Moscow is one of the most beautiful and exciting capital in the world. Here you will find the best attractions, more than 20 UNESCO world heritage sites, the richest history that you can see in buildings, houses, metro and everywhere.
Moscow is huge and has lots to visit. So, for not losing your time, check out this Moscow Travel Guide and get to know some useful information about the places to see, things to taste, how to speak with Russians, move around and so on.
How to get to Moscow
There are three major airports in Moscow: Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO), and Vnukovo (VKO). All of these airports suggest different transport options to reach the city centre: Aeroexpress trains, public buses, minibuses and taxi. Here you can find out the prices for each mode of transport and choose the most comfortable for you.
Currency and exchange
The currency of Russia is a Russian Ruble. 1 U.S dollar is about 61 RUB, and 1 Euro is around 75,50 RUB. Comparing with the last years, Russian Ruble fell what makes the travels to Russia much cheaper than it was before.
How to move in moscow
Many of you probably heard about brutal traffic jams in Moscow that can make you spend a few hours to get from point A to B. But it’s not so dramatically if you know how to move in Moscow.
- Metro. It’s the fastest way to move around Moscow both in rush hour and another time. But that’s not the onliest advantage of Metro. You’ll also get a chance to visit this “underground museum” and see beautiful stations. Metro ticket cost 0,90$ (55 rubles), for 1 ride. But if you’re planning to use metro quite often, it’s cheaper to take a card for several rides or unlimited card for 1 day – 3,51$ (218 rubles)or several ones.
- Public bus. It’s not so fast as metro, but thanks to the law saying that public buses have their special line on the roads, to go by public bus can be also a nice option if you want to see a city from the window. The price for 1 ride on public bus cost the same as metro – 0,90$ (55 rubles)
- Marshrutka (minibus). These are smaller and usually private buses. They normally go by the same road as the public ones, but Marshrutk cost less than public transport – 0,65$ (40 rubles) for one ride.
- Taxi. Taxi in Moscow can be a quite budget option if you pick it right. Never pick taxi on the street! Usually, these taxi drivers ask double or more price for the ride, especially if you’re foreigners. I’d advise you to download the app of Uber or Yandex.Taxi. I personally use only these two companies, because they are safe and provides the cheapest prices in Moscow. I think it can be really useful for foreigners as in the app you can track the car, get to know it’s type, license numbers, name and the mobile of the driver. One ride within the centre will cost about 3-6$. The price may vary depending on the distance.
Best time to visit
Thera are two nice seasons to enjoy your visit in Moscow. First one is the summertime – from May to September. The weather at this time is the most comfortable and will let you fully enjoy outdoors activities, parks, festivals and night walks. The second season is around New Year, when you can experience Russian traditions of celebrating this most important day for them, enjoy beautiful decoration of the city and of course meet with Russian winter.
Russian for travelers
Hello (formal) – Здравствуйте (ZDRAstvuyte)
Hi (informal) – Привет (priVET)
How are you? – Как дела? (kak deLA?)
I’m fine, thank you – Хорошо, спасибо. (haraSHO, spaSIbo)
What’s your name (formal/informal) – Как вас/тебя зовут? (kak vas/teBYA zoVUT?)
My name is… – Меня зовут… (meNYA zoVUT…)
It’s nice to meet you. – Приятно познакомиться. (priYATno poznaKOmitsa)
Goodbye (formal/informal) – До свидания (do sviDAniya) / Пока (PokA)
Yes – Да (da)
No – Нет (nyet)
Please – Пожалуйста (poZHAlusta)
Thank you – Спасибо (spaSIbo)
You’re welcome. – Не за что. (ne za chto)
Excuse me. – Извините. (izviNIte)
I don’t understand. – Я не понимаю. (YA ne poniMAyu)
I don’t speak Russian. – Я не говорю по-Русски. (YA ne govoryU po RUSski)
Do you speak English? – Вы говорите по-Английски? (vi govoRIte po angLIYski?)
Where is…? – Где …? (Gde…?)
Where is the metro? – Где метро? (gde meTRO?)
Where is the bus? – Где автобус? (gde avTObus?)
How much is it? – Сколько стоит? (skol’ko STOit?)
This is too much – Очень дорого (OCHen DOrogo)
Things to see and do in Moscow
Visit Red Square
You weren’t in Moscow if you didn’t visit the Red Square. This symbol of Russia should be a must-see place on your list. It’s probably one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Here you can not only stroll the main square but walk in the Alexander Garden (Alexandrovsky Sad) and visit the Kremlin.
- For the entrance into Kremlin, you’ll need to pay. But it’s worth it if you’d like to get to know more about the history of the country, to see the greatest relics and monuments of art and visit Cathedral Square.
- The ticket to the Kremlin and Cathedral Square costs 500 rubles (for visitors under the age of 16 – free).
Check out GUM
Once strolling the Red Square, don’t miss an opportunity to visit the GUM. The GUM is the most famous shopping centre in Moscow among Russians and foreigners for its beautiful and unusual architecture.
Not all the Russians can afford to shop here, as here are mostly luxury stores that sell such brands as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Burberry and etc. But to walk here and see the place, you don’t need to pay anything, so I highly recommend you to visit this shopping centre.
- Even though everything in the GUM is expensive, here is one budget place to eat. The place calls “Stolovaya 57” that based on the upper floor. It has a Soviet design, typical Russian cuisine and cheap prices what attracts many people.
- Don’t leave the GUM without trying a legendary Soviet ice cream. You can buy it at the small kiosks on the first floor. There are several of them and you can easily find them by a long queue.
View St. Basil's Cathedral
Moscow’s most photographed sights. You will find it on the Red Square and will recognise by the multi-coloured onion domes. St. Basil’s Cathedral was constructed by Ivan the Terrible and according to legend, the Tsar liked the Cathedral so much that he ordered the architects to be blinded, so like that he wouldn’t be able to repeat this beautiful creation.
If you don’t want to have a lot of tourists in the background of your picture, I’d advise you to do it in the morning.
Walk in Gorky Park
Gorky Park is a pearl of Moscow and definitely a must-visit point. It’s an ideal place to escape from the bustle of the city and discover a new side of Moscow.
It’s one of the best parks in Moscow because here you can find and try absolutely different things:
- to walk along Moskva River promenade
- to play ping pong, tennis, volleyball
- to discover the park on a skate, bicycle or rollers
- to relax at the Swan Lake
- to sunbath at the white sand beach
- to visit Neskuchny Garden and walk till Sparrow Hills
- to check various places to eat each of them has a different concept
And that is not the only things that you will discover in Gorky Park. Want to know what else? Check out here to not miss anything.
take a ride in Moscow Metro
The Moscow Metro is considered the most beautiful metro in the world. The central underground stations are spectacular: each of them has its own story, mood and architecture. So while staying Moscow, don’t miss an opportunity to visit this “underground museum”.
Moscow metro is incredibly huge with around hundred stations. That’s why I prepared for you the list of the most beautiful and interesting stations you shouldn’t miss.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to take a ride on a Circle line (Koltsevaya line). Here you can take a stop and check out all the stations as each of them has its own style, architecture and mood. “Kiyevskaya“, “Komsomolskaya“, “Novoslobodskaya“, “Taganskaya“, “Belorusskaya“, “Krasnopresnenskaya” and “Prospect Mira“.
- Visit one of the most beautiful stations – “Mayakovskaya” – with its 34 mosaics on the ceiling.
- Walk around “Ploshchad Revolutsii“. This station will impress you by its architecture. Here you’ll find dozens of different sculptures. Some of them bring a luck if you rub them. For example, passing through the soldier with a dog, don’t forget to touch the nose of the dog.
- Check out the deepest station in Moscow and 3rd deepest station in the world – “Park Pobedy“. It takes 3 minutes to go down by escalator. Here you can see 2 mosaics dedicating to the French invasion of Russia and to the Second World War.
- as “Kropotkinskaya”, “Komsomolskaya”, “Novoslobodskaya” are considered the most interesting architectural monuments of 1930-1950.
- “Elektrozavodskaya” station got its name because of the factory nearby that produced the electric light bulbs. That’s why the station has hundreds of inset lamps in the ceiling.
- For those who are familiar with the works of the famous Russian writer Dostoyevsky, I’d advise visiting the station “Dostoyevskaya” named after him. Here on the walls, you can see the drawing of his famous works and the portrait of the author.
Stroll Arbat Street
This is probably one of the most famous streets in Moscow that all foreigners look forward to visiting. Actually, there are two streets call Arbat: Old Arbat Street and New Arbat Street. I’d suggest you visit both. Old Arbat is the oldest pedestrian street in Moscow and provides many attractions and sightseeing.
What to see:
1. Vakhtangov Theater and a golden figure of Princess Turandot next to it.
2. A graffiti wall that is dedicated to Russian icon Victor Tsoi. His songs were incredibly popular in the 1980s. At night, there are many people gathering near the mural and singing his songs.
3. A bronze statue of Bulat Okudzhava, another famous Russian singer and songwriter in USSR.
4. A bronze statue of legendary Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and his wife Natalia Goncharova.
5. Lots of artists drawing the pictures and selling it. You can even have your portrait drown here.
6. Various street artists doing different shows, dancing, singing or reading poetry.
7. Many bars, restaurants and cafes where you can relax for a bit enjoying a cup of something or smoking hookah on the terrace.
After having Walked an Old Arbat you can stroll New Arbat Street. It’s absolutely different from the previous one: the lines of the tall building in a form of an open book, an endless flow of cars, lots of restaurants and lounge bars. I’d recommend you to visit New Arbat at night when it’s dark and the street is full of lights. It’s especially beautiful at this time.
Buy souvenirs in Izmailovsky Market
It’s impossible not to bring home some souvenir from Moscow. So, once you have decided to buy it, go to Izmailovsky Market as here you’ll find the cheapest souvenirs in Moscow. Here you can see many traditional and absolutely different things, some of which are handmade. And here the prices are half and less than what you would pay in Arbat Street or Red Square.
Even though the Market is opened every day, I’d highly advise you to visit it on the weekends because these days you can also find a famous flea market that is open just on Saturday and Sunday. Here you will see many interesting things: vintage jewellery, records, books, porcelain, military accessories of the past two centuries, dresses, oil lamps, toys, old frames and many other interesting things.
Besides that, after checking souvenirs and flea market you can walk and discover Izmailovo Kremlin – a cultural complex that was built not to protect the city but as a fairy tale version of Kremlin. It’s the same place where the Market is based, but if you go deeper, you will find many interesting recreations of palaces, a church and some museums, for example, museum of Vodka.
How to get: The closest metro station to get to Izmailovsky Market is “Partizanskaya”. From the exit doors of Metro, walk to the left, cross the street towards the big tall buildings. In front of you should be Izmailovsky Kremlin that you can recognise by the wooden colourful structures. When you get closer, you’ll see arch before the entrance saying Vernisazh. Once having entered here, you’ll see lots of shops with souvenirs. All the way from metro to the Market take less around 10 minutes.
Working hours of Izmailovskiy Market (Souvenirs): every day from 09:00 to 18:00
Working hours of flea market: Saturday-Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00
Russian food to try
Russian food can seem strange for the foreigners at the beginning because it’s very different from another countries cuisine. But I’m sure you’ll find some dishes that will pleasantly surprise you.
Here is the list of typical Russian food you must try while staying in Moscow:
- Borsch. The most famous Russian soup. It has a red colour thanks to the main ingredient – beet. I’d advise you to try it in a Russian way – with smetana (sour cream).
- Pelmeni. It’s a pastry dumpling filled with onion and minced meat. Pelmeni as a Borsch is nice to eat with Smetana.
- Kvas. It’s a typical Russian drink that is made of bread or rye. It’s very tasty and will definitely refresh you in a hot summer.
- Salad Olivie. If you are keen to try one typical Russian salad, then try Olivie. Russians have a tradition to cook it at New Year. It’s made with vegetables, meat and mayonnaise.
- Blini. It’s very similar to crepes, but Russian ones usually thicker and have some stuffing. It can be meat, cheese or some jam. But I’d advise you to try some type of traditional blini: with caviar, smoked salmon or with Smetana.