We arrived in St Petersburg by overnight train from Moscow.
When researching our trip back in London, I determined that the best way for us to travel between the 2 cities was by train...and looking at the economics, it made sense for us to catch an overnight train - that way we could combine the cost of our transport and accommodation.
We didn't want to 'rough it' though, so we booked a 1st class sleeper cabin on the 'Red Arrow', which is renowned for it's "comfort", compared to the other overnight trains. The train left Moscow at 11:55pm, arriving in St Petersburg 8 hours later....not the fastest option, but any quicker and we wouldn't have gotten enough sleep!
We had a 2-berth cabin, which had 2 single beds that double as seats. Bedding and a snack box were provided. The beds were surprisingly comfortable and we actually slept quite well. The toilets were pretty gross though, and there were no shower facilities.
We found that the cost of 80USD each for a night's accommodation and transport was affordable for us, though there are cheaper options available. I am glad that we spent the money to have a private cabin - would not have liked to share with others.
All in all, it was a fine way to travel, and it was great to arrive in central St Petersburg, with no airport transfers to contend with.
I arrived in St Petersburg by train from Helsinki. Trains from Finland arrive at Ladozhsky Station in St. Petersburg and the trip takes about 6 hours. There are three daily trains serving this route.
I left St. Petersburg by train from Moskovsky Station to Moscow. Depending on the train the trip takes between 5 and 8 hours.
Most of the trains serving this route are night trains.
We were on a group tour through Russia and our journey from St Petersburg to Moscow was on the fast train. Luxury travel,very fast, and comfortable.
The trip took approximately 4 hours with a few stops along the way. We passed many large industrial complex which were derelict, it looked as though the business had closed up and everyone walked away.
Much of the farmland remained unworked, people had just walked away. We were informed Land Barons had purchased the individual small peasant lots.
An interesting trip, and we left with the impression that agriculture in the districts we passed was anything but booming.
Taking the train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg is a relaxing journey especially if you spend the extra money to ride first class. There is a huge difference between the two classes with elbow room, service, larger toilets, cleanliness, and being sure there won't be animals riding in your car.
Food is not included in any of the fares and the menu is rather plain. Consider bringing your own food.
The trip takes five hours and is quite scenic at times and culturally interesting, taking you through both upscale towns and slums.
There are 5 train stations in St. Petersburg for local suburbs and international travel.
Trains are a great way to go to other cities, in fact the only way besides airplanes.
The local trains are the most economical electric trains. They are widely used for nearby towns and dascha. If you don't mind sitting on hard wood benches and many stops you can try and piece together a number of short runs to get to a far place, but it will be slow and tiring.
The redeye or night trains to Moscow from St. Petersburg and well traveled. You leave late at night and arrive early in the morning for a day of sightseeing. You can also return to Petersburg on the night train.
Most charge extra for sheets to sleep, about 50 rubles.
Moskovsky Station (Metro: Ploshchad Vosstania or Mayakovskaya) Daily trains to Moscow run frequently, and most take approx. 7-8 hours, with overnight sleepers being the recommended choice. There is one train by the name of ER200 which will do the trip in about 4 hours, though it is rumored not to be for those with weak stomachs. In general, be advised to buy tickets well in advance, especially for weekend travel, as this is always a popular route. The station also serves the Novgorod, Luga, Far North, +7 (812) 768-94-57
Finlandsky Station (Metro: Ploshchad Lenina) Trains to Helsinki, Finland, Vyborg and other northwest Russia areas.
+7 (812) 768-79-00
Ladozhsky Station (Metro: Ladozhskaya) Central Asia, Crimea, and the Caucuses.
+7 (812) 436-56-00, 436-53-04
Baltiysky Station (Metro: Baltiskaya) For local/suburban services only. Trains to Peterhof, Pskov, Luga, Gatchina.
Next to it is Varshavsky Station Serving Pskov, the Baltics, and Eastern.
+7 (812) 768-28-59
Vitebsky Station (Metro: Pushkinskaya) Pavlovsk, Belarus, Kiev, Odessa.
+7 (812) 768-59-39
St Petersburg has direct air links with most major European capitals and airlines, many offering several connections each week. There's a departure tax of around US$11. Domestically, you can fly just about anywhere you want, but only a few times a week in some cases. Air service is best between St Petersburg and Moscow.
St Petersburg has one bus station serving Tampere, Vyborg, Pskov, Novgorod, Moscow, Novaya Ladoga, Petrozavodsk and many smaller destinations. Many short and long-distance buses also leave from outside the Baltic station.
The main international rail gateways to St Petersburg are Helsinki, Tallinn, Warsaw and Berlin. The city has four stations, all south of the Neva River, except the Finland Station, which serves trains on the Helsinki railway line. Moscow Station handles trains to and from Moscow, the far north, Crimea, the Caucasus, Georgia and Central Asia; Vitebsk Station deals with Smolensk, Belarus Prague, Kiev, Odessa and Moldova; and Warsaw Station covers the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe. Baltic Station, just along the road from the Warsaw Station, is mainly for suburban trains.
Foreigners can legally drive on almost all of Russia's highways and can even ride motorcycles. You'll need to be 18 years old and have a drivers' licence, along with an International Driving Permit. On the down side, driving in Russia is truly an unfiltered Russian experience. Poor roads, inadequate signposting (except in St Petersburg's centre) and keen highway patrollers can lead to frustration and dismay. Motorbikes will undergo vigorous scrutiny by border officials and highway police.
Pulkova-1 and -2, respectively the domestic and international airports that serve St Petersburg, are 17km (10mi) south of the city centre, about a half-hour taxi ride and about an hour by public transport (metro plus bus).
Though less majestic than Moscow's, the St Petersburg metro leaves most of the world's other undergrounds for dead. You'll rarely wait more than three minutes for a train, and the clock at the end of the platform shows time elapsed since the last train departed. Taking the metro is the quickest and cheapest way around the wider city.
The best way of getting around the city by road is by bus, trolleybus (an electric bus) or tram. Each require payment of an inexpensive talony (ticket), which are sold in kiosks at major interchanges, by hawkers at the train stations, and often in strips of 10 by drivers. Driving a car or motorcycle is definitely not wise - roads are gnarled, road rules are strange, and the traffic cops are empowered to stop you and fine you on the spot. Oh yeah, they can also shoot at your vehicle if you don't heed their command to pull over.
I travelled 1 st class train from Helsinki to St Petersburg at 07-23 arriving St Petersburg 14-15. watches go forward one hour at border, The compartment was for 6 persons very comfortable, i had booked on line at Real Russia.com ,very efficent if a little dear. Finnish border guards glance at passports on the train, then Russian border guards do a keen passport check and russian visa check. They then bring back passport and the emigration card that had been fill in earlier. All this takes about half an hour but the train still arrives on time. Remember you must have a russian visa to enter russia,you apply before travelling
On local trains you buy your ticket at office window, and are given paper ticket with a barcode on.. At the ticket barrier the barcode is shown to machine and gate opens. The train carriage the seats are either plastic or wooden seats. To leave your destination station your paper ticket barcode is shown to machine gate to open, so dont loose it has an attendant is watching the gates.
Trams run on rails in the center of the street and look like trains. They stop at designated spots and are one of the major ways to get around above ground.
They stop in the middle of the road and cars are supposed to stop and let people on and off. This is Russia. look first before entering the street and expecting that cars have stopped. Some drivers try and get by anyway.
About 17 rubles(2008year)
Trains take about eight (regular express) or 4.5 (ER-200 speed train) hours. In three years, the new German-built train will take 2.5 hours. The Moscow-bound ER-200 departs at 6:30 pm and arrives around 11:00 pm (no beds are available). The top of the line 'Red Arrow' (Krasnaya Strela) offers a luxure two-bed cabin with a shower for about $450, but more reasonably priced accomodations are available as well, including open 'platzcart' cars.
If you take an overnight train you usually can buy tea in the morning and some trains have a dining car. But most people bring their own food. If you are in a coupe, 4 bed-seats and a common table, you can make a picnic spread. Bread, cheese, kohlbasa, juices, fresh fruit, vegetables and water make a good spread.
It is a good idea to bring your own food. Trains make whistle stops at small villages and you can jump out for a minute and try to buy some juice from a kiosk or fresh fruit and bread from the grandmothers who come for your convenience. But you never know what you will find and the train will not wait for you. The conductor will scold you royally if you jump aboard as the train starts moving.
Many long distance trains do have a dining car and it makes for a pleasant break from the train seats if it is not crowded.
Salimos hacia Moscú en un tren nocturno que estaba limpio y cómodo , fue un buen viaje
La estación está en Nevski Prospect , así que como hacía muy bien tiempo , cenamos y nos fuimos paseando
Los compartimentos eran de cuatro camas , así que compartimos habitación con una pareja que eran agradables
Sacamos los billetes por Internet
We left to Moscow in a night train that was clean and comfortable , it was a nice trip
The station is in Nevski Prospect, so as it was very good weather , we had dinner and we went walking The train compartments had four beds, so we shared the room with a couple of Russians that were very nice
We got the tickets in Internet
Oh, any transport is good from Moscow - not a long distance. We used to go to St. Petersburg for a weekend - by train, by car. It takes only half an hour to reach it by airplane.
Definitely, metro! The city is big, do not try to overestimate your strengths - distances are long.
In 2007-2009 you can make train reservations via Internet
You need to create a logon and you can search for tickets.
St. Petersburg- Moscow often sell out a week or two in advance, but you can keep looking, availability changes by the hour as people change their schedules and tickets are made available.
Online reservations hold the reservation for 10 minutes while you pay, then you pick up at the station.
We find the visa pay system does not always work.
You can use the online site for schedules order over the telephone dialing 067.
You have to go pay and pickup your tickets that day from train kassa on Canal Griboedova.
Women who take the train alone in Russia often buy a berth in a plazkart wagon, or common wagon. Mostly families travel there, and
lone travelers. It's an opportunity to meet with people, to share with them a meal, to talk and it feels safer to be among many people than in the confinement of the kuppe, or the four berths compartment. Taking a berth in a Kuppe can be safer to put away your bag and it is usually cleaner than in the common carriage. The only thing is that you may not fancy your neighbors. For example many soldiers travel in 'kuppe' as they have free rail tickets. Their jokes and stories about the war are interesting but the soldiers tend to get fast too drunk and noisy. However Russian women traveling alone often ask the conductor of the wagon to change compartments, and an arrangement is usually found.