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How To Get Around Moscow Using The Underground Metro


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Clarita Scott



Welcome to Moscow, the vibrant and bustling capital city of Russia. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and a myriad of cultural attractions, Moscow is a city that offers endless exploration opportunities. And when it comes to getting around the city, there’s no better way than using the efficient and extensive Moscow Metro system.


The Moscow Metro, also known as the underground metro, is not just a means of transportation but an experience in itself. As one of the busiest and most beautiful metro systems in the world, it combines functionality, art, and grandeur. With its intricate network of lines and stations, the Moscow Metro is truly a masterpiece of Soviet-era engineering.


Whether you’re a tourist visiting Moscow for the first time or a local looking to navigate the city more efficiently, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to make the most out of your journey using the Moscow Metro.


From understanding the metro map and buying tickets to navigating the stations and using the trains, we’ll cover it all. You’ll also find helpful tips and suggestions to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. So, let’s delve into the world of Moscow’s underground metro and discover how to explore the city like a local.


Brief Overview of Moscow Metro

The Moscow Metro is not just a transportation system; it is a cultural icon and a symbol of the city’s grandeur. Spanning over 400 kilometers and serving more than 12 million passengers daily, it is one of the busiest metro systems in the world.


The metro system in Moscow dates back to 1935 when the first line was opened. Since then, it has expanded to include 14 lines, 234 stations, and connects the farthest corners of the city. Each station is a work of art, with unique architectural designs, intricate mosaics, and grand Soviet-era sculptures that reflect the rich history and culture of Russia.


With its extensive network, the Moscow Metro can take you to almost any destination within the city. Whether you want to visit famous landmarks like the Red Square and the Kremlin or explore lesser-known neighborhoods, the metro provides convenient access to all corners of Moscow.


Not only is the Moscow Metro efficient, but it also offers a remarkable experience for travelers. Every station has its own distinct style and ambiance, making each journey an opportunity to appreciate the architectural beauty and artistic elements that adorn the underground.


Aside from being a functional transportation system, the Moscow Metro has also become a popular tourist attraction. Many visitors take guided tours to admire the stunning stations and learn about the history and stories behind them. Some stations are even considered architectural landmarks, recognized for their unique design and historical significance.


While exploring the Moscow Metro, you will encounter a wide range of architectural styles, from the grandeur of Stalinist neoclassicism to the sleek modern designs of contemporary stations. This diversity adds to the charm and allure of the metro, making it an essential part of the Moscow experience.


Now that you have a brief overview of the Moscow Metro, let’s dive into the details of planning your journey and navigating this incredible underground transportation system.


Planning Your Journey

Before embarking on your Moscow Metro adventure, it’s important to plan your journey to ensure a smooth and efficient way of getting around the city. Here are a few tips to help you plan your metro trips:

1. Know your destination

Decide where you want to go and identify the nearest metro station to your destination. Moscow Metro covers a vast area, so having a clear idea of your destination will allow you to choose the most convenient metro line and station.

2. Check the metro map

The Moscow Metro system can be complicated with its numerous lines and stations, but fear not – the metro map is your best friend. Familiarize yourself with the different lines, their colors, and the stations along each line. This will help you plan your route and make it easier to navigate the metro once you’re underground.

3. Consider rush hour

Moscow Metro can get extremely crowded during rush hour, which is typically from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. If possible, try to avoid traveling during these peak times to make your journey more comfortable.

4. Account for transfer times

If your journey involves transfers between different lines or stations, make sure to account for the time it takes to navigate the transfer tunnels. Some stations have long transfer tunnels, so giving yourself a few extra minutes will help ensure you don’t miss your connecting train.

5. Check for any line closures or delays

Occasionally, certain metro lines or stations may be closed for maintenance or due to other reasons. Before heading out, check for any line closures or delays to avoid any inconveniences. This information is usually available on the Moscow Metro website or through metro apps.


By taking these points into consideration, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the Moscow Metro system and make the most out of your journey. Now let’s move on to understanding the metro map and how to use it effectively.


Understanding the Metro Map

The Moscow Metro map may seem overwhelming at first glance, with its numerous lines, stations, and interchanges. However, with a little understanding, it becomes a valuable tool for navigating the metro system. Here’s a breakdown of how to decipher the metro map:

1. Lines and colors

The Moscow Metro consists of 14 lines, each identified by a unique color. When looking at the metro map, you’ll see these colors representing the different lines. Familiarize yourself with the colors and their corresponding names to easily identify your desired line.

2. Stations and station names

Each station on the Moscow Metro map is represented by a dot or a circle. The station names are usually written in both Russian and English, making it easier for international travelers. Take note of the station names for your starting point, transfers, and final destination to plan your route effectively.

3. Interchanges and transfers

Interchanges are points where different metro lines intersect, allowing for easy transfers between lines. On the metro map, interchanges are denoted by larger circles or overlapping lines. Pay attention to these interchanges as they determine where you can change lines during your journey.

4. Direction of travel

When using the metro map, it’s important to know the direction of travel. The metro map usually indicates the final station on each line or the general direction of the line, such as north or south. Use this information to ensure you’re traveling in the right direction.

5. Distance indicators

Some metro maps also have distance indicators that show the approximate travel time between stations. This can be helpful in estimating your journey’s duration and planning accordingly.


By familiarizing yourself with the Moscow Metro map, identifying lines, stations, and interchanges becomes easier. This knowledge will empower you to plan your route, make necessary transfers, and reach your destination efficiently. Next, let’s dive into the process of buying tickets for the Moscow Metro.


Buying Tickets

Buying tickets for the Moscow Metro is a straightforward process, and there are several options available to suit different preferences and travel needs. Here’s what you need to know about purchasing tickets:

1. Single-ride tickets

If you’re planning to make just a few trips on the Moscow Metro, a single-ride ticket is a convenient option. These tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths located in each metro station. Simply approach the ticket booth, specify your destination, and pay the fare in cash or using a contactless card.

2. Troika card

A popular choice among frequent travelers is the Troika card. This rechargeable contactless card allows you to pre-load it with funds and use it for multiple journeys on the Moscow Metro, as well as other forms of public transportation like buses and trams. You can purchase a Troika card from ticket booths or vending machines at metro stations.

3. Moscow CityPass

If you’re a tourist looking to explore multiple attractions in Moscow, consider getting a Moscow CityPass. This pass includes a transport card that provides unlimited rides on the Moscow Metro and other public transportation, as well as free access to a range of museums, tours, and attractions in the city. You can purchase the Moscow CityPass online or at designated tourist information centers.

4. Mobile Apps

For added convenience, there are mobile apps available that allow you to purchase Moscow Metro tickets directly on your smartphone. Simply download the app, create an account, and follow the instructions to buy and validate your tickets. Some apps also provide real-time information on metro schedules, delays, and route planning.

5. Ticket Validation

Once you have your ticket or card, it’s important to validate it before entering the metro station. Look for the electronic validation gates where you will tap or scan your ticket or card to gain entry. Remember to keep your ticket or card handy for inspection throughout your journey.


By familiarizing yourself with the ticket options and purchasing process, you can ensure a seamless experience when using the Moscow Metro. Now that you have your ticket, let’s move on to the next section and explore how to navigate the metro stations.


Navigating the Metro Stations

Navigating the metro stations in Moscow is relatively straightforward once you understand the layout and signage. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the Moscow Metro stations:

1. Entrance and Exit

When entering a metro station, look for signs indicating the entrance. The entrance is usually marked with a large “М” symbol, which stands for “Metro” in Cyrillic. When exiting the metro station, follow signs that indicate the exits or street names for your desired destination.

2. Directional Signs

Within the metro station, pay attention to directional signs that guide you to different lines, platforms, and exits. Signs are usually written in both Russian and English, making it easier for international travelers to navigate the stations.

3. Platform Numbers

Each line in the Moscow Metro has two platforms, one for trains heading in each direction. The platforms are numbered, with odd numbers indicating trains traveling in one direction and even numbers for the opposite direction. Refer to the platform number signs to ensure you’re waiting for the correct train.

4. Wayfinding Maps

Many metro stations have wayfinding maps to help passengers navigate the station and surrounding areas. These maps provide an overview of the station layout, including the location of platforms, exits, and transfer points. Take a moment to study the map if you’re unsure about your route.

5. Escalators and Elevators

Most metro stations in Moscow have escalators that take you to and from the platforms. If you prefer to use elevators or have accessibility needs, look for signs indicating elevators. Elevators are typically located near the escalators, but may require assistance from station staff to operate.

6. Avoid Rushing and Crowds

During peak hours, metro stations can get crowded with commuters, especially at popular transfer stations. Take your time and avoid rushing to ensure your safety and to prevent any confusion. If possible, try to travel outside of peak hours to enjoy a more comfortable experience.


By following these tips and paying attention to the signage and maps, you’ll be able to navigate the Moscow Metro stations with ease. Now that you’re familiar with the stations, let’s delve into using the metro trains themselves.


Using the Metro Trains

Using the metro trains in Moscow is a convenient and efficient way to travel around the city. Here are some essential tips to help you navigate the metro trains:

1. Boarding the Train

When the train arrives at the platform, allow passengers to disembark first before boarding. Stand in line near the doors, as Muscovites are known for their efficiency in boarding and disembarking the trains.

2. Priority Seating

Metro trains in Moscow have designated priority seating for elderly individuals, pregnant women, and people with disabilities. If you’re able-bodied, be courteous and offer your seat to those who may need it more than you.

3. Hold onto Handrails

As the metro trains can get crowded, it’s important to hold onto the handrails for stability. This is especially vital during peak hours or when the train is in motion. Be mindful of your surroundings and try to maintain your balance to ensure a safe journey.

4. Train Announcements

Listen for announcements on the train regarding the next station. The announcements are made in both Russian and English, making it easier for international travelers to know their stop. Pay attention to the station names and be ready to disembark when your destination is announced.

5. Exiting the Train

When your stop approaches, move towards the doors in advance to ensure a smooth exit. Be aware that the doors on some trains may not open automatically, so you may need to press a button or lever to open them.

6. Backward Travel

In the Moscow Metro, the direction of travel is marked by the final station on each line. If you accidentally board a train heading in the wrong direction, don’t worry. You can simply alight at the next station and catch a train heading back in the opposite direction.


By following these tips, you’ll be able to navigate the metro trains in Moscow comfortably and efficiently. Now that you’re familiar with using the trains, let’s move on to the topic of transfers and interchanges in the Moscow Metro.


Transfers and Interchanges

The Moscow Metro is renowned for its extensive network and well-connected lines, making transfers and interchanges between different metro lines a common occurrence. Here’s what you need to know about navigating transfers and interchanges in the Moscow Metro:

1. Transferring at Interchange Stations

Interchange stations are where two or more metro lines intersect, allowing for easy transfers between lines. These stations are usually larger and may have multiple levels or transfer tunnels. Take note of the interchange stations on your journey to plan for any necessary transfers.

2. Following Signs and Wayfinding

When transferring between lines, pay attention to the signs and wayfinding directions within the metro stations. Signs usually indicate the line colors, numbers, or names, along with arrows to guide you towards the respective platforms for your desired line.

3. Transfer Tunnels and Passageways

Some interchange stations have long transfer tunnels or passageways connecting different lines. These tunnels can be crowded, so be prepared for the hustle and bustle of commuters. Follow the flow of people and signs to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.

4. Timing Your Transfer

When planning your journey, consider the time it takes to transfer between lines. Some transfers may require a longer walk or navigating multiple levels, so allowing for extra time will prevent any rush or stress. It’s always better to have a few extra minutes rather than risking missing your connecting train.

5. Interchange Stations of Interest

Some interchange stations in the Moscow Metro are not only functional but also architecturally impressive. These stations are often worth exploring, as they showcase unique designs, artwork, or historical significance. Take a moment to appreciate the beauty of these stations during your transfer.


By familiarizing yourself with the transfer process and following the signs and guidelines within the metro stations, you’ll be able to navigate the transfers and interchanges in the Moscow Metro with ease. Now, let’s move on to some helpful tips for a smooth journey on the Moscow Metro.


Tips for a Smooth Journey

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey on the Moscow Metro, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Avoid Peak Hours

Peak hours, typically from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., can get extremely crowded on the Moscow Metro. If possible, try to avoid traveling during these times to have a more comfortable experience.

2. Be Mindful of Your Belongings

While the Moscow Metro is generally safe, it’s always important to keep an eye on your belongings. Secure your bags and belongings and be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas. Keep your valuables close to you and avoid displaying them openly.

3. Learn Basic Russian Phrases

While many signs and announcements in the Moscow Metro are in English, it can still be helpful to learn some basic Russian phrases. Simple greetings, thank you, and excuse me can go a long way in communicating and showing respect to the locals.

4. Stay to the Right on Escalators

On escalators, it is customary to stand on the right and allow others to walk on the left. This ensures a smooth flow of traffic and prevents any congestion. If you’re not in a hurry, stand on the right to allow others to pass by.

5. Dress Comfortably and Wear Comfortable Shoes

Being a large and busy metro system, you may need to walk and transfer between stations. Dress comfortably and wear comfortable shoes to make your journey more enjoyable. Avoid wearing high heels or impractical footwear to navigate the stairs and escalators easily.

6. Be Patient and Respectful

The Moscow Metro can get crowded, especially during rush hours. Stay patient, be considerate of others, and respect the personal space of your fellow passengers. Remember, everyone is trying to reach their destination too.


By following these tips, you’ll have a smoother and more comfortable experience when using the Moscow Metro. Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and explore the beautiful city of Moscow with ease.



The Moscow Metro is not just a means of transportation but a fascinating world beneath the bustling streets of the city. Navigating the Moscow Metro may seem daunting at first, but with a little preparation and knowledge, it becomes an efficient and enjoyable way to explore Moscow.


In this guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know to make the most out of your journey on the Moscow Metro. From planning your trip and understanding the metro map to buying tickets, navigating the stations, using the trains, and making transfers, we’ve provided you with the essential tips and information.


Remember to plan your journey in advance, have a clear understanding of the metro map, and choose the most convenient ticket option for your needs. Familiarize yourself with the station signage and wayfinding systems to navigate the metro stations smoothly.


As you navigate the metro trains, be mindful of fellow passengers, hold onto handrails, and follow the announcements to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. Take advantage of the interchanges to explore the beautiful stations of the Moscow Metro.


Lastly, remember to consider travel tips such as avoiding peak hours, staying mindful of your belongings, and dressing comfortably to make your journey more pleasant. And always approach your metro journey with patience, respect, and a sense of adventure.


The Moscow Metro is not just a transportation system; it is a unique blend of history, art, and culture. As you travel through its stunning stations and explore the city, you’ll discover the grandeur and beauty that Moscow has to offer.


So, embrace the underground adventure, immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Moscow Metro, and enjoy all that this remarkable city has in store for you.