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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN St. Petersburg

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Saint Petersburg each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

January 7 : Russian Orthodox Christmas (national holiday)

The Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar and thus celebrates Christmas thirteen days after it is celebrated by most Christians in the rest of the world.

February 23 : Defender of the Fatherland Day (national holiday)

Previously commemorated the anniversary of the creation of the Red Army in 1918. Today, it is celebrated as the Russian equivalent of Father's Day, on which women and girls give presents to their male relatives of any age, whether they have served in the Russian armed forces or not.

March 8 : International Women's Day (national holiday)

Celebrated worldwide, this holiday honours all women. In Russia, men and boys give flowers, chocolate and small presents to their wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends and female colleagues. Throngs of flower sellers and other vendors line the sidewalks in Saint Petersburg on this day. Men and boys jostle each other to stake their claim, as none will dare face the girls and women in their lives without a gift.

Around May 1 : Labour Day/ Spring Festival (national holiday)

Celebrations of May Day lost their political meaning in Russia after 1991. Occasionally, political parties and labour unions have demonstrations on this day, but most Russians use this holiday for gardening or spending time with their families. If May 1 falls on a weekend, the public holiday is usually moved to the following Monday.

May 9 : Victory Day (national holiday)

For Russians, this is the day the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany ended in 1945. Celebrations include a magnificent victory parade along Nevsky Prospekt, which ends with soldiers and veterans filling Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad), and fireworks over the Neva in the evening.

May 27: City Day (local event)

Celebrates the founding of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great on this day in 1703. A large variety of events are organized, including a parade, brass bands, folk dancing, etc.

June 12 : Russia Day (national holiday)

Marks the day the Russian Federation proclaimed its sovereignty in 1990. Celebrated in Saint Petersburg with a fireworks display in the evening

First Sunday after July 22 : Navy Day (local event)

One of the world's great sea-faring cities, Saint Petersburg pays tribute to its sailors each year on this day. Submarines and torpedo boats, festooned with flags and bunting, gather along the Neva and engage in mock battles.

December 25 : Christmas (celebrated nationwide)

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN St. Petersburg

Saint Petersburg has a humid continental climate. Winters are cold, while summers are fairly hot and humid, with stark contrasts between the seasons. In the summer, the average temperature hovers around 20°C (68°F) while in winter it varies between −8°C and −4°C (18°F–25°F). The city is blanketed in snow for about a third of the year, and days are very short in the winter!

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January -9/16 -4/25 40/1.6 Good period to go Good period to go
February -9/16 -3/27 31/1.2 Not the best period to go
March -4/25 2/36 35/1.4 Not the best period to go
April 1/34 8/46 33/1.3 Not the best period to go
May 7/45 16/61 38/1.5 Good period to go Good period to go
June 12/54 20/68 64/2.5 Good period to go Good period to go
July 14/57 22/72 78/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
August 13/55 20/68 77/3.0 Good period to go Good period to go
September 8/46 14/57 67/2.6 Good period to go Good period to go
October 3/37 8/46 65/2.6 Not the best period to go
November -2/28 2/36 56/2.2 Not the best period to go
December -6/21 2/36 49/1.9 Good period to go Good period to go
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Saint Petersburg Pulkovo Airport

Saint Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport is located 23 kilometres (14 miles) south of Palace Square in the city centre. The airport has seen considerable growth in recent years. In 2014, it served 14.3 million passengers, thus nearly three times the number served in 2006.

  • Three terminals, although both Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2 are currently closed for reconstruction.
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Pulkovo 1
    • Pulkovo 2

Getting from the airport to Saint Petersburg and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via Moskovsky Prospekt, then the Pulkovskoye Shosse highway to the marked airport exits.
    • Several parking options are provided at the airport: P1 (parking garage, RUB 200 for 1 hour), P2 and P3 (short-term parking lots, RUB 150 for 1 hour), P4 (long-term parking lot, RUB 450 per day, RUB 1,700 per week), P7 (non-monitored free parking area)
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport. Allow 30 to 60 minutes to reach the city centre.
  • By bus
    • Express city bus number 39Э connects the airport with Moskovskaya station on the Saint Petersburg Metro every 25 to 30 minutes from 5:20 a.m. to 12:20 a.m. Travel time is about 20 minutes.
  • By taxis
    • The airport has an official taxi service, with payment accepted by credit card or cash at the Taxi Pulkovo counter or by cash to the driver at the end of the ride. These taxis operate with set fares, depending on your destination, ranging from RUB 600 to RUB 1,400 within Saint Petersburg.
    • Avoid accepting rides from illegal taxis.
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, bank, post office, and free Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone : o +7 812 337-38-22 / +7 812 337-34-44
  • Website : http://www.pulkovoairport.ru/en

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GETTING AROUND St. Petersburg

There are several excellent options for getting around Saint Petersburg, including metro lines, trams, buses and trolleybuses. Saint Petersburg's public transport system also includes “river buses”, small boats taking several routes along the Neva and the city's canals, an especially delightful option in the summer months.

By rail

The Saint Petersburg Metro is the best way to get around the city quickly. And it is also an opportunity to discover the city's monumental and ornately decorated stations! Each day, nearly 3.5 million people use the Metro.

  • There are five lines with 67 stations open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • During the day, trains run roughly every two minutes

Tarifs :
  • Single ride: RUB 31 (a second ticket must be purchased as a supplement if you have luggage)
  • Pass with 10 rides (valid for 7 days): RUB 295
  • Pass with 40 rides (valid for 30 days): RUB 1,070

By bus and minibus (marshrutka)

There are numerous bus stops dotted along all the city's main thoroughfares. Buses are thus very useful for getting around, in combination with the Metro. Tickets may be purchased from the driver on the bus. Minibuses follow fixed routes, but collect and drop off passengers anywhere along the way. You just need to ask the driver to stop when you are about to reach your destination. Allow about RUB 30 per ride.

By boat

A boat cruise along the Neva or the city's canals is also an ideal way to discover Saint Petersburg, sometimes known as the Venice of the North. Several companies offer cruises, with or without a guide. Allow at least RUB 800 per person for a 1-hour cruise.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Saint Petersburg, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Saint Petersburg Tourist Information Bureau

Offers practical information and publications for tourists on the city of Saint Petersburg and its region.

    • Main office
      • Address : St. Petersburg, Sadovaya ul., 14/52
      • Telephone : +7 812 310 22 31
      • Website : http://www.ispb.info

See also the Tourist Information Bureau's official travel guide at http://www.visit-petersburg.ru

 

  • Office on Sennaya Square
  • Telephone : +7 812 570 76 25
  • Address : St. Petersburg, Sennaya Square, 37

The Tourist Information Bureau also operates a number of information kiosks at various locations throughout the city, including:

  • Saint Isaac's Square
  • Rastrelli Square
  • Pulkovo Airport
  • Marine Facade cruise port terminal
  • Uprising Square (Ploshchad Vosstaniya)
  • Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad)

Further information available online for visitors to Russia

The English-language website maintained by the Russian National Tourist Office, a tour operator with offices in London and Edinburgh, and representative offices in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, provides a wealth of information for visitors to Saint Petersburg.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Russia is the russian ruble (P).

1 CHF = 60 RUB

1 RUB = 0,02 CHF

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel. If you take regular medication, make sure you have a sufficient supply for your trip, to avoid any risks relating to counterfeit prescription drugs.

Mandatory health insurance

In order to obtain your visa for travel to Russia, you will need to take out insurance covering both medical expenses and medical evacuation or repatriation.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Russia.

The following vaccines are recommended for travel to Russia:

  • Booster doses for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio, plus vaccines against typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, influenza, meningitis and rabies (depending on the length of your stay and hygiene conditions)

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Avoid drinking unpurified tap water. It is best to drink bottled water during your visit and even to use it for brushing your teeth.

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Administrative formalities

Foreign nationals are required to be in possession of a visa in order to enter and stay in Russia.

For further information, visit the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.russianconsulate.info/visa_requirements.html

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic Russian phrases that will make your stay in Saint Petersburg a little easier:

Hello / How do you do?: Zdrastvooytyeh

Good morning: Dobra-yeh ootra

Good day / Good afternoon: Dobri dyen

Good evening: Dobri vyechyer

Goodbye: Da sdveedanya

Yes: Da

No: Nyet

No, thank you: Nyet, spaseeba

Thank you very much: Bolsho-yeh spaseeba

I don't understand: Ya nyeh paneema-yoo.

Could you repeat that?: Paftareetyeh, pajalsta.

Please: Pajalasta

What time is it: Katori chas?

Excuse me: Eezveeneetyeh (to get past, to say sorry) / Prasteetyeh! (to get attention) / Eezveeneetyeh, pajalsta (to ask someone a question).

Airport: A-eraport

Train station: Vokzal

Taxi: Taksi

Hotel: Otel

Hospital: Bahlneetsa

Bank: Bank

Telephone: Telefon

I'm (…): Ya (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ya ishtoo (…).

How much is it: Skolka eta sto-eet?

Do you have (…): Oo vas yest (…)?

Where can I find (…):  Gde mozhna naytee (…)?

Where can I buy (…): Gde mozhna kupit (…)?

I'd like (…): Ya biy haytel(a) (…).

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Good to know

00 7
+ phone number (calls to Saint Petersburg)
1 : 00
of time difference with
Geneva

Banks

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Government offices

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
220 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Saint Petersburg, tipping is certainly not required but always appreciated. If you are satisfied with the service, you can tip about 10 percent of the bill in restaurants and bars.