Advices and information for visitors of St. Petersburg

First steps

And so, you are in Saint Petersburg, Peter the Great’s city, the city of White Nights, the cradle of three revolutions, the cultural capital of Russia, the birthplace of the current president…

Don’t be afraid to ask passers-by for directions. They are usually very helpful.

Advice: in St. Petersburg hailing down private cars is common, and much cheaper than hailing a cab. You can haggle till you drop.

Public Transport

The public transport system in St. Petersburg comprises buses, trolleybuses, trams, minibuses (marshroutki) and, of course, the metro.


The St. Petersburg Metro has 5 lines, each designated by a number and colour on maps. Station opening times vary within the hours of 5:30 – 6:00 and 00:00 – 00:45.

The entrances to metro stations are indicated by a blue, illuminated letter ‘M’.

To use the metro you need to purchase a token (35 roubles) or a smart-card for any number of journeys. A smart-card may be more economical for many trips over a fixed period. There are police stations and automatic teller machines (ATM) at every station.


St. Petersburg taxis have a distinguishing sign on their roofs – black chequers on a yellow background. You can sit next to the driver or in the back seat. It is advisable to negotiate the cost of the fare in advance. Some taxis charge a minimum ride fee.

Car hire

There are many car hire firms in St. Petersburg , offering services both with or without driver. To hire a car you need your local driver’s licence and at least one year’s driving experience. When hiring a car you must pay a deposit and the full cost of hire. Practically all firms accept major credit cards. The car is supplied with a full tank of petrol and should be returned the same. If the tank is not full, you will have to pay double the coast for the extra petrol than if you had filled it up at a petrol station yourself.

It is worth making a special note on traffic in the city centre. The roads are very congested, especially during rush hours. A distinguishing feature to St. Petersburg ’s drivers in traffic jams is their lack of self - control in expressing themselves and a certain amount of roughness in their mode of driving. In this situation, traffic lights are sometimes viewed as mere recommendations and few give way to others. If you don’t have the right skills you could get struck at an intersection for ages, wearing away your nerves, as even a scratch on the bumper will cost you money.

Our advice: use the metro or public transport in the city centre. It is only worth taking a car if you are headed out of town, and not always then. It is often more convenient to visit locales such as Pushkin, Pavlovsk and Peterhof on a bus tour.

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Currency Exchange

The monetary unit of Russia is the rouble. One rouble is equal to 100 kopecks. Banknotes with denominations of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10 roubles, as well as 5, 10, 50 kopeck coins are in circulation. There are many currency exchanges in the city, and make sure you count the money you receive carefully.

Don’t exchange currency with strangers, even if they offer you a very good exchange rate!

Automatic Teller Machines

There are many ATMs in the city. You can find them at every metro station, in banks and in large shopping centers.


There are a large number of shops, boutiques and shopping centers in St. Petersburg, offering well-known European and international brands. Of course, many tourists are interested in buying souvenirs and presents for friends and relatives. Remember that credit cards are not accepted everywhere and you can always pay in cash.

Advice: If you say the worlds ‘cash’ you can negotiate for a discount!

Safety Rules

In Saint Petersburg , as in any large city, there is street crime. Therefore be especially careful in crowded streets and on packed public transport (buses, metro). Keep your bag in front of you or, better still, tightly under your arm. Keep your wallet in an inside pocket of your clothes and make sure you carry a copy of your passport, visa and tickets. Don’t carry the documents themselves. Don’t hang bags from the backs of chairs in cafes.

Always keep them in sight.

If, however, your bag, wallet, or anything else is stolen:

1. Check exactly what has been stolen.

2. If your credit card has gone, cancel the card. Telephone the issuing bank immediately.

3. If your passport and tickets have been stolen, find a Russian speaker to help. Go to the local police station in the area where your documents were lost and write your statement. Remember that it is easier to replace documents if you have a police statement confirming that you have not simply misplaced them.

4. To get any help or advise for foreigners please call tourist helpline 300-33-33.

5. If your visa or migration card has been taken, contact the consulate

6. In all cases of difficulty you can contact your hotel reception desk or your tour representative.

Advice: Make copies of your documents, tickets and credit cards before your journey.

Keep them separately from the originals. Note down the telephone numbers of your bank in case you need to cancel your cards.

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