ATypI 08 St Petersburg
Getting to St Petersburg
- The Russian currency is rubel (international code: RUB or RUR, both are being used). As of July 2008, the exchange rate was roughly: 1 USD = 23.50 RUB, 1 EUR = 37 RUB (in other words, 100 RUB is roughly 4 USD or 3 EUR). There are plenty of ATM machines in St Petersburg, and the are safe to use.
- The time zone is GMT+3.
- The temperatures in mid-September average at +11°C / 52°F.
- The voltage is 220V / 50Hz. Most of the sockets are standard European-size for double round-pin plugs, the same as in France or Germany.
- There are four GSM 900/1800 mobile phone networks and a CDMA 2000 network. Free wi-fi internet is available in many hotels, cafes and other public places.
St Petersburg’s airport name is Pulkovo (Пулково), the international airport code is LED (after the city’s former name, Leningrad).
Pulkovo has two terminals: Pulkovo-1 and Pulkovo-2. The first terminal serves domestic flights and certain chartered flights, while the second terminal is the city’s international airport terminal. Both terminals are located close to one another, about 9 kilometers from St Petersburg. It is most likely you will arrive to Pulkovo-2.
Passengers of international routes go through passport control and customs. First you pass the passport control, then you have to pick up any checked baggage (you may need to wait until it appears) and then customs. To pass passport control, you need to have your passport with Russian visa and a filled-out immigration card. Immigration cards are distributed in the airplane while it approaches Pulkovo and we recommend you fill it out then. If you miss that opportunity, you will find immigration cards and tables in the passport control area. You must keep the immigration form until you leave Russia.
After you get your baggage, you need to pass customs. There is a green channel and if you have nothing to declare you should take it. There is a screening device in the green channel, but you are not required to put your stuff in unless asked by customs officers. You need to fill in the customs declaration if you have a lot of cash with you (more than $US 10,000 or equal in any currency) or you have any items that have to be declared on the way back.
If for some reason your baggage did not arrive, you can easily find the “lost baggage” stand with someone who will help you. Trolleys are available, but you don't need them: it is a very short way from the baggage section to the taxi and public transport area.
When you exit customs, you will be in the arrivals hall. It has a cafe, many ATMs and a currency exchange office.
From Pulkovo-2 to the city
You can travel to the city from the terminals by taxi, route taxi or bus. Please ignore all of the numerous car drivers who will solicit you to use their services!
You can call for a taxi while you are waiting for your baggage. Recommended taxi companies are:
|Peterburgskoe Taxi||+7 (812) 324-7777|
|Evrotaksi||+7 (812) 740 13 13|
|New Yellow Taxi||+7 (812) 600 88 88|
|Taksi 7 millionov||+7 (812) 700 00 00|
The normal rate for a taxi from Pulkovo-2 to the city center is between 500 RUB (US$20) and 1000 RUB (US$40). Usually it takes about 15 minutes for taxi to arrive.
Metro / Метро (Subway, underground)
The metro (subway, underground) station that is closest to the Pulkovo-2 airport is Moskovskaya (Московская).To get to the Moskovskaya metro station from the airport, take a shuttle bus#3, #13 or #113. Their stop is near the arrivals hall (to the left as you exit), the price is 20 or 22 RUB (~$1). These buses will stop near the Moskovskaya metro station which is located underground. You will need to buy a “metro coin”. Currently the cost is 17 RUB (about 70 cents). It may be a good idea to buy more than one coin or a metro card for several trips. In St Petersburg you may travel on the metro as far as you want – there are no zone divisions, you pay only to enter the metro station.
To reach the Hotel Moscow from Moskovskaya you will need to go to the station Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskovo (Площадь Александра Невского). In this case you will need to go seven stops from Moskovskaya and change at Nevsky prospekt. Changing trains here is a bit complicated as you have to follow a rather circuitous underground route to get to the Nevsko-Vasileostrovkaya (green) line. Follow the signs to Gostiny dvor and there choose the right direction. Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskovo is two stops away.
The metro station Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskovo is located directly on the ground floor of the Hotel Moscow:
If you choose to make a connection in Moscow, you will have to pass passport control and customs there and then you will arrive in Pulkovo-1, which is a terminal for domestic flights. All said above about transportation to city center is also applicable here.
Riga, Tallin, Moscow, Helsinki
In 2004, European budget airlines, such as EasyJet and RyanAir started regular flights to Riga (Latvia) and Tallin (Estonia), making it possible to travel to Russia really cheap if you are ready to book a few weeks ahead. With their offers, you can now go to Riga or Tallin for 20 EUR with taxes from London or Berlin, and then get to St Petersburg by train or bus. It is also possible to get to St Petersburg by train from Helsinki or Moscow.
You may decide to fly to Riga, Tallin, Moscow or Helsinki rather than to St Petersburg, and then go to St Petersburg by train. Sometimes this lets you save on cheap airline tickets (only a few discount airlines fly to St Petersburg).
If you arrive at one of the Moscow airports you will need to pass passport control and customs and then get on the train to travel to the city center. All three major Moscow airports now have train connections, just follow the signs. We don’t recommend you use any other means of transportation as traffic problems around Moscow may delay you for an hour or two.
We recommend you buy train tickets from Moscow to St Petersburg in advance. Let us know if you need any assistance. There are few day-time fast trains but usually you will travel on one of the overnight trains. It takes about 8 hours; all the night trains are very comfortable. It is about US$200 for a first-class ticket (coupe for 2 persons) and about US$110 for a second-class (coupe for 4 persons). Sometimes the overnight train Moscow-St Petersburg may be your best opportunity if there are no straight flights to St Petersburg.
There are five main railway stations St Petersburg. The trains from Moscow, Riga, Tallin and from the south of Russia arrive in St Petersburg at the Moskovsky rail terminal. The Moskovsky rail terminal is located in the St Petersburg city center within walking distance of the conference venue.
There are three or four trains each day from Helsinki to St Petersburg. They are of two types – Finnish trains and Russian trains. The Finnish trains are modern and comfortable. The Russian trains are antiques, but very authentic antiques. If you want to ride in quiet comfort with all the modern conveniences then take a Finnish train. But if you want a genuine old Russian experience, take a Russian train. The trip is about seven hours and there is a border stop in Vyborg for customs. Trains from Helsinki arrive in St Petersburg at the Ladozhsky rail terminal:
The Ladozhsky rail terminal has a metro station inside and it is only two stops to get to Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskovo and three (with one line change) to Mayakovskaya.
You can travel to St Petersburg through the Finnish Gulf and dock your yacht in the delta of the Neva river:
Travel information for St Petersburg...
- in Wikitravel (travel guide)
- The official St Petersburg website
- The official St Petersburg tourism website
More about St Petersburg...