Domodedovo’s main claim to fame is its status as the Russian capital’s largest and most highly regarded airport. It has been consistently rated among the top three Eastern European airports by the influential SkyTrax airport awards, taking top place for 2011. It is also the only airport in Russia capable of handling the A380 superjumbo.
Domodedovo is growing fast too. It handled over 22 million passengers in 2011 and boasts 77 airlines flying to 242 destinations. With traffic growth as explosive as that, the airport’s owners have ambitious expansion plans. The existing Terminals 1 and 2 are currently being expanded, and a new domestic terminal (Terminal 3) will see the airport’s capacity increase to 28 million when it opens in 2012.
Russia’s nouveau riche love to travel and famously have money to burn. This perhaps explains why Domodedovo’s shopping offer is really rather good. The duty-free stores are particularly impressive, benefiting from the fact that there are two competing concessionaires at the airport, Swiss travel-retailer Dufry and a local operator Runway Duty Free.
Runway Duty Free has the biggest offer with multi-category duty-free stores at exits 22 and 9, as well as a beauty shop at 11, stocking A-list brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Givenchy, Guerlain, Shisheido, Hugo Boss and Biotherm. It also runs a sunglasses outlet at exit 6; a Swarovski boutique at exit 14; a fashion store at exit 14, and finally a CD and DVD shop at exit 8.
Rival duty-free retailer Dufry has shops on the first and second departure levels of the airport and stocks a wide range of wines, spirits, fragrances, cosmetics and tobacco. Scotch whisky and Cognac are particularly popular and the range of higher-priced XO marques and aged single-malts on offer is rather good. Beauty brands stocked here include Dior, Chanel, YSL, Davidoff and Lancôme.
Before passing through security souvenir hunters should make for the second floor of the terminal building, where you will find the Russian Souvenirs outlet, which as the name suggests sells traditional wooden (Matryoshka) dolls, toys, table games and cards. Look out for carved, lacquered wooden tableware, which can be very attractive, or for something quirky, buy a pair of Lapti, traditional woven peasant shoes, which some people use as home decorations.
For fashion from a more modern era travellers can choose from landside stores like Cashmere and Silk, which features women’s clothes from Italian designers such as Brunello Cucinelli and Maria di Ripbianca, as well as men’s suits, shirts and ties from VictorVictoria and Paolini. Wild Orchid sells over 50 different lingerie brands from France, Italy and Spain such as Roberto Cavalli, Nina Ricci, Dior , Alberta Feretti and Gianfranco.
For reasonably priced fashion accessories targeted at younger women, UK high street retailer Accessorize might be a good bet if you are passing through domestic arrivals. It sells a colourful range of handbags, jewellery, footwear, scarves and lingerie. Velars, which is located in the same area of the airport, is the place for business-style purses, luggage, wallets, belts, umbrellas and gloves.
If all this shopping gets you hungry, the attractive-looking Domodedovo Market pre-security offers a great range of sweet treats to take on your flight. Goodies includes quality Belgian chocolates, truffles, nuts, sweets and of course, Russian black and red caviar.
We also like the sound of Mlesna, which sell over 300 different types of tea. The teas, which include green, black, silver and herbal varieties, are beautifully packaged into decorated leather boxes, which make great gifts for tea lovers. There is also a range of gourmet coffees on sale.
If you wish something more substantial before your flight, there are several authentically Russian restaurants at Domodedovo. In departures the Elki-Palki Express Tavern dishes out traditional Russian dishes such as pickled herrings and mushrooms, cabbage pasties, meat chops and honey pie, while the retro-looking Uzbechka specialises in Uzbek cuisine (think kebabs, pilaffs, mutton broth, steamed meatloaf and airan, a fermented milk drink).
Alternatively, if you fancy something lighter the Asia café serves a range of sushi, sashimi, salads and rolls. When it comes to drinking, no doubt pints of Guinness flow aplenty at the recently opened Shannon’s Irish Bar, but there are healthier options too. The Runway Fresh Bar, for instance, boasts a superb range of fresh fruit juices including pomegranate, watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry flavours.
Official Domodedovo airport shopping site