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If you want to travel to St. Petersburg but don´t know where to start, you have come to the right place. Here we will try to resolve the main problem that travelers run into by providing you with helpful advice to make your travel experience less overwhelming and much more enjoyable.
The first and most essential thing to do before going anywhere in Russia is getting a visa. This should be done in advance and well before you purchase a ticket being that the visa application process could take up to one month based on the country you are coming from. You start with a visa application, which should be filled out thoroughly and correctly. There are several documents that will need to be presented to the Embassy as part of your visa application packet. The embassy or consulate will provide you with a list of required visa support documents based on your country of origin. Once you have arrived in Russia, you have 7 business days to register your visa. The purpose of registering your visa is to notify the immigration authorities of where you will be staying while in Russia. You may be charged a fine if you go passed the 7 day period, so it is strongly recommended that you meet the deadline.
When you travel to St. Petersburg you need to be aware that Pulkovo Airport (Code: LED) is NOT accessable from the city by metro or shuttle train. So the easiest way for a traveler to get to their destination in the city would be by taxi. Unfortunately if you are getting a taxi at Pulkovo, you are going to be waiting in a long line in front of the airport. If you are limited on time or just want to avoid the hassle, your other option would be to order a transfer in advance, bringing you from the airport to your destination. ServanTrip Transfer Service can provide you with a comfortable ride to your destination, helping you avoid any inconveniences with looking for a taxi among the masses. Your transfer will be totally safe with one of our verified drivers, and at a fixed price upon reservation, so you won´t have to worry about hidden fee´s or any funny business.
If you are planning a trip to St. Petersburg, you can feel quite secure about using the public transportation system, it is well developed and pretty cheap. Although the metro has no special zones that may charge more or less, and the ticket should cost you around 0.80 €. Keep in mind that it will be pretty crowded during peak hours (8am-11am and 5pm-8pm), so you would want to avoid the metro during that time. Booking transportation during those hours would be a very good idea. There are many nice places in the suburbs of St. Petersburg such as Petergoff, Pavlovsk, and Pushkin which are not accessible by metro. A couple of local trains and buses go to these places but unfortunately they are not organized and can be very complicated for non-locals. If you do plan on going to any location outside of the center, booking transportation would be much faster and convenient for you.
The most pleasant time to visit St. Petersburg would be between May and September, during which the temperature is between 15C to 25C, much warmer than the rest of the year. Being that St. Petersburg is in the northern hemisphere, the days are much longer during spring and summer. But if you do plan your trip during these perfect months, you should still keep in mind that it is a very northern city which sits on the Finnish Gulf, so the weather is quite unpredictable and most of the time rainy. So when you travel to St. Petersburg, you should absolutely bring an umbrella or waterproof jacket and water resistant boots. It would also be smart to bring a warm sweater, a jacket, or windbreaker. Even in the summers the temperature could drop considerably low during the night with a high chance of wind, which will make it feel much colder than normal.
The local currency in Russia is the Ruble. It is always good to have some cash on you while travelling, as in many places they do not accept credit cards. You can exchange money in the airport, at the hotel you are staying in, or at an ATM where cash can be withdrawn directly in rubles. Never exchange money on the street because you will always get a bad exchange rate and in some cases receive counterfeit bills.
It is not a good idea to drink the tap water during your stay in Russia. In most of the flats people use special filters or purifiers to clean the water, or you can just boil the water before drinking it. If you are staying in a hotel the best solution would be to buy bottled water. Using the water for cleaning or showering is safe, and the amount you consume when brushing your teeth is not enough to be harmful.
There are some special dress requirements you will need to be aware of if you visit an Orthodox church. For women it is preferable to wear a dress (not too short or tightly fit). In the case of wearing pants, both men and women, should wear dress pants (no jeans or leggings). The men should avoid entering a church in shorts or any type of sporting outfits. Also women should have their hair covered, and men should remove their hats or any type of head cover.
And the last important thing to keep in mind is that between May 5th and November 20th the bridges in St. Petersburg are drawn night. It is a very marvelous sight that you don’t want to miss! This event takes place right in the historical center of the city where hundreds of people gather to see the spectacularly illuminated bridges being drawn to make way for passing ships. Be aware that the bridges go up at 1:30am and do not come back down until 5:00am. So do not get too mesmerized, because if you're in the center once the bridges are drawn you could be stuck there until they come back down. Or you could use the long way by taking a newly constructed motorway that can get you out of the center. So you can easily take a taxi to bring you back to the other side, keeping in mind that they will have to go all the way around the city in order to cross the river. So make sure when you go to see this fascinating spectacle, you always know which side of the river you are on. Still have questions...? Book our local professionals from our Team. They will help you make your journey stressless and secure. What about a personal tour guide in St. Petersburg? Book now!