Top Things Foreigners Say About Moscow
Top Things Foreigners Say About Moscow
Coming to the capital of Russia, either for a holiday or a business trip, foreign guests can’t help but notice a few things about the city. Most of their observations lie on the surface and repeat each other, which probably means, they make sense! Find a few popular opinions about Moscow which is absolute truth (me as a local and a guide can endorse it).
Moscow is modern
Sounds banal but it’s not that evident for tourists who have never been to Moscow before or, otherwise, visited the city in the Soviet times. Most foreign guests don’t expect to see so many modern buildings, various means of transport and shopping opportunities here. You can also find many points with free Wi-Fi access, either at the bus stop, in metro car or in a cafe. Beautifully decorated walking streets in the very center such as Nikolskaya or Kamergersky Lane are of particular interest — they have lanterns and lights (which are on at night) all year round not just for Christmas time!
Moscow is clean
Street cleaning services function really well in Moscow — inside the Garden Ring it just catches the eye. The same can be said about Moscow Metro. Actually, we don’t have any penalties for littering like many countries with strict environmental policies do, it’s the way community services work. Surely, it’s appreciated to use a rubbish bin in order to get rid of the litter. Just bear in mind, when taking the subway, there are no garbage cans on platforms (safety measures) — it’s better to throw out the trash before entering metro.
Moscow isn’t really English-speaking (but it’s not that bad)
Each year the level of fluency in English among Muscovites enhances. If you come up to a young person at the street (20-30-year old guys), you will likely receive an answer to your question in understandable English. The same is true about international companies, big tourist spots and hotel chains (at least, it’s supposed to be). However, still some tourists claim they meet Russians here that don’t speak any English, mostly it concerns older persons. The thing is we didn’t use to have such a big flow of tourists just a decade earlier — to be completely honest, FIFA 2018 was a turning point for Moscow tourist industry. Measures have been taken, but we still await the fruits — Moscow is about to start speaking English fluently :)
Moscow Metro is very deep-based… and just stunning!
Taking a metro tour in the capital is a kind of must-see for all foreign guests. Moscow Metro has a great history and certainly deserves to be amongst top 10 the most beautiful subway systems in the world. Most stations are based deep beneath the ground, so that it takes a couple of minutes to get up with the escalator what really surprises tourists. Trains come fast, each 50 seconds on average and the whole subway just overwhelms with its size and magnitude, let alone the unique architecture of the stations, beautiful and diverse each time.
Locals enjoy dressing out
And that is especially true for women/ladies. Seeing a girl on high heels in the middle of the day (and in the middle of nowhere) is a common thing here. Females prefer wearing dresses and skirts and always having a make-up and, let’s face it, it looks really lady-like. On the whole, Muscovites don’t mind standing out of the crowd, that’s why they are such fans of big supposed-to-be-luxury brands (genuine ones or fakes). Some foreigners find it stylish, other see it rather as showing off, but the fact is most locals do care what they have on. Consider this, if you think of going to a pricey restaurant or to the theater.
Russian food is tasty
I was born in Moscow and have lived here for the main part of my life — I don’t get crazy with Russian food. You probably won’t be surprised hearing that locals don’t eat dishes of national cuisine each day (like anywhere else). However, most tourists find Russian meals real and nourishing and just delicious. Thick pancakes with different fillings (we call it blini), dumplings stuffed with either meat (pelmeni) or cottage cheese, potatoes, berries (vareniki), famous soup made of beetroot called Borscht and a great variety of salads. Moscow is a great place to try different stuff — there are many Ukrainian, Georgian, Uzbek restaurants here as well.
It’s all about coffee in Moscow :)
Though Russia is traditionally considered to be a tea country, the spirit of coffee-drinking culture is strongly present in Moscow. There are more than 2,000 coffee shops of various sizes and price policies in the capital. They are literally at every turn. Concerning the quality and taste of coffee in Moscow, it certainly depends on your expectations. Most Americans I met here were satisfied with local cappuccinos and lattes while Austrian tourists claimed their coffee was better. Anyway, if you are a big fan of tea or just curious trying it, don’t give up this idea — the mission is still possible.
Come to see it firsthand!
See you soon in Moscow!
In the gentle sun
Check out our Russian e-visa how-to guide
Russian cuisine that you will want to try again
Museums of St Petersburg and Moscow which you have not been