St. Petersburg’s most famous attraction is undoubtedly The Hermitage, in the Winter Palace. This worldrenowned sight is one of the epicentres of classical art, hosting millions of pieces from across the world and through eras. Drink in even more culture at the ballet in the magnificent Mariinsky Theater. Take in the opulence that was imperial Russia at the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, an ornately decorated edifice perched on a canal. The Kazan Cathedral is an imposing testament to the grandeur of the city with its soaring columns. Imagine the military might of the time as you walk the walls of Peter and Paul Fortress, which houses a church where many of Tzars are buried. At the end of the day board a ferry and sail one of the many canals and let some of the most impressive buildings in Europe pass you by.
Flights to St. Petersburg
TRAVEL GUIDE – ST. PETERSBURG
There are few cities that can challenge St. Petersburg’s sheer amount of culture, history and magnificence. It’s a city bristling with world-famous museums and galleries, overflowing with culture and drenched in history going back centuries. For the visitor seeking culture, this is the place to be. Yet it has an emerging modern edge to cater to the newage traveller. The Finnair travel guide to St. Petersburg is your guide to the ‘Venice of the north’.
Tsarskoye Selo – Former home of the Imperial family, this small village is of interest to those who like exploring history.
Peterhof – Art and architecture abound, this is a traveller’s mustsee. Just an hour away by car.
Veliky Novgorod – Experience the real Russia, ideal for a weekend getaway.
Shopping in St. Petersburg is an eclectic mix of bustling markets, street vendors and fancy highstreet stores. Some of the brands you know might be absent but you might find a new favourite from the domestic selection on offer.
Nevsky Prospekt - The most wellknown street in town is naturally home to the fanciest of stores. Luxury brands with matching prices are found here, yet you’ll also find street sellers hawking all kinds of wares just meters away.
Passazh – Continuing the luxury trend, this is the most exclusive (and expensive) department store in town. Head here to marvel at the items on offer, or even buy if you’re brave enough.
Gostiny Dvor – The oldest shopping centre in town, previously the selling yards for the merchant class. Pricey, but worth a look.
Udelnaya Flea Market – Mix it with the locals at this very Russian market north from Nevsky Prospekt on the subway. This sprawling congregation of buyers and sellers has something for every budget and taste.
Russian food is unique and has a long history, having contributed many muchloved dishes to the world’s plates. There are a variety of things you should try when eating out in St. Petersburg to get a real taste of the country.
Pelmeni – Balls of meat and spice wrapped in dumpling dough and boiled. Served with a dollop of smetana and a variety of accompaniments.
Borscht – The worldfamous darkred soup, perfect for a winter’s day. Hearty and delicious it can be found both with and without meat.
Blini – Very Russian, these small pancakes are fried up and served with any number of toppings, the most traditional being smetana and roe.
Georgian and Uzbek cuisine – These former USSR countries contributed their own flavour to the cuisine of Russia and definitely warrant a try. There are restaurants across the city – ask a local for their recommendation.
Pirozhki – Small pastrylike pies filled with meats, cheeses and spices.
Stroganoff – Another wellknown Russian export, this creamy stew is very filling with its traditional beef pieces.
Tea – The locals love teatime and this means there is a supreme variety on offer in stores and cafés across the city.
Vodka – No trip to St. Petersburg would be complete without sampling this most famous of Russian creations. There are literally thousands of varieties on offer, with the crisp, clear original version being the most appropriate at any time of day.
There are many ways to get around in St. Petersburg depending on where you want to go and how much you want to pay.
Metro – The city’s metro system is massive – it needs to be to serve the huge numbers of people traversing the city each day. The network spans almost the entire city and is cheap and relatively safe. Rush hours are incredibly crowded. The stations themselves are a sight to see, with many decorated along various themes. Single rides are paid for with tokens bought from kiosks and vending machines in the stations. There are maps available in English though announcements are only in Russian.
Taxi – While there are thousands of taxis whizzing around town at all hours, not all of them should be relied upon. While most drivers are honest, there is a problem with illegal taxis. If in doubt, get your hotel to order you one from a reliable source. Many drivers can’t speak English, so it’s good to have your destination written down.
Walk – Walking in St. Petersburg is a mixed bag – some areas were clearly designed with pedestrians in mind (like the malls around many of the famous sights) yet many others will have no space for foot traffic at all. You might be forced to share the streets with vehicles so be careful when crossing or walking among traffic. The city is huge and walking is best saved for investigating sights up close.
Buses and trolleys – Complementing the subway are the buses and trolleys crisscrossing the city. These are handy to access areas less wellserved by the metro. Tickets can be bought from conductors once you’ve boarded, but be prepared to have correct change.
- Thank you
- Excuse me
Currency – Russian Ruble (RUB)
Electricity – 220 volts, 50 hz, European typeC plug.
Tips – Welcome but not required.
Payment / card – Cards are not widely accepted, especially in smaller stores.
Time zone – St. Petersburg (Russia) UTC/GMT + 3 hours
Water - Not always safe to drink so better to stick to bottled water.
Pulkovo Airport (LED)
The airport is located 15 km south of St. Petersburg.
- Finnair flights: Terminal 1
- Check-in opens 2 hours before departure
- Check-in closes 45 minutes before departure