Map of Saint-Petersburg
Saint-Petersburg is situated on the eastern shore of Gulf of Finland, by the estuary of the river Neva . It is built on forty-two islands, which are connected by several hundred bridges, thus acquiring for the City the epithet of ‘the Venice of the North'. Saint-Petersburg's geographical coordinates are 59° 57' north and 30° 19' east. Among the biggest cities of the World (those with more than a million inhabitants) Saint-Petersburg is closest to the North Pole. Its territory is 600km2, or 1,439km2 including the suburbs.
The phenomenon of the White Nights - nights when the Sun hardly sets - is explained by the City's northerly location. The period of the White Nights starts at the end of May and lasts till mid-July. The longest day is 22 nd June (18hours, 53minutes) - the day of the Summer Solstice. The shortest day is 22 nd December (5 hours, 52minutes).Back to top
The climate is maritime, humid, with moderately-warm summers and long cold winters.
SUMMER — our Nordic summer is very short, but the possibilities are endless. The high season for tourism starts in May and lasts till September. Drawbridges, the magic of the White Nights, fascinating boat tours through the canals, cruises through the Gulf of Finland on board a hydrofoil, the 150 fountains of Petrodvorets (the Russian Versailles) – this is just a modest list of things that Saint-Petersburg can offer in the summer.
Our advice: The weather varies a lot from summer to summer. It is sometimes cold and rainy, but also may be absolutely fabulous, with temperatures of over +30°C for 2 weeks at a time. In any case you should pack an umbrella, a water-proof jacket and a pullover.
AUTUMN is the most beautiful time of the year in Saint-Petersburg. If you are lucky enough to catch the Indian summer you will admire the City and its parks in full beauty under the warm gentle sun. The air becomes transparent and enhances the beauty of the architecture that had been discreetly hiding behind the summer haze. It is the autumn that allows you to appreciate fully this unexpected but harmonious marriage of all possible styles.
Our advice: end of August – end of October. The temperature varies between +20°C in the beginning of September and +5°C at the end of October. Don’t forget to bring the umbrella and waterproof shoes. A good warm jacket will come handy against the autumn winds; they can be quite penetrating. Note that the autumn is at the low tourist season, so the museums are much less crowded.
WINTER. The white snow makes the wonderful polychrome colours of the facades reappear. White, pink, green, yellow, blue – it’s in the winter that you can appreciate this feast of colours.
Our advice: from November to March take a very warm coat and several woolly sweaters that you can put on top of each other if the temperature drops. Also think of warm undergarments, comfortable shoes with corrugated soles and a skiing hat, woolly socks, scarves and mittens. An umbrella is useless in winter, since the wind is usually so strong that you don’t have chance to open one. You may be surprised, but the frost of -20°C is bearable, and daily life goes as usual. All the museums, shops, restaurants, offices and transport are well heated.
The winter temperatures are sometimes similar to those of the north of Scotland, but don’t relax. Even if the forecast is “+2°C, rain”, don’t think that you should dress accordingly. The temperatures change unbelievably fast, from +2°C in the morning to -15°C in the afternoon.
Our advice: March to the end of May. Statistics show that this period may be hot as well as cold. You don’t have to bring your warmest clothes, but you’ll need a good waterproof jacket, woolly sweater and sturdy boots. During spring, the streets and the canals compete for the amount of water in them. Also bring some lighter clothes, since in April the temperatures can easily surpass +20°C.
The buses, trolleybuses and trams run from 6 AM till midnight . The fare (from 1 January 2016 the fare is 30 roubles) is payable to the conductor. Ground transport is a challenge to use, it's often crowded and the timetables are in Russian only.Back to top
The City is served by an underground system: the Metro. It was opened in 1955. At 90 metres deep, it is the deepest underground system in the World. It has four lines and is very convenient; trains are frequent and it is open from 5.30AM till 12.30AM . The only difficulty for foreign tourists is that the signs are in Russian only, but lately information boards in English have been installed at all stations. From 1 January 2016 the fare for all journeys is 35 roubles. Travel cards and metal tokens for single journeys can be bought at the entrance to each station.Back to top
Back to top
Taxis run 24/7 and can be called at 312 00 22, 700 00 00 or 068. You will be told the price at the time of booking. These services are very reliable and more expensive then ‘gipsy cabs' (any private car that stops when you raise your hand). You agree on the fare of the latter with the driver.
In the last few years private shuttle minibuses have become an important means of transport in Saint-Petersburg. They follow the public transport routes and usually are white or yellow coloured with sign “K” before the route number. They are called “marshrootka” in Russian. You can get on and off them wherever you want. The price (in 2015 max 36 roubles in the city) is indicated either on the front window or internal partition.
- New Year – 1 st -2 nd January
- Orthodox Christmas – 7 th January
- International Women's Day – 8 th March
- Workers' Day – 1 st -2 nd May
- Victory Day – 9 th May
- Independence Day – 12 th June
- Russian Constitution Day – 12 th December
The Russian currency is the rouble. In Russia tourists can exchange any amount of currency to Russian roubles at the following locations: authorised Russian banks, money-exchange bureaux, in all major hotels, at the international airports and the ports. They are called “Obmen valuty” or “Obmenniy punkt”. You can also use the multi-lingual ATM machines, which accept most credit and debit cards and dispense roubles as well as US dollars.
Very important – never agree to exchange money with strangers in the street.Back to top
220 V, 50 Hz, is used, with Continental-type sockets with two contacts. In trains and hotels 110V sockets are available.Back to top
Useful telephone numbers
|The international dialling code||for Saint-Petersburg: +7 812|
|for Moscow : +7 495|
- Fire 01
- Police 02
- Ambulance 03
- Gas emergency 04
- Directory assistance 09
British Consulate 320 32 00
US Consulate 331 26 00Back to top
Tips are not compulsory but are very much appreciated. It is customary to show in this way your satisfaction with the service received. 10-15% is considered to be a generous tip.Back to top
If you need to telephone or send a telegram abroad from Russia , you have to go to the Post Office. Post offices are open from 8AM till 7PM every day except Sunday. You can find their locations and the prices of stamps at the reception in your hotel or from your tour guide. To send cards and letters you drop them in the blue post boxes, and you don't have to write the address in Cyrillic script, even for domestic mail. The Russian Post Office retained the use of French as the international language.
To make a call abroad: dial 8 – 10 – country code – local code – telephone number. To make a call within Russia : dial 8 – local code – telephone number. Many calling cards are available, which offer relatively cheap international rates.
In big cities you can also use public phone boxes that accept calling cards. It is more expensive to call from hotel rooms.Back to top
GMT + 3 hours
Many inhabitants of the big cities speak English, but it may be difficult to find any foreign-language speakers in the small Russian villages. But the majority of Russians are very friendly and will go out of their way to help even without understanding your language.Back to top
Hello – zdrastvuite
Good morning – dobroe ootro
Good day – dobry den'
Good evening – dobry vecher
Goodbye – do svidania
Excuse me – izvinite
Thank you – spasibo
Please – pozhalsta
Money – dengi
Cheap – deshevo
Expensive – dorogo
Exchange – obmien
Currency – valiuta
Entrance – vkhod
Exit – vykhod
Post – pochta
Post stamp – marka
Underground – metro
Bus – avtoboos
Hotel – gostinitsa
Taxi – taxi
Cuisine and restaurants
The level and price of meals in restaurants vary a lot. Typical middle-range restaurants usually offer dishes from more than one country, for example: pizza, fish and meat kebabs, dumplings.
In traditional Russian restaurants you can expect to be offered:
Appetizers: pickled and marinated vegetables, salted herring, gravedlax , all sorts of aspics and mushrooms;
Soup (please note that for Russians it is the main or “first” course): borsht, cabbage and mushroom soups, fish soup, okroshka, rassolnic and soljanka ;
Entrees (for Russians the “second” course): dumplings, blintzes, pies, duck with apples and sauerkraut, freshwater fish, sturgeon dishes, buckwheat kasha;
Desserts: kissels , little pies with various stuffing;
Drinks: vodka, kvas , beer, cranberry and honey water.
In the bigger Russian cities there are many restaurants offering national cuisine (Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Italian, French, Arabic etc.)
In Moscow , Saint-Petersburg and several other big cities you can find McDonalds, and other fast food restaurants specialising in oriental and Russian dishes.Back to top
We can recommend a choice of good shops where you can buy presents such as caviar of high quality at reasonable prices.
The most typical Russian things to buy are: fur, Gzhel ceramics, babushka dolls, clay toys, lace from Vologda, enamels from Rostov, Russian porcelain (usually from the Saint-Petersburg porcelain factory), hand-painted wooden boxes from Palekh and Fedoskino, shawls from Pavlov Posad and Orenburg, Baltic amber, Ural malachite jewellery and many other things.
How to apply
Applications may be submitted in person, by an agent or by mail. The application form may be completed by the applicant or by a person acting on his or her behalf, though it must be checked and signed by the applicant in person and be computer-readable.
Failure to meet this requirement may result in the refusal of the application.
Your application can be considered only if you have submitted all necessary documents and can provide evidence to substantiate information given in the application form. The granting of entry clearance is at the discretion of the Russian Consulate. Visa fees are payable with your application, but do not guarantee issue of the visa and are not refundable.
Entry to Russia may be refused and airlines may not carry passengers holding passports with less than six months' validity. At the border visitors are expected to fill up an emigration card to keep during the trip and return at the border point when leaving the country. Visitors should register their visas within three working days of arrival in Russia with the local branch of the Ministry of Interior. Most major hotels will do this for you automatically. Visitors need not register their visas if the visit is for two to three days only.
When you receive your visa make sure that all the information is correct. The Consulate is not responsible for any misprints or errors in the visa not brought to its attention before your departure from the UK .
To get a Tourist Visa to Russia you should submit the following paperwork to the Consulate:
1. A valid identity document (passport), accepted as such by the Russian Federation with at least one blank page, valid another 6 months after the visa expires.
2. A completed visa application form with one photograph
3. One recent passport size photo (30x40 mm).
4. A medical insurance policy, unless otherwise provided for by international agreements of the Russian Federation;
5. To obtain a visa the visitor must have an original visa support letter ("priglashenie to the Russian Federation") stamped and signed by an authorized travel agency or official body. You may obtain this from our company.
6. A Tourist Confirmation (in the Russian language) of acceptance from the authorized Russian travel agency or a hotel, registered with the Russia Federal Agency for Tourism. The confirmation must contain the agency's registration number in the Federal Register of Touroperators. You can obtain this from our company.
Any visa applicant may be interviewed by a consular officer if necessary. Processing time, requirements and fees are subject to change without notice.
Entering the Russian Federation the foreign national fills in a Migration card, giving the information contained in the visa, and upon arrival to the point of destination in the territory of the Russian Federation he (she) submits the available documents to the host country for registration in the Migration Service.
Real Russian ancient architecture can be found just 180 km away from Saint-Petersburg. The cradle of Russia , it was first major crossroads on the route from the Baltic to the Mediterranean that followed the great Russian rivers to the Black Sea .
Tour of the city. Visit to Kremlin (founded in 1044), the Cathedral of Saint-Sophie (1045), and the court of Yaroslav, which used to be the merchants' quarter of the City, with its arcades facing the river.
Visit to Saint-George (Yuriev) Monastery and the open-air museum of rural Russian architecture.
Return to Saint-Petersburg.Back to top
Vladimir . Situated in the very heart of Old Russia this town was the seat of Russian princes. From that époque comes the splendid cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin, adorned by wonderful frescoes executed by the monks Andrei Rublev and Daniel Black (1408).
There are more than a hundred architectural monuments built with white stone in this city which is named after its founder, the Kievan prince Vladimir Monomakh.
Souzdal. The real pearl of the Golden Ring, it has five monasteries, seventeen church towers and more than thirty-three churches for a population of only twenty thousand. Often called the “open-air museum”, this town represents all types of Russian religious architecture from the Twelfth to the Nineteenth Century. You can visit the Kremlin with its ancient archbishop's palace and museum of icons.Back to top