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Know Before You Go
- Despite what you might hear, navigating the Moscow metro is not that difficult. All you need is a map with English translations. There is also a Metro app that you can use to help you get around without any problems.
- Don't be surprised if you get shoved on the metro or in the streets. Russians walk at lightning speeds, and it just means they are in a bigger hurry than you.
- If you want to buy a Matryoshka (stacking Russian dolls), buy them at Old Arbat Street. You'll save a tonne of money, and you can bargain your way to a lower price.
- While you can pay with a credit card most of the time, places like museums and shops accept cash only. So it's always best to keep some money on you.
Getting Around Moscow
Moscow is the largest city in Europe. The city has big spaces between houses and long avenues, making it impossible to only rely on walking to get around. Luckily the city has a robust public transport system that will get you to your final destination.
- Not only is the metro cheaper than a taxi, but it also looks like a giant piece of art. The trains run from 5:20 am to 1:00 am, and single trips cost RUB 28. If you want to save money, you can also buy a 5, 10 or 20 ride card.
- Uber is the cheapest rideshare and taxi option. During non-surge times you can expect to pay RUB 50 base, RUB 8 per minute and RUB 8 per kilometre.
- If you decide to take a normal taxi, negotiate the price before starting the trip. It should cost RUB 250 within the Garden Ring and RUB 400 to RUB 500 to go from the city centre to the outskirts of Moscow.
- Marshrutkas are shared private buses. They operate the same routes but get to their destinations faster. A single trip will start at RUB 3, and you'll pay the fare to the driver as you get in. You will need to speak a little Russian to use this service, as the driver will keep driving unless told to stop.
- Other public transport options include the bus, tram and trolleybus system. But they don't always run on schedule and waiting times can be anything from 5 to 40 minutes. At night there is no service, so if you miss the last one, you'll have to take a taxi.
When is The Best Time to Visit Moscow?
The best time to visit Moscow is during spring. From April to May the weather starts getting warmer, days are longer, and hotel rates have yet to skyrocket. Just remember to pack a coat for the evenings when temperatures start to drop.
June to August is Moscow's golden period of summer. The city is warm and bustling, and the cultural attractions are all ready to be explored. But it's so the city's high season where rates are at their highest, and even the most frugal bargain hunters will have a hard time finding a good deal.
While summer fades quickly into winter, between September and October, there is a short autumn season. Visit Moscow during this time to beat the winter chill and score on excellent deals as the summer crowds start to thin out.
Winter in Russia is not for the faint at heart. From November to March you'll be able to catch a glimpse of the Moscow experience as you shuffle along in your many layers through Red Square. If you can handle the freezing temperatures, snowfall and one hour of sunlight you'll score on the lowest hotel rates.
Airports in Moscow
There are three major airports in Moscow. If you fly in from another country, you'll arrive at either Sheremetyevo International Airport or Domodedovo International Airport. Moscow's third airport, Vnukovo serves mainly domestic routes with limited international flights.
Sheremetyevo International Airport
Sheremetyevo is located in the Molzhaninovsky District 29 km from central Moscow. It's the busiest airport in Russia serving 31 million passengers in 2015. The airport is a hub for Aeroflot, Nordwind Airlines and RoyalFlight.
Domodedovo International Airport
Domodedovo is the second busiest airport in Russia. It's located 42 km from Moscow and is one of the largest airports in the country. It serves as a hub for many airlines including Globus Airlines, Red Wings Airlines, RusLine and more.
Vnukovo is a domestic airport with a few flights to and from Germany. It's Moscow's oldest operating airport and is located 28 km from the city centre. The airport is a hub for I-Fly, Pobeda and Rossiya.
Getting To and From Moscow's Airports
From all three airports, the fastest and easiest way to get into the city centre is with the Aeroexpress train. A single journey takes 35-40 minutes and costs about RUB 400. Trains run from 6 am, and the last one leaves the airport around midnight.
Cabs from the airports can be ordered from the taxi desk. Fares start at RUB 1500 to RUB 2200, and it's advised to have your destination written in Russian as few drivers understand English.
There are also many buses, shuttles and metro lines available at each airport. It's one of the cheapest ways to get into the city with fares starting as low as RUB 100 one way.