Traveling to Russia can be quite daunting for some people. A different culture, language, and even alphabet are just some of the struggles people may encounter. Alas, with the technological advances in mobile apps in recent years there is plenty of help out there to help make your Russian trip smoother. We personally used all the below apps (pretty much every day) and can 100% recommend them to anyone hoping to make their Russian trip a breeze!
It is recommended for you to buy a sim card on arrival in Russia, as it will make using these apps at all times that much easier. The provider Beeline is who we used. You can get a sim card at Moscow Airport, it had country free data for just 600 rubles (€8.70).
A pretty obvious app to start with, but an important one none the less. Make sure that you download the Russian language offline and you can always use it. It is especially important when you are handed a menu in Russian and have no idea what anything means! Just take a picture of the menu and Google Translate will translate it (mostly) to English!
Yandex Taxi is Russia’s equivalent to Uber. Using the app gives you greater control over your journey – you know that you are not being ripped off because you can’t speak the language. It also eliminates any potential awkwardness with having to get around the language barrier.
Note that to set up cash payments I needed to have a Russian phone number (important to get that sim card) and also have Google Pay setup.
Moscow Metro Map
I honestly cannot recommend this app enough – it is the best metro app we have ever used. The Moscow Metro is an absolute beast, with 232 stations and 14 lines it can be quite overwhelming for a visitor. With the Moscow Metro Map app, all you have to do is enter the station you want to start your journey, and your destination journey and it will tell you exactly how to navigate it!
Unfortunately, there was no equivalent to the Moscow Metro Map for Saint Petersburg. But I did stumble across the nearly equally as good Yandex Metro App. This app lets you do exactly as the Moscow one, although Saint Petersburg has a much smaller metro. The great thing about this app is that it provides this capability for numerous metros throughout the world, including Vienna, Baku, Rome, Istanbul, Kazan, and San Francisco!
Moscow Transport is another fantastic app, one that we could not have survived without! This app lets you build a route between any two places and gives you the best possible solution. For example, we were wondering how to get from the Izmailovo Kremlin to VDNKh – this app was able to tell us the best route available, and everything went smoothly. It even gives you information on metro stations, so you can tell which metro exit to take (this is very important in Moscow).
Moscow traffic is an absolute pain, if you want to get anywhere fast it is not advisable to get a taxi, it could literally take hours! Your best bet when going to or from any of the airports in Moscow is to use Aeroexpress. The Aeroexpress app lets you buy your ticket and then save the QR code on the phone. All you have to do is scan it before boarding the train – simple!
Read Russian in 3 Hours
This is an app to explore BEFORE going to Russia. Read Russian in 3 Hours does exactly what it says, it attempts to allow you to read the Russian alphabet. Russian uses Cyrillic rather than Latin characters so everything can seem so confusing for tourists (P is pronounced ‘R’?, H is pronounced ‘N’?). This app will give you the absolute basics, which can really help you when you are lost and hungry and have no idea what PECTOPAH means!