Tag Archives: transportation in Moscow

Traveling to Moscow? 7 Things to Know

Everything is back to normal again because  I’ve been at home already for a few days. But there are few things I’d like to mentioned about my resent trip to Moscow.

1) After  finding out that I was in Moscow many people say – WOW, that’s great – but they don’t feel like to do the same. Why? Because they feel a bit afraid from traveling to Russia.  Yes – Russia is different from the rest of Europe. But that makes it interesting 🙂

Moscow. English signs

In central part of Moscow there are many signs in English

Big cities, like Moscow & St Petersburg are save travel destinations for tourists. Many people do speak English. In central part of Moscow there are many signs in English as well. During my trip I met a couple from Brasil they said that they love Moscow absolutly. They didn’t speak English either… many travel guides do speak Spanish or Italian.

 2) When people get Russian visa they are told that they need to register within 3 working days. If you stay in 2-3 star hotel in Moscow, they already provide this service automatically. If staying in smaller private/ family run hotels or outside the big cities ask them about options. It is better to have this registration because otherwise can get some fines.

I’d like to mention that it is normal that Russian police officers now & then check someones ID. Always carry a passport with you. In Russia passport is the main ID document.

3) There is no Tourist Information Center in Moscow such as. Though you can find many leaflets, basic maps or information on most popular sightseeing places in the hotel’s lobby or ask information desk about how to get from place to place. Though if you have a good guide-book with area maps & metro plan it is kind of easy get from place to place.

4) Moscow is a big city. The best thing to avoid confusion is to prepare for the trip in advance: Where,  what is located? How to get there?

Do online research for sightseeing places worth to visit in Moscow or get good travel guide-book. Russians use public buses and taxis (or private cars) a lot but I would strongly suggest use Metro (subway). Print out Moscow Metro map to make marks where the hotel is located and how you will get there. Just write down directions & the name of nearby metro station.

5) What comes to the Metro (subway) – there are subway maps everywhere in stations & inside the train. It is cheap & convenient way of transportation in Moscow. Just look for the place or building with big red sign ‘M’.

Moscow. Sign for the subway - M

Moscow. Sign for the subway - red letter 'M'

Yes, there are a lot of people using it, therefore get 10x card for fast entrance through ticket chek point. There are special doors for entrance and others just for exiting. Find the name of metro station you need, pick the ‘line’ & follow the signs to the station or changing the train ‘lines’. Entrance in to the train is fast. Quick out – quick in & it’s gone…

6) It might not seem fair that there are special ‘foreigner’ price for the entrance tickets to many museums or theater performances. But there is nothing much to do – foreign travelers pay 2 – 3 times the price that locals pay. That’s why often you’ll see one price in English but other ones in Russian.

So there are two options to solve this problem. One – you speak more or less fluent Russian to buy tickets; two – if there are some local people you know, who could buy tickets for you (& don’t talk much while passing the lady who is checking the tickets 🙂 )

Moscow streets. Rush hour traffic jam.

Moscow streets. Rush hour traffic jam.

 7) Be aware of the cars ot the streets. I would say that driving culture is very low in Russia. They more or less follow ‘red’ and ‘green’ lights but otherwise be careful. Main streets are very wide with a lot of cars and traffic jams. Therefore going from places to places by car takes time. But the main thing I wanted to say here is that if you want to cross the street even on pedestrian walk, watch out for the cars.

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5 things to know before traveling to Moscow, Russia.

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.

Image of Moscow.

Moscow, capital city of Russia

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. 

AeroExpress - train from Seremetyevo to city

AeroExpress - train from Sheremetyevo Airport to the city

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.

Metro station in Moscow

One of Metro (Metropoliten) stations in Moscow central part.

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.

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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!

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