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The city has 1 airport with two far separated terminals: Domestic Pulkovo 1 and International Pulkovo 2. They are located 18 and 17 km away from downtown.
There are many Western airlines that have service directly to St. Petersburg including British Air, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, Air France, LOT (Polish Air), Finnair, Austrian Air, and more. All of the above mentioned airlines have offices in the city to assist you. Many travellers will fly through Moscow and make connecting flights through Aeroflot, Pulkovo or Transaero, three Russian airlines that service the St. Petersburg - Moscow route. One way tickets are about $80 on these flights currently and the flights last one hour.
To get to the city from Pulkovo 2 International Airport:
It is possible to take public transportation from the airport to the City Center. Unfortunately, the metro line does not run all the way to the airport. Bus #13 and mini-van number 159 both will take travelers from the airport to Metro Station Moskovskaya. The mini-van during day-time and early evening hours will extend all the way to the Moscow Train Station on Nevsky Prospect in the Center. The bus costs 7 - 10 rubles, and the mini-van costs 15 - 25. The mini-van may charge you for an extra seat if your luggage prevents another paid passenger.
Most travelers still prefer to take cars rather than overcrowded and slow public transportation. Usual fees for a taxi from the airport is from $40-50. There is a monopoly at the airport in regards to taxi services, You will not find regular taxis at the airport, and airport taxi-drivers know that foreigner's have little choice in taxi services, so the price is kept high.
I can provide you an airport transfer for 25 EUROS (up to three persons with luggage). Either my assistant Faina (see photo to right) or myself (left) will meet you with a sign with your name on it. We also have a mini-van and driver available if your group is larger than 3 or if you have an excessive amount of luggage. The cost for mini-van is 40 EUROS.
St. Petersburg has 5 railway stations:Moscow station (Moscow, the far north, Crimea, the Caucasus, Georgia, Central Asia; suburban lines South-East)
Finland Station: (Helsinki, Vyborg and suburban lines North)
Vitebsk Station (Smolensk, Belarus, Kiev, Odessa and Moldova; Pushkin, Pavlovsk and suburban lines South)
Warsaw Station (Baltic states, Pskov, Lviv (Lvov) and Eastern Europe)
Baltic Station (Peterhof, Lomonosov and suburban lines West)
Of the more useful train services available in St. Petersburg one should mention St. Petersburg - Moscow overnight sleeper trains and the St Petersburg - Helsinki service.
The St. Petersburg - Helsinki railway line is served by two trains: the Russian-managed # 33/34 "Repin" and the Finnish-managed # 35/36 "Sibelius". Jorney time is about 6.30 hours. Tickets of the 2nd class (one way) cost 284 FM (about 43 USD). You can buy tickets easily at the train station of Helsinki, there are seats always.
Traveling from Moscow by train is easy. There are some very comfortable and good trains, the best are famous Red Arrow, The Express of Nicolas, Express and Aurora, etc. The carriages of first class are very comfortable, there are compartments with beds for 2 persons ("SV") and 4 persons. The fare includes linen, tea and coffee, lunch-box. Also there is a special restaurant-carriage in the train. You only sleep one night in the train, the trip is about 8 hours, and Aurora is a daily train, it takes 6 hours, but you arrive very late at night. The both railway-stations are in the center of the Moscow and St. Petersburg. In St. Petersburg, trains for Moscow leave from the Moskovski Vokzal, the Moscow station; in Moscow, trains for St.-Petersburg leave from the Leningradski Vokzal, the Leningrad station. The train tickets cost from 20 till 55$ (one way). Airplane tickets from Moscow to St. Petersburg cost about 60$.
Buses (Coaches): there are buses to St. Petersburg from Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki and other Finnish towns.
Ferry: unfortunately now there are no regular ferry services from Helsinki, Tallinn or Stokholm.
The network of public transportation in St. Petersburg is quite extensive and presented by Metro (underground, subway), buses, trolleybuses, trams, minibuses and taxis.
Metro: St. Petersburg's metro is perhaps not as impressive and monumental as the one in Moscow, yet it looks more impressive than most other subways and undergrounds of the world. It is also the deepest subway in the world. Normally trains arrive every 2-4 minutes. The stations open at about 5:45 am. and close between midnight and 0:30 am. You can transfer from one line to the other until 0:15 am. St. Petersburg's metro has four lines. The cost of trip in metro is 5 rubles. You can buy a card for 10-20 tirps or metal tokens. When there are rush hours 8.00-9.00, 17.00-19.00 metro is really overcrowded so you better avoid it. See: Map of the Metro.
Other public transport: The cost of the trip in regular bus, trolleybus or tram is 4 roubles and you should pay for your ticket in cash to a conductor on board. They can be overcrowded especially in "rush hours" because a lot of people (older people, etc.) travel for free. Also there are vans or minibuses, which are called "marshrutniye taksi" or "marshrutki", they have numbers and route written (in Russian). They are much more comfortable and you always have a seat. If you see an approaching minibus just wave it down like a taxi. You will be charged 5-10 rubles when you board a van, then just tell the drived, where you want him to stop and drop you off.
Cars and taxis
There are some companies providing cars for rent, and it is expensive. I'd recommend you to rent a car with driver to avoide troubles because the road situation is very different from Europe and USA and you are not familiar with it. I also can provide you a car or minivan with driver if you need it.
There are some types of taxis: official taxis, private taxis, and private cars. All are called taxis. Official (and private) taxis can be identified by a small green light on the windshield, a lot of them are yellow "Volga" cars. Many private cars also stop to pick up passengers to earn some money, often by drivers going to work or on business. Taking private cars for taxis, however, can be risky and is only for the people know some Russian. Never get into cars already occupied by two people. To hail a taxi that looks OK, hold out your arm, palm down slightly tilted down. Tell or show the driver the address (written in Russian) where you are going and ask the price. It will often be higher than normal if you are not Russian. You always should discuss the price before your trip. You can often bring the price down if you say that it is too much and begin to walk away. There will usually be another taxi or private car. Unless, of course, it is 2 a.m. and pouring rain. The market works here. For a lower price, negotiate in Russian and pay in roubles. Prices are low enough, so it is a good way of transporting - usually it costs around 100 roubles (3$) to get from the outskirts of city to the center and it's around 40 roubles (1,3$) to move around the center. For foreigners the standard rate in the front of hotels is around $10-15 to most places, and for longer trips, such as to or from the airport it may cost as much as $30-40. Ruble taxis can be found if you walk some distance from a hotel.
There are many bridges in St.Petersburg and the largest ones across Neva river are lifted during navigation period (may-november) at the following times (a.m.)
Volodarskiy 2.00 - 3.45 and 4.25 - 5.45
Alexandra Nevskogo 2.35 - 4.50
Bol'sheokhtinskiy 1.25 - 5.05
Liteiny 2.10 - 4.35
Troitskiy 2.00 - 4.40
Dvortsovy 1.55 - 3.05 and 3.15 - 4.45
Leytenanta Shmidta 1.55 - 4.50
Birzhevoy 2.25 - 3.20 and 3.40 - 4.40
Tuchkov 2.20 - 3.10 and 3.40 - 4.40
Sampsoniyevskiy 2.10 - 2.45 and 3.20 - 4.25
Grenaderskiy 2.45 - 3.45 and 4.20 - 4.50
Kantemirovskiy 2.45 - 3.45 and 4.20 - 4.50
If you go to the other side of Neva from your accommodation at night, you should plan your trip and time to go back according to the bridge timetable, because when the bridges are lifted, there is no way to cross the river until the bridges lower.