Originally posted August 11th, 2014:
As someone who grew up on the Atlantic coast, I do feel your landlocked pain, especially in this scorching heat wave we have been experiencing! Luckily, laying out on your balcony is not the only option.
Many Muscovites swim in the Moscow River, but I would only recommend doing this upstream, outside of the city. There are cute, free little beaches in the forest wilderness along the Rublevskoye highway, but keep in mind that they are amenity-free.
For a more pampered experience, there are restaurants with pools and lounge chairs on the Moscow river. You can go to the outdoor area of their restaurants without paying an extra fee, but they do charge a fee to go to the pool.
1. Chester Ferry, a 25 minute drive west in a gated community called Nikolino, has an outdoor restaurant, lots of lounge chairs, and an infinity pool built right on the river against a pine tree lined backdrop. They have showers and lockers in the changing rooms and the pool entrance fee is 1000 rubles which includes a towel and a lounge chair. Not accessible by metro. They do close it down for private events, so call in advance.
2. Chaika is an outdoor pool centrally located at the Park Kultury metro where you can get a membership or pay for a day pass. The day pass includes access to two pools, two kiddie pools, the sauna, the gym, and dance classes. A two hour pass costs 1000 rubles and a full day pass costs 2000.
3. Shore House, a 20 minute drive north on the MKAD behind Crocus City Mall, is another restaurant with an outdoor pool. The entrance fee is 1000 rubles on weekdays and 2000 on weekends, includes a towel and a lounge chair, and the changing rooms have showers but no lockers. It is accessible by metro, (blue line northbound to Myakinino).
4. Prichal is a Novikov restaurant west of Moscow on the Ilinskoye highway. It costs 1000 to go to their pool on weekdays and 2000 on weekends. Also right on the river, it is on the fancier side.
5. Another Novikov place is on Leningradskoye highway, it is called Vodny. It’s part of the Royal Yacht Club complex, which is a comfortable and rather luxurious place to spend a day.
6. There are many places to tan (but not swim) in Gorky Park, as well.
Don’t forget your sunblock!