Cheap sightseeing on Moscow’s Metro

You often hear these horror stories of Moscow being one of the most expensive cities in the world these days – and while that’s probably true if you have to live there, I still believe that as a traveler you can enjoy a stay in Moscow without destroying your budget. Choosing a homestay over a hotel is one way – more on that in a future post – but there are also many great sights to see that are cheap or even free.

Moscow Metro Mosaic

And one of my favourite things to do in Moscow is to check out the incredible underground train stations. The Moscow Metro system has been around since the 1930s and a number of the inner city stations are decorated in such a way that they’re even more interesting than an art gallery. It’s said that the Soviet government wanted to prove the advantages of socialism to the people by investing vast amounts of money in these artistic metro stations – I’m not sure I would have been convinced, but the legacy for today is fascinating.

You can ride all over the Moscow metro system for as long as you like on one ticket, so touring around to see all the best stations is easy – although it might take you at least half a day, so it depends whether you like spending so long underground! Some stations have mosaics, others bronze sculptures, and others are decorated with stained glass windows, and the most common themes are socialist ones. I’ve explored the system on two different trips to Moscow and always liked to try to count how many tractors I saw!

Most good guide books give a good list of the stations that are worth stopping at, and some of my favourites include:

  • Kievskaya: full of mosaics
  • Revolution Square: bronze statues of soldiers
  • Arbatskaya: look for the chandeliers
  • Mayakovskaya: hammer and sickle motifs as well as mosaics
  • Novoslobodskaya: stained glass windows of composers and artists

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