The metro of Moscow is a monument in itself and the most beautiful in the world in my opinion – An underground museum you could explore for days and not get bored because it has over 200 stations, each of them being unique, built around a specific theme with giant chandeliers and marbles from every corner of the former USSR. It is magnificent !
You could pay for a private guided tour of course, there are plenty, but if you travel on a budget, here is a self guided one through 14 of the some most beautiful and interesting metro stations that will cost you less than 1€ (61₽) and take about 3 hours.
I have been to Moscow many times on my travels around the country & everytime I’m impressed by its metro : it’s clean, efficient and most of all it’s absolutely beautiful !
Last updated : 28/02/2023
Metro’s myths & facts
There are quite a few myths & curious facts about Moscow metro. Here are some :
Must see metro stations
Now that you know a few facts & tips about the metro, here is a list of some of the best (according to me but not only) metro stations you should visit while in Moscow !
I’ve made this self guided tour starting next to the Red Square but you can kind of start it wherever you want, this is only a suggestion.
Yandex maps being Russian, it is much more efficient to use to make itinerary of Moscow’s metro than Goggle Maps. If you download the app and click on the “open route” button in the down left corner of the displayed map below, the itineray will open directly in your Yandex Maps app and be ready to use.
It’s not possible to add more than 10 destinations on Yandex Maps so the itinerary is split in 2.
The first one from Teatralnaya to Novokuznetskaya
The second part from Novokuznetskaya to Arbatskaya
Now let’s get on with the tour !
(Театрaльная – line 2) The station name means “theater” and you can find a few theaters nearby, including the famous Bolshoi.
Dedicated to the arts of the Soviet people, there are 14 different figures picturing dances & musics from Soviet countries such as Armenia, Kazakhstan & Ukraine to name a few.
(Комсомольская – line 1) This famous station opened in 1935 is in many people’s opinion including mine, one of the most mindblowing and stunning metro station in Moscow. It really looks like a palace with its yellow ceiling, chandeliers & marble coloms. The mosaics are depicting some of Russia’s historical fights for freedom & independance through its history from the Battle of Borodino to the Battle of Berlin etc.
(Новослободская – line 5) The 32 stained glass panels lit from the inside of Novoslobodskaya station make it looks like you stepped into a church because those glass panels were actually meant for a cathedral in Riga, Latvia. Each figure inside the panels is depicting a scene of daily Soviet worker’s life : engineer, factory worker etc. At the end of the hall used to be a portrait of Stalin, covered up since.
From there, Yandex Maps will tell you to get out of the metro and walk, but you can totally stay inside and do Novoslobodskaya > Mendeleyevskaya > Tsetnoy Bulvard > Trubnaya > Dostoyevskaya. See the Metro App for direction.
(Достоевская – line 10) This very new station was quite controversial when it opened in 2010. Depicting scenes from Dostoevsky’s most famous novels such as the murder scene in Crime & Punishment. It was considered gloomy and depressing by some people who were even worried that it could motivate people to commit suicide at the station …
I really recommend to check it out if you are a Dostoevsky’s fan !
Same as to reach Dostoevskaya. Yandex map will take it short and tell you to get out. You can go through Tchekovskaya > Tverskaya > Mayakovskaya
(Маяковская – line 2) This bunker station openned in 1938 was one of the city’s anti-bomb shelter. Stalin even gave a famous speech in 1941 downthere. Look up to see the 34 domes on the ceiling picturing popular Soviet scenes : airplanes, summer harvest etc.
(Киевская – line 5) Kievskaya was made to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Russian – Ukrainian unity (not very relevant nowadays). The station opened in 1954, has large chandeliers and beautiful mosaics depicting Russia and Ukraine unity from the Pereyaslav Treaty in 1654 to the October Revolution in 1917. There’s also a portrait of Lenin at the end of the hall.
(Парк Победы – line 3) Park Pobedy meaning “Victory Park” was open in 1938 is the deepest station in Moscow at 84 meters undergound. The mosaics at the end of each halls represent some of the grest victories of Russia : the 1812 French invasion and a World War II scene.
(Парк Kультуры – line 5) Opened in 1950, this station has 26 reliefs depicting Soviet youth leisure activities and one of Maksim Gorky and the end of the hall.
(Нагатинская – line 2) Nagatinskaya was open in 1983 & is depicting Moscow’s history including the Kremlin builders, soldiers etc. It’s quite off the very center of Moscow and not as impressive as the others but worth the detour in my opinion.
(Новокузнецкая – line 2) Opened during World War II in 1943 in honnor of the Great Patriotic War and its soldiers. It has Soviet bronze ornaments on the walls, mosaics on the celling, and giant marble benches to take a seat and admire the place.
(Таганская – line 5) Taganka was an historial quarter in the middle age. The station has plenty of medieval-like ornaments. Each maiolica panels has a relief of a red army soldier. A curious mix of history.
(Авиамоторная – line 8) Has its name states it, the station is dedicated to aviation. If you look up to the ceiling, you will see stars and constellations. At the end of the hall you will see a metal made scupture of the flight of Iracus. Not the Iron Maiden’s song, but the greek myth.
(Площадь Революции – line 3) Named after Revolution Square above it, the station was opened in 1938.
There are 76) bronze statues, representing the people of the Soviet Union & its glorius past. It is believed that touching/rubbing some parts of these statues brings luck, that’s why you will see some very polished ones. Welcome to the world of curious Russian believes !
(Арбатская – line 3) The first Arbatskaya station was opened in 1938 but was bombed and they built this one deeper and became an anti nuclear shelter in case of atomic bomb attack.
The architectural style of the station is “Baroque Moscow” from the 17th and 18th century.
Make sure you go to Arbatskaya station on the dark blue line 3, not the one on line 4.
Here you have it all to visit the most beautiful metro in the world and get a pretty good overview of it without spending days exploring the +200 stations.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve found this travel guide useful !