- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Moscow Guide (PDF)
Moscow is an incredibly large, interesting and challenging destination offering a wide variety of experiences for expats. Before moving to Moscow, expats should read as much as they can about the city to prepare themselves and to minimise any initial culture shock.
One of the best ways to prepare for relocating to Moscow is to learn how to read the Cyrillic alphabet and speak some basic Russian.
Moscow is a constantly changing and rapidly expanding city. While it is regularly listed amongst the most expensive cities in the world, some areas can seem somewhat underdeveloped. Those with money can enjoy a lavish lifestyle on a par with any major international city.
The standard of public education and hospitals can be considerably lacking. However, expats always have the option of sending their children to one of the private or international schools located in the capital. There are several private healthcare facilities available as well which expats can go to.
Moscow has an extensive public transport system. The most common means of transport being the efficient, safe and cheap metro. Many of the metro stations are lavishly decorated and constitute works of art in themselves. During rush hour it can get crowded, especially in the centre, but generally, the trains will be less crowded than in other major expat destinations. Traffic congestion can be nightmarish in Moscow and many expats choose to hire a driver rather than braving the roads alone.
Moscow is by no means short of cultural activities and events. No visit is complete without a trip to the Bolshoi Theatre, and ballet performances at the Kremlin Palace are outstanding. There are several fascinating museums in the city, as well as wonderful architecture.
Some of Moscow’s most attractive features are the many public parks dotted throughout the city, which give it a more spacious and leafier feel. Going for a walk in the park is a daily habit for many residents. Overall, if expats in Moscow can keep an open mind, they will find that the Russian capital has a lot to offer.
"The quality of life in Moscow is not on par with similar cities in Europe or America, but expats can expect to earn (relative to Muscovites) a decent salary that will allow for a decent lifestyle." Read more about American expat Polly's experiences of Moscow.
"There's an energy to this city that is quite unlike anywhere else I've ever seen. The hustle and bustle of Moscow's metro during rush hour, for example, cannot fail to get your heart racing. It is vibrant, intense and also beautiful." Read more about Moscow's atmosphere from Philip's experiences.
Are you an expat living in Moscow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Moscow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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