The FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 is about to start and many (lucky) people are preparing the trip to come to visit Russia for a couple of days, if not for weeks. Although the football matches will be in different cities across Russia, the fact is that must of the visitors will come to Moscow and/or St. Petersburg.
As usual before any trip, there are plenty of activities to do before: finishing packing, planing your to-do/to-see list, striking out your check list, etc. You already have your favorite apps installed in your phone but this post is intended to tell you the 10 basic apps you will need to have installed in order to survive in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in particular if your Russian language skills are near zero..
In any case, if you plan to come later, maybe after the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, this post will be helpful too!
First, getting a SIM card:
Connectivity is paramount these days if you want to share your emotions and moments of the World Cup on real – time and also if you can’t understand what is written around you or you are unable to speak the local language.
The truth is that free Wi-Fi is offered practically in all cafes, restaurants and shops in the cities and in Moscow, for example, the local government has deployed hundreds of free Wi-Fi hot spots.
Nevertheless, if still you want buy a SIM card and have internet all the time, the good news it that is possible. You only need to go to one of the many mobile operator shops around the city with your passport and choose the plan that best fits to your needs.
Popular operators are (you can follow the links):
Second, install the Russian keyboard:
Believe it or not your phone has built-it several languages and input methods. Go to the Settings of your device and install the Russian keyboard as it will be handy when looking for addresses, translations, etc.
In the iPhone go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add..
Now, let’s get started
Of course the giant of Mountain View has develop over the years several apps that come to your help when travelling abroad. Here are the ones I think are basic if you plan to come:
1. Google Maps
Of course, which one did you expect first?
Downloading the offline maps of the cities you plan to visit is a good idea, especially if you don’t intend to by a local SIM card.To download click here
2. Google Chrome
The possibility to translate automatically web pages in Russian into your language makes this browser very handy when it comes to open Russian web pages that have not English version.To download click here
3. Google Translate
The app works fairly good when translating from English to Russian. Also allows you to speak directly and retrieve a translation and to even take a picture of a text and translate it. Good for communicating with taxi drivers, asking directions, etc.To download click here
Yandex is the technological twin brother of Google in Russia. It has developed a full suite of different apps that works seamless between them and some of them are truly amazing.
Most of them, when installed, will display the content in English, so don’t worry about your skills of reading Cyrillic.
4. Yandex Taxi
Behind are the days when to catch a taxi you had to wave you hand and Moscovites have not been left behind. The Russian Google has developed Yandex Taxi, which works perfectly in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The app allows you to select between different types of cars (Economy, Comfort, Business, Kids, Minivan, etc. This is really good when travelling with kids, as in Russia is mandatory that kids are seated on children safety seats.
One advantage is that you can choose your destination directly pin pointing a place on the map, so you don’t need to write down the address. Also, you can chat with the driver or call him directly.
This app comes handy at the airports, because the ride price is set before boarding the taxi and is adjusted automatically considering different factors such as type of car, traffic, availability, etc. This is good because you don’t need to bargain with taxi drivers or expect price increases.
You can install this app before going to Russia. They will send you an SMS to validate your number and your all set up. For payment you can use Apple Pay, a credit card or simply choose to pay in cash directly to the driver.To download click here
5. Yandex Metro
Of course you have all heard that Moscow’s metro (subway) system is a jewel by its own. Moscow has a huge network of lines and stations that interconnect the city. Each Metro station is a work of art worthy to visit, in particular the ones around the city center.
The Metro stations can be difficult to navigate if you don’t read Cyrillic. For the World Cup ,many stations located at the downtown have been improved with signs in English and with new trains with English speaking information.
However, in order to plan the best route from one station to another, Yandex Metro is the best option. Not only optimizes the itinerary, but even tells you the best car to sit depending on closeness to your entry/exit station.It works in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In order to use the Metro you will have to buy a ticket at the counter, but the best option is to ask for a “Troika” card, which is a reusable card which you can top up at any metro station or with the use of this Yandex Metro app.To download click here
6. Yandex Transport
If moving around underground is not your thing, Moscow offers also a huge above ground public transportation network composed by buses, trolley-busses, trams, etc.
Yandex Transports displays all the bus stops in the city, pin point your location and show you in real time all the buses and trolleys in the city.
If you click on one bus stop it will tell you all the buses lines passing at this particular bus stop, waiting time for each bus and the whole route of any given bus around the city.
To use buses you can use the same ticket for the Metro or the Troika card, which can also be toped up through this Yandex Transport app.To download click here
7. Yandex Maps
Yandex Maps is the Russian equivalent to Google Maps. The advantage is that works much better in Russia. It allows to find addresses written in Russian and English. Also you can chose which transport option you prefer so it will tell you the best way to go from one place to another. Even you can ask for a Yandex Taxi from the app directly. Displays the traffic on real time, has a very accurate 3D maps of the city, etc.To download click here
8. Gett Taxi
Gett is a popular taxi app in Moscow, which also works in some cities in Europe, UK, Tel Aviv and New York. The app works very similar than Yandex Taxi, but from time to time users seem to switch preference from one platform to the other. Personally I also use it. The only limitation I don’t like, compared with Yandex Taxi, is than doesn’t allow you to pin point a location in the map. You need to write the destination address which is somehow inconvenient if you don’t know Russian.To download click here
Logically after all the excitement of the football matches and walking around the city you feel hungry, want to taste some local food but you don’t know where to go. iGinza is coming to help you. This is the app of the Ginza Group, which is a well known restoration group that manages one of the best venues in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The app allows you to search restaurants, see their menu, location, book a table and much more.To download click here
10. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Last but not least, the official app from FIFA is the best way to enjoy the digital media of the FIFA Word Cup so make sure you have it before the opening match. It will help to easily track the World Cup progress, statistics, receive notifications of the matches, etc.To download click here
Here you can find more posts about Moscow.
- Rusia antes de venir, visado y otros datos útiles (sólo en español)
- El Gran Palacio del Kremlin de Moscú (sólo en español)
- Flacon. Area de diseño de Moscú (sólo en español)
- Video de Flacon
- Moscú en Invierno: la Plaza Roja (sólo en español)
- ¿Qué hacer en Navidad en Moscú? (sólo en español)
- Desde Moscú con Amor. From Moscow with Love (español/ english)
- Art Play in Moscow (español)
- Walking around Moscow (español)
- 10 cosas que puedes hacer gratis en Moscú (español /english)
- Perlov Tea House (español)
- Gorky Park en Primavera (sólo en español)
- Maslenitsa Festival y adiós al Invierno (sólo en español)
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