There will be 2 parts to our 5 Minute Guide to Moscow – making it a 10 minute guide to Moscow! That’s because there’s just too much to fit into one guide. So, enjoy part one with all the essentials, and keep your eye out for part two – coming soon!
From the airport:
You’ll probably arrive in Moscow at one of the 3 main airports – Sheremetyvo, Domodedevo, or Vnukovo.
From each of these airports, there is a special, direct train service, the Aeroexpress, which goes directly to a central metro/train station. Currently, it’s 500 rouble per person one way. From Sheremetyvo it’s to Belorusskaya metro station, from Domodedevo it’s to Paveletskaya metro station, and from Vnukovo it’s to Kievskaya metro station. There’s plenty of room on the Aeroexpress for luggage, and it’s a comfortable ride into the centre.
If there’s 4 or more people in your group, it might be cheaper to take a taxi to your hotel. Don’t use ‘unofficial’ taxis or you might get a nasty surprise, and not only with the price they charge you. Use an official taxi desk. We’ve used both Yandex and Gett taxi services from the airport with reasonable prices. They may not speak English very well, so have your Moscow address ready to show them, preferably in Russian. If you use an unofficial taxi you’ll pay twice the price, or even more.
There are a lot of hotels to choose from in Moscow now. From your basic hostel like Godzillas, right up to the Ritz Carlton on Tverskaya Street. You’ll probably opt for something in-between. I’ve been told that Hotel Maroseyka 2/15 is quite good, very central (walking distance to Red Square), right near lots of restaurants, and close to public transport. Otherwise, I’m sure you’ll find something suitable for your needs on one of the major accommodation websites like booking.com.
Moscow is a big city, and although there are a lot of interesting things to see and do in the very centre, you might need to take a bus or the metro to go a little bit further for other attractions. Public transport is quite cheap here in comparison to European cities. There are no transport zones here (yet) so you’ll just need one ticket for one trip (in the metro you can change lines with the same ticket, as long as you stay in the metro system). Currently it’s 55 roubles for one trip. There are multi trip tickets if you think you’ll be using public transport a lot during your stay. You can find the current 2019 fares and information here.
Buses are easy to find and come often. However, although it’s nice to see the view as you go to your destination, they can get stuck in traffic. The metro is a better option if you’re time sensitive.
Outside of the centre there are also trolleybuses and trams to take you to where you want to go. In buses, trolley buses and trams, you need to validate your ticket on the electronic scanner near the door when you get in.
‘Russian food’ is a combination of dishes from all the former Soviet Union Republics. And it’s mostly delicious! You have so much to choose from, like the famous soup, Borsch, blini (pancakes), caviar, herring salad, pelmini, pirozhki (pies) and much, much more. There are some photos and descriptions on Wikipedia.
And, you can find a lot of traditional Russian food in Moscow at very attractive prices – read my earlier post about cheap eats in Moscow.
There are restaurants and cafés everywhere in Moscow, you won’t go hungry!
Shopping is a favourite pastime here. There are giant shopping malls everywhere. From humble local, neighbourhood shopping complexes, right up to the enormous Avia Park. which is the second largest shopping mall in Europe. There’s also GUM, the department store located on Red Square, and Tverskaya Street, which is one of the main shopping streets.
There are also plenty of food markets around Moscow, although not really in the centre. You’ll have to travel a little to get to most of them. One of the most popular ones is Danilovsky Market.
And, don’t forget that a lot of Moscow, not only shopping, is open 24 hours!
Moscow is a huge museum. There’s something interesting to see in every street. Architecture, statues, monuments, squares and bridges make the town the fairytale city that it is.
Some not to miss places include:
- The Kremlin and Red Square
- GUM Department Store
- St Basil’s Cathedral
- Bolshoi Theatre
- Moscow State University (not only for the magnificent building itself, but also for the view over Moscow)
- The Moscow metro, especially the brown circle line. It’s like a museum in there, you’ll be knocked over by it, I promise you.
- Tretyakov Gallery
Museum of Soviet Arcade Games
You’re given a little paper bag of 15 kopek coins (which are no longer in circulation), and you’re then let loose in several rooms with vintage Soviet arcade games. Lots of fun!
Children are the Victims of Adult Vices
A group of statues representing adult vices, with statues of two children playing nearby, oblivious to the dangers surrounding them. I’ve been there, it’s pretty surreal and hard to believe that such ‘scary’ sculptures would be in such a beautiful public park.
Everyone! Moscow is a must-see place, considering the architecture, history, shopping, and immense size and beauty of the underground metro system. Plenty for the kids, parents, and grandparents.
Take a river-cruise on the Moskva River, preferably at night. You’ll float past all the beautiful monuments and buildings all lit up beautifully – it will be a moment you never forget.
Do you like my 5 Minute Guide to Moscow? You’ll probably also enjoy my other 5 Minute Guides:
Have you been to Moscow? Do you have any travel tips for visitors to this wonderful city? Leave your tips and comments below.
Update! Part 2 of the 5 Minute Guide to Moscow is here!