St Petersburg is a city of magnificent architecture, artistic culture and historical significance. The grandeur and history of Russia’s first capital certainly lived up to the hype. We recently spent 3 days in this beautiful city. Stay tuned for our full itinerary.
Arrival into St Peterburg
- Immigration lines are long, so disembark your flight as soon as you can to get to the front of the shortest queue. Each person has to go to the immigration counter separately, which is what takes the time. We arrived at 1am and it still took 20 min for us to get processed.
- Ensure you retain the small white slip that will be issued to you at immigration on arrival. This needs to be presented along with your passport and boarding pass when you depart.
- Use the taxi counter just after customs and before you exit onto the main concourse to organise a transfer to your accommodation if you don’t have one. Or be prepared to bargain hard and agree a price before getting into the cab if you hail a one from outside. Since we arrived so late, our hotel organised our airport transfer for a steep Rubles 2,300.
Getting around St Peterburg
- Uber is a cheap and effective way to get around St Petersburg. A 10 min cab ride from St Isaac’s Cathedral to our hotel in Nevsky Prospekt (the main street in the tourist centre), cost approx Rubles 100 (~£1.30). You also have the option to pay with cash when booking through the App which was handy for us.
- The Metro is another efficient mode of transport. Each token (i.e. a small gold coin which is your ticket and needs to be inserted into a slot like machine at the turnstile) costs Rubles 45 and is valid for 90 minutes. Whilst this can be reasonable, for a family of 4, an Uber will work out cheaper.
- Allow about 45 min to get from the city centre to the airport by taxi. Our Uber cost us Rubles 560, which is less than £10 (~USD 14).
Departing from St Petersburg
- There are lines everywhere at the airport so we recommend that you get there at least two hours before your flight departs if you only have hand luggage.
- If you decide to purchase exotic souvenirs such as black caviar, paintings of any kind etc, ensure that it is purchased from an authorised vendor and that you have the necessary supporting documentation. The time taken for customs to validate your documents can be lengthy and needs to be factored in.