Moscow has three main airports visitors are likely to use when arriving in or departing from the city. These are Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo.
It is wise to be clear about which airport you need from the moment you book your ticket as confusion could mean you missing your flight. With all the airports the simplest way to transfer to Moscow is to reserve a room in a hotel which includes free transfer in the price. The following will be of most help to budget travelers trying to keep their costs down and those making last minute plans.
Sheremetyevo Airport Moscow
Sheremetyevo Airport is divided between terminals one and two, with two being the main hub for international flights to Europe and America. Getting to or from the airport can be tricky since it involves catching a Marshrutka mini-bus and then switching onto the metro system. From the city head to Rechnoy Vokhzal metro stop and then look for a mini-bus Sheremetyevo written on the front. They usually go to both terminals calling at terminal two first and then terminal one before turning around and heading in the opposite direction. This means that travelers heading into the city need to be sure that they are going in the right direction to the metro and not further out to terminal one. To or from the city center the journey time is approximately an hour although this will increase considerable during peak hours.
Domodedovo Airport Moscow
More and more airlines are now using Domodedovo Airport as a base for their Moscow operations and this is a good thing for travelers because of the recent opening of a convenient shuttle train. This eliminates the need for Marshrutka rides and the stress they entail for non Russian speakers. The train shuttles between Domodedovo and Pavelets station roughly every half an hour with the journey taking three quarters of an hour. In a convenient twist unexpected in Russia you can even check in for your flight at the station. Paveletskaya metro station is conveniently located on the circle line making it an easy transfer from train to metro.
Vnukovo Airport Moscow
At Vnukovo Airport there is a similarly convenient shuttle but it only operates at peak hours. In this case peak is between seven in the morning and noon and between five and eight in the evening. At other times you need to find alternative ways of making the journey. When it is running the train runs between the airport and Kievsky vokhzal taking just over half an hour. If the train is not an option for you then Marshrutkas run between the airport and Yugo-Zapadnaya metro station, although this increases the overall journey time to about an hour.
From all the airports a taxi is an option to get into the city center but it is not recommended. Moscow´s grid-locked traffic means that this option takes the longest time to complete the journey while Moscow taxi drivers are notorious for over-charging foreigners. On top of this many scams have been reported with passengers being robbed and left by the side of the road.
Photo of Moscow Airport by Leonid v. Kruzhkov