St.Petersburg

Getting there

Arriving

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Arriving by plane

St. Petersburg's international terminal Pulkovo is located in the south of the city (metro Moskovskaya). The airport offers the usual shops and restaurants within the terminal building and hotels nearby. Keep your eyes open for ATM machines and money exchanges (obmen valyuty) if you urgently need some roubles. If you want to relax with a coffee and cake before being collected or trying to find your way into the city, be aware that the airport prices have been known to cause heart failure!

Getting into town: To get into the city centre you can take Bus №39 or mini-bus (marshrutka) №39 to Moskovskaya Metro Station (seven stops – it will take 15-25 minutes depending on traffic) and then take the metro into town (another seven stops in the metro – about 15-20 minutes). Once you are in the metro system you can get to most parts of town quickly. Keep you eyes open for maps of the metro system if you need to find a particular station.

If you choose to take a taxi, beware of the airport taxi drivers! They are notorious for overcharging, asking 2000Rbl and up for the 18-km ride to the city centre. Always agree on a fare before getting in, keeping in mind that a reasonable price shouldn't exceed 1000Rbl. Theoretically, this price has been fixed and there should be a small stall to the right of the exit where a man with a clipboard will write down your destination and put you in a queue for the next available driver. If you don’t want to take a taxi, there are plenty of public-transport options to get you to Moskovskaya metro, on the southern edge of town. From Moskovskaya, you can also hop on the bus or marshrutka.

Arriving by train

Arriving in St. Petersburg by train is convenient. All the train stations are located next to metro stations, so you simply need to step off the train and enter into the bowels of St. Petersburg’s underground system and find your way to the metro station nearest your destination.

Vitebsk (Vitebsky) station is the destination for trains from the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. Trains from Finland arrive at the Finland (Finlyandksy) station and Ladozhsky station, while Moscow (Moskovsky) station is the hub for Moscow bound trains. Long distance trains within Russia arrive and depart from Moskovsky and Ladozhsky stations. The train stations have ATMs (bankomaty), cafes, money exchanges (obmen valyuty), luggage-hold rooms (kamera khraneniya) and souvenir shops. There are taxi stands outside every station and the drivers there usually charge less than the ones waiting to pounce on the station platforms. If you are arriving from midnight onwards be prepared for city transport difficulties. The metro system will be closed for the night and during summer the bridges will be open – which depending on where your accommodation is might mean substantial delays.

Departing St. Petersburg by train: If you’d just like to get out of the city for the day, local trains (electrichky) cheaply connect the villages and suburbs to St. Petersburg. Electrichky to Gatchina, Lomonosov and Peterhof depart from Baltic (Baltiisky) station, from Finlyandsky you can visit Viburg, and Pushkin and Pavlovsk are covered by Vitebsky. There may be no toilets, but if you forgot to bring ice cream, band-aids or knife sharpeners a vender might be wandering the aisle with just what you need

Arriving by boat and ferry

The main passenger terminal is on Vasilevsky Island, a 15-20min drive to the centre by bus (40Rbl), minibus (40Rbl) or cab. Cruise ships also moor right in the city centre near the Blagoveshenskiy Bridge, from here it is a nice walk along the Neva river to the Hermitage. River cruises to/from Moscow or Valaam (Lake Ladoga) anchor at the river terminal on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony 209, (Vodokhod Saint Petersburg) near Proletarskaya metro.

Arriving by bus

St. Petersburg has several bus stations, so make sure you know where you are going before you leave. The central bus station is a bit out of the way at Naberezhnaya Obvodnogo kanala 36, which is a short taxi-ride (around 200-300Rbl) to the centre of town and about a 15-minute walk to metro Ligovsky pr.
Lux Express buses arrive at Baltiskaya metro station where you can take a taxi or just enter into the metro system. To find your way into the city centre make a bee-line for Nevsky Prospekt. Some bus companies have stops at the city’s main hotels. The proliferation of bus companies operating out of St. Petersburg means that you could be dropped off at a number of different bus stops. The main rule of thumb is to find your way to the nearest metro station or take a taxi.

Arriving by car

Are you driving your car all the way to Russia? Remember the following: your National and International Driver’s licence, registration and insurance documents for the car and, of course, your passport with a valid Russian visa. At the border, ask for an Immigration Card and make sure it is stamped! Stay on the main roads, as you might get pulled over for accidentally straying into a military zone (no, that is not a joke). Traffic police (recognizable by ДПС or ГИБДД or ГАИ) might also fine you for not having a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit, or for exceeding the speed limit, which on the highway varies between 80 and 110 km/h.

The normal procedure for pumping gas is that you first pay for a certain amount and then start filling up your tank.

The Traffic Police have stops when you enter a new zone of jurisdiction. You are required to proceed slowly and there is a chance you might get pulled off. Don't overpay the traffic police: the official penalty for driving 20-40km too fast is 300Rbl, for 60km over the limit, it costs between 1000 and 1500Rbl. Driving through a red light will cost 700Rbl and not wearing a seatbelt will cost 500Rbl. Most of the policemen do not speak English, which might make things difficult, or perhaps very easy. In towns the speed limit is around 60 km/h, but road conditions often force you to drive more carefully and thus more slowly.

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