A Transportation Guide for Russia’s Cultural Capital
For a visitor to St. Petersburg, getting around the city can be a bit intimidating until you understand all the possibilities. Most people will be walking, sitting in a taxi, or riding the metro.
You might also be on a tour bus. But local residents will tell you that there are many different possibilities to travel in and around St. Petersburg.
When talking about above ground transportation such as taxi, car rental, or bus, please keep in mind that there can be large traffic jams in St. Petersburg.
In addition, during the summer season many of the bridges in St. Petersburg open at night and close again in the morning. They are beautiful and romantic to watch, but not if you are on the other side from where you need to be.
Walking – One of the best ways to see the city as a tourist is by foot. Many of the main attractions are in the center of the city and if you are staying in a hotel in the center this can be one of the most interesting ways to explore the city.
There are special walking tours which can show you some of the lesser known but equally charming parts of the city. 6 of the Top 10 Attractions in St. Petersburg are located in the center of St. Petersburg. The most famous street for walking is Nevsky Prospekt, which is the main thoroughfare in the city.
Metro – Carrying almost 3 million passengers daily, the St. Petersburg Metro is the 13th busiest subway system in the world. It is also the deepest metro system in the world and many stations were made to double as bomb shelters.
The St. Petersburg Metro is one of the most beautiful subways in the world. It is also a very reliable, fast, and cost-effective mode of transport. The trains arrive approximately every 2 to 3 minutes.
Most Metro stations open at 5:45am and close near 12:30am.
Taxi – In Russia there are official taxis and unofficial taxis. Official taxis are marked accordingly as in most countries of the world. The unofficial taxis are residents of the city looking to make some extra money.
We do not recommend a tourist try to flag an unofficial taxi in St. Petersburg.
However, the official taxi in St. Petersburg can be very expensive. You should ask your hotel, guide, or local residents about how to order a taxi.
I recommend hiring a driver to help you with this mode of transportation.
Most major car rental companies operate in St. Petersburg and can be found in the airport.
Bus / Tram / Trolleybus / Marshrutka – These are all very useful methods of transport for short distance travel.
A Marshrutka is a private mini-bus that follows a fixed route in the city and can also take you to the suburbs of St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg has more trams than any city in the world and including the bus and trolleybus, there are many public transport options available in St. Petersburg. As a tourist it is useful to ask in advance about the best mode of transport to your destination.
About the Author: Brian Schweitzer is an Internet marketing consultant, a world traveler, and recommends Hotel Vera, a charming hotel in the center of St. Petersburg which occupies a historical 1903 Art Nouveau building and offers 70 unique rooms with exceptional service for tourists and business travelers.