How to see the most architecturally stunning metro stations in Moscow
Moscow metro is not just a transportation system, it's an attraction of its own with many of the stations built to be more than just utilitarian locales.
The beautiful ones were all built during the Soviet era, in the first to mid 20th century
From my research and my trip to Moscow, I think if you just visit 3-5 of these stations you'll get a good sense of the grandeur of the stations. In order of my favorite stations:
Komsomolskaya (line 1 and 5): by far the most lavishly decorated one. The platform feels like the ballroom at the Winter Palace!
Elektrozavodskaya (line 3): really cool and unique "20th-century industrial" style. It was actually themed after a nearby light bulb factory
Prospekt Mira (line 5): feels like you're in the attic of some ancient Greek/Roman temple
Ploshchad Revolyutsii (line 3): subdued, almost feels like a library. Lots of Soviet-themed statues
Kievskaya (line 3 and 5): more cheerful, upbeat, almost Rococo decor
Best way to see them all 5 of them:
Of the 5, Ploshchad Revolyutsii is the most centrally-located. Right next to the Red Square. So this is the logical starting and ending point
Start at Ploshchad Revolyutsii (line 3, westward towards Pyatnitskoe Shosse station from here) -> Kievskaya (get off here and transfer to line 5 clockwise. See note 1 below) -> Prospekt Mira (line 5) -> Komsolmoskaya (line 5) -> Kurskaya (line 5, get off here and transfer to line 3 and go east towards Schelkovskaya station) -> Elektrozavodskaya (line 3, turn around here and go back west on line 3 towards Pyatnitskoe Shosse) -> Ploshchad Revolyutsii (line 3, get out here)
On metro map:
Note 1: line 5 is circular. Clockwise trains are announced by a male voice, and counter-clockwise trains are announced by a female voice
To see all 5 stations will take a good 2-3 hours, including photo time
As long as you don't leave the station, you only need to pay once (55 rubles, 0,7 euros)