I would say that the main feature that distinguishes Moscow underground from many other tubes is size. In terms of station number Moscow underground is one of the biggest in the world. Besides that it covers the major part of Moscow which is about 40-50 km in diameter. Thus travelling across the city takes about 40-50 minutes
Nevertheles travelling there is pretty the same as in other megapolises
Here are some thoughts:
How to find the entrance
Moscow underground entrances are marked on the streets with the red M signs and located usually on the highways or even on the cross roads. In the city centre the stations are quite close to each other so you can even walk from one station to another for about 10 minutes. But if you decided to book a hotel somewhere closer to the city edge I would suggest considering those hotels which are nearby the underground stations. Otherwise you have to use additional transport in order to get to the station.
One-way ticket in the underground costs approximately 25 Rub (~0.9$) and ticketshops are placed near . In case you know approximate number of trips you are going to have we advise you to buy a travel card for appropriate trips. First, it saves your money. Second it may help you to avoid standing in long queues. Honestly there are some automated ticket shops but even locals don't use them as it is hard to realize how it works.
Map and navigation
The structure of Moscow underground resembles a cobweb. Thus, there are several radial lnes crossing the center and reaching the city bounds at the ends. Beside that there is a belt line connecting all radial lines. Thus on the tipical route you have to change 1 or 2 times.
Please take into account that every line has its own colour on the map. This standard is used on any underground map including signs on the stations. Thus if you make up your mind regarding the route you could follow the appropriate colours at the stations. The maps in the carriages are easier to understand as the station names there are duplicated in english. But we are not so lucky at the stations - the overhead labels are written in russian. Thus we would suggest buying the appropriate map in advance. In this case you will not get lost.
As a common rule crossing the station to the opposite train takes you to the opposite direction. The only exception in the centre is Kitay Gorod wich is a bit tricky. Changing to opposite train will transfer you to the crossing line. Be careful there and read the labels.
Rules and recommendations
I would like to mention some reatively non obvious recommendations. All others are reasonable for everyone in the world.
- In the underground you may notice that people usually free a seat for disables, old people (older then ~65yo) and pregnant women.
- Please do not get surprised if a conductor asks you to pay for a big luggage at the entrance.
- On the escalator you should walk on the left side and stay on the right
- It is better to avoid travelling in rush hours unless you would like to experience complete overcrowd.
Enjoy staying in moscow underground :)