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Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

LA
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Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

Hi

I would like to visit Russia but do not want to join a tour group. Do you think it is easy to do? Are the street signs, subway signs posted in English ? Do the taxi drivers speak some english?

thank you for your advice

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Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

> I would like to visit Russia but do not want to join a tour group. Do you think it is easy to do?

Depends on your definition of "easy" but certainly doable.

> Are the street signs, subway signs posted in English?

Street signs - yes, in places, mostly meant for motorists. Subway signs - no, but there are subway maps availably where station names are dubbed in Russian and English letters.

> Do the taxi drivers speak some english?

Definitely not, most of them even have trouble speaking Russian! ;)

London, United...
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2. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

It's certainly doable and rewarding but it pays to be organised. Best thing you could possibly do if you want to do it independently is learn to read the Russian alphabet and a few basic phrases to do with ordering drinks, food etc - its not as hard as you might think and it pays dividends. Personally i found St. Petersburg more tourist orientated than Moscow with more signs and services in English.

St.Petersburg
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3. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

If you spend some time learning Cyrillic alphabet, you will easily read the street signs. Though in St.Petersburg downtown street names are in both languages – Russian and English.

Yes, visiting Russia takes some preparation but many people travel here independently and enjoy it.

Taxi drivers do not usually speak English but you can either use a private English – speaking driver or call for the dispatch taxi. At least one service in St.Pete with the phone number +7-812-6-000-000 has an English-speaking dispatcher.

Pasadena, California
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4. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

Hi Orange,

We went to Russia in Summer 2005, and for the most part were travelling independently. Looking at your profile, you seem to be young and have travelled to places most people would consider "adventurous", so I think you could handle a trip to Russia on your own. The hardest part for us was the planning, as there was limited tourism infrastructure and more red tape than we were used to (visas, etc), and not much info on the internet. Perhaps some of that has changed.

We visited friends in Moscow, so we weren't alone there. I think we would have felt challenged visiting Moscow alone, unless we stayed in the very center, near Red Square. But we are older and less adventurous travellers than you are.

St. Petersburg was almost as easy to visit on our own as anyplace in Western Europe. No problem at all. Also Novgorod, a lovely small historic city between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Learn Cyrillic before you go. Its not that hard.

Canberra, Australia
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5. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

The advice to learn the cyrillic letters plus a few key phrases and words is spot on. Best single step you can take - and helps get you on-side with the locals too.

We independently did a week each in Moscow and St Petersburg (here we self catered in an apartment so had to negotiate markets and supermarkets etc, all in cyrillic). As well, many galleries and museums have minimal English labelling and sometimes not at all, so some basic Russian can help.

The trip wasn't exactly "easy" for us compared to, say, visiting western Europe, but it was much less challenging than we expected it to be - and very very enjoyable.

You may not need taxis anyway, because the metros are pretty good (St P) or great (Moscow). We did, however, book transfers in from Moscow airport and then later to get to the St Petersburg train due to luggage - both trips went smoothly with the drivers having a little bit of English and us a little Russian.

Another tip is to print off a colour Moscow metro map before you go - choose one that labels each station in English as well as cyrillic, because these did not seem to be readily available locally and we did not see any give-away pocket maps like you get in Paris or London. There's one at http://engl.mosmetro.ru/flash/scheme01.html

Just step out of the way of passenger traffic (!) and compare with the illuminated signs: the lines/direction are arranged by number, colour and by the station at the end of the line like in many other cities.

Phoenix, Arizona
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6. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

If you go to any barnes & noble book store you can pick up maps of both Moscow & St Pete. If you stay at any hotel in or near the city center of St Pete you can walk to most of the main tourist sites, & be able to find your way back to your hotel. Moscow is not as easy as the hotels near the city center may set you back hundreds of dollars per day. So you may have to take a taxi or the metro to Red Square & such. Once at Red Square you can walk to most of the tourist sites. At the square you can see St Basils, Kazinskies church, Lenins tomb, Gum, & to the right side of the square is the Kremlin. It will take you a good full day to see all of this. Also at the enterance of Red Square (to your right) is a museum. Just to the left of this museum you will find a woman holding a bull horn offering day (or a few hours or so) site seeing bus tours of Moscow. This is probably the most easy and cheapest way to tour the main areas of down town Moscow. And not to far from there is old arbat st and such. I stay at the Izmailovo Gamma Delta Hotel most of the time. It is very reasonable for Moscow, very close to a metro station, and is next door to the world famous Izmailovsky out door market. Largest selection and cheapest cost of all Russian souvenirs you could ever want or need. This hotel is about $100. to $150. per night. A real bargain for Moscow.

LA
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7. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

thank you all so much for your valuable advice. I will do all my research and take your advice to learn cyrillic.

best regards

los angeles
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8. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

i am going to Moscow and St Petersburg in first weeks in May . I am going completely by myself (unless you count my camera as a person) All the advice on the forum is what i read every where else. Its little more difficult but not as bad as any foreign city that you never been to

9. Re: Can you visit Moscow, St. Petersburg independently?

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