April 19, 2024

How to Navigate the Moscow Metro

A cosmopolitan city nestled in the heart of the historic Kremlin, Moscow is a dream destination for millions of travellers. As you’re exploring the Red Square, visiting the open-air museum at the Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy (VDNKh) or shopping in the Arbat Street market, you’ll find the Moscow Metro is the easiest and most efficient way to get around. To plan your journey and make the most of your time in this stunning city, take a look at these top tips and find out how to make your way around Moscow:

1. Recognise the Cyrillic Spelling

Unsurprisingly, signs in and around the Moscow Metro are spelt using the Cyrillic alphabet, rather than English. When you’re on the lookout for a station, follow the signs that say: метро. To make things a little easier, many of the signs simply feature a large capital M in bright red, so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to locate a station. After all, there are 180 stations on the network, so you’re never too far away from one!

2. Use a Coloured Map

As the Moscow Metro has 12 distinct lines, it can get confusing pretty quickly. If you’ve travelled on the London Underground, you’ll know how much easier it is to navigate the network when you have a handy coloured map with you. In Moscow, the Metro works on the same principle, so you can plan your journey easier when you use a coloured map to differentiate between the different lines.

What’s more – many of the stations on the Metro have coloured signage and arrows to take you to the right platform. Use a coloured map to plot your journey, then confirm you’re heading in the right direction by looking for signs and arrows on the floor at each station.

3. Get a Bilingual Guide

Unless you’re familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, pick up a guide or map that features both Russian and English. With a bilingual map, you can identify your destination easily, use the coloured lines and key charts to plan your journey and find the nearest station swiftly.

4. Check the Direction

The Circle Line, or Кольцевая линия, runs as a ring around the centre of Moscow but all other lines on the Metro run from one side of Moscow to the other. If you jump on a train that’s heading in the wrong destination, you’ll be travelling away from your intended station, so it’s worth verifying that your train is going in the direction you want.

Each platform will have signs on the wall to tell you which direction the train is heading in but, once you’re on board, an illuminated panel will show which stop you’re heading to next.

5. Count Each Stop

Unlike the London Underground, there aren’t usually automated announcements at each stop on the Moscow Metro. This means it’s easy to lose track of how many stations you’ve stopped at, particularly if you’re relying on Cyrillic signs at the stations to guide you. Use your coloured, bilingual map to confirm how many stations you’ll pass through and count the stops as you travel.

Again, check the illuminated panel above the train door to verify your journey but do bear in mind that a technical malfunction could affect which stations appear to be lit up. To avoid any mishaps, count the stops as you go and keep track of how many stations you’ve passed through.

6. Purchase a Ticket

Before you can travel on the Moscow Metro, you’ll need to purchase a ticket. You only need one ticket for each Metro journey, no matter how many times you change trains or lines and a single trip costs around 30 rubles. A round trip ticket allows you to take two trips on the Metro, again transferring from one line to another as many times as you need to. However, most ticket machines will only accept cash, so make sure you keep hold of some change and buy a round trip ticket when you can to simplify your return journey.

Enjoy the Moscow Metro

While the Metro might be the easiest and fastest way to get around the city, it’s also a fantastic tourist attraction in itself. Many of the stations are vast, underground palaces filled with sculptures, paintings, and mosaics. As you’re travelling from one attraction to another, be sure to spend some time exploring the Metro and its spectacular stations.

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