Tula: The best getaway from Moscow! (PHOTOS)

Tula kremlin and the Upa River embankment

Tula kremlin and the Upa River embankment

Alexei Kudenko/Sputnik
Want to take a short trip out of the capital, but don't know where to go? We suggest Tula! There, you will find a cultural program, lots of entertainment and plenty of restaurants. In general, everything that the most experienced or spoiled tourist desires!

We suggest a tight schedule for two days to get the most out of the city. For how to get there, check the end of the article!

Day one

9 am

Leo Tolstoy's house in Yasnaya Polayana

We recommend starting your trip at the Yasnaya Polyana country estate. It’s where famous writer Leo Tolstoy was born and lived most of his life and wrote almost all of his major works. Take a walk in the wonderful apple garden, which was planted by the writer himself (you can also buy juice made from the estate apples). Also, take a guided tour of the house, where Tolstoy’s personal belongings and furnishings have been preserved (The house is only accessible via a guided tour, so it is better to sign up in advance).

2 pm

Lunch time! There is a small café right in front of the estate entrance, where you can grab a bite to eat. Be sure to try the ‘Ankovsky’ lemon pie, which Tolstoy was obsessed with. If there are no vacant tables in the café, a little further away, you will find a hotel with a restaurant called ‘Dvoryanskaya Usadba’ (‘Noble Estate’), where you can try dishes based on the recipes of Sophia Andreyevna, the writer’s wife, whose cookbook has been preserved to this day.

4 pm

Aivazovsky in Tula Art Museum

Now it’s time to head into the city of Tula. If you’re not too exhausted, continue the day on an uplifting note and head to the Tula Art Museum. Check out the original canvases by Ivan Aivazovsky, Valentin Serov and Mikhail Shishkin. The exhibition is relatively small, so an hour and a half should be enough to see them all.

6 pm 

Belousov Park

The Tula Art Museum is located right at the entrance to Belousov Park. It is a large green area, where you can encounter squirrels and joggers (or cross-country skiers), as well as ride carousels and roller coasters at the amusement park. Walking through the park (takes about 20 minutes) you will eventually get to the ‘Peter Petrovich’ restaurant. There, you can have dinner and drink homemade liqueurs or beer from its own brewery (18+!).

9 pm

Metallistov street

If you still have energy, it’s time for some Tula nightlife! Stroll across the pedestrian Metalistov Street. The party there doesn’t stop until late in the evening. You can have a quiet drink (there are a lot of restaurants, which put out verandas in summer), as well as have a good time dancing!

Dancing at the Upa River embankment

11 pm

Good night! Tomorrow is another day full of experiences!

Day two

9 am

The Upa River embankment

If you get up early enough, take a nice walk along the Upa River embankment. Then, visit the Tula Kremlin and its Assumption Cathedral in its pleasant and soothing lilac color. Grab a coffee at the local ‘Mr. Cup’ chain and snack on some authentic Tula gingerbread!

11 am

The helmet-shaped building of the Tula Arms Museum

While you're still fresh and energized, it’s time for the Tula Arms Museum. On the other side of the river, you will see its building in the shape of a medieval helmet. Even for the most cursory tour of the museum, set aside at least an hour of time. Tula has a centuries long history of arms production and is home to the huge Tula Arms Plant. You’ll discover arms from ancient times to modern in the museum. 

1 pm

Iskra space

Lunch time! A 10-minute walk from the museum will take you to Iskra, a relatively new city space, right in the historical center, with many cafes and restaurants. It is especially pleasant there in the warm season, as each restaurant has its own cozy veranda and sun loungers are placed everywhere. 

A monument to Tula gingerbread

After that, you can again walk along the pedestrian Metalistov Street and check out some souvenirs – Tula gingerbread, as well as Belevskaya pastila (also a local Tula specialty). And then, check out Lenin Square, where you can find a monument to Tula gingerbread. After all, you’ll need to take a selfie with it to prove such a thing exists!

4 pm

Oktava creative cluster

It’s time to get to know the history of Tula better. A few years ago, another interesting area was opened – the creative industrial cluster known as Oktava. It is located on the unused premises of the factory of the same name, a well-known manufacturer of electroacoustic equipment. Even Sting and Radiohead once used Oktava microphones!

The cluster hosts lectures, workshops, exhibitions of contemporary art, there is a co-working space, a library and a bookstore, as well as a recording studio. In addition, the Machine Tool Museum offers a unique multimedia exposition. We highly recommend going on the ‘Tula is the manufacturer of Russia’ excursion, where you will learn about how the city became a producer of gingerbread, samovar, weapons and other goods. Even children will enjoy it. It takes place daily every hour from 2 to 6 pm.

Inside the Machine Tool Museum's multimedia exposition

At 7 and 8 pm every day, there is a no less interesting multimedia tour called ‘The history of industry’, where you’ll learn about the main milestones of world industrialization, especially Russia and Tula.

Oktava also has a neat café, where you can both have a coffee or lunch/dinner. There are also several other cafes around, as well as a large trendy food hall nearby.

8 pm

It’s time to head back to Moscow! (The last train leaves at around 11 pm, so you'll have time for everything!)


How to get to Tula:

  • By car – The M-2 highway will take you straight from Moscow to Tula. The distance is 180 km and the travel time should take about 2.5-3 hours. The advantage of traveling by car is being able to stop for breakfast along the way in the city of Serpukhov. And when you get to Tula, be careful when parking, as there are many paid parking areas in the center.
  • By bus – Travel time takes around 2.5-3.5 hours and it costs an average 850-1,500 rubles (approx. $9-17). The advantage of traveling by bus is that they depart from several bus stations, so you can choose the most convenient one for you: Novoyasenevskaya bus station, Salarievo bus station or Lesoparkovaya and Orekhovo Moscow Metro stations. The time schedules can be found here (in Russian). 
  • By train – There are many trains that run to Tula from Moscow, including high-speed routes. The advantage of traveling by train is a travel time of just over two hours. Trains depart from Kursksky and Vostochny railway stations. You can buy a ticket online on the Russian Railways website, with prices starting at around 500 rubles (approx. $7).


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