Saint Petersburg Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

Russian visa requirements are complex but should not be feared. Numerous visa services exist to help. See the Get In section of the article on Russia for information. The visa is not required for 72 hours if you arrive at St. Petersburg by ferry.

By plane
Pulkovo AirportUl. Starovaya, Northern Capital Gateway LLCPhone: +7 (812) 337-38-22{{IATA
Airport facilities
Chillout Lounge (Зал отдыха), 3rd floor. Newly renovated, perfectly airconditioned and equipped with automatic coffee machine, some juice and simple snacks, chocolate vending machine, several TVs, several TV-DVD player combos, internet cafe, and even an electric fireplace—all included into base price. For extra charge, there's a shower room (220 RUB). Wifi is the same (BeelineWifi) as elsewhere, not free. Entry fee: 680 rubles per person pays for 3 h of stay.
Some airlines (e.g. S7) provide free stay to passengers of delayed flights. Shower is not reimbursed, but if you have a personal towel and bathing set, you don't need to ask anyway.
Children playroom is a part of Chillout Lounge.
VIP Lounge: for 24 hours-long stay, it is 4600 rubles if you pay for immediate stay; 3600 rubles if you book at least 24 hours in advance.
Wifi: paid, provided by BeelineWifi. Free access also available and working (as of November 2009).
Toilets: Good facilities. Look up when you want to see your fellow toilet visitors, there is a mirror!
Getting from airport to the city
Lappeenranta Airport
Lappeenranta airportLentokentntie 21, 53600 LappeenrantaPhone: +358 20 708 000Hours: 24/7 information deskThis is a small provincial airport located near the border of Russia and offers a low-cost alternative to Pulkovo Airport. It has become popular among Russian travellers, because it offers low-cost flights to Central Europe and is quite small airport not having the rush problems of bigger airports. - Flights: Air Baltic has a route to Riga. Ryanair has routes to Dsseldorf-Weeze and Milan-Bergamo.- Central office address: Lentjntie 3, 01530 Vantaa, Finland

There is a local bus connection number 4 from center of Lappeenranta to the airport. It serves once an hour. See more information from Lappeenranta local transport timetables.

Direct coach connection from Lappeenranta to Saint Petersburg leaves from railway station of Lappeenranta and the duration is about 6 hours. More information from Matkahuolto.

Connection buses from Lappeenranta to Vainikkala railway station offer possibility to use a train from Lappeenranta to Saint Petersburg. Connection bus travel time between Lappeenranta City and Vainikkala is 30 minutes and train travel time between Vainikkala and Saint Petersburg is 1,5 hours. Train timetables can be found from VR. You can find connection bus timetables from Lappeenranta city web site or Matkahuolto-

By train

Saint Petersburg is a major rail hub. The 3.5-hour train ride from Helsinki (Finland) is one of the most comfortable ways to reach the city. Trains also connect to destinations in the Baltics and Central Europe. Alternatively, you can head inland to Moscow.

There are five principal stations:

Baltiskii StationNab. Obvodnogo Kanala, 120This is one of the busiest railway stations in Russia by volume of suburban traffic. - The station was modelled by architect Alexander Krakau after Gare de l'Est in Paris. Construction started in 1854. The station was opened on 21 July 1857 as the Peterhof Railway Station. - The station retains a glass roof over the terminal platforms and is flanked by two-storey wings. The left one used to be reserved for members of the Russian royalty who went to their palaces in Strelna, Peterhof, Oranienbaum. A glass panel on the faade still features the original clock, designed by Pavel Bure, a celebrated watchmaker to the tsar and the ice-hockey players' ancestor. - Transport for Petrodvorets (Peterhof), Lomonosov (Oranienbaum), Gatchina, Luga. Also used by trains to/from Aeroport station, with connecting buses to the airport
Finliandskii StationLenin Square, 5- Built by Finnish State Railways as the eastern terminus of the Riihimki-Saint Petersburg railroad. It was designed by Swedish architects and opened in 1870. The station formerly contained a special pavilion for Russian royalty.. - Now used again for high speed passenger trains Allegro to Helsinki in Finland. Also trains to Vyborg. Timetable
Ladozhskii StationZanevsky Prospekt, 73- This is the newest and most modern passenger railway station in Saint Petersburg, designed by architect Nikita Yavein, is one of the largest in Russia with a capacity of up to 50 commuter departures and 26 long distance departures accommodating 4,500 passengers per hour. Built at a cost of nine billion rubles (USD 300 million), the station opened in 2003 for the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. - Transport: For various destinations including Petrozavodsk RUB835, Arkhangelsk RUB1697, Tyumen RUB3038, Tula RUB1435 Krasnodar RUB2839, Murmansk RUB2030, Ekaterinburg, Cheliabinsk, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Astana (Kazakhstan), Helsinki (night-train Leo Tolstoi). Suburban trains.
Moscovskii StationNevsky av., 85 ? Ploshchad Vosstaniya, 2Phone: (812) 457-44-28It has an easily recognizable Neo-Renaissance frontage on Nevsky Prospekt and Uprising Square, erected in 1844-51 to a design by Konstantin Thon. Although large "Venetian" windows, two floors of Corinthian columns and a two-storey clocktower at the centre explicitly reference Italian Renaissance architecture, the building incorporates other features from a variety of periods and countries. A twin train station, currently known as the Leningradsky railway station, was built to Thon's design at the other end of the railway, in Moscow. - Transport for Moscow, Novgorod, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Volgograd, Kazan, Samara, Rostov-na-Donu, Ufa, Sochi and others cities.
Vitebskii StationZagorodny av., 52?Formerly known as the Tsarskoe Selo Station, it was the first railway station to be built in Saint Petersburg and the whole of the Russian Empire. Architecture: Construction started in 1901 and lasted for three years. Stanislaw Brzozowski gave the new two-storey station an ornate frontage in an assortment of historical styles, with decorative reliefs, floriated Jugendstil detailing, outsize semicircular windows and two regular features of 19th-century train stations: a pseudo-Renaissance cupola and a square clocktower. - However, it was Sima Minash's opulent Art Nouveau interior that established the building as the most ornate of St. Petersburg stations. Minash was responsible for the sweeping staircases, foyer with stained glass and spacious halls boasting a series of painted panels that chronicle the history of Russia's first railway. The building's soaring arches and expanses of glass proclaimed the architect's familiarity with advanced construction techniques of the West. In 2003, the station underwent a painstaking restoration of its original interior and Jugendstil decor. Apart from the replica of the first Russian train, curiosities of the Vitebsk Station include a detached pavilion for the Tsar and his family and a marble bust of Nicholas I. - Transport for Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoe Selo), Pavlovsk, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, Estonia Ticket prices (from): Ukraine,Odessa RUB3813, Kiev RUB3366; Belarus,Grodno RUB2999, Vitebsk 1629; Lithuania,Vilnius RUB2921; 'Local trains': Nevel RUB815, Novosokolniki RUB689, Velikie Luki RUB880, Soltsy RUB549. Suburban trains.
Varshavskii Station now a branch of the Museum of Railway Machinery & Shopping Center, 118- Built in 1851 for a rail line, completed in 1858, from the city to the Tsar's residence in Gatchina. - Now. The trade center Warsaw Express has occupied the building since 2005. On the tracks, a railway museum now holds over 80 exhibits of steam engines, electric and diesel locomotives.-

Until recently, you could only buy a ticket for a Russian train at a train station, but now you can purchase an electronic train ticket.

From Finland

The Finnish VR Group provides excellent information on train travel from Finland to St Petersburg . Now operated with slick new high-speed Allegro trains running at up to 220 km/h, there are four daily departures from Helsinki at 06:12, 10:00, 15:00 and 19:00. Tickets can be purchased through some travel agencies and at major VR train stations in Finland. Tickets are also available for purchase in the VR Online Shop. Border crossing formalities start immediately after departure from Helsinki. On board currency exchange is available. Train is the most expensive way of travel between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg, but the early morning train is a relative bargain at €43.

From Moscow

The easiest way to get between downtown Moscow and St.Petersburg's heart is by a Sapsan high-speed train. The ride takes between 3h 45min and 4h 45min, there are 6 daily departures in both directions, some trains stop at Tver and a few more intermediate stations. This train boasts a full English-speaking crew. Ticket prices are RUB2500-3500 for second-class accommodation.

There are as well numerous overnight trains linking the two cities in 7–8 hours, up to two dozen departures daily. Price and comfort levels vary, with the luxurious private Grand-Express "hotel train" (featuring even some room-sized compartments for two equipped with a shower!) at the high end, all the way down to budget connections in third-class platzkart or even seating-only cars. Second-class coupe coaches are most recommended, with the fare generally under RUB2000. Lower class tickets may save you half the price or more, if you are prepared for such travel conditions.

See general information about Russian trains for more details.

By bus
Main bus stationNaberezhnaya Obvodnogo kanala, 36Phone: +7 812 766 5777Hours: Daily 06:30-23:30The cheapest, although by no means the most comfortable way of reaching Saint Petersburg from neighboring countries are long distance buses. Buses from Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, the Baltic states and Scandinavia stop here. - Domestic buses to: Bryansk, Ivangorod, Ivanovo, Novaya Ladoga, Lodeinoe Pole, Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Pskov, Pushkinskie Gori, Svetogorsk, Smolensk, Staraya Russa, Tikhvin, Velikie Luki, Vologda, Vyborg. - Regional buses to
Bus station "North"Murino settlement, Ul. Vokzalnaya, 1Phone: 812 635-8158Hours: 06:30-22:00Regional buses to Primorsk, Vyazma & Zelenogorsk
From Finland

Matkahuolto connects Saint Peterburg to Helsinki, Turku, Lappeenranta and Jyväskylä. More information from Matkahuolto.

Russian minibuses to Helsinki, (Finland)Ligovskiy prospekt, ~61Hours: ~10:00-20:00Price: 15-25The first depart from around 10:00 and arrive behind Tennispalatsi at Etelinen Rautatiekatu 8, one block away from Kamppi, early in the morning. Departures back start ~10:00 in the morning through 20:00. The buses are cramped and uncomfortable.

Some people reported that even if your citizenship may not require a visa to enter Russia, the Russian immigration agents may not be aware of it and may refuse you entry into Russia. They only speak Russian, and the process is lengthier than when travelling by train or air.

From Baltic States

Two private bus companies also run overnight routes to and from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as to Belarus and the Ukraine:

Ecolines Office. Buses to Baltic StatesPodyezdnoy pereulok, 3Phone: +7 812 314 2550Hours: 10:00-20:00It has daily departures to Riga with stops at Luga, Pskov, and Ostrov as well as twice-weekly service to Minsk, Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine. From Riga, one can easily find connections to Poland and from there to most countries of Western and Central Europe. Tel: +7 901 300 6170. Ecolines buses depart from Vitebskii vokzal (near Metro Pushkinskaya) and the Bus Station (Avtovokzal)
Lux Express Office. Buses to Tallinn & RigaMitrofanjevskoe Shosse, 2/1Phone: +7 812 441 3757Lux Express has multiple daily departures to Tallinn with a stop in Narva. They also maintain a daily route to Riga from which buses to most of Western and Central Europe can be found. Connections can also be made to the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova from Riga and/or Vilnius. Tickets can be purchased online or at office. Lux Express buses depart from Baltiskii Station and Saint Petersburg Coach Station.
By boat

See also Russia#Visa free entry by ship

New Sea Passenger port, Unit 1Vasilievsky Island, Bereg Nevskoy gubi, 1
New Sea Passenger port, Unit 3Vasilievsky Island, Bereg Nevskoy gubi, 1Phone: +7 812 303-6740Fax: +7 812 303-6741

Finnlines has a two and a half day journey cruise from Lübeck (two times weekly) via Sassnitz and Ventspils.

Summer cruises and ferry services from Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia appear and disappear at irregular intervals, often at short notice. St. Peter line has started visa free cruises from Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm to St. Petersburg. This includes a mandatory shuttle into the city (€25) which stops off at various hotels and St. Isaac's square (on the southeastern of the cathedral). If you are entering under the 72 hours visa free regime you should make sure not to miss the last minibus to the port, which currently (May 2013) leaves the city 15 minutes before the check-in closes in the port! If you stay for more than one day, be sure to book your hotel in advance. Tickets until 2014 May 31 : One-Way/Return Sun-Wed €148-353/246-589, Thu-Sat €198-383/324-639

Passenger boats also operate on the inland waterway "Volga-Baltic" which links Moscow, the River Volga and Lakes Onega, Ladoga and Neva.

Freighter travel by Northern Shipping CompanySaint-Petersburg, Strelna, Saint-Petersburg road (- ), 47, office 208Phone: +7 812 331 4045Fax: +7 812 331 4046- To get out, you could try your luck directly, although the port is very large. It would be easier if you have connections in the port. Try to find a dispatcher.

Nearly all the major cruise lines (Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC, etc.) offer a Scandinavia/St. Petersburg itinerary, and many stay overnight to allow shore excursions to Moscow. Azamara has itineraries that dock for three days/two nights. If you join a cruise tour of St. Petersburg then you don't need a Russian visa, but you have to stay with the tour.

source: Wikivoyage

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