I admit that Russia was not really my cup of tea, but after spending a few days in Moscow the misconceptions and the stereotype barrier faded away.
I had a wonderful time in Moscow ❤ and I hope you find this post very useful 😉
First thing to keep in mind: VISA Once you land, you don’t need to fill in a landing card. They will check your visa and give you a card with a stamp on it. Don’t lose this card and keep it safe with your passport during your stay in Russia. You will need it when you leave the country.
Transport from/to the airport
All the international airports in Moscow have a fast train connection to the capital city centre ( 35-45 minutes) and each rail terminal is connected via metro circle line.
Aeroexpress train is the fastest way to get to the city centre. We bought our tickets online, but you can also buy them from the vending machines. Unfortunately, it’s closed between 00:30 and 5:00, so if you arrive during these hours I recommend to pre-book a transfer. Otherwise, a taxi from the airport to city centre it shouldn’t be more than 1,800 – 2,000 RUB, but the drivers will try to rip you off and charge you double.
Transportation around the city
The public transportation in Moscow is the best and the most efficient in the world. Always on time and in service. Around the city the fastest way is the metro. You only wait 2-3 min between trains plus the architecture of the stations is astonishing. Every station name is written in the Russian alphabet. It’s best to have with you a map that has both Russian and common alphabet letters. Also, the colours of each metro line are helpful. Almost nobody speaks English, so you’re on your own 😀 Click here for more information about metro tickets. We found the 3 day pass the most convenient.
You can find ATM’s at most metro stations, banks, large hotels, but it’s best to have rubles before heading to Russia.
Vodka is cheap and there are literally hundreds of brands to choose from. Take note you cannot buy alcohol in shops that is above 0.5 % between 22:00 and 11:00. Also, avoid attracting unwanted attention by not speaking loudly in your mother tongue, or walking the streets if you have been drinking.
Where to stay
Most hotels in Moscow, have an impressive architecture and surprisingly the prices are very reasonable. We stayed at Petroff Palace. This hotel is close to public transportation, the staff is very helpful and the architecture is exquisite. It certainly looks like a palace.
What to visit
Bolshoi Theatre – the prices for performances are varied. You can find tickets starting at £ 50 pp, if you buy them online, in advance. Also, you can find good prices 1-2 days ahead of the performance, but only if you’re lucky and the tickets are not sold-out. If you miss it though, you can visit the theatre on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. There are tours in Russian and English ( 1 hour long), but they are limited to a max. of 20 people, so make sure you arrive there earlier. You’ll have to stay in line, because the tickets are selling right before the tour starts. The English tour starts at 12:15 and the tickets are 1300 RUB pp ( approx. £ 15 ).
Red Square – St. Basil Cathedral ( if you go there on a Sunday, you can see the interior for free), Lenin’s Mausoleum, GUM ( it’s like a Russian Harrods, the shops inside are pretty expensive. The architecture is beautiful and the building is more than 100 years old), State Historical Museum (the big red building from the square).
For these attractions, stop at Teatralnaya – Театра́льная or Okhotny Ryad- Охотный ряд or Ploshchad Revolyutsii- Пло́щадь Револю́ции Metro station and you can easily walk around them.
Kremlin – stop at Biblioteka Imeni Lenina ( here, you can also walk 5′ to see the public library for free). For Kremlin, we bought our tickets online. We visited the Armoury chamber. After seeing Kremlin I had only feelings of admiration for Russia 🙂 Too bad, you cannot take pictures inside the rooms.
Pushkin Museum – stop at Kropotkinskaya. Visit this museum only if you have extra time to spend, because most of the artworks inside are replicas of famous sculptures, paintings…
Novodevichy Convent – stop at Sportivnaya – Спорти́вная. UNESCO heritage, resting place of Chekchov. The ticket costs 600 Rub.
Stop at Partizanskaya – Партизанская metro station to visit Izmailovsky Market. Buy your souvenirs here 😉
Note: Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Just for fun…
Fire a Kalashnikov in Russia – Shooting Range ” Labyrinth” I fired a gun here for the first time and it was exhilarating 😀 I totally recommend this. Make your reservation online and they will call you for confirmation, give you the exact directions of how to get there and a password that you’ll need it for access.
Bunker42 – the cold war fortress, situated 65 m underground and completely equipped with everything in case of a nuclear attack. This attractions costs 2200 Rub pp. It’s too pricey indeed, but it’s a unique experience. Stop at Taganskaya – Тага́нская.
Gorki Park – the central park of Moscow. Stop at Oktyabrskaya – Октя́брьская or Park Kultury- Парк Культу́ры
Zaryadye Park – close to Red Square.
Alexander Garden – Kremlin
Note: It’s cold for a walk in the park in a Russian winter so…it will be best to see them during spring/summer.
Other things to see…
Gogol’s House , Moscow State University, Arbat Street, Moscow Business Center (Mercury Tower)
My top beautiful Metro Stations
- Sokol Со́кол
- Aeroport Аэропо́рт
- Beloruskaya Белору́сская
- Mayakovskaya Маяковская
- Teatralnaya Театра́льная
- Komsomolskaya Комсомо́льская
- Biblioteka Imeni Lenina Библиоте́ка и́мени Ле́нина
- Troparyovo Тропарёво
- Rumyantsevo Румянцево
- Kievskaya Ки́евская
- Arbatskaya Арба́тская
- Elektrozavodskaya Электрозаводская
- Novoslobodskaya Новослобо́дская
- Aviamotornaya Авиамото́рная
- Dostoyeevskaya Достоевская
- Prospekt Mira Проспе́кт Ми́ра
Note: The metro runs from 5:30 until 01:00.
I hope you will enjoy Moscow as much as me and Stefan did
SEE MY PHOTOS : Moscow, Russia