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    St Petersburg – a brief overview

    Moscow may have the power, but St Petersburg has always had the culture. This stately city, set beside the mighty Neva River, was where Peter the Great chose to found his imperial capital in 1703. The finest Italian architects were drafted in to construct a city of grand avenues and winding canals, lined with elegant townhouses and adorned with baroque flourishes.

    This was where Russia’s tsars and tsarinas lived out their extravagant lives; they now pass the centuries in the royal tombs inside SS Peter & Paul Cathedral. Surrounding the city are the extravagant country houses of the imperial dynasty – a trip to Peterhof or Tsarskoe Selo is an essential part of any trip to St Petersburg.


    24 hours in St. Petersburg


    09:00 a.m.: Starting point Location Hostel

    Ligowski Prospekt 74
    191040 St. Petersburg
    Tel.: +7-812/458 50 05
    Show on map

    For St. Petersburg untypical, the Location Hostel is housed in a former industrial bakery and done out in industrial loft style. The hostel has a modern, friendly atmosphere and also a great downtown location. Top of the priority list here is communication not creature comforts.

    Added bonus: There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés in the hostel’s immediate vicinity – and in the bitter winter’s cold of St. Petersburg, short distances are sometimes very welcome.

    Rates: Double rooms start at 40 euros

    10:00 a.m.: Breakfast at Café Singer

    Nevskiy Ave. 28
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Tel.: +7-812/448 23 55
    Show on map

    While the interior of this outwardly so elegant café on the second floor above Dom Knigi, the “House of Books” bookstore, is not particularly mention-worthy, the tasty treats on the menu truly are. Also, while tucking into an ample breakfast, you have a great chance to watch the comings and going on St. Petersburg’s famous boulevard, Nevsky Prospect. Our culinary tip: Definitely try the superb blinis.

    11:00 a.m.: A visit to Udelnaya flea market

    Sytinskaja Pl. 3/5
    Metro Station Udelnaya
    194017 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Sat, Sun and public holidays 0800–1700

    If you happen to be in St. Petersburg on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to the city’s best flea market, Udelnaya.  Certainly not just for tourists, there’s loads of interesting stuff to be found here, from music for a Russian disco to former Soviet Union memorabilia. The market doesn’t break for the winter, so haggling continues even when temperatures are down to 25 degrees …

    12:30 p.m.: Time for Nevsky Prospect!

    191025 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    There’s no getting around it in St. Petersburg: the full splendor (and at times even megalomania) of what Peter the Great envisioned for his capital city along four-and-a-half kilometers of boulevard; palaces, neo-classicist residential buildings, grand hotels, cathedrals – and, of course, mighty department stores that today stock all the premium brands of the Western world.

    For people with a weak spot for history and architecture, a stroll down Nevsky Prospect could make a day-filling program.

    02:30 p.m.: Lunch at Jelissejew delicatessen store

    Newski Prospekt 56
    Metro Station Ovtovo
    191023 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-2200

    Downtown St. Petersburg is like one big museum, and that includes the Jelissejew delicatessen store on Nevsky Prospect. Both the atmosphere at this Art Nouveau gourmet temple and the culinary delights on offer will make the heart of any esthete beat faster.

    The down side: Settle down for lunch here and you will have to put up with hordes of tourists dropping in just to snap a quick photo. The friendly, liveried wait staff – and extensive menu – easily make up for this.

    04:00 p.m.: Time for the Museum

    Pushkinskaya ul. 10
    191040 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    St. Petersburg can be inhospitable, cold and dark in winter, but this has its advantages (aside from the delightful, snowy fairy-tale feeling): The city’s many museums are not as mercilessly overrun as they are in the summer. You can even venture into the Hermitage without feeling like a herded animal.

    Our alternative suggestion: At the Pushkinskaya 10 Art Center, you can gain an insight into St. Petersburg’s contemporary creative scene, including the amusing “Non-conformist Museum.”

    07:00 p.m.: Dining à la russe: Barwinok

    Uliza Mira 7
    Metro Station Gorkowskaja
    197101 St. Petersburg
    Tel.: +7-812/237 14 94
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1300–2300

    St. Petersburg has long catered to its international guests and their wishes, and the city’s restaurant scene is nothing if not diverse. But for visitors looking for an authentic Russian experience, the quaint Barwinok is the right address – for two reasons: Dining in its rustic, wooden-bench atmosphere is like sharing a meal with a local family.

    And with potato cakes and curd flatbreads, the menu includes good honest home cooking, even though you will rarely get to enjoy such refined versions of them.

    10:00 p.m.: Nightlife

    Uliza Dumskaja 9
    Metro Station Gostini Dwor
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1800–0600

    German-born Anna-Christin Albers runs a few clubs in St. Petersburg. Her impression: Young Russians, unlike Germans, aren’t the wait-and-see kind; they set out “determined to have a good time.” Now that sounds promising …

    Our tips for hot Russian nights in the cold season:  The Datscha, an uncomplicated club with no dress code or code of conduct, the (very tiny) laid-back fish fabrique (www.fishfabrique.ru), which hosts lots of live gigs, and the cult classic, Gribojedow (www.griboedovclub.ru), in a former air-raid shelter.


    Top 10 sights in St Petersburg

    Mariinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, Russland, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    The Hermitage

    Dvortsovaya ploshchad 2
    190000 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 710 9079
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tue and Thurs-Sun 1030-1800
    Wed 1030-2100

    Russia’s most famous art museum was never originally intended for public display. Created to house the private collection of Catherine the Great, the graceful Hermitage, set in the baroque Winter Palace, now displays some of Russia’s greatest treasures to the masses.

    Russian Museum

    Inzhenernaya ulitsa 4
    191186 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 595 4248
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Fri-Mon and Wed 1000-1800
    Thurs 1300-2100

    Exploring eight centuries of Russian art, this grand museum sprawls across the buildings of the Mikhailovsky Palace. The collection spans everything from sacred icons to portraits of Peter the Great and work from the St Petersburg Academy of Arts.

    Peter & Paul Fortress

    Petropavlovskaya Krepost
    197101 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 230 6431
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Thurs-Mon 1100-1900
    Tue 1100-1800

    St Petersburg’s maritime history comes alive in the fortress that guards the mouth of the Neva River. Inside the fortified walls are museums, bastions, military relics and the cathedral that houses the tombs of almost the entire Romanov dynasty.

    St Isaac’s Cathedral

    Isaakievskaya ploshchad 4
    190000 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 315 9732
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Thurs-Tue 1030-2230 (May-Sep)
    Thurs-Tue 1030-1800 (Oct-Apr)

    People are draw to St Petersburg’s most famous church by the view as much as the architecture. The public gallery atop the cathedral’s famous gilded dome offers panoramic views over the city and the River Neva. The shimmering mosaics inside the cathedral are almost as spectacular.

    Church on the Spilled Blood

    Kanala Groboedova naberezhnaya 2A
    191186 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 315 1636
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Thurs-Tue 1030-2230 (May-Sep)
    Thurs-Tue 1030-1800 (Oct-Apr)

    St Petersburg’s answer to St Basil’s in Moscow, this handsome cathedral is topped by a candy shop collection of gold and rainbow-tiled onion domes and sparkling mosaics of Biblical scenes.

    Alexander Nevsky Monastery

    Reki Monastyrki naberezhnaya 1
    191167 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 274 1702
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0600-2000

    Built to enshrine the bones of St Petersburg’s patron saint, this graceful collection of churches and monastic buildings guards the cemeteries where Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky were buried, alongside a roll call of Russian national heroes.

    Mariinsky Theatre

    1 Theatre Square/Teatralnaya ploshchad' 1
    190000 St Petersburg
    Russian Federation
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Check website for performances
    tours by appointment

    Moscow has the Bolshoi, St Petersburg has the Mariinsky. This atmospheric opera house and theatre is home to the Mariinsky Ballet, the Mariinsky Opera and the Mariinsky Orchestra; that’s a lot of culture in one spectacular space.

    Nevsky prospekt

    Nevsky prospekt
    190000 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    St Petersburg’s main thoroughfare is so much more than just a road. This elegant boulevard is lined with graceful Russian baroque buildings, and studded with historic cafés, eateries and department stores. There’s even a towering cathedral – Our Lady of Kazan – inspired by St Peter’s in Rome.


    Peterhof, Razvodnaya ulitsa 2
    198510 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 450 5287
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-2000 (gardens)
    Tues-Sun 1030-1200 and 1430-1615 (palace)

    Inspired by Versailles, the lavish palace at Peterhof is a glorious collection of gilded domes, painted stucco, fountains and statues. Peter the Great surrounded his grand summer house with elegant gardens and villas, looking out over the Gulf of Finland.

    Tsarskoe Selo

    Sadovaya ulitsa 7, Pushkin
    196601 St Petersburg
    Tel: (812) 415 7667
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0700-2100 (park)
    Mon 1200-1400 and 1600-2000
    Wed-Sun 1200-1400 and 1600-1700 (palace)

    The grandest stately home of them all, Tsarskoe Selo was created by Catherine the Great and the Empress Elizabeth over a period of 50 years. Nowhere else offers such a window onto the extravagant lives of the tsars.

    Good to know

    Country information

    Country overview

    Russia is at once breathtaking, baffling and stunningly beautiful. Monumental in every respect, it’s a land where untamed wilderness sits alongside bustling urban centres, and adventure lurks around every corner. From imperial splendour to icy Siberian tundra and from time-worn Soviet-era monuments to über-hip urban culture, Russia is a land of contradiction and superlatives.

    For the first time in its history, Russia is now wide open for foreign visitors to experience, and exploration beyond Moscow and St Petersburg is well advised. The Golden Ring, a collection of ancient gems, transports the traveller back to a bygone age.


    The Russian Federation covers almost twice the area of the USA, and reaches from the enclave of Kaliningrad in the west over the Urals and the vast Siberian plains to the Sea of Okhotsk in the east. The border between European Russia and Siberia (Asia) is formed by the Ural Mountains, the Ural River and the Manych Depression. All in all Russia has 16 international borders with countries including Finland, Lithuania, USA, Japan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and China.

    European Russia extends from the North Polar Sea across the Central Russian Uplands to the Black Sea, the Northern Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. Siberia stretches from the West Siberian Plain across the Central Siberian Plateau to the Lena River and takes in the Sayan and Yablonovy ranges in the south.

    East of Siberia stretches the Russian Far East, a region almost as big as Siberia itself, running to the Pacific coast and including the vast Chukotka and Kamchatka peninsulas.

    Given the vast size of the country, Russia’s terrain is hugely variable. From the Siberian tundra to the mountains of the Urals, the beaches on the Black Sea coast, and the plains of western Russia, such variable geography means one can experience many different Russias.

    General knowledge

    Key facts

    Population: 142500482

    Population Density (per sq km): 8

    Capital: Moscow.


    Russian is the official language, although there are over 100 other languages. English is widely spoken by younger people as well as some educated older people.


    Rouble (RUB; symbol руб) = 100 kopeks. Notes are in denominations of 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 10, 5 and 1 kopeks.


    220 volts AC, 50Hz. Russia uses a standard two-pin European plug.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 1000-1800, with a lengthy lunch break, usually from 1200-1400, during which no work is done – even telephones are left unanswered.

    Public Holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2017 – December 2018 period.


    Nowogodnije kanikuly (New Year): 1 – 6 January 2017
    Roschdestwo Christowo (Orthodox Christmas Day): 7 January 2017
    Den saschtschitnika Otetschestwa (Defender of the Fatherland Day): 23 February 2017
    Meschdunarodny schenski den (International Women’s Day): 8 March 2017
    Prasdnik Wesny i Truda (Spring and Labour Day): 1 May 2017
    Den Pobedy (Victory Day): 8 and 9 May 2017
    Den Rossii (Russia Day, Republic Day): 12 June 2017
    Den narodnowo jedinstwa (Unity Day): 4 – 6 November 2017


    Nowogodnije kanikuly (New Year): 1 – 6 January 2018
    Roschdestwo Christowo (Orthodox Christmas Day): 7 and 8 January 2018
    Den saschtschitnika Otetschestwa (Defender of the Fatherland Day): 23 February 2018
    Meschdunarodny schenski den (International Women’s Day): 8 March 2018
    Prasdnik Wesny i Truda (Spring and Labour Day): 28 April – 1 May 2018
    Den Pobedy (Victory Day): 9 May 2018
    Den Rossii (Russia Day, Republic Day): 11 and 12 June 2018
    Den narodnowo jedinstwa (Unity Day): 4 and 5 November 2018

    All information subject to change.

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    The most practical way to get around St Petersburg is actually on foot. The stations of the St Petersburg Metro (tel: (812) 301 9700; www.metro.spb.ru) are widely spaced, and reaching almost anywhere in the city will involve a walk, taxi ride or river boat trip. Metro tickets are sold in stations; save on multiple trips by purchasing a magnetic smart card. Buses, trams and marshrutka (shared minibuses) whizz between the suburbs and the centre, but routes can be confusing for non-Russian speakers; buy tickets from the conductor. To explore the centre at a more leisurely pace, take a boat cruise along the Neva River and the city canals.


    Official, licensed taxis are costly and fares must be negotiated with the driver. To avoid fare inflation, book a taxi over the phone; reputable companies include Petersburgskoye Taxi (tel: (812) 068) and Taxi 700000 (tel: (812) 700 0000). Unofficial taxis abound, but many drivers speak only Russian and fares are often elevated for tourists; as with official taxis, agree a fare with the driver before you set off. Locals generally do not tip.


    Nightlife in St Petersburg


    St Petersburg is one of Russia’s most dynamic, vibrant cities after dark, and there are nightspots to suit all tastes, from elegant palaces of culture to bombastic super-clubs, cool cocktail lounges and student-friendly pubs and microbreweries.

    For your first taste of St Petersburg nightlife, head for Dumskaya ulitsa, where party people make the most of the city’s famous White Nights.

    MiXup Bar

    Voznesensky Ave 6
    190000 St Petersburg
    Russian Federation
    Show on map

    The sleek terrace bar at Alain Ducasse’s showpiece restaurant is an extremely sophisticated place to pull up a bar stool for cocktail hour.

    Dom Byta

    Razyezzhaya ulitsa 12
    191002 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    Cool and retro, Dom Byta looks back to the glitz and glamour of the 1970s, attracting a smartly dressed crowd with expensive tastes.


    Kazanskaya ulitsa 7
    191186 St Petersburg
    Russian Federation
    Show on map

    Nights out in this funky rock club move from bar to dance floor to chill-out room; locals think of it as a more grown-up alternative to the bars on Dumskaya ulitsa.

    Helsinki Bar

    Kadetskaya liniya 31, Vasilyevsky Island
    197198 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    A little piece of 1970s Finland on Vasilyevsky Island, with cool cocktails, home-style Finnish cooking and DJs spinning vinyl till late.


    Restaurants in St Petersburg


    A deep wallet is a helpful asset when dining in St Petersburg. Grand restaurants serving imperial Russian cuisine and modern variations on the same theme offer the definitive St Petersburg dining experience.

    For less expensive eating, look to small local restaurants, particularly those serving Georgian and Central Asian cuisine.

    MiX in St Petersburg

    Voznesensky Ave 6
    190000 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Blending Russian ingredients with French cooking know-how, the arrival of Alain Ducasse’s elegant eatery marked a sea-change in St Petersburg dining.

    Bellevue Brasserie

    naberezhnaya Reki Moyki 22
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    The name says it all at this exclusive modern European restaurant, set inside a glass eyrie atop the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22.


    Kazanskaya ulitsa 3
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    The view from the terrace is spectacular, but it doesn’t eclipse the food at this sleek modern eatery by the Kazan Cathedral.


    Pestelya ulitsa 7
    191028 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    Escape the pomp and circumstance in this relaxed and unpretentious vegetarian eatery, serving fusion flavours from across the globe.


    Konyushenny pereulok 1/6
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Hearty, Saxon-style pies – both sweet and savoury – are the mainstay at this cosy bolthole close to the Hermitage.


    Calendar of events


    February 2017

    The start of Russian Lent is celebrated with feast of blinis (pancakes) at homes and restaurants across the city. The name of this festival translates as Butter Week – like Mardi Gras, the focus is on using up perishable food before the Lent fast.

    Musical Spring in St Petersburg

    1 – 30 April 2017

    Venue: Various venues.

    Run by the Petersburg Composer’s Union, this international music festival celebrates the best of classical music, with performances at the two Philharmonic halls and other venues across the city.

    Victory Day

    9 May 2017

    Venue: Piskarivskoye Memorial Cemetery.

    This festival marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in 1945. Amidst parades, and military band marches, crowds gather at Piskarivskoye Memorial Cemetery to pay tribute to the victims of the Nazi blockade.

    Dyen Goroda (City Day)

    27 May 2017

    Venue: Throughout St Petersburg.

    St Petersburg gives itself a big pat on the back each May, celebrating its official City Day with parades, historical displays, public concerts and a fireworks display. City Days have been celebrated since 1986 when the tradition was introduced by the then Secretary of the Moscow City Committee, Boris Yeltsin.

    Festival-festivaley (Festival of Festivals)

    June 2017

    Venue: Various cinemas around St Petersburg.

    Taking place in the last week of June as part of the city’s White Night celebrations, the Festival of Festivals is a non-competitive film festival that provides a platform for independent filmmakers from across the world. First held in 1993, the week-long festival now screens over 100 films and attracts about 40,000 visitors each year.

    Beliye Nochi (White Nights)

    June – July 2017

    Venue: Throughout the city, especially Palace Square, Peter and Paul Fortress and Yelagin Island.

    Experience the “White Nights” in St Petersburg, when the city sees itself illuminated by almost constant daylight. White Nights (Beliye Nochi) are a curious phenomenon caused by St Petersburg’s northerly geographical location – the sun never descends below the horizon and locals fill the streets 24 hours a day.

    Dyen Voyenno Morskova Flota (Navy Day)

    July 2017

    Venue: The Naval Museum, Cruiser Aurora and the banks of the River Neva.

    Befitting a great sea-faring city, St Petersburg celebrates Navy Day with gusto. Decorated warships gather along the River Neva and engage in mock battles, and fireworks fill the skies above the Naval Museum on Vasilyevsky Island. Navy Day usually takes place on the last Sunday in July.

    Baltic House International Theatre Festival

    September – October 2017

    Venue: Various.

    Theatres across the city celebrate the performing arts, with guest actors, artistes and clowns from across the Baltic region. Chekhov, Dostoevsky and Gorky dominate the stages, but the broad range of theatre companies ensures some imaginative interpretations.

    International Winter Festival Arts Square

    December 2017

    Venue: Theatres, museums and concert halls around the city.

    The brainchild of Yuri Temirkanov, conductor of the St Petersburg Academic Philharmonic, this festival brings the wintery streets to life with classical concerts, recitals and fireworks.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.


    Hotels in St Petersburg


    Accommodation in St Petersburg has come a long way since the austere years of the Soviet era.

    Today, the city offers hotels for all tastes and budgets, with an abundance of heritage properties and an impressive selection of mid-range choices amongst the glamorous five-star offerings.

    Astoria Rocco Forte

    Rue Bolchaïa Morskaïa 39
    190000 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Blurring the lines between old Russia and new Russia, the Astoria marries old-world glamour with modern design sophistication.

    Grand Hotel Europe

    Nevsky Prospekt, Mikhailovskaya Ulitsa 1/7
    191186 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    No two rooms are the same at the Grand Hotel Europe, one of Europe’s great historic hotels; ask for a terrace room for an unparalleled view over old St Petersburg.

    Rossi Boutique Hotel

    Reki Fontanki naberezhnaya 55
    191023 St Petersburg
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Antique style meets designer chic at this handsome hotel in the historic heart of the city.

    Pushka Inn

    Moyka river embankment 14
    191186 St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    The great Pushkin lived just next door to this cosy small hotel, with a prime location on a graceful curve of the Mokya River.

    Nevsky Moyka 5

    Moyka river embankment 5
    St. Petersburg
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    Few frills but a friendly welcome in a fine location within walking distance of the Hermitage and the Church on Spilled Blood.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Tuesday, 14.11.2017 15:00 UTC




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    Climate and best time to visit St Petersburg

    In Moscow, winter is just cold; in St Petersburg, winter is unbelievable. Nevertheless, those willing to endure temperatures that plummet to -20°C will see the city at its most magical and sublime. As spring gives way to summer, a different kind of magic takes over in St Petersburg; the White Nights of summer see around 22 hours of daylight, perfect for party people who only stop when the sun goes down. In spring, hotel prices tumble and the city is alive with bombastic national holiday parades, while the rainbow foliage of autumn adds an extra splash of colour to the extravagant palaces of the tsars.

    Climate & best time to visit Russia

    As you’d expect Russia’s climate is hugely dependent on where in the country you find yourself. With temperatures known to hit a tarmac-melting 37°C (99°F) in the cities and fall to -30°C (-22°F) and lower during the Siberian winter, there’s no point generalising about Russia’s weather except to say, be prepared. The most favourable temperatures are found along the Baltic coast, where many Muscovites decamp for balmy summer holidays, whilst the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi, also doubles as a beach resort, due to its tropical climate, earning it the epithet ‘Florida of Russia’. Minus the overly tanned pensioners of course.

    While the notion of visiting a snow-blanketed Moscow or St Petersburg has a definite romance, most tourists prefer to come calling in the warm summer months of June, July and August. This means the “shoulder seasons” of April, May, September and October are good options for visitors keen to avoid the peak crowds – prices are generally lower from September to May, and tourist sites almost invariably less crowded. Spring is often characterised by slushy roads. And if your heart’s set on that winter wonderland? December’s the best bet. Seasonal climates apply elsewhere in Russia – Siberia can have devastatingly cold winters, while its summers are generally fairly pleasant, if a little rainy. The region of Russia near the Black Sea has mild winters, but again attracts a fair amount of rain.


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    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +7


    When dialling the Russian Federation from abroad, the 0 of the area code must not be omitted. Most Moscow hotels have telephone booths with IDD. For long-distance calls within the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), dial 8 then wait for the dial tone before proceeding with the call. Collect calls, calls placed using credit cards and calls from direct dial telephones in hotels can be extremely expensive. International calls can be made from phones in the street and phonecards are available from many shops and kiosks in the street. For enquiries regarding Moscow private telephone numbers dial 09; for businesses, dial 927 0009.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. All major cities are covered by at least one operator. Handsets can be hired from some companies and local SIM cards are easily purchased for use within Russia if you have an unlocked handset.


    Wi-Fi is available within most hotels in larger cities (although they may charge) and at internet cafes. Most connections will be either via dial up or broadband. Although Russia does not ostensibly censor the internet, there is an internet blacklist of sites which you will not be able to visit from inside Russia, which includes some independent news sites.


    Shopping in St Petersburg

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Nevsky prospekt is the main shopping strip and it looks almost as glamorous today as it did when tsars and tsarinas used to promenade here in search of champagne, cigars and furs. The area around Vladimirsky prospekt in the east of the city is also a vibrant shopping hub. For modern brands and designer fashions, head to the malls in Smolny and Vostaniya.


    For tasty Russian foodstuffs, including delicacies such as caviar and tvorog (cottage cheese) with apricots, browse the stalls at Kuznechny market (Kuznechny pereulok) and Maltsevsky market (Nekrasova ulitsa). Genuine bits of Soviet memorabilia can be found in the eclectic Udelnaya market (Vyborg Side) near Udelnaya Metro station, while matryoshka dolls are stock in trade at the souvenir market beside the Church on Spilled Blood.

    Shopping Centres

    St Petersburg’s most famous shopping centre was also one of the world’s first – construction of arcade-fronted Gostiny Dvor commenced in 1757. American-style shopping arrived in St Petersburg with the Sennaya (Yefimova ulitsa) mall near Sennaya ploshchad. Further west, Vladimirsky Passage and Galeria (Ligovsky prospekt) – St Petersburg’s largest mall – shimmer with international brands.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Social Conventions

    It is customary to shake hands when greeting someone, though never across a threshold. Company or business gifts are well received; if you’re invited to someone’s home do bring a token gift, but avoid clearing your plate when eating; leaving some food is considered as a good sign.

    Conservative wear is suitable for most places – women will need to cover shoulders and wear long skirts to enter an orthodox church – and the seasonal weather should always be borne in mind. Smoking and drinking is acceptable unless stated otherwise.

    Russian society is still highly patriarchal and hierarchical; this may be reflected in chivalrous acts (men holding doors open for women for example) but it may also mean that women are taken less seriously, and engaging in ‘unfeminine’ behaviour may be interpreted wrongly, although being a visitor may get you some leeway.

    Be careful with gestures – in Russia, giving the ‘thumbs up’ sign is an insult not an ‘OK’.


    It is prohibited to take photographs of any military installation and/or establishments or sites of strategic importance. Failure to abide by this could result in police arrest.

    Good to know


    Main emergency number: 112

    Food & Drink

    In general, Russia does not pose any serious health risks when it comes to food. Use common sense and caution when deciding what might be safe to eat. Tap water is drinkable, although those with sensitive stomachs may want to stick to bottled water. Similarly, some may want to make sure that water used for brushing teeth or making ice has been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Be mindful that eating salads may have vegetables washed in tap water; you may want to stick to well-cooked meals for the duration of your stay. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.

    Other Risks

    Vaccinations are sometimes recommended for Japanese B encephalitis, meningococcal meningitis and tick-borne encephalitis.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Danilevich, Efim
    American Medical Clinic
    78 Moika Embankment
    191000 St. Petersburg
    Tel. +7-812-740-2090

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.
    Good to know

    Visa & Immigration

    IATA Travel Centre

    The IATA Travel Centre delivers accurate passport, visa and health requirement information at a glance. It is a trusted, centralized source for the latest international travel requirements. The IATA Travel Centre is the most accurate source available because it is based on a comprehensive database used by virtually every airline, and information is gathered from official sources worldwide, such as immigration and police authorities.

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