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Air

Most travellers arrive in Moscow by air, flying into one of the city’s four international airports: Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo or the remote and seldom used Zhukovsky.

The three main airports are accessible by the convenient Aeroexpress Train from the city centre; reduced rates are available for online purchases. Alternatively, order an official airport taxi from the dispatcher's desk in the terminal (R2000 to R2500 to the city centre). You can save some cash by booking in advance to take advantage of the fixed rates offered by most companies (usually from R1000 to/from any airport). Driving times vary wildly depending on the traffic.

Sheremetyevo

Sheremetyevo international airport, 30km northwest of the city centre, is the busiest airport in Moscow. Russia's flagship airline, Aeroflot, is based here.

Transport Options

The Aeroexpress Train makes the 35-minute trip between Sheremetyevo (located next to Terminal E) and Belorussky vokzal every half-hour from 5.30am to 12.30am. At night it is served by н1 bus, which terminates by Kitay-Gorod metro in the centre.

Domodedovo

Domodedovo international airport, located about 48km south of the city, is the city’s most efficient international airport. It's home to the country's second-largest airline, S7.

Transport Options

The Aeroexpress Train leaves Paveletsky vokzal every half-hour between 6am and midnight for the 45-minute trip to Domodedovo. There is no night bus to Domodedovo, so use a taxi if you travel late.

Vnukovo

About 30km southwest of the city centre, Vnukovo international airport serves most flights to/from the Caucasus, Moldova and Kaliningrad, as well as domestic flights and a smattering of flights to Europe. Utair flies out of Vnukovo.

Transport Options

The Aeroexpress Train makes the 35-minute run from Kievsky vokzal to Vnukovo airport every hour from 6am to 11pm. Bus н11, bound for Kitay-Gorod metro, fills the gap at night-time.

Zhukovsky

Opened in 2016, Moscow's fourth international airport, Zhukovsky, is about 40km southeast of Moscow. The airport mostly serves Belarus and Central Asian destinations, and it is a hub for Ural Airlines.

Transport Options

Of all the airports in Moscow, Zhukovsky is the trickiest to get to, which doesn't add to its popularity. Bus 441 travels between the terminal and Kotelniki metro station (R85, one hour, hourly) at the end of Line 7 (purple) between 6am and 11.30pm. Outside these hours, it can be tough to order a cab via taxi apps, so you have to rely on the airport taxi booth. It will cost around R2000 to get to the centre.

Bus

Bus service may be useful for destinations that are not served by train. The central bus station, sometimes called Shchyolkovsky bus station, is located 8km east of the city centre. Long-distance buses travel to Ivanovo (R750, 5½ hours, eight daily), Kyiv (R1700, 16 hours, 3.45pm), Minsk (R1360, 12 hours, 6.40pm), Nizhny Novgorod (R900, six hours, three daily) via Vladimir (R500, 3½ hours, hourly), Suzdal (R600, four hours, two daily) and Plyos (R900, seven hours, 6pm). It’s advisable to book ahead, especially for travel on weekends.

Many buses these days depart from outside main train stations and airports, as well as from smaller bus stations on the outskirts of the city. Check https://bus.tutu.ru (Russian only) for schedules, tickets and points of departure.

Car & Motorcycle

Driving in and around Moscow is difficult, to say the least, due to massive traffic jams, challenging navigation and shortages of parking. That said, you may wish to hire a car if you are leaving the city, eg taking a day trip to sites around Moscow or driving around the Golden Ring.

Train

Rail riders will arrive at one of Moscow's central train stations: Kievsky, Belorussky or Rizhsky vokzal if you’re coming from Europe; Leningradsky vokzal if you’re coming from St Petersburg; Yaroslavsky or Kazansky vokzal if you’re coming from the east; and Paveletsky vokzal if you're arriving from the Volga region or Central Asia.

All of the train stations are located in the city centre, with easy access to the metro. Most taxi companies offer a fixed rate of R400 to R600 for a train station transfer.

Leningradsky vokzal

Located at busy Komsomolskaya pl, Leningrad Station serves Tver, Novgorod, Pskov, St Petersburg, Vyborg, Murmansk, Estonia and Helsinki. Note that sometimes this station is referred to on timetables and tickets by its former name, Oktyabrsky (Октябрский).

Belorussky vokzal

At the top of Tverskaya ul, Belarus Station serves trains to/from Central Europe, as well as suburban trains to/from the west, including Mozhaysk and Borodino. This is also where you'll catch the Aeroexpress Train to Sheremetyevo international airport.

Kievsky vokzal

Located in Dorogomilovo, Kiev Station serves Kyiv and western Ukraine, as well as points further west, such as Moldova, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Prague, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Greece. This is also where you'll catch the Aeroexpress Train to Vnukovo international airport.

Yaroslavsky vokzal

The main station for Trans-Siberian trains, Yaroslav Station serves Yaroslavl, Arkhangelsk, Vorkuta, the Russian Far East, Mongolia, China and North Korea; some trains to/from Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Vologda, Perm, the Ural Mountains and Siberia; and suburban trains to/from the northeast, including Abramtsevo and Sergiev Posad.

Kazansky vokzal

Kazan Station serves trains to/from Kazan and points southeast, as well as some trains to/from Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, the Ural Mountains and Siberia.

Paveletsky vokzal

South of the city Pavelets Station serves points south, including the Volga region and Central Asia. This is also the departure/arrival point for the Aeroexpress Train to Domodedovo international airport.

Kursky vokzal

This train station serves Oryol, Kursk, Krasnodar, Adler, the Caucasus, Eastern Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It also has some trains to/from Rostov-on-Don, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod and Perm; and suburban trains to/from the east and south, including Chekhov and Tula.

Rizhsky vokzal

This train station serves Latvia, with suburban trains to/from the northwest, including Istra and Novoierusalimskaya.

Travelling to St Petersburg

Travel between Moscow and St Petersburg has never been easier. If you plan to include the second capital in your itinerary, you're sure to find a transport option to fit your mood and budget.

Air

All airlines fly into Pulkovo International Airport in St Petersburg (75 to 90 minutes). Book flights through the airline websites in advance and you can get tickets as cheap as R2500 one way, although normally prices are between R3500 and R5900.

Aeroflot (www.aeroflot.ru) Flies out of Sheremetyevo more than a dozen times a day.

Rossiya Airlines (www.rossiya-airlines.com) Based in St Petersburg, this airline flies out of Vnukovo eight to 10 times a day.

S7 Airlines (www.s7.ru) This Siberian airline offers 10 daily flights out of Domodedovo to St Petersburg.

Train

All trains to St Petersburg depart from Leningradsky vokzal. Book your tickets at any train station or through your hotel. Alternatively, buy tickets online at the official site of the Russian railroad (www.rzd.ru).

  • Overnight

There are about a dozen overnight trains, some of them outright luxurious, travelling between Moscow and St Petersburg. Most depart between 10pm and 1am, arriving the following morning between 6am and 8am. On the more comfortable firmeny trains, a lyuks ticket (one-person cabin with bathroom) can cost up to R23,000, while a standard 2nd-class kupe (four-person cabin) is typically R2500 to R3600.

Sample departure times and fares:

2 Krasnaya Strela 1st/2nd class R7000/3600, eight hours, 11.55pm

4 Ekspress 1st/2nd class R6000/3400, nine hours, 11.30pm

20 Megapolis 1st/2nd class R6000/2300, 8½ hours, 12.20am

54 Grand Express 1st/2nd class R7000/3500, nine hours, 11.40pm

  • Sapsan

These high-speed daytime trains, about 12 a day, travel at speeds of 200km/h to reach their destination in about four hours or less. Comfortable seats are R3400 to R4550. The first Sapsan leaves Moscow at 5.40am, the last one at 9pm.

Boat

There are numerous cruise boats plying the routes between Moscow and St Petersburg, most stopping at Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsky Monastery, Kizhi and Mondrogy (near Lake Ladoga). Ships are similar in quality and size, carrying about 250 passengers.

Mosturflot (www.mosturflot.ru) Cruises from seven to 10 days.

Orthodox Cruise Company (www.cruise.ru) The Anton Chekhov spends 11 days cruising between the cities.

Rechturflot (www.rtflot.ru, in Russian) Ships spend 12 to 14 days going to St Petersburg and back.

Vodohod (www.bestrussiancruises.com) This 12-day cruise departs three times a month, in summer.