- Local Time
- Arrival to St.Petersburg
- Money and Payments
- 24 hours
- Public Transport
- Foreigner prices
- Saint Petersburg City Travel Blog
Russia has 11 time zones, and St. Petersburg is in the same time zone as Moscow: UTC/GMT +3. Therefore, when it is 12:00 in St. Petersburg, it is 04:00 in New York, 09:00 in London, 10:00 in Berlin and 20:00 in Sydney. Population: Russia: 144 million, St. Petersburg: 6 million.
Arrival to St. Petersburg:
You can travel to St. Petersburg by train, bus or plane. Many international airlines have direct flights to St. Petersburg. There are many direct flights from European countries to St. Petersburg. Flights are offered by the Russian airlines Russia or Aeroflot to Moscow. Pulkovo Terminal 1 in St. Petersburg is for domestic flights, and Pulkovo Terminal 2 is for international flights. In Moscow, there are two international airports – Sheremetjevo 2 and Domodedovo. Therefore, make sure to pay attention which airport is specified for your arrival and departure.
Money and Payments:
The national currency is the Russian Ruble. Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1.000 and 5.000 and there are 1, 2, 5, and 10 Rbl coins. In St. Petersburg, as everywhere in Russia, payment for all goods and services is to be made in Russian Rubles or by credit card. Officially, it is illegal to pay in dollars or Euros. It is possible to exchange money at any bank, currency-exchange booths, and at the majority of hotels and large department stores. You need to show your passport or a copy to change currency. ATMs (bankomaty), can be found in most metro stations, banks and large hotels, but credit-card use is still in its infancy, and thus credit cards are not accepted at all establishments, even sometimes at establishments that have signs that say they do accept credit cards. Always have cash just in case. In Russia, the following credit and debit cards are accepted: VISA, Master Card/Euro card, American Express, Maestro.
One of the great things about St. Petersburg is that it is never difficult to find a place to get a bite to eat or something to drink, even in the middle of the night. There are many places to dine or just buy food from small shops to expensive night clubs and luxury restaurants. If you see the 24-sign (or 25-sign) it means this place is open around the clock! Even the most experienced global travellers are all impressed at the number of supermarkets and kiosks open all night long in St. Petersburg.
Buses, trolleys and trams operate from 6.00 to 24.00. The ticket fare is to be paid to the conductor. It is also possible to pay the fare by purchasing a seasonal ticket for a particular kind of transportation or a single ticket valid for all means of transportation (except taxi, commercial buses and shuttle taxi-buses). The stops are marked with the special signs.
Commercial shuttle taxi-buses (marshrutki) are usually marked with "K" index in front of the number. Quite often they have a better, more convenient route and are typically the fastest means of transportation. St. Petersburg metro consists of 4 lines. The metro operates from 5.45 to 24.00. The fare is paid either by metal tokens or by magnet cards both of which can be purchased at the entrance of each metro station. A single metro fare is 22Rbl per trip, the bus 14Rbl and fixed-route taxis (marshrutki) 10Rb-20Rb. Taxis are also an inexpensive option. Regular taxi service is available on a 24 hour basis.
Prices for Foreigners:
In most museums and some theatres, there are two different prices for entry ticket – one price for Russia citizens and another higher price for foreigners. If you have a document stating that you are working or studying in Russia, you can usually get the local price. Derzhavin Institute provides each student with a Russian student ID which helps students in most cases get tickets at the lower price (normally for students between 16 to 28 years of age). You can also make an International Student Identification Card (ISIC) at the Institute.
Tipping is not expected in bars, but it is the norm in top-notch restaurants. Ten percent is average, but it is up to you to decide how much to tip. At the same time, you can ask politely for all of your change back, if the establishment automatically pockets whatever amount you hand them when you pay the bill. Some restaurants automatically add a 10% service-charge, so make sure to always check your bill first.
St. Petersburg is no more dangerous than any average European city. To avoid attracting unwanted attention, do not flaunt expensive valuables, always carry your documents (or copies), avoid speaking your native language loudly and do not walk the streets if you are very drunk. If you are black or of Arab or Asian descent, exercise more care, particularly at night and be aware that you are more likely to be a target of the police and of general unwanted attention. If you are stopped and searched by people identifying themselves as police, be careful. If they ask for your documents, it is best to show copies. If they demand to see the originals, do not hand over your documents, but show them the relevant pages yourself. If you are searched, watch out for your wallet and other valuables. If you run into trouble, it is always best to contact the Institute or your consulate.