5 Things to Know Before Trip to Moscow

Planning a trip to Moscow? It’s absolutely safe to visit Moscow and the best time to visit Moscow is now
However, be prepared that Moscow is very different from most cities in the world. Russia has its own peculiarities that need to be considered, and then nothing will spoil your impressions about our country.

Here are 5 things you need to know before you travel to Moscow. (Though the list would be pretty much the same if you are planning a tour of St Petersburg)

5 Tips for Moscow Tourists

Despite the fact that Moscow is visited by about 15 million tourists a year, many are afraid to come visit us, mistakenly believing that Russia still may not be the best city to visit. We’re going to debunk these myths – have a tour to Moscow, and you’ll be surprised how much these facts are overblown.

things to know about Moscow

Our guide friendly local guide Dasha near Red Square

1. Credit cards

Worldwide tourists prefer to pay by credit card to avoid currency exchange offices and to feel more secure from thieves. And many countries have already managed to rebuild their service on non-cash payment completely. But, friends, in Moscow it is recommended to have some cash in your wallet.

Remember that you can pay only in Russian rubles, we don’t accept dollars, euros or any other currency! The reason is that our country is only 24 years old, and cashless system is only now begins to spread. In Moscow in 80% cases you can pay with credit card, but souvenir shops and  some museums accept cash only. So always keep some cash with you, and our guides won’t let you be cheated during Moscow private tour.

Rest assured, most coffee places accept credit cards.

5 things you need to know before coming to Moscow

Local coffee shop in Moscow

2. And what about taxi in Moscow?

In Moscow there are plenty of taxis. But, to catch a taxi on the street won’t be as easy as in New York, for example. No need to run out on the highway and wave your arms. It doesn’t really work in Moscow. If you don’t see any taxi around you, it’s better to order it using the app in your device. Pre-locate the company that has the menu in English. The wait time is 10-15 minutes maximum. By the way, if there are 3 and more people in your group using taxi can be cheaper than aeroexpress train to get to the city from the airport. And it will be lovely to ride around Moscow on a Night tour.

Uber and GetTaxi applications are most reliable taxi services.

CitiMobil online taxi ordering is also a good option to get fast and cheap  taxi in Moscow.

Moscow boat trip is a great alternative to taxi, and will be cheaper for you if you plan, say, to get from Kolomesnkoe to Kitay Gorod or Gorky Park. Be ready for about 2-hour breeze! Normally, the boat trip costs 500-700 rubles per person.

5 things to know before coming to Russia

Downtown of Moscow

3. Moscow Metro tour on your own

Every tourist visiting Moscow certainly wants to see the metro. But many do not risk doing it alone because they’re afraid to get lost in the depths of the Moscow subway web. Overall, they are right. Navigation in Moscow metro is quite tricky. Almost all signs are in Russian. But here are some tips that will help you feel better.

By purchasing a ticket at the ticket office, located in each lobby, you come to the turnstiles. By the way, better buy a one-day ticket with unlimited number of trips. Apply magnetic ticket to the yellow point on the turnstiles and wait for green light, then you can safely pass through.

On the escalator you should stand on the right side. In the subway everybody goes very quickly, almost running. So keep calm and observant.

Now let’s deal with navigation. Be sure to download the app “Metro” to your device, it will automatically select the route and you will only have to follow this route. Please note that each metro line has its own color. These colors are the main mark for you. Above each escalator and at each station you can see signs with colored lines and names of the stations. Don’t stop abruptly in the middle of the flow, step aside and quietly make sure where you need to go, Check the last station in the list of stations, it will give you an idea if the train is going to the north or south, east or west.

Luckily, unlike many other metro stations in the world, in Moscow the platform is designed only for one line, which causes no confusion and makes it quite easy to change from train to train. The trains on one side go in one direction, the trains on the other side go in the opposite directions.

Seems, easy, right?

tips before going to Moscow

Metro in Moscow

4. Not smiling Russians. Help!

Be prepared that Russians aren’t really smiling people. The same applies to the service sector. But, please, don’t pay attention to it and don’t ty to find a reason for such a behavior. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with you.

If you ask a Russian “Why aren’t you smiling”, he/she will be surprised with your questions ask you in return – what is there so funny to smile at?

Russians have nothing against you, it’s just that Russia has a different culture of smiling. Please, don’t worry and don’t get confused with our not smiling society, and try to accept this fact as a completely unique experience.

Another difficulty is that most don’t speak foreign languages. At least,  try to learn most basic words in Russian and the name of the district and street where your hotel is located.

You will certainly meet very open and positive people in Russia who will amaze you with their sincerity and easy attitude. We don’t consider it a bad manner not to be always smiling. Nobody will judge you for the lack of smiles here. And maybe you will like it, as your face will relax and take some rest.

what to know before going to Moscow

Smiley Russian girl, our photographer Ksusha

5. Exploring Moscow

Before having your must see Moscow tour, get ready for an incredible distances. Moscow is the largest city in Europe. We have wide and long avenues, large spaces between houses. So don’t take on too much. Most likely, all that highlights you want to see will take 3 days in Moscow and not 5-7 hours as you might think. And although the metro runs well, still it will take a lot of time to transfer. Choose the sights you want to see wisely, take Moscow city tours to take the most out of Moscow and enjoy!

Travel to Russia

Walking and cycling around Moscow

things to know before coming to Moscow

Breakfast in Moscow

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