Russia as a travel destination has been a land of mystery for many years. Geographically Russia is largest country in world. It is part of two continents but most foreigners still think about Russia as a Moscow or St.Petersburg.
Well, I would say, that for a person who never been in Russia, this is best place to start. Moscow – the current capital of Russia – is one of the largest cities in the world as well. Definitely it’s worth to visit. First impressions about this place might be diferent, depending on you travel experience. With all the sightseeing, entertainment, world-class museums, monuments, churches and other historical centers to see, every traveler can find something fascinationg in this trip.
But before you start your journey to Moscow, there are few things one needs to know about travelling in Russia. I made a list of 5 important things if you intend to discover beauty & mystery of Russia.
1. Everyone needs a visa for traveling to Russia.
When applying for visa, you need to know how long your stay will be. Visa is issued for certain number of days. For getting a ‘travelers visa’ travelers are required to point a specific travel destination & reason for the trip as well. Besides, when applying for visa, everyone needs to get special travel insurance for the same number of days.
Make sure all the information is written correct in visa documents. It has happen with me few times that some info is misspelled. Good that I found it while in Embassy. On the border customs are very strict. I have heard many stories, that because of this people are turned back or there has been long discussions with custom officers about it.
2. After arriving at the final destination, foreigners need to register within 3 working days.
Lately many hotels in Moscow are offering this service right at the arrival with no extra cost (but some might take a small fee). They might ask to leave your pasport at the reception for a short while. But if you stay in smaller or private hotel ask at the reception were you can do it.
3. The best way to get from Sheremetyevo Airport to the city center is by AeroExpress.
Sheremetyevo is the main Airport for international arrivals in Moscow. There is a train station right next to the arrival hall. This new direct non-stop train service has been operating since 2009 and is very convenient for getting past all the traffic on the streets. Travel time from the city to the Airport by car or public bus is around 1 hour, depending on traffic. With Aeroexpress it takes just 35 min to get to the Belorussky Railway Station. From there you can use metro to whatever place needed.
Price for the one way ride is 320 rubles ( ~ $11) or round trip 550 rubles. This price is reasonable for many travelers though train is not crowded. There is a train every 30 min. If you happen to arrive in Domodedovo Airport, there is a similar express train to Moscow, Paveletsky Station.
4. The best way to get around city is by Metro.
Public transport is relatively cheap in Moscow – 28 rubles (~$o.5) for one ride. Actually Metro, with 12 lines, is the fastest way to get around as well. With all the traffic jams and large distances (overage trip length – 13km) from place to place, Metro is the most convenient transportation in Moscow.
For more convenience, get a ticket for 10 rides (265 rubles) or 20 rides (520 rubles). This will speed up the entrance to the metro itself.
Besides, almost every metro stations in central part of city – inside ‘Kolcevaja linija’ (Circle line) – is like a piece of art or architecture. I would even suggest to spend an hour or more exploring Moscow’s underground. Get in and out of train in every station in central part of Moscow to see difference. Someone will find fascinating long escalator rides as well.
5. Always carry a passport with you.
Even if I ‘ve been in Moscow several times during last 10 years, it’s still kind of discomfort for me, seeing police officers checking documents ‘just because’. You might be asked to show passport (other ID documents are not so important) when entering some office building or simple on the street.
With resent incidents in Airport and other public access areas, now there are a lot of metal detectors around central part of Moscow. Therefore don’t be surprised to see it before entrance to museum or metro as well.
By mentioning this things I don’t want to scare people from traveling to Russia. This country ir great. definitely with different mentality or attitude to the things but worth to visit. If you speak some Russian then it will open up even more.
Enjoy the trip!