St Petersburg, Russia
Russia’s ‘cultural capital’ and birthplace of the Russian Revolution, the port of St Petersburg is rich in history, although only founded in 1703.
Despite its age, the scale of its early development has led to UNESCO designating the ‘Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments’ a world heritage site.
The second-largest city in Russia behind Moscow, its museums, historic palaces and Empire architecture make it one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country.
Formerly Petrograd, and then Leningrad, St Petersburg today is a popular cruise destination, with cruise ships docking at the Marine Facade passenger terminal. Around 10 minutes from St Petersburg mainland, the terminal is located on the island of Vasilyevsky, intended at one stage to be the heart of St Petersburg’s founder Peter the Great’s ‘window on the West’.
Located on the western side of St Petersburg, the port is a little way from the mainland but is easily accessible via taxi or shuttle.
Development is still underway on the passenger terminal, but facilities include:
- a cafe
- parking for tourist buses and cars
- duty free shopping
- a taxi desk.
How to Get Around
Travelling to and from the passenger terminal is best done by taxi or bus. Travel time from the terminal to the central area of St Petersburg is around 20 to 30 minutes. To minimise the fare, book a cab through the desks at the terminal or prearrange transport with your hotel. The closest train station is Primorskaya, designed during the Cold War with dual function as a fall-out shelter. It is accessible via a bus transfer.
- Currency - the currency in St Petersburg is the Russian ruble. 1 ruble is equal to 100 kopeks. Coins come in 1, 5, 10 and 50 kopek denominations, and 1, 2, 5 and 10 ruble denominations. Notes come in 50, 100, 500, 1,000 and 5,000 ruble denominations.
- Time Zone - St Petersburg uses Moscow Standard Time (MSK), which is 4 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - St Petersburg has a humid continental climate. Winters are generally long and cold with occasional warm periods, while summers are humid and short. Average temperatures range from -6° Celsius in February to 19° Celsius in July.
- The Winter Palace - St Petersburg’s most well-known building, the Winter Palace served as the monarch’s residence from 1723 to 1917, when it became part of The State Hermitage Museum. With its high ceilings and gilded gold detailing, it is a prime example of the opulence of the Russian Empire. It also houses part of the great State Hermitage art collection, one of the largest and most distinguished in the world.
- Yelagin Island - one of the many Neva river islands that comprise the city, this car-free zone in St Petersburg’s north is home to seasonal leisure activities, including ice skating and sledding in the colder months and hiring a rowboat in milder weather.
- Riverboat entertainment - ‘The Venice of the North’ lives up to its name through canals and riverboats. Several operators offer dinner cruises along the river, complete with live entertainment.
- Peterhof - built by Peter The Great, Peterhof is now maintained as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With its meticulously landscaped gardens and fountains, it is a true testament to his grand ideas for the city. The Grand Cascade with its golden sculptures is particularly beautiful, earning the palace the title of ‘the Russian Versailles’.
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