Saint Petersburg

For the city in Florida, see Saint Petersburg (Florida)
The Bronze Horseman, a.k.a. Peter the Great

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петерб́ург Sankt-Peterburg), known as Petrograd in 1914-1924 and Leningrad in 1924-1991, is the second largest city of Russia, with 5 million inhabitants, and the former capital of the Russian Empire. Founded in 1703, it is not ancient, but its historical cityscape is remarkably well-preserved. The center of Saint Petersburg occupies numerous islands of the Neva River delta, divided by waterways and connected by huge drawbridges. Since 1991 it and some historical suburbs, including Peterhof, have been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site . It is home to one of the world's largest museums of art, the Hermitage. Many Russians know the city as Piter (Питер), a familiar diminutive of Saint Petersburg.

Districts

Map of St Petersburg's districts
Center
Situated between the Neva in the north and the Obvodny Canal in the south and crossed by the Fontanka and Moika rivers, this area has hosted the center of Saint Petersburg since the 1730s. It includes the Hermitage Museum and the main avenue of the city, Nevsky Prospekt, and is full of architectural monuments of the late 18th-19th centuries.
Vasilievsky Island
Briefly contemplated as the city center around the 1720s and hosting the seaport from the 1730s through the mid-19th century, the eastern part of the Vasilievsky Island has long been the center of the city's academic life. Many examples of the 18th century architecture as well as the famous early 19th-century ensemble of the Spit of the Vasilievsky Island are there. The more western parts have been gradually developed since 1850.
Petrograd Side
It hosts the site where the city was founded in 1703 and includes the Peter and Paul Fortress dating back to the first half of the 18th century, but the rest of the borough was mostly built over in the late 19th-early 20th century and is rich in notable architectural monuments of that period. The islands of its northwestern part have been a recreational area covered mostly by parks, villas and sports facilities.
Northern Saint Petersburg
Mostly an urban commuter area of monotonous and often ugly Soviet-era apartment blocks. There are some notable landmarks scattered across it, such as the Academy of Forestry with its park, Military Medical Acedemy, Polytechnical University and Buddhist Datsan, particularly in the quarters closer to the central boroughs, but otherwise there is little to see there. It hosts the Finlyandsky Train Station.
Southern Saint Petersburg
Underestimated by most visitors, this area boasts gorgeous industrial architecture and magnificent Stalinist buildings. A former industrial borough, it was the place of strikes preceding the revolution of 1917, and the scene of the siege of Leningrad during WWII. Many attractions which in other cities would qualify as "must-see", such as the Narva Triumphal Arch, Chesme Church and Pulkovo Observatory, are scattered across it, particularly in the quarters closer to the central boroughs. In the 1930s the Soviet authorities planned to move the city center to the south.
Right Bank
Very little visited, this area hosts historical gunpowder factories, a few beautiful churches and parks, the Ice Palace hockey arena and the Ladozhsky Train Station.

Understand

History

Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 on the Neva river, amidst the land he had just conquered from Sweden, outside the area populated then by the Russian people. Pre-planned rather than spontaneous almost from the very beginning, the city, called by Peter "my window on Europe", was designed to look European rather than Russian, and many European architects were invited to work here. As the capital of the Russian Empire from the early 18th century to the early 20th century, the city grew steadily, saw many crucial events of the Russian history, and was a major cultural center. Many world-famous artists, scientists, writers and composers, such as Mendeleev, Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky, lived and worked here.

In 1917 the Russian Revolution started. The significance of Saint Petersburg has declined somewhat after the transfer of the Russian capital to Moscow in 1918, but this allowed its cityscape to remain largely intact to this day. During World War II, the city was besieged by the Wehrmacht for 872 days, resulting in more than a million of civilian losses, mainly from starvation.

The city has undergone several name changes since its founding. Due to the German origins of the name "Saint Petersburg", its name was changed to the more Russian-sounding "Petrograd" in 1914 in the wake of World War I. Subsequently, its name was changed to "Leningrad" in honour of the founding leader of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. It was only in 1991, after the breakup of the Soviet Union that the original name was restored, though the surrounding area remains known as the Leningrad Oblast.

Saint Petersburg has almost always been, or at least tried to be a city with strong foreign connections, and this is where its authenticity lies. Don't expect it to be overly indigenous. Matryoshkas and other such souvenirs popular among foreigners have very little to do with its authentic life.

Language

On Nevsky Prospekt you don't need to know the Cyrillic alphabet to read the street signs. Nevertheless, you need a magnifying glass.

The language spoken in Saint Petersburg is Russian, as in most parts of Russia. English is usually taught in schools and universities, so younger people are supposed to understand it to some extent, but the chance of finding anybody who is fluent in English on the streets is, though better than elsewhere in Russia except Moscow, still not that great. Average people will probably be able to point out a direction, but don't expect much more. The signs and labels in most places, especially off the beaten path, are still in Russian only, with a notable exceptions of metro (subway) and street signs in the city centre. It may be a good idea to get familiar with the Russian Cyrillic alphabet before the travel, as this is easy and lets you recognize street names and so on.

There is a local weekly English-language newspaper, The St. Petersburg Times.

Saint Petersburg is nicknamed the 'Venice of the North'

Climate

The city's position at 60°N makes for huge seasonal variation in day length. Days are less than 6 hours long at the end of December, but it never gets darker than twilight during the White Nights season in June. Not only are the days very short in late autumn and early winter, but the weather may be overcast for weeks, without a hint of blue sky, which may feel depressing. The driest season with least precipitation is early spring. July and August are usually the rainiest months, though the difference is usually not big enough to worry about. But if you care about this, it is a good idea to have an umbrella or raincoat handy.

Winter: snowstorms

In November–March there are hardly any tourists—even domestic tourists—so you won't see the barest hint of the long lines of the summer at the Hermitage. Saint Petersburg's neoclassical streets are also simply gorgeous in the snow. Temperatures can range from relatively mild, slightly above freezing point, to bitterly cold. From time to time it may get well below the averages, to -25°C (-13F) and below, often with high humidity and wind, so be prepared to dress warmly. Most major tourist attractions (except fountains and all sorts of water transport, of course) are still open and some hotels offer lower prices during this time.

Snow cover persists on average from November till early April (late April in the countryside), with most of it falling during the first half of the winter. Snow is not always removed from streets in time and may exacerbate traffic problems. The danger of slipping may be high in winter, as the surfaces are often covered with ice. Wear good boots, take small steps, and watch your feet! Also beware of icicles falling from roofs.

The rivers and canals are frozen on average from late November till April. Usually from late April till November the Neva is navigable, and during this season most of its huge bridges are drawn up to let ships pass for several hours each night according to a published schedule. This is a spectacular sight during the White Nights, but also a major transport inconvenience.

In April dog poop emerging from under the snow, the sludge resulting from melting snow and the dust which forms when it dries up may get tiresome.

May 9 is Victory Day (День победы) celebrating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. This day is marked with an opening military parade on Palace Square, directly in front of the Hermitage, visiting various war monuments, giving flowers to war veterans who are dressed in full military outfits, and an evening parade down Nevsky Prospekt which includes survivors of the Siege of Leningrad.

Summer: White Nights

June is peak tourist season during the famous White Nights (roughly 11 June–2 July), when the sun sets only for a brief period of twilight, and the streets stay alive around the clock. The last ten days of June, during the White Nights Festival of all-day performances, concerts, festivals, and parties, are the busiest time of the season and it can be difficult to reserve accommodation and transport. Book early.

July and August are usually the warmest months. This is a rather northern city, and it rarely gets really hot, but even more modest warmth can be hard to bear in summer because of the high humidity. Rain showers usually come and go throughout this time, so it is always a good idea for one to have an umbrella or rain jacket at all times, even on sunny clear days.

Late September—early October is a lovely time in the city. The temperatures drop to moderate, often with strong winds, and the tourists are all gone. Rain is still common.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) -3.6 -3.3 1.8 8.5 15.6 20.2 22.2 20.2 14.4 8.1 1.8 -1.7
Nightly lows (°C) -8.8 -8.8 -4.2 1.0 6.6 11.8 14.4 13.0 8.1 3.4 -2.1 -6.4
Precipitation (mm) 37 30 34 33 37 57 77 80 69 66 55 50

Average of Saint Petersburg

Fountains work from May through mid-September. Most trees are in leaf from May through October.

When deciding on the time of your visit, keep in mind the days of school holidays, when museums and other similar venues can become considerably more crowded. School holidays happen in early November, the first half of January and late March. Moreover, general holidays are held around the New Year into early January, as well as in early May.

Keep in mind that New Years is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. Reserving a hotel room is usually not a problem during this time, but be prepared for very large crowds and noisy celebrations.

View down Nevsky Prospect

Get in

Russian visa requirements are complex but should not be feared. See the Get In section of the article on Russia for information. A visa is not required for a trip of less than 72 hours if you arrive in St. Petersburg by ferry or by cruise liner, provided you have a pre-arranged program of excursions by an approved local company.

By plane

Pulkovo Airport

To travel between the airport and the city

By train

Tickets can be bought at the train stations or online. Long distance train tickets are generally more expensive if bought close to the date of travel.

There are five principal train stations in Saint Petersburg:

From Finland

VR Group operates high-speed Allegro trains running at up to 220 km/h between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg (3.5 hours, 4 per day, €59-79 for 2nd class). Tickets can be purchased from the VR Group website, via some travel agencies, and at major VR train stations in Finland. Border-crossing formalities start immediately after departure from Helsinki. On-board currency exchange is available.

From Moscow

Russian train tickets can be bought online. See Russia#By train 2 for more details on traveling in Russia by train. Trains usually are full and you will pay a premium for booking only a day or two in advance.

Sapsan high-speed trains (4-5 hours, 6 per day, 2,300-3,500 руб for 2nd class if bought several days in advance) make travel between downtown Saint Petersburg and downtown Moscow very easy. Some trains make a few stops including Tver. The crew speaks English.

Slow trains (8-10 hours, many per day - some overnight, 800+ руб) can be cheaper. Price and comfort levels vary, with the luxurious private Grand-Express "hotel train" (featuring some compartments with showers!) at the high end, all the way down to budget connections in third-class platzkart cars. Second-class coupe coaches are a good value, with the fare generally under 1,500 руб.

By bus

The cheapest way of reaching Saint Petersburg from neighboring countries is by bus. There are 3 intercity bus stations in Saint Petersburg.

The process of entering Russia by bus is lengthier than when travelling by train or air. Border agents only speak Russian and are sometimes not aware of visa requirements, which leads to delays.

From Finland

From the Baltics and other cities in Europe

Two private bus companies operate overnight routes to/from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as well as to Belarus and the Ukraine. From Riga, you can easily find further connections to most of Western Europe, Central Europe, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. Tickets can be purchased online or at the offices of the bus companies.

By boat

Passenger Port of St. Petersburg “Marine Façade" is the main boat terminal in St. Petersburg, and is where 90% of cruise ships dock. It was built on reclaimed land on the western shore of Vasilyevsky Island at the mouth of the Neva River, 8km west of the city center. With its 7 berths and 4 terminals, Marine Façade is able to handle 7 large cruise ships and more than 15,000 passengers per day. Bus #158 operates between terminal 3 and the Primorskaya (Примо́рская) metro station.

Smaller cruise ships sail up the Neva river and dock at either English Embankment (Англи́йская на́бережная; Angliyskaya Naberezhnaya) or Lieutenant Schmidt Embankment, both of which are closer to the city center.

Popular cruises

If you join a cruise tour of St. Petersburg, then you don't need a Russian visa but you have to stay with the tour. See Russia#Visa free entry by ship.

Nearly all the major cruise lines (Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC, Azamara, etc.) offer itineraries that include stopovers in various cities in Scandinavia as well as Saint Petersburg.

To/from Moscow

River cruises also operate on the inland waterway "Volga-Baltic" which links Moscow, the River Volga, and Lakes Onega, Ladoga and Neva. Popular cruise operators include RechFlot and Stolichnaya Sudokhodnaya Kompania (SSK).

Get around

Traffic

Most means of transportation stop functioning at night. The subway is closed from midnight to 5:45AM, and transfers between lines close (and open) at this time, while the departure of the last (and the first) trains from each station varies slightly. Taxis are always available but are much more expensive at night. Every private vehicle is a potential taxi. Flagging down a vehicle and paying for a ride somewhere is perfectly normal in Russia and quite popular although ill-advised for tourists. Safety is, of course, an issue. As a rule, you should never get in a private cab if it already has passengers inside.

Also, refuse requests from the driver to take on more fares unless you reached your destination; if he insists, ask to stop at a safe-looking place, pay and leave. If the driver stops for gas, step out of the car, along with your belongings, and get some fresh air while he is fueling it. Those traveling alone (men and women) should feel free to wave off any suspicious ride for any reason whatsoever. Gypsy cabs which linger near popular bars and restaurants at night have been known to be especially dangerous, with several instances of druggings and robberies.

At night the city is divided in two by the Neva; all the main bridges are drawn up to allow for boat traffic, except during the winter, when ice makes the river impassable. Remember to make it to your side of the river in time; otherwise, you could find yourself stuck on the wrong side until early morning. One bridge, Volodarsky, closes once per night from around 3:45AM to 4:15AM to permit crossing. Most of others are up between 1:45AM and 5:15AM; see below for details. There is however the tall cable Big Obukhovski bridge (best known by locals as Vantovy most) which is not drawn up, as it is an important part of Saint Petersburg Ring Highway, but it's rather remote from the city center which would multiple the taxi fare several times.

The following table represents a drawn schedule of Saint Petersburg bridges in 2009 (as of 15 April), which may have changed since:

Bridge Drawn (AM)
first second
The bridges over Neva
Volodarsky Bridge 02:00—03:45 04:15—05:45
Finland Railway Bridge 02:20—05:30
Alexander Nevsky Bridge 02:20—05:10
Piter the Great Bridge (former Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge) 02:00—05:00
Liteyny Bridge 01:50—04:40
Trinity Bridge (former Kirov bridge) 01:40—04:50
The bridges over Bolshaya Nevka
Sampsonievsky Bridge 02:10—02:45 03:20—04:25
Grenader Bridge 02:45—03:45 04:20—04:50
Kantemirovsky Bridge 02:45—03:45 04:20—04:50
The bridges over Malaya Neva
Exchange Bridge 02:00—04:55
Tuchkov Bridge 02:00—02:55 03:35—04:55
The bridges over Bolshaya Neva
Palace Bridge 01:25—04:55
Blagoveshchensky Bridge (former Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge) 01:25—02:45 03:10—05:00

By subway

St. Petersburg Metro

Saint Petersburg's metro is the second largest underground railway system in Russia, second only to Moscow. The subway is a cheap and effective way to get around the city, and also a major tourist attraction in itself thanks to the beautiful decorations of the stations. Taking pictures was once prohibited, but amateur photography (without a tripod, etc.) is now allowed. - The trains are fast and run frequently (during rush hour, intervals between trains are 2-2.5 minutes). The metro costs 31 rubles per entry regardless of the distance. Brass tokens (жетон zheton) can be purchased from kiosks at station entrances and vending machines, and it is good to stock up in advance, since queues can be long. - Metro maps can be found in every train car and always have station names in the Latin alphabet. The station names on the platforms are also in the Latin alphabet, and many other signs are in English. Station announcements on the train are only in Russian, but if you listen carefully you will hear the conductor announce the current station name and the next station as the doors are closing. - Stations are deep, and transfers between stations also involve long walks. There is little time saving to be made travelling between adjacent stations in the historic centre. - The Saint Petersburg metro can be unbelievably crowded during rush hour. Avoid traveling during this if not accustomed to big crowds. Be aware of your belongings and expect to have to push your way out upon arrival, or at least to be pushed during the trip. - Metro lines:, , , ,

By tram

A more scenic, but slower, way to see Saint Petersburg is by tram (трамвай). In recent years, due to traffic problems, some tram lines were removed from the centre of the city. They cost 28 rubles and are sold by a conductor sitting in the tram.

By bus or trolleybus

Buses (автобус) and trolleybuses (троллейбус) are cheap (RUB28) and frequent. They cover many areas of the city that the metro doesn't. There is a map for the trolleybuses and trams (text in Russian), but Google Transit also comprehensively shows all the routes making it easy to navigate using the buses with this service.

Trolleybuses are indicated by the letter 'ℳ' ('T' written like turned over Russian 'Ш') on the stops, and diesel buses by the letter 'A'. The two types of buses themselves both show the same route number, but the trolleybus route is frequently shorter, and can vary in some minor respects.

Tickets are sold by a conductor sitting in the bus. Every bus has its own conductor. The conductor will work their way up and down the aisle of a crowded bus, and just handing them the correct change is sufficient. The conductors don't like giving much change, and only speak Russian.

Buses and trolleys on main routes are frequently overcrowded. Buses to suburbs cost 19 or 36 rubles within the territory of St. Peterburg (Zelenogorsk, Lomonosov and others). If you are caught without a valid ticket you will be fined RUB300.

Since July, 1 (2012) night buses have been introduced. They have the same routes as metro has, but the problem of the bridges is not resolved.

By route taxi

Route taxi (маршрутка - marshrutka) is sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere. Taxis are 14-20 seat vans, usually white or yellow, always with a letter K and route number plate (K-28). Often they are small Chinese or Turkish buses. There are no regular stops; you must tell the driver when you want to get out, or wave while on the roadside to stop one. You must pay to the driver at entry, usually RUB20-35. If you cannot reach the driver on your own, pass the money through the other passengers and be ready to pass other's money if you sit close to the driver.

By local train

A commuter train (электричка, elektrichka) may be an option in areas distant from metro stations, such as the airport. Fares are based on travel distance, a ride within city limits should cost under RUB30. Speeds are moderate, but trains may be rare (1-2/h at best). Information available in here.

By bicycle

The city is not bicycle-friendly. There are some designated lanes, but they are rare and don't form a network. Cycling alongside car traffic is very dangerous and cannot be recommended to anybody not used to the local habits of driving. Cycling is a good way to explore the countryside from May to October, though. It is allowed to take your bicycle into the local train (elektrichka) for a small fee, but it is not always easy to find a place for it there, so it is better to avoid weekends (including Friday and holidays) and board the train at the terminus rather than at some intermediate station.

See

The Hermitage Museum
Bridges by night
Church on the Spilled Blood
The fountain in waters of Neva River at the spit of Vasilievsky Island
The Exchange Building and the south Rostral Column
The Kunstkamera

Saint Petersburg is simply put one of the greatest sightseeing cities on earth. No visit can do it justice—you'll have to move here to really be able to see all the sights. Really, budgeting a month of full-time tourism would not be unrealistic. And that's after all dramatic events of the 20th century that took place here! Perhaps no other city outside Italy can compare in sheer volume of beautiful, grand things to see.

As the center of the Russian world for 200 years of the Romanov Dynasty, the city reaped the rewards of Peter the Great's impossibly grandiose and tyrannical vision, and the Empire's extreme inequality. The wealth of the wealthy in Imperial Russia was almost unfathomably extreme, and led to the extreme opulence of the palaces and ecclesiastical buildings throughout the city center, as well as the suburban palaces at Peterhof, Lomonosov, Strelna, Pushkin, and Pavlovsk. The greatest concentration of sights is found within the huge area of the center inside the Obvodny Canal, along the south embankment of Vasilievsky Island, and in the southern half of Petrogradsky Island.

Highlights

So, OK, you don't have months to explore the city—what are the highlights? It's a difficult question to answer. The most obvious destination is the Winter Palace on Palace Square (right by the Admiralty and the Bronze Horseman), which houses the Hermitage Museum, and which was the winter residence of the Romanov Tsars and essentially the center of the Russian Imperial government. The Hermitage Museum is easily one of the top five art museums in the world, but even if you don't care about art, wandering around the enormous palace itself is extremely rewarding. The nineteenth century, whimsical Church on the Spilled Blood nearby is another internationally recognized icon of the city, with a spectacular setting on the Griboedov Canal near the Mikhailovsky Garden, and filled—literally filled—with beautiful mosaics.

Speakings of canals, strolling the palace-lined banks of the Moika, the Fontanka, and the Griboedov Canal in the historic center is a must. During the summer months, you can also enjoy this magnificent architecture from the boat by joining any of the popular (albeit expensive) "channel tours," or opt for a budget boat trip along the Neva river on a so-called riverbus, which is a tiny boat zooming along the river on several routes that are integrated into the system of public transport.

In the same neighborhood, walk down Nevsky Prospekt, which serves as Saint Petersburg's main grand avenue for shops (especially the historic mall of Gostiny Dvor), theaters, and another realm of palaces and cathedrals, most notably the massive Kazan Cathedral. The Kazan Cathedral is functioning, so its easier to visit than the other big cathedrals (no lines, entrance fees, etc.). In the same neighborhood, but off Nevsky, are the Square of the Arts, where you'll find the Russian Museum—an absolute can't-miss for art lovers. The Mariinsky Theater is one of the world's most beautiful performance venues, and you should check it out even if you can't see an opera or ballet performance. Mammoth Saint Isaac's Cathedral, with its impressive balcony views, is another obvious sightseeing destination.

Across the Neva River are more can't-miss sights. The Peter and Paul Fortress on the Petrograd Side is easily one of the city's top three attractions. Aside from its sheer beauty, visit it for its immense history as the final resting place of the Romanov Tsars, as well as its role as a notorious prison for the most high-profile political prisoners under their rule. On Vasilievsky Island, you must at least take a taxi over to the Strelka for the views by the Rostral Columns, across the street from the Old Stock Exchange, home to the Naval Museum, surely one of the best of this kind on the planet. Then take another ride along University Embankment before heading back across the river. Better yet, stop along the way at the weird and wonderful Kunstkamera museum of ethnology, home to Peter the Great's bizarre collection of oddities.

Complicating the desire to see the city's highlights in a short period of time are the magnificent suburban palaces at Peterhof, Pushkin, Lomonosov, Strelna, and Pavlovsk. Any tourists who visit Saint Petersburg and don't see neither the Tsarskoye Selo palaces at Pushkin, nor the Bolshoi Palace at Peterhof, really should be a bit ashamed of themselves. It's like going to Paris and skipping Versailles. Of the three, the Pavlovsk Palace would be the least unforgivable to miss, but if you have the time—go.

Exploring more

More time? The center has a world of more sights. Mars Field with the Memorial to the Revolutionary Fighters and the Eternal Flame, the Circus, wonderfully baroque Smolny Cathedral, Peter the Great's Cabin, the rolling parkland of the Tauride Palace and Gardens, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, the Yusupov Palace where Rasputin was killed (if you get the chance to see a performance in the theater inside, jump on it), the neoclassical bust-filled Summer Gardens, Mikhailovsky Castle, the Marble Palace, the small but powerfully heartrending Museum of the Defense and Blockade of Leningrad, and much, much more. Literary buffs should seek out Dostoevsky's local haunts, including the famous "Murder Walk" from Crime and Punishment, which will take you right from Raskolnikov's apartment to the door of the very apartment where the grisly deed was done.

Head back across the river to the Petrograd Side, past the Peter and Paul Fortress, you'll find the Saint Petersburg Mosque, the really impressive Military Museum, the museum-ship of the Cruiser Aurora, the ever... interesting Museum of Political History, and the Botanical Gardens. On Vasilievsky, the whole Neva embankment is filled with great museums and grand buildings. Especially great places to visit (aside from the aforementioned Naval Museum and Kunstkamera) include the Menshikov Palace (run by the Hermitage), the Twelve Collegia, and the Mining Museum. And don't forget to hunt down the some 3,300 year-old sphinx statues from the Theban Necropolis!

Further afield

Few tourists make it out of the city center, south of the Obvodny Canal and north of Petrogradsky Island, but there are still huge amounts of things to see in the north and south of the city—especially in the south. Southern Saint Petersburg is home to the Narva Triumphal Arch and its sister monument—the Moscow Triumphal Gate, the huge Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad (which honestly should be one of the main attractions in this city, if not for its distance from the center), Moscow Victory Park, and one of the best examples of Stalinist architecture (more interesting than you'd think) at the House of the Soviets, fronted by a very large Lenin statue. The most wonderful sight in southern Saint Petersburg, though, may be the whimsical, candy cane-colored Chesme Church.

The eastern part of the city (colloquially known as the Right bank) is renowned for its nineteenth century industrial architecture in the districts of Okhta and Porokhovye (former gunpowder factories).

Northern Saint Petersburg is a bit less notable, but adventurous travelers can find some things of interest, especially in the old industrial district around the Finliandskii Station, at the Forestry Academy and Piskaryovskoye Memorial Cemetery for the fallen in the Siege of Leningrad.

Do

Events

May 9, Veterans Parade

Opera and Ballet

No trip to St. Petersburg is complete without seeing an opera or ballet performance. The Mariinsky is perhaps the most well-known institution, but it is by no means the only theater in the city. Tickets are sold throughout the city at kiosks and shops called Teatralnaya Kassa, which charge a nominal (usually about RUB20) fee for "insurance," which is theoretically optional. The theater box offices themselves sell tickets directly, too, and usually for the same price. Sometimes blocks of tickets sell out at the kiosks but tickets are still available at the theater, or vice versa, so it is worth checking both places if you have your heart set on a particular performance. It is possible to take not-so-small children into some performances if you take a private box, although you will need to ask when you buy your tickets.

Other Theatres

Circus

Concerts

The music scene in St. Petersburg is diverse, with several classical, jazz, and pop concerts to choose from each week. Tickets are available at the same Teatralnaya Kassa locations as ballet and opera tickets, although tickets to pop concerts - especially US and European stars on tour - sometimes use exclusive distributors. For pop and rock concerts, unless you buy tickets for the dance floor (tanzpol), you are expected to sit quietly in your seat as if you were at a ballet - ushers are vigilant about keeping the audience from standing up, dancing, or cheering (polite applause is allowed, but that's about all).

Several of the ballet and opera theaters above also offer orchestral and recital performances, so those are not repeated below. Also, don't forget the many small clubs where up and coming bands play.

Film

Most cinemas in St. Petersburg show Hollywood films dubbed in Russian. Art cinemas like Dom Kino often show independent American or British movies subtitled in Russian. DVDs of American/European films are also often dubbed. There have been crackdowns on sellers of bootleg DVDs, so it may be difficult or expensive to find DVDs in English these days. There are several DVD stores in the city - often near Metro stations - and it is worth asking about films in English.

Annual Message to Man international documentary, short, and animated films festival takes place in June or July, screening many films in English.

Canal boat tours

A tour of the canals by boat is a great way to see the city in the summer. The typical tour is through the Moika, out to the Neva to see the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Cruiser Aurora, then in through the Fontanka (sometimes as far as the Mariinsky Theater). Tours start at many points along the route and return to their starting point - hawkers for different boat companies abound - and the boats may or may not have a cafe and toilet on board. Almost all tours are in Russian. RUB500-650 seems to be the average price.

Learn

Universities and private schools offer Russian language courses (individual and group tuition).

Buy

There are plenty of ATMs and legit currency exchange booths. ATM and big shops accepts usually following kind of card: Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Electronic and Maestro. Other card (e.g. American Express) accepted rarely. Do not exchange money on the street: the rate won't be any better, and you run a high risk of encountering any of numerous scams.

Small cornerstores are not necessarily more expensive than larger stores. The store at the ferry is surprisingly reasonably priced. Souvenirs there can be bought in roubles, dollars, or euros; however, prices vary depending on the currency used. In general, using euros is cheapest.

Churches often have small souvenir/religious shops with a large variety of items.

The famous place to shop is of course on Nevsky Prospekt in the Center. The streetfront shops there, Passazh, and the historic mall at Gostiny Dvor skew upscale, but there are street markets just off Nevsky, most notably Apraksin Dvor (south on Sadovaya from Gostiny Dvor) where you can get anything on the cheap (especially cheap if you speak Russian).

Eat

Nothing, absolutely nothing, tastes better than hot Russian crepes (bliny/блины, pronounced blee-NYH, or just bleen for one) with caviar, mushrooms, caramel, berries, or what have you with a cup of tea on a cold winter street. Teremok (Теремок) is the street-corner kiosk "chain" for bliny but it now has indoor fast food spots around the city, along with Chainaya Lozhka (Чайная ложка) and U Tyoshi Na Blinakh (У тёщи на блинах).

The other really tasty local offerings for street food/fast food include pirozhki (one: pee-rah-ZHOK, several: pee-razh-KEE), shawarma (шаверма), and pyshki (пышки). Pirozhki are fried buns stuffed usually with beef, vegetables, potatoes, and mushrooms, and are easy enough to find, but not quite as widespread as in Moscow. Shawarma is a decidedly Saint Petersburg phenomenon (i.e., you won't find much of it in other Russian cities), served mostly by Azeris, and is everywhere—in cafes and on the street. Russians swear up and down that the street shawarma is either made of rats or will just make you sick, but by God, the street vendors cook up the most delicious kababs you'll ever find. Pyshki are Russian doughnuts, wonderful with coffee, and are strongly associated with Saint Petersburg. The place to get them in the center is named, naturally, Pyshki, at Ul. Bolshaya Konyushennaya 25.

Saint Michael's Castle

For restaurant dining, offerings are diverse. Forget whatever you've heard about Russian food—it's delicious. A pretty unique place to eat Russian cuisine would be the attractive restaurant on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress. International, Western European, Asian fusion (Russified Chinese food is really good, but requires a culinary dictionary to order), etc. are just as easy to find as Russian, and sushi is very popular. Some of the most exciting food to try comes from the former Soviet Republics. Georgian cooking, despite its obscurity, is one of the world's great cuisines, and should not be missed. The Central Asian (usually Uzbek) restaurants are a lot of fun too.

Drink

Pubs

The city acts as a beer destination for Moscovites visiting St. Pete for business or vacation reasons--hence its pubs frequently have a much wider choice of beers than an average pub in Moscow (not to mention other cities in Russia). St.Petersburg, being the fatherland of the most popular beer in Russia — Baltica (Балтика), is considered the beer capital of the country, while Moscow is more of a Vodka Capital. Baltica, by the way, comes in a large variety of numbers. Numbers 7 and 8 (seem-YORK-uh, vahs-MYOR-kuh) are the most popular: seven is a lager, eight is a Hefeweizen-style wheat beer.

Nightclubs

Saint Petersburgers know how to party. There is a wide and excellent selection of great clubs that will satisfy all tourists looking to spend the night out. The city hosts clubs of all music. Rock, pop, jazz, hip hop/RnB, and a lot more. The most popular trend within music and clubbing in Russia at the moment is house/techno.

Because of the difficulty in operating gay clubs and the social stigma associated with visiting gay clubs, many young men prefer to use gay iPhone applications like Hornet and Scruff to arrange to meet at coffee shops and more discreet locations. This change in technology and the new political issues in St. Petersburg is transforming how gays meet, from nighttime dark watering holes to public straight venues during the day.

Sleep

The best area for a tourist to stay in is generally considered to be near the Nevsky Prospekt Metro. Indeed, one of the nicest hotels in the city (Evropa) is right there. You'll be able to walk to most of the main attractions, and there are tons of restaurants, shops, cafes, clubs, etc. right on Nevsky. Staying off Nevsky along one of the beautiful canals, though, would also be a fabulous idea.

A less expensive option near Nevsky Prospect is Hotel Vera and is one of the few hotels which offers full handicap access for guests.

The Swiss B&B swissSTAR is located in the historical centre of the city, close to metro station "Sennaya Ploshad". swissSTAR has a total of 8 rooms, 5 of which with ensuite bathroom. Accommodation from 40 Euro per night incl. breakfast. Tel. +7 911 929 2793. Email: info@swiss-star.ru.

Connect

For information on using telephones and buying SIM cards in Russia, see Russia#Connect.

The emergency service number is 112.

Wireless internet

Free wifi is available in most hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping centers.

Computer access

There are many computer clubs/internet cafes, usually crowded by kids playing CounterStrike, which also offer cheap internet access.

Stay safe

Corruption

Policemen & bureaucrats. For any Western traveller disturbing the system, permission to visit the country can be refused at the border. (One example was "Your documents are not written in Cyrillic"!) The registration system is good way for some bribing. The average street policeman usually cannot speak any foreign language, but if you look like a tourist, you could be a target for money income source. Don't panic! Always ask for a receipt and the name(s) of the officer(s).

Crime

Saint Petersburg has a somewhat undeserved reputation for being a dangerous city. Things have calmed down since the Wild West (or Wild East) days immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but some common sense is still required.

Take care of money, documents, cameras, mobile phones, and anything of value because of pickpocketing. Especially watch out on the Metro during busy times, as people start pushing at the train doors, and pickpockets are frequent, particularly (but not only) at Gostinyy Dvor Metro Station. When riding the Metro, keep in mind that robbery can be a real threat; you should constantly watch what is going on around you and who is standing very close to you. Nevsky Prospekt and nearby markets are also pickpocket hangouts.

Theft of photo equipment is really a big problem in Saint Petersburg. Photo bags probably won't save your camera—it can be opened in less than 5 seconds; the straps can be slashed with a knife even more quickly. Cameras should be kept in bags slung across the body at all times, with your hands keeping a firm grip on them, and no watches or jewelry should be visible at all. Quite obviously, do not show in public that you have a lot of money. Robberies are not uncommon, and many foreigners have been threatened at gun and knife point. However, foreigners are not targeted specifically, and robbers will attack both foreigners and natives that carelessly reveal their wealth.

By night

As with most other major cities, avoid traveling alone at night, and do not get into altercations with drunks. If traveling at night, it is recommended to stay on the main sidewalks and avoid any dark alleys or yards.

Downtown and western parts of the city are safest. Suburbs like Kupchino, Veteranov and Ligovo are struggling with criminality and poverty. Sennaya should be avoided at night time (if you don't have anything particular to do near the Sennaya subway station, try to avoid it at day time, too).

As a general rule, the farther you are from the city center, the more dangerous it is.

Gangs are a problem, although mafia gang wars are unlikely to affect tourists. Some gangs, however, such as neo-Nazis or angry hooligans, are out looking for problems and commit crimes that can affect tourists. Hatred toward people with darker complexions is not uncommon, and neo-Nazism is a concern. St. Petersburg, and Russia in general, can be regarded as a seriously dangerous destination for tourists of darker complexions so travelling in groups is highly advised.

Saint Petersburg's football club, Zenit Saint Petersburg, is one of the biggest clubs in the country, and has its own band of hooligans. If you decide to visit the football stadium to watch the club play, you should buy tickets to center sectors. If you do not do this and a fight starts, you are likely to get dragged into it by either the hooligans or the police, since both will think you are part of the brawl.

Take special care on Nevsky Prospekt, particularly the area with the city tour buses, a favorite spot of pickpockets and particularly of those after photo equipment. On the bright side, "Nevsky Prospekt" sees little mugging.

Russian driving is wild. Drivers attack their art with an equal blend of aggressiveness and incompetence. Guidelines are lax and rarely followed. As a pedestrian, take great care when crossing the roads, as pedestrian crossings are in 99% of cases ignored (even by police). If you are thinking of driving yourself, bear in mind that the local traffic police are extremely corrupt, even by Russian standards. Pedestrian crossings with a traffic light are quite safe to use, most car drivers will stop.

Bar fights do occur. In the center of the city and around Nevsky Prospekt, they are rare. However, in the suburbs and local cheaper pubs, fights occur almost daily. If you are staying with locals living in these areas, it might be a good idea to avoid these bars. Police are unlikely to show up as they consider fights as small, unimportant, regular and a waste of time, and they will probably laugh at you for calling.

Tourist traps

Gypsy cabs are ubiquitous and a little risky; never take one lingering near bars/clubs where expatriates and tourists congregate.

Saint Petersburg has a relatively big problem with street children who make their living out of stealing. They can be a hassle and can beg you aggressively. Act like any other Russian would: say no, then just ignore them and go away. If they start touching you, be very firm in pushing them away.

Gay travelers must practice extreme caution while staying in Saint Petersburg, as attacks often occur. Many Russian people look upon public demonstrations of homosexuality with undisguised contempt.

Natural hazards

Another subtle danger that can affect your trip is the inevitable effect of winter weather. Poor harvesting of snow and ice is a big problem in city. Caution is advised in snowy winters because of falling ice from roofs, and pedestrians should pay special attention to ice on the streets. Snow on marble is very, very slippery—take small steps and watch your feet!

St. Petersburg regularly experienced floods during its history, sometimes catastrophic. However, the construction of the preventive dam has been completed, and catastrophic floods are unlikely to happen again.

Overall, be warned that if you are used to living in the US and/or Western Europe, Saint Petersburg, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, will seem different, and, at times, a bit intimidating. On the other hand, Russian people are usually friendly, welcoming and interested towards foreigners, and nothing should happen to you unless you put yourself in harm's way. If you don't care about them they don't care about you, and nothing should get in your way of having a great holiday.

Stay healthy

The below private hospitals have English-speaking Russian doctors (very few, if any, hospital staff are expats). Depending on the type of service provided and the terms of one's insurance policy, these hospitals may be able to arrange direct billing with European and American medical insurance companies.

The city's water-system is not ideal because of a number of old pipes and as a result does not provide 100% clean water (too much heavy metals). Some locals boil or also filter tap water before use; you might want to buy it bottled if water quality affects you. It's germ free, though, so brushing your teeth with it is fine—it's just not great for drinking. Cold water is cleaner than hot. No hot water for 3 weeks every summer.

There are numerous public toilets, most of which are attended by a person who will charge about RUB15 for entry. Toilet paper is not always provided. The toilets are typically extremely dirty by Western standards. If you are a Westerner, you can get away with wandering into the Western hotels, which have lovely bathrooms. Just don't ever push your luck with suit-clad martial arts masters guarding the hotel entrances, they are tough as nails if provoked. Many restaurants also allow tourists to use toilet without being a customer.

Cope

The first 24 hours in Saint Petersburg may be a shock to the system. The welcome from immigration officials seems like a hang-over from Communist times- don't expect to be spoken to or even looked at by officials. Flying into Saint Petersburg may seem unusual, with the sight of old concrete tower blocks and factory chimneys. The suburbs of the city are a contrast to those with which you may be familiar. Nevsky Prospekt is the most 'Westernized' street in the city and would be more familiar to Westerners traveling to Saint Petersburg. If you are from a Western country, you will find this either shocking or amusing.

Saint Petersburg is plagued by a number of mosquitoes during the summer, especially in June, as the swampy surroundings of the city give the mosquitoes excellent living conditions. In budget accommodation with few countermeasures against the mosquitoes, this can be a problem at night, putting your well deserved sleep at risk. Less of an issue in the city center, mosquitoes can be much more numerous on the outskirts. They are not dangerous, though, just a nuisance.

Consulates

  •   Angola (Honorary, Почётное консульство Анголы), Shpalernaya ulitsa (Шпалерная улица, ), 36, office 324 ( Chernyshevskaya 0.5km S, entrance from Chernyshevskogo Prospekt),  +7 812 272-0994, fax: +7 812 272-0994. M-F 9:00-17:30.
  •   Armenia (Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Saint-Petersburg, Генеральное консульство Армении, ՀԱՅԱՍՏԱՆԻ ԳԼԽԱՎՈՐ ՀՅՈՒՊԱՏՈՍՈՒԹՅՈՒՆ), Ulitsa Dekabristov (Улица Декабристов), 22, ap. 13 ( Sennaya Ploschad 'Сенная площадь'),  +7 812 571-7236, fax: +7 812 710-6620, e-mail: . Tu-F 10:00-18:00.
  •   Australia (Почётное консульство Австралии), Italianskaya street, 1? ( Nevskiy prospekt 0.9km S),  +7 812 325-7333, +7 812 315-1100, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-18:00. Honorary Consul: Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki,, 11 or 15, +7 812 315 1100 Fax +7 (812) 325 7333 oz@consulteast.com Relationship Scams
  •   Austria, Furshtatskaya ulitsa, 43, room 1 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 275-0502, +7 812 275-0496, +7 812 272-4117, fax: +7 812 275-1170, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-13:00.
  •   Azerbaijan (Генеральное консульство Азербайджана, Azərbaycan Respublikasının Sankt-Peterburq şəhərindəki Baş konsulluğu), 2-ya Sovetskaya ulitsa, 27A ( Ploshchad Vosstaniya 'Площадь Восстания' 0.6km W),  +7 812 717-3991, fax: +7 812 717-3986, e-mail: . M, W, F, 10:00-14:00.
  •   Bangladesh (Почётное консульство Бангладеш, বাংলাদেশের অনারারি কনস্যুলেট), Ulitsa 3-ya liniya (3 линия), 8 (Vasilievsky Island (Васильевского острова), Vasileostrovskaya 'Василеостровская'),  +7 812 328-5538, +7 812 323-9233, +7 812 328-5516. M-F 10:00-18:00.
  •   Belarus (Отделение посольства Белоруссии), Bonch-Bruevicha street (ул.Бонч-Бруевича), 3а ( Chernyshevskaya 1.7km W, further : 22, 22а, 136. or : К15 to stop Tulskaya (Тульская улица)),  +7 812 274-7212, +7 812 275-8130, fax: +7 812 273-4164, e-mail: . M-F 10:00–12:00 & 14:00-15:00.
  •   Belgium (Генеральное консульство Бельгии, Consulate General of Belgium in Saint-Petersburg, Consulaat-generaal van België in Sint-Petersburg, Consulat général de Belgique à Saint-Petersbourg), Sapernyy pereulok (Сапёрный переулок), 11 ( Chernyshevskaya 0,5km N),  +7 812 579-5791, fax: +7 812 579-9501, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-13:00 & 14:00-17:30. Building was formerly used by the Iranian Consulate and Mongolian Consulate. Belgian Consulate since 2008.
  •   Brazil (Honorary Consulate, Почётное консульство Бразилии), Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki, 75 Старо-Петергофский проспект, 19? ( Nevskiy prospekt, tram 41 to stop Rizhskiy prospekt),  +7 812 703-7458, fax: +7 812 326-6677. M-F 9:00-17:00.
  •   Bulgaria, Ryleyev Street(Улица Рылеева), 27 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 273-4018 (common), +7 (812) 273-3134 (consulate), fax: +7 812 272-5718, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-16:00.
  •   Chile (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Чили), Konstantinovsky Avenue (Константиновский проспект), 22A or 9th Line, 34? (Vasilievsky Island),  +7 812 702-1280, fax: +7 812 702-1271.
  •   China (Генеральное консульство Китая), Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboedova (Набережная канала Грибоедова), 134 ( Sennaya ploshchad' 1,5km NE; : 16 to stop 'Садовая улица/ Лермонтовский проспект', : К7, К154, К195, К212 to stop 'Лермонтовский проспект'),  +7 812 714-7670, +7 812 713-7605, fax: +7 812 714-7958.
  •   Cyprus (Генеральное консульство Кипра), Furshtatskaya street (Фурштатская улица), 27 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 380-7800, fax: +7 812 380-7900, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-17:00.
  •   Czech Republic (Генеральное консульство Чехии), Tverskaya street (Тверская улица), 5 ( Chernyshevskaya 1,3km W),  +7 812 271-0459, fax: +7 812 271-4615, e-mail: . M-Th 13:30-16:00; F 13:30-15:00.
  •   Denmark (Consulate-General of Denmark in Saint Petersburg, Королевское Генеральное Консульство Дании в Санкт-Петербурге, Danske Generalkonsulat i Sankt Petersborg), Bolshaya Alleya (Большая аллея), 13 ( Chyornaya rechka, further 40 or К46, К76, К98, К127, К252, К298, К321, К346, К690 to stop 'Kamennoostrovskiy prospekt'),  +7 812 703-3900, fax: +7 812 703-3529, e-mail: . M-Th 9:15-16:30; F 09:15-15:30.
  •   Estonia (Генеральное консульство Эстонии), Bolshaya Monetnaya street (Большая Монетная улица), 14 ( Petrogradskaya 'Петроградская' 0.6km N , Gorkovskaya 0.7km S),  +7 812 702-0924, +7 812 702-0920, fax: +7 812 702-0927, e-mail: . M-F 10:30-13:00.
  •   Finland (Consulate-General of Finland in Saint Petersburg, Генеральное консульство Финляндии в Санкт-Петербурге, Suomen pääkonsulaatti Pietari), Preobrazhenskaya Square (Преображенская пл.), 4 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 331-7603 (visa issues 10AM-12 noon), +7 (812) 331-7600 (stay permit issues 9AM-10AM), fax: +7 812 331-7601, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-15:30.
  •   France (Consulate-General of France in Saint Petersburg, Генеральное Консульство Франции в Санкт-Петербурге, General'noe Konsul'stvo frantsii v Sankt-Peterburge, Consulat Général de France à Saint-Pétersbourg), Nevskiy prospekt (Невский проспект), 12 ( Nevskiy prospekt or Admiralteyskaya),  +7 812 332-2270 14:00-17:00, fax: +7 812 332-2290, e-mail: . M-F 9:30-12:30.
  •   Germany (немецкого посольства, Generalkonsulat Sankt Petersburg), Furshtatskaya ulitsa (Konsulstvo Sankt-Peterburg 3647.jpg), 39 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 320-2400, fax: +7 812 327 3117, e-mail: . 10:00-12:00.
  •   Greece (Генеральное консульство Греции, Γενικό Προξενείο Αγίας Πετρούπολης), Chernyshevskogo Prospekt, 17 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 334-3586, fax: +7 812 2728747, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-13:00. Emergency Tel: +7 921 9425934
  •   Guatemala (Honorary Consulate, Почётное консульство Гватемалы), Ulitsa Egorova (Улица Егорова), 18 ( Tekhnologichesky Institut 'Технологический институт' 0.5km).
  •   Hungary (Генеральное консульство Венгрии, Magyarország Főkonzulátusa), Marata Street (ул. Марата), 15 ( Dostoevskaya, Vladimirskaya 0.4km W, Mayakovskaya 0.4km E Ploshchad' Vosstaniya 0.4km NE),  +7 812 312-6458, +7 (812) 312-6753, +7 (812) 312-9200, +7 (812) 314-5805 (visa issues), fax: +7 495 312-6432, e-mail: . Tu, W, F, 10:00-12:00.
  •   Iceland (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Исландии), Ulitsa Telmana (Улица Тельмана), 24 ( Lomonosovskaya 'Ломоносовская' 1,5km SW, Ulitsa Dybenko 'Улица Дыбенко' 2,1km NE, tram 7, 27 to stop 'Улица Тельмана'),  +7 812 326-8580, +7 812 326-8585, fax: +7 495 326-8588, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-18:00.
  •   India, Ulitsa Ryleeva(), 35 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 6407222, 27219-88, 579-3002, fax: +7 812 6407221, e-mail: . M-F 9:30-18:00.
  •   Indonesia (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Индонезии), Kamennoostrovsky prospekt, 15 ( Gorkovskaya 'Горьковская' 0.6km S or Petrogradskaya 'Петроградская' 0.7km NW),  +7 812 237-0883, fax: +7 812 237-0883. M, Tu, W, F 10:00-16:00.
  •   Ireland (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Ирландии), Ul. Kuznetsovskaya (Кузнецовская улица), 30А. ( Park Pobedy 'Парк Победы' 0.7km S or Elektrosila 'Электросила' 0.8km N),  +7 812 326-9057, +7 812 937-0233, fax: +7 812 326-9050, e-mail: .
  •   Italy (Consolato Generale d’Italia a San Pietroburgo, Генеральное консульство Италии), Teatralnaya ploshchad (Театральная площадь), 10 ( Sennaya ploshchad 0.9km E, :2, 3, 6, 22, 27, 70, 100 or : К1, К2, К62, К124, К154, К186, К350 to stop 'Театральная площадь'),  +7 812 312-3217, +7 812 312-3106, +7 812 718-8095, fax: +7 812 312-2896, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-13:00.
  •   Japan (Consulate-General of Japan in Saint Petersburg, Генеральное консульство Японии в Санкт-Петербурге, 在サンクトペテルブルク日本国総領事館), Naberezhnaya Moyki (Набережная реки Мойки), 29 ( Admiralteyskaya 0.7km SW, Nevskiy Prospekt 0.9km SE),  +7 812 314-1434, fax: +7 812 710-6970, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-18:00. - The building was constructed in 1851 for Aleksey Lobanov-Rostovsky, with reconstructions and extensions in 1868 and 1875. - The decision to open a consulate-general in Leningrad, as it was then named, was taken by the Japanese cabinet following a bill passed in the Diet.
  •   Kazakhstan (Honourary Consulate, Генеральное консульство Казахстана), Vilenskiy pereulok (Виленский переулок), 15? or Galernaya street?, 11 ( Chernyshevskaya 0.5km NW),  +7 812 312-0987, e-mail: .
  •   Kyrgyzstan (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Киргизии), Suvorovsky pr., 40 office 18 ? Невский проспект,.132 ? ( Ploshchad' Vosstaniya),  +7 812 400-2280.
  •   Latvia (Генеральное консульство Латвии,), 11-ya Liniya Vasilyevskovo Ostrova (10 линия Васильевского острова), 11 (Vasilievsky Island, Vasileostrovskaya 'Василеостровская' 0.5km N),  +7 812 336-3454, fax: +7 812 336-3452, e-mail: . M-F 8:30-17:00. Other email: consulate.peterburg@mfa.gov.lv
  •   Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Generalinis Konsulatas Sankt Peterburge, Генеральное консульство Литвы), Ul. Ryleyeva (Улица Рылеева), 37 ( Chernyshevskaya; Next to India),  +7 812 327-3167, fax: +7 812 327-2615, e-mail: . M-F 9:00-16:00. Extra phone:+7 812 327-0230, visas 327-26-81 (3PM to 6PM)
  •   Luxembourg (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Люксембурга), Nevsky Prospekt, 58? or Teatralnaya square,1?,  +7 812 718-3450, fax: +7 812 326 2190, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-18:00. Extra phones:+7 812 718-3451, 311-1219
  •   Malta (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Мальты), Ulitsa 8-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya (8-я Красноармейская улица), 6A/5 ( Tekhnologicheskiy Institut 0.8km E, : 16 to stop 'Советский переулок'),  +7 812 449-4780, fax: +7 812 449-4780. M-F 10:00-17:00. Extra phone:+7 812 449-4781
  •   Netherlands (Consulaat-Generaal van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in Sint-Petersburg, Генеральное Консульство Нидерландов), Naberezhnaya Moyki, 11 ( Nevskiy prospekt),  +7 812 334-0200, fax: +7 812 334-0225, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-12:30. Same bldg. Australia
  •   Norway (Generalkonsulatet i St.Petersburg, Генеральное консульство Норвегии), Nevsky Prospekt (Невский проспект), 25 ( Nevskiy prospekt 'Невский проспект'. : 3, 7, 22, 24, 27, 191; : 1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 22),  +7 812 336-6420, +7 (812) 336-6423 (visa service), fax: +7 812 336-6421, visa service - (812) 336-6422, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-12:00.
  •   Pakistan (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Пакистан), Vyborgskaya naberezhnaya (Выборгская набережная), ~27 ( Vyborgskaya 'Выборгская' 0.7km NE),  +7 812 336-9239, fax: +7 812 336-9240. M-F 10:00-17:00.
  •   Peru (Почётное консульство Перу), Smolnyy prospekt,( Смольный проспект), 6 ( Chernyshevskaya 1.9km W, further : 22, 22а, 136. or : К15 to stop Tulskaya (Тульская улица). Or from anywhere to stop 'Тульская улица/Улица Бонч-Бруевича' by : 5, 11, 15).
  •   Philippines (=Honourary Consulate, Почётное генеральное консульство Филиппин), Bolshoy Prospekt, 103; Vasilievsky Island, (Большой проспект, Васильевского острова) ( Primorskaya 'Приморская' 2km),  +7 812 326-1355, fax: +7 812 326-1357.
  •   Poland (Konsulat Generalny RP w Sankt Petersburgu, Генеральное консульство Польши), 5th Sovetskaya street (5-я Советская улица), 14 ( Ploshchad' Vosstaniya 0.7km SW),  +7 812 336-3140, fax: +7 812 274-4318, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-13:00. More phones:+7 812 336-3141, +7 812 274-4314
  •   Romania (Генеральное консульство Румынии), Gorokhovaya ulitsa (Гороховая улица), 4 ( Nevskiy prospekt 'Невский проспект'),  +7 812 312-6141. M, Tu, Th, F 11:00-16:00.
  •   Senegal (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Сенегала), Prospekt Energitikov (проспект Энергетиков), 6 ( Ladozhskaya 0.3km S),  +7 812 528-0770, fax: +7 812 528-0770, e-mail: .
  •   Slovakia (Генеральное консульство Словакии), Orbeli street (Улица Орбели), 21 building 2,  +7 812 244-3666, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-15:00.
  •   Slovenia (Honourary Consulate), pereulok Antonenko, 6-а, office 208? ulitsa 7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya, 25/14?,  +7 812 314-4185. M 15:00- 17:00, F 12:30-14:00.
  •   South Korea (주 상트페테르부르크 대한민국 총영사관, Генеральное консульство Республики Корея), Nekrasova street (Улица Некрасова), 32-а ( Chernyshevskaya 0.7km N),  +7 812 448-1909.
  •   Spain (Consulado de España en San Petersburgo, Генеральное консульство Испании), Furshtatskaya street(Фурштатская улица), 9 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 327-3634, fax: +7 812 327-3634, e-mail: . M-F 10:00-17:00.
  •   Sri Lanka (Honourary Consulate), 17th Line, 60? (17-я линия, 60) (Vasilievsky Island,),  +7 812 305-0185. M-F 11:00-18:00.
  •   Sweden Генеральное консульство Швеции, Malaya Konyushennaya street (Малая Конюшенная улица), 1/3 ( Nevskiy Prospekt 0.5km SE),  +7 812 329-1430, fax: +7 812 329-1450, e-mail: .
  •   Switzerland alt=Генеральное консульство Швейцарии, Prospekt Chernyshevskogo (Проспект Чернышевского), 17 (Vasilievsky Island, Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 327-0817, fax: +7 812 327-0829, e-mail: . M-Th 9:00-12:00.
  •   Tajikistan (Honourary Consulate, Почётное консульство Таджикистана), Fonarnyy pereulok (Фонарный переулок), 3 ( Sennaya ploshchad' 0.7km E).
  •   Thailand (Honourary Consulate), Bolshoy Prospekt, 9 (Vasilievsky Island, Vasileostrovskaya 'Василеостровская'),  +7 812 325-6271, fax: +7 812 325-6313. M-F 11:00-13:00. +7 812 325-6371, 213-2538
  •   Ukraine (Генеральне консульство України в Санкт-Петербурзі), Ulitsa Bonch-Bruevicha (ул. Бонч-Бруевича 1Б), 1-V ( Chernyshevskaya 1.7km W, further : 22, 22а, 136. or : К15 to stop Tulskaya (Тульская улица)),  +7 812 331-5163, fax: +7 812 331-5169, e-mail: . M-F 9:30-18:30. +7 812 331-5166
  •   United Kingdom (British Consulate-General St Petersburg, Генеральное консульство Великобритании), Pl. Proletarskoy Diktatury (Улица Пролетарской Диктатуры, ), 5,  +7 812 320 3200, fax: +7 812 320 3211, e-mail: . M-F 9.00-17.00. Consular district covers: Leningrad, Pskov, Novgorod, Vologda, Murmansk,Arkhangelsk, Kaliningrad& Regions, Karelia, Republic of Komi & Nenetskiy Autonomous District. All consular services by appointment only.
  •   United States, Furshtatskaya Street, 15 ( Chernyshevskaya),  +7 812 331-2699, fax: +7 812 331-2852, e-mail: . 11.30-13.00 & 15.30-17.00. More phone: +7 812 331-2600

Visa Centers

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Oreshek fortess, a view from the right bank of Neva River

Day trips

Day trips can be done on your own or via an organized excursion offered by many tour operators. Even though it is a lot to see in one day, Peterhof, Kronshtadt, and Lomonosov are all located in the same general direction west of Saint Petersburg and are all accessible by hydrofoil, so it is popular to see all three sites in one day.

Overnight trips

If you leave Russia and plan to return, make sure you have a multiple entry visa.

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