Saint Petersburg Travel Guide

Getting Around

Traffic

Most means of transportation stop functioning at night. The subway is closed from midnight to 5:45 a.m., and transfers between lines close (and open) at this time, while the departure of the last (and the first) trains from each station varies slightly. Taxis are always available but are much more expensive at night. Every private vehicle is a potential taxi. Flagging down a vehicle and paying for a ride somewhere is perfectly normal in Russia and quite popular although ill-advised for tourists. Safety is, of course, an issue. As a rule, you should never get in a private cab if it already has passengers inside.

Also, refuse requests from the driver to take on more fares unless you reached your destination; if he insists, ask to stop at a safe-looking place, pay and leave. If the driver stops for gas, step out of the car, along with your belongings, and get some fresh air while he is fueling it. Those traveling alone (men and women) should feel free to wave off any suspicious ride for any reason whatsoever. Gypsy cabs which linger near popular bars and restaurants at night have been known to be especially dangerous, with several instances of druggings and robberies.

At night the city is divided in two by the Neva; all the main bridges are drawn up to allow for boat traffic, except during the winter, when ice makes the river impassable. Remember to make it to your side of the river in time; otherwise, you could find yourself stuck on the wrong side until early morning. One bridge, Volodarsky, closes once per night from around 3:45 a.m. to 4:15 a.m to permit crossing. Most of others are up between 1:45 a.m. and 5:15 a.m.; see below for details. There is however the tall cable Big Obukhovski bridge (best known by locals as Vantovy most) which is not drawn up, as it is an important part of Saint Petersburg Ring Highway, but it's rather remote from the city center which would multiple the taxi fare several times.

The following table represents a drawn schedule of Saint Petersburg bridges in 2009 (as of 15 April), which may have changed since:

By subway

Saint Petersburg's metro is the second largest underground railway system in Russia, second only to Moscow. The subway is a cheap and effective way to get around the city, and also a major tourist attraction in itself thanks to the beautiful decorations of the stations. Taking pictures was once prohibited, but amateur photography (without a tripod, etc.) is now allowed. - The trains are fast and run frequently (during rush hour, intervals between trains are 2-2.5 minutes). The metro costs 28 rubles per entry regardless of the distance. Brass tokens (жетон – zheton) can be purchased from kiosks at station entrances and vending machines, and it is good to stock up in advance, since queues can be long. - Metro maps can be found in every train car and always have station names in the Latin alphabet. The station names on the platforms are also in the Latin alphabet, and many other signs are in English. Station announcements on the train are only in Russian, but if you listen carefully you will hear the conductor announce the current station name and the next station as the doors are closing. - Stations are deep, and transfers between stations also involve long walks. There is little time saving to be made travelling between adjacent stations in the historic centre. - The Saint Petersburg metro can be unbelievably crowded during rush hour. Avoid traveling during this if not accustomed to big crowds. Be aware of your belongings and expect to have to push your way out upon arrival, or at least to be pushed during the trip. - Metro lines:,,,,

By tram

A more scenic, but slower, way to see Saint Petersburg is by tram (трамвай). In recent years, due to traffic problems, some tram lines were removed from the centre of the city. They cost 23 rubles and are sold by a conductor sitting in the tram.

By bus or trolleybus

Buses (автобус) and trolleybuses (троллейбус) are cheap (RUB25) and frequent. They cover many areas of the city that the metro doesn't. There is a map for the trolleybuses and trams (text in Russian), but Google Transit also comprehensively shows all the routes making it easy to navigate using the buses with this service.

Trolleybuses are indicated by the letter 'ℳ' ('T' written like turned over Russian 'Ш') on the stops, and diesel buses by the letter 'A'. The two types of buses themselves both show the same route number, but the trolleybus route is frequently shorter, and can vary in some minor respects.

Tickets are sold by a conductor sitting in the bus. Every bus has its own conductor. The conductor will work their way up and down the aisle of a crowded bus, and just handing them the correct change is sufficient. The conductors don't like giving much change, and only speak Russian.

Buses and trolleys on main routes are frequently overcrowded. Buses to suburbs cost 19 or 36 rubles within the territory of St. Peterburg (Zelenogorsk, Lomonosov and others). If you are caught without a valid ticket you will be fined RUB300.

Since July, 1 (2012) night buses have been introduced. They have the same routes as metro has, but the problem of the bridges is not resolved.

By route taxi

Route taxi (маршрутка - marshrutka) is sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere. Taxis are 14-20 seat vans, usually white or yellow, always with a letter K and route number plate (K-28). Often they are small Chinese or Turkish buses. There are no regular stops; you must tell the driver when you want to get out, or wave while on the roadside to stop one. You must pay to the driver at entry, usually RUB20-35. If you cannot reach the driver on your own, pass the money through the other passengers and be ready to pass other's money if you sit close to the driver.

By local train

A commuter train (электричка, elektrichka) may be an option in areas distant from metro stations, such as the airport. Fares are based on travel distance, a ride within city limits should cost under RUB30. Speeds are moderate, but trains may be rare (1-2/h at best). Information available in here.

By bicycle

The city is not bicycle-friendly. There are some designated lanes, but they are rare and don't form a network. Cycling alongside car traffic is very dangerous and cannot be recommended to anybody not used to the local habits of driving. Cycling is a good way to explore the countryside from May to October, though. It is allowed to take your bicycle into the local train (elektrichka) for a small fee, but it is not always easy to find a place for it there, so it is better to avoid weekends (including Friday and holidays) and board the train at the terminus rather than at some intermediate station.

source: Wikivoyage

Things To Do in Saint Petersburg See All Things To Do in Saint Petersburg

Hotels in Saint Petersburg (337 Hotels) See All Saint Petersburg Hotels

  • Elegy Hotel

    Including Maly Drama Theatre - Theatre De L'Europe, Zazerkalye Saint Petersburg State Children's Music Theater and D137 Gallery properly placed in the vicinity of the thr...

  • Acme on Malaya Morskaya

    With Alla Tours, St. Petersburg Tours - White Nights Travel - Day Tours and KURS-Spb Ltd - Day Tours conveniently placed near the three star hotel, Acme on Malaya Morskay...

  • ALTBURG on Liteynyy

    With Jimi Hendrix Blues Club, Liteiny Bridge and Nekrasov Memorial Museum-Apartment ideally found close to the three star hotel, ALTBURG on Liteynyy; this hotel is approp...

  • Rinaldi Harmony

    Seen in St Petersburg, Rinaldi Harmony is comfortably placed close to Alexander III Monument, GUVD Museum and Militsiya History Museum at the Cultural Center of the Saint...

Top Destinations in Russia