horse-riding. Mooring for boats and yachts (100 roubles per metre per day).
3. Aurora Yacht Club
Moscow region; 22 Ul. Naberezhnaya, Dolgoprudny (Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 7 km away from MKAD).
Tel. (095) 101 4462, 8 926 233 6349/51/53
Up to 100 vessels. Membership system; if you are coming as a guest, please call. Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00 for guests, 24 hours for members. There is a shop where you can buy various accessories and equipment for vessels, as well as specialised clothing and magazines.
4. Burevestnik Yacht Club
Krasnaya Gorka, Moscow region (Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 8 km away from MKAD)
(095) 796 6041, 789 7996.
Office in Moscow: 12 Krasnopresnenskaya Nab., Entrance #3, Room 907,
(095) 258 1671/1868
Up to 250 vessels. Membership system, please call if you are coming as a guest. For membership it is necessary to be recommended by two current members of the club and to have your own yacht or boat. Restaurant, fitness centre, helicopter pad. Summer offices of companies selling vessels and accessories.
5. Captain Polo
4 Ul. Admirala Makarova, office 309.
Tel. (095) 137 0162,
M. Vodniy Stadion
The place to go if you want to become a serious sailor. Member of International Association of Sailing Schools. Professional training programme according to the standards of (British) Royal Yacht Association (RYA). International Certificates at the end of the programme.
6. Fairwater Yacht Club
5 Ul. Pribrezhnaya, Podrezovo, Moscow region (Ostashkovskoye Shosse, 10 kms away from MKAD).
Tel. (095) 588 4269, 762 0005
Mooring bay with pier, billiards, bar, tennis court, sauna, banya.
7. MRP Yacht Club
1 Ul. Yakova Gunina, Dolgoprudny (Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 6 km away from MKAD).
Tel. (095) 786 1441
Pier for up to 58 vessels, shop, repair services, car parking.
8. Moscow Yacht School
22 Ul. Novosuschevskaya, Bldg 4, Moscow.
Tel. (095) 684 2179, 510 5262
International Yacht Training (IYT). The school offers professional training for people who wish to attain an International Boat License.
9. Neptune Yacht Club
18 Ul. Naberezhnaya, Dolgoprudny,
(Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 7 km away from MKAD).
Tel. (095) 408 2344/233, 408 2588, 576 8481
Pier for up to 25 vessels (from $250 to $500 per month depending upon dimensions); sailing yachts for rent during summer, some speedboats from 5 to 12 meters (cost from $100 to $250 per hour, with crew provided). Yacht school and training. Technical services and complete refit of vessel. Mini-golf course. Restaurant and cafe.
10. Paintland Park
Bukhta Radosti, Pirogovskoe Reservoir, Moscow region (18 km along Ostashkovskoe Shosse), M. Medvedkovo.
Tel. (095) 783-0214, 540 8111, 215 4229
A good place to rent a sailboat or a yacht. Different sizes of boats from 6 to 20 people. Cost from 2500-3000 roubles per hour (depending on the size of the boat).
11. Spartak Yacht Club
4A Ul. Naberezhnaya, Dolgoprudniy, Klyazminskoe Reservoir, next to the railway station Vodniki, Moscow region (Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 7 km away from MKAD).
Tel. (095) 408 2500, 576 0202
Mooring for up to 120 vessels; 2 yachts for charter. Swimming pools, dancing area, beach volleyball, restaurant, small hotel with five rooms. Sailing school for children.
12. Trud Yacht Club
Dmitrovskoye Shosse, 7 km away from MKAD,
Quiet place for yachting.
13. Vodnik Yacht Club
Moscow region, near Dmitrov, Vodniki station.
Tel. (095) 408 2745
Two hotels (at the shore and on the water; total 64 rooms).
Bowling, billiards, sauna, mini-golf. Beach and outdoor heated swimming pool. Motorboats and yachts for rent.
Daily (except Mondays) from 09:00 to 20:00. Membership system. Guests, please call to let them know you are coming.
14. Zavidovo Complex
Leningradskoye Shosse, 117 km from MKAD.
Tel. (095) 937 9944/55, (095) 203 1033 (office in Moscow).
Situated where the Shosha and Volga rivers meet.
Cottages and a hotel, restaurant, bars, swimming pool, sports complex, tennis courts and playgrounds, sauna, horseriding. Various vessels for rent; motorboats from 1500 to 4000 roubles per hour.
Ol’ Man River
Travelling is for some people about hurrying to their destination as fast as possible. But when it comes to river cruises the voyage becomes a goal in itself, a means of relaxing in a high-serviced environment, while slowly moving from port to port, from city to city, and disembarking only to look at the sights.
A millennium ago the Vikings sailed the network of rivers in old Rus to trade and conquer, reaching far into the heart of central Muscovy, and all the way to Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). Today the rivers are still trafficked heavily by boats for all purposes, including cruising, and long before the 1917 Revolution this has been a popular way of spending a pleasant vacation in Russia.
If cruising down a Russian river is what you want however, your choice should be decided carefully, as price and quality can vary greatly, and the number of travel agencies providing cruises is almost endless. If you do not speak Russian, then Orthodox Cruise Company (OCC) might be the one for you as the staff speak English. They arrange cruises to many different destinations, such as St Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don and round-trip cruises from Moscow for example to Nizhny Novgorod and the Rybinsk Reservoir. You can go on a ‘Caviar Cruise’ from Rostov around Volgograd to Astrakhan and back, and if you are a classical music fan the ‘Musical Cruise’ from Moscow to Perm should be the one for you. All these cruises, except the ‘Caviar Cruise,’ start from or end in Moscow, as you prefer.
If one has a sufficient knowledge of Russian, and wishes to practice it, one can also buy cruise tours from Rech Flot, Stolichnaya Sudokhodnaya Kompania (SSK) and Tur Flot. You should take note that river cruises are often accompanied by lectures about the places you are visiting, so choose this option only with sufficient language skills, or a travelling companion who can translate. SSK is probably the biggest river cruise operator, covering all the same routes as Orthodox Cruise Company, plus many more. Tur Flot also provides cruises in the Urals, Siberia, and the CIS countries.
Cruise tours are rarely inexpensive, but if one does not mind sharing a compartment there is money to be saved. One will usually pay at least twice the price for one’s own private quarters. Often you may also choose between one or three meals a day, but this way little money is saved, as time spent off the boat is usually intensely occupied by sightseeing. As an example, Orthodox Cruise Company offers a 10 day (of which 6 are at sea) trip to St Petersburg, with three meals included, for 65 to 130 euros a day, depending upon the type of compartment.
The duration of a cruise can vary from only three days up to one month depending on the destination. If you are considering your first cruise, it may be advisable to start with a shorter destination, as nearly the only entertainment to be had is the landscape you pass and talking with the other passengers. If you like to go with the flow, then this is the holiday for you.
If you want to know more about river cruising please see: http://www.waytorussia.net/Transport/Domestic/Cruises.html
Orthodox Cruise Company
5 Alabyana, Moscow. M. Sokol
Tel. (095) 943 8560, 943 8561, 943 8562, 943 8563,
198 8275; fax: (095) 198 1101;
internet: www.cruise.ru; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
59 Leningradskoe Shosse, Moscow. M. Rechnoi Vokzal,
Moscow River Transport Department Building (right wing),
3rd floor, office 331.
Tel. (095) 459 7270, 459 7091, 459 730, 459 7872,
fax: (095) 459 7404;
internet: http://www.rechflot.ru/; email: email@example.com
Stolichnaya Sudokhodnaya Kompania (SSK)
51 Leningradskoe Shosse, Moscow. M. Rechnoi Vokzal,
or 1 Leningradski Prospekt, M. Belorusskaya.
Tel. (095) 257 7112, 257 7109, 458 9163, 458 9624;
21 Ul. B. Ordynka. M. Dobryninskaya.
Tel. (095) 363 9452, 363 9453;
internet: http://www.turflot.ru; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org