All you need to know about public transport in Moscow
Road from the airport
Today four major airports welcome tourists: Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Ramenskoye (Zhukovsky). The easiest way to get to the Moscow airport hub (Vnukovo, Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo) and back is to take a comfortable Aeroexpress train. The high-speed trains run between Sheremetyevo and Belorussky railway station, between Domodedovo and Paveletsky railway station, and between Vnukovo and Kievsky railway station. Travel time is about 30–47 minutes depending on the route. Tickets cost 500 roubles and can be purchased at ticket windows, ticket machines and at turnstiles. If you buy a ticket at the company’s website or with the mobile app, the cost is 420 roubles. Also you can take regular trains and buses or express buses: from Rechnoy Vokzal (Line 2) and Planernaya (Line 7) metro stations to Sheremetyevo; from Domodevoskaya (Line 2) to Domodedovo, and from Salaryevo, Troparyovo and Yugo-Zapadnaya metro stations (Line 1) to Vnukovo. Passengers can get to the newest airport – Ramenskoye – from Vykhino or Kotelniki metro stations (Line 7).
You can also take a taxi from the airport to your hotel by calling from a special stand at the airport or by downloading the app. Cars arrive in 10–15 minutes. The trip costs 1,100 roubles minimum.
Moscow has nine railway stations for departures to other Russian cities and some other countries. Almost all of them are situated near the Circle Line metro stations. The exceptions are Rizhsky and Savyolovsky railway stations. Three railway stations – Kazansky, Leningradsky and Yaroslavsky – are situated next to each other on Komsomolskaya Square, near Kalanshevskaya station where suburban trains from three different routes – Kursky, Byelorussky and Rizhsky – stop. This makes Komsomolskaya Square the main railway transportation hub in Moscow. Also, the suburban commuter system is well-developed in the city. Trains to many city districts and to destinations in the Moscow Region depart from all the railway stations regularly. There are over 100 railway stations in Moscow.
Passengers can depart for a cruise to Astrakhan or St Petersburg from the Northern and Southern Riverboat Stations. Also, riverboat buses ply the Moskva River. You can find information on fares and the various departure piers on the company’s website.
Transit as tourism: Marvelling at the metro
The quickest way to get around Moscow is by metro. Today the Moscow metro has 12 lines and 206 stations. It is possible to reach almost any place, event or sports complex in the city on the metro. The metro’s operating hours are 5.30 am–1 am, 7 days a week. The last train departs from the end stations at 1.03am.
The metro is not only the easiest and most popular mode of transit but also a unique underground museum, with 12 metro stations listed as cultural heritage sites.
While walking around the city, tourists can view some of the most beautiful stations in the world: Mayakovskaya, Komsomolskaya, Kievskaya, Ploshchad Revolyutsiyi and Novoslobodskaya, decorated with frescoes, stained glass panels, mosaics, stucco and statues. Columns and walls are faced with marble which makes the stations look like ceremonial halls. For their beauty they can only be rivalled by Arbatskaya on the Blue Line (Line 3), Oktyabrskaya, Belorusskaya and Novokuznetskaya.
Vorobyovy Gory metro station, located above the river, offers tourists a panoramic view of the city and exotic exhibitions. There is also Vystavochnaya metro station with its gallery, and Troparyovo metro station with its unusual glass garden. Several stations feature ancient fossils several million years old.
Moscow Central Circle
Last autumn, the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) – a 54 kilometres long railway – opened to passengers. It eased the burden on central stations and provided pedestrian access to many city sights. Transferring from the MCC to the metro and back is free during first 90 minutes of the trip, and the MCC has become almost like another metro line for passengers. Trains on the circle line run both directions every 5–10 minutes. Most announcements are made both in English and Russian. Remember that the MCC closes for the day earlier than the metro.
In Moscow you can also use the monorail line, which runs 8am–8.05pm every day. Trains run every 30 minutes. You can catch the monorail from VDNKh, Fonvizinskaya and Timiryazevskaya metro stations.
Passengers ride in unusual carriages that move along a single wide rail elevated above the ground on pillars. The train passes many Moscow sights: Worker and Kolkhoz Woman monument, VDNKh main entrance, Museum of Cosmonautics and Ostankino Tower. Lots of people ride the monorail for sightseeing.
Surface public transport
You can also use surface public transport to get to your destination in comfort. Trams, buses and trolleybuses are convenient for residents and tourists. Almost all of the routes pass a metro or railway station.
Muscovites consider the tram to be one of the most romantic forms of transit. The most famous route is Route A, nicknamed “Annushka” (little Anna). It runs from Kaluzhskaya Square to Chistye Prudy metro station.
Route 39 is considered to be the most beautiful tram line. It begins near Chistye Prudy and runs along the Boulevard Ring with many old houses and estates of the historic centre. Passengers can see the St. Daniel Monastery and the Donskoy Monastery as well as Stalin-era buildings on Leninsky and Lomonosovsky Prospects. The route ends at Universitet metro station, near MSU’s main building.
Route 17 is one of the fastest and most popular with Muscovites. It runs from Ostankino Park past VDNKh and Babushkinskaya metro station to the Medvedkovo District. Vityaz M low-floor trams hit the route in spring. They run every 4–5 minutes.
Buses can get you to any point in the city. Moscow has more than 680 bus routes, and there are 17 main routes that connect various districts with the city centre. Most of them pass through the transportation hub near Kitai-Gorod station which allows passengers to easily change lines.
How to pay for the trip
Tourists can get a multi-fare pass, known as the Unified Travelcard, with unlimited trips for 24 hours, three days or a week, which can be used on surface transport, the metro, MCC and monorail. The prices are 210, 400 and 800 roubles respectively. Most Muscovites use the Troika card which costs 50 roubles. One trip at the “Koshelek” rate on any type of transport costs 35 roubles, and 54 roubles for passengers who transfer from the metro to surface transport or back (if done during the first 90 minutes). Aeroexpress, suburban trains and river transport have their own tariff systems.
Read about how to get around the city at night in our special feature.