Speaking about transportation, here is the new payment system (they have already translated it into English, good job). Hope it makes sense, muscovites feel pretty much confused so far about which ticket they need and where.
The good news is that vendor machines in metro stations speak English and accept credit cards (not sure about that, never tried myself)
The visa rules just changed on Sunday, 9-Sept-12. A US citizen no longer requires a formal invitation to apply for a visa, but you do have to submit proof of travel plans. You must apply in person at a Russian Consolate or Embassy. Additional information on the new policy is at: http://moscow.usembassy.gov/pr_visas-082912.html
BTW, I almost forgot, you need to think about possible delay of your flight as well. Then it will not be enough time to travel by trains, buses, taxis or whatever. The idea of staying in Moscow for one night is very good.
Also, make sure that you have rubles for trains/ buses trips/ metro, they do not take other currency. So, you need to exchange them at the Domodedovo.
If somebody is going to visit Moscow — I'd like to tell you about useful website: msk.rusavtobus.ru/en
At this site you can find the most comfortable routes of Moscow's public transport. Finding appropriate route in Moscow is really a problem for tourists and even for citizens of this city. This site is going to solve it.
moscow international airport:
3 choices from there:pay hundreds of dollars to a taxi-driver to go to the city center,
or pay about 4 dollars for a regular bus to the city center(the taxi-drivers will tell you that there is no bus),
or pay maybe 50 cents or 1$ for a slow bus with many stations down to the city;
inside the airport,many aggressive taxi drivers will hustle you,telling you that there is no bus,or that it does not work today,only to take from you all the money you may have;
the subway is very nice and you can go to every part of the city;also many buses to everywhere in moscow,so
do not travel with taxis!
Many travellers visiting Russia will want to visit both cities.
You can either fly or catch the train, either a fast one, or overnight.
There are plenty of flights, but you'll need to get out to the airports, which in Moscow are quite far out from the city, and can be costly to get to.
As accommodation is expensive in both cities, an overnight train is a good and cheap option to take.
Vous devez visiter le metro de Moscou, l'architecture est incroyable. Les stations sont très creuse sous terre, un petit vertige vous attend dans certaines stations. Escaliers mécaniques partout et ne blaguer pas, en bas des escaliers il y a un gardien qui surveille tout...soyez naturel. You must get a map before going there (easy to find in internet), it will help you a lot, no english or french signs there. If you are lost, choose the people you are asking, try the choose somebody between 20 and 35 y.o... maybe they can answer you in french or english. Les Russes, surtout les femmes, ont appris les langues étrangères.
Moscow's metro is the most common, and efficient way to traverse the city: many stations are fine works of art in themselves. Buses, trams and trolleybuses fill in the gaps. Catching a taxi is simplicity itself - just stick out an arm - but bear in mind that many private cars cruise as taxis and that even official taxis are often not metered: negotiate the fare beforehand.
There are more than 150 metro stations - many of them elegant, marble-faced, frescoed, gilded works of art. The magnetic card system is easy to use and transferrable between buses and trams, with plenty of signage and maps to help. You'll rarely wait more than two minutes for a train, 9 million people a day use the system. The oldest stations were originally intended to double as bomb shelters, which is why the escalators seem to plunge halfway to the centre of the earth.
See in the picture how all the people are standing to the right. This is to help who are in ahurry to climb faster. Going down U´ll find the same situation. When getting inside a wagon, don´t hesitate to push the people in front of U, they will not be angry, is normal and nobody will be angry for that. U´ve only around 10 seconds to get off o get on the wagon so be quick.
If you'd rather catch a taxi than the metro, just stand on the street and stick your arm out. Many private car drivers cruise around as unofficial taxis. Prices vary according to the length of the trip, the time of the day and traffic conditions. No driver uses a meter, so it's probably best to negotiate your fare before you get in. For long trips it may be better to prebook a cab.
Buses, trolleybuses and trams run almost everywhere the metro doesn't go, and are good for radial travel or for getting outside the centre. You'll need a ticket that you punch inside the vehicle - tickets work on all three forms of transport.
Info now taken from Lonely Planet website, as it is very useful and good info here it is:
If you're coming in from an overseas flight, Sheremetevo-2 is the airport you'll fly into; there are also four airports to handle travel to domestic destinations and the ex-Soviet states. There's a network of comfy-enough buses that run to places within about a 700km (435mi) radius of Moscow. The city also has 9 main rail stations, and you can jump on trains to most parts of Russia and Europe as well as China and Mongolia.
Sheremetevo-2 airport, 30km (20mi) northwest of the city centre, handles flights to and from places outside the former Soviet Union. There are daily flights by numerous airlines to and from nearly all European and many other world capitals, and many provincial cities, too. A flight from London or Paris takes about three hours, from New York about 10 hours. Four Moscow airports are devoted to flights to and from places within Russia and the other ex-Soviet states. Check-in for flights within the ex-USSR is supposed to close 40 minutes before take-off, but be sure to reach the airport well before that.
International flights from most Moscow airports incur a departure tax which is included in the price of airfares. You can get to all five airports and the city centre cheaply by a combination of bus and metro or suburban train, but if you're going early in the morning or late at night, or have a lot of baggage, you'll probably need a taxi. The easiest approach is to arrange an airport-city transfer through a travel agent; you'll pay no more than an average taxi fare.
Moscow has rail links to most parts of Russia, most former Soviet states, numerous countries in Eastern and Western Europe, and China and Mongolia. Moscow has nine main train stations, all with metro stations on the spot.
Buses run to a number of towns and cities within about 700km (435mi) of Moscow. Buses are reasonably comfortable but to most places they're a bit slower than trains, and less frequent.
Always leave yourself a good amount of time to get to the airport for your flight. You should plan to check-in two hours before your flight. You may need 1 - 2 hours to get to the airport depending on traffic. On a recent flight from Moscow's Sheremetyevo 2's airport on Aeroflot, we had to line up outside the terminal to get in, which added another 30-minutes to the check-in time. All told, that means planning to leave for the airport between 3.5-4 hours ahead of time, again depending on traffic. I would sooner get their early, check-in and then have a cup of coffee than be worried about missing my plane. Recent terrorist concerns have lengthened all security procedures, so better leave yourself extra time.
I highly recommend Complete Travel and Visa Center for visas and tickets. I'm getting a 3-month double-entry business visa for $215 - this was the best price amongst 8 agencies I shopped in New York - I also got the best travel deal there - most other places only had Aeroflot tickets for cheap - but I have a 10-week ticket on KLM for $515.
Julia, my agent there, is so nice that, since the plane ticket jumped up to $550 from the time we talked to the time I sent in my credit card info, she knocked $30 off the visa fee.
They're very accomodating and she particularly is a sweetie.
If you want a laugh but aren't prone to maddening frustration, talk to the visa guy at Unisel. This guy has some kind of mustachioed dictator fantasies going on. He insisted that I not interrupt him with any questions and after 10 minutes I just hung up on him, since he hadn't provided any useful information yet.
The Cyrillic alphabet is strange to a West European's eye, and the sounds are hard to get one's tongue around e.g. miagki znak'.
If you don't speak or write Russian, then ask a hotel receptionist or hostel staff to write down what ticket you want and what class etc. on a piece of paper for you.
Don't expect staff at train stations to understand English or any other language. I can personally vouch for this tip having used it to travel to Tula with no problems.
Moscow was a mere four day stop on my 'Berlin to Hong Kong' train adventure. I arrived and departed by rail. It was a nice experience overall, once I learned the Russian word for 'tea.' (cha)
The subway system in Moscow is wonderful. Each station is treated as an individual piece of artwork. To resist a nuclear detonation, the subway is much deeper underground than most systems. The excalator ride is long.
Most people arrive at Moskovian international airport Sheremethevo II. This airport is far from the town centre and the metrosystem is not yet reaching out to it. Taxis are quiet expensive but the only efficient solution if you are not able to read or speak Russian. Moskva has four other national airports that could also be your gateway to the Russian capitol. All of them are far outside the citycentre.
Entering Moskva by train is a different experience. Many will be confronted with the early morning business of the mainstations when coming from Saint Petersburg (Leninsgradskii Voksal). All big stations are connected onto the perfect metrosystem
Moskva has the most beautiful (and maybe also most efficient) metrosystem in the world. The centrestations are like palace-ballrooms and full of magnificent statues, paintings, reliefs and mozaics. Although many communistic statues above ground are pulled down, here you can sometimes feel the mighty splendor of Sovjet-times. All lines have colours besides names and focussing on the cyrillic name of the endstation and the targetstation, you can easily find your way through the whole of Moskva.
Using the metro you do not need any other way of transport besides your own feet. Driving a car here is almost to be called suicidle, biking actually is and trying a buss for a change will again meet the language-problem. If you dare you might try to get somewhere by 'car-sharing'. This is in Russia a wide spread system that helps people with cars to lower their enormous costs for the vehicle. You get along the road, stick up your hand and (soon) a car will stop. Tell where you want to go and negotiate about the price before you start to drive (language-problem?). It is a relatively cheap and quick way to get around, but also built on trust.
Moscow has 5 aiports I believe. You will most likely fly into Sheremyetevo. It will take you about an hour to get into Moscow and I would suggest having your travel agency arrange for a car to pick you up as it will probably be cheaper than trying to get a taxi at the airport. There is a bus into the city, but if you don't speak or read Russian, good luck finding it. If all fails, expect to pay about $50 to get into the city. Be prepared to spend anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3 hours clearing customs and immigration. There really is no such thing as quieng here and the process is sooooo slow! WARNING...Do NOT go through the green line in customs if you want to be able to take your Euro's or $'s back out of the country with you. You MUST declare all money when entering, keep the decleration form and the amount you leave with must be less or equal to that which you came in with. If you use an ATM save the reciepts.
The Moscow metro system is fantastic. There are also a plethora of trollybuses, trams, buses, commuter trains and small van buses. Getting around won't be a problem...