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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Russia > Moscow

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Travel to Moscow

Flying to Moscow

Airlines offering direct flights to Moscow from London include Aeroflot, British Airways. From the USA, there are direct flights with Aeroflot.

Most international services use Sheremetyevo 1 airport, to the northwest of the city, while some use Domodedovo airport to the south. Flights to Moscow tend to be more in demand (and pricier) during the summer and around Orthodox Christmas in early January.

Flight times

From London - 3 hours 45 minutes; New York - 9 hours; Los Angeles - 12 hours 10 minutes; Toronto - 11 hours 15 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 21 hours 35 minutes (including stopover).

Travel by road

The road network around Moscow is good, but the condition of highways deteriorates away from the main intercity routes. The government has created several tourist routes with road signs in Latin script; elsewhere, it is necessary to read names in Cyrillic.

Traffic drives on the right and the minimum age for driving in Russia is 18. Speed limits are 60kph (37mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (55mph) outside of built-up areas and 110kph (68mph) on motorways. All cars must carry a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher and an emergency triangle or red light. Filling stations can be far apart and so it is wise to carry spare petrol.

To drive in Moscow, foreign drivers need an International Driving Permit or a national driving licence with an authorised translation. Visitors travelling in their own cars must carry an itinerary card, petrol vouchers purchased at the border and a customs form guaranteeing that the car will be taken out of Russia on departure.

You should arrange car insurance for travel within Russia before you leave or upon entry. Russian embassies or specialist tour operators can provide further details.

Emergency breakdown services

GAI (tel: +7 495 923 5373).

Routes

The Moskovskaya Koltsevaya Avtomobilnaya Doroga (Moscow Ring Road) surrounds Moscow, linking roads from Minsk (M1), Kiev (M2), Nizhny Novgorod (M7), Riga (M9) and St Petersburg (M10).

Coaches

There are long-distance buses to many cities around Moscow but trains are usually a better choice. The Central Bus Station (tel: +7 499 748 8029) is located by the Shcholkovskaya metro station in the eastern suburbs of the city.

Time to city

From Nizhny Novgorod - 6 hours 30 minutes; St Petersburg - 9 hours; Minsk - 8 hours; Kiev - 11 hours; Sochi - 20 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

State-owned Russian Railways (tel: +7 8800 775 0000; http://eng.rzd.ru) is a model of efficiency but the bureaucracy can be daunting. Timetable information in English is available from their website.

Moscow has nine railway terminals arranged in a ring around the city centre that serve various destinations in the Russian Federation and beyond. The railway stations most likely to be used by visitors to Moscow are Belorussky, Kievsky and Leningradsky vokzal, or Yaroslavsky vokzal for Trans-Siberian trains.

Kupeny (second class) service is usually perfectly comfortable. Compartments have four berths, the linen is clean and each carriage has a provodnik (attendant) who can provide tea and snacks. Spalny vagon (first class) seats in two-berth compartments cost twice as much.

You can buy tickets at stations or from the downtown offices of the Moscow Rail Passenger Agency. Bookings may also be made online at http://rzd.ru but currently only in Russian. For more information on Russian trains, see www.seat61.com/Russia-trains.htm.

Operators

Trains and stations around Moscow are operated by the Moscow Railways Agency (tel: +7 8800 775 0000; www.mza.ru, in Russian only).

Journey times

From St Petersburg - 6 to 9 hours; Helsinki - 13 hours 30 minutes.

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Izmailovo (Gamma-Delta)

Constructed to accommodate visitors to the 1980 Olympics, the concrete towers of the Izmailovo boast a staggering 8,000 rooms. Institutional in atmosphere, and located far out in the northern suburbs, the hotel is handy for the enormous Izmaylovo Market and has decent city centre links. There are several onsite restaurants and in-room Wi-Fi is available too.

Peking Hotel

Built in 1956 as a little sister to Stalin's Seven Sister skyscrapers, and intended as post-war headquarters for the secret police, Moscow's Peking Hotel is a heritage hotel with a small 'h', in a good location just northwest of the centre. Although slightly old-fashioned, its 130 rooms are comfortable enough, with satellite TV and en-suite bathrooms.

Warsaw Hotel

Although its location may not be one of Moscow's most picturesque, the Warsaw Hotel is convenient for Gorky Park. Considering the quality of the competition, this is one of the best cheap options in the city, with clean and comfortable rooms, albeit in a rather dated style. Wi-Fi is complimentary and the Oktyabrskaya Metro station is right next door.

Golden Apple

A boutique hotel on a refreshingly human scale, the Golden Apple offers imaginative styling and a personal touch that many 5-star hotels lack. Behind the baroque facade, its minimalist rooms are cosy, and there's an onsite restaurant and an open-plan bar too. Staff speak excellent English and there's Wi-Fi access, a gym and a sauna.

Historical Hotel Sovietsky

In the 1950s, Joseph Stalin decreed that the famous Yar restaurant should be upgraded to a hotel and the Historical Hotel Sovietsky was born. It quickly became a showcase for the image of sophistication that the Soviet government wished to present to the world, and its 107 rooms still conjures up the nostalgia of this period in history.

Hotel Danilovsky

It's hard to imagine a more atmospheric place to stay than the 12-century precincts of the historic Danilovsky Monastery. Set amidst chapels and gardens, the hotel is a modern construction, but the rooms are comfortable and all have a view of the stately monastery buildings. There's a sauna and bar onsite too.