Saint Petersburg is the biggest among the northern cities and the most northern among the big ones. It occupies the territory exceeding 600 sq. km. with about 4.5 mln inhabitants.
Created by Peter the Great in 1703 to be his "window on Europe", St Petersburg combines its fascinating Russian heritage with a distinctly European outlook. A city of infinite charm with its majestic palaces, churches and cathedrals, river embankments, beautiful parks and innumerable bridges has a relatively short but outstanding history. For almost two centuries it was the capital of the Russian Empire. No longer a capital city now it still preserves its imperial grandeur. Peter the Great founded this city of canals, so beautiful that it is often referred to as the "Venice of the North". It was planned and built with the help of leading architects from all over the world, and the result is an eclectic blend of European and traditional Russian styles. St. Petersburg reminds some visitors of Rome, others of Paris, still others of Venice, Vienna or Amsterdam. Elements of all these cities are here, yet at the same time it resembles none. Today St. Petersburg is a treasure house of architecture - beneath these northern skies, the traditional forms of Old Russian churches were enriched with borrowings from Classical and Western European religious architecture. Discover one of the world's greatest open-air museum: the Winter Palace, a pearl of the Russian baroque architecture, the Palace Square, Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, and summer residences of the Russian Czars. One huge palace after another, imposing architectural ensembles and austere granite embankments bear testimony to a magnificent kingly past of the city. Considered the cultural heart of modern-day Russia, St Petersburg is rapidly regaining its reputation as one of the great cities in the world. Within easy reach of the capitals of Europe, St Petersburg now offers to its visitors luxury accommodation, expert destination-management and international travel services.
May42 to 58F (6 to 14C°)2" (51mm)
June51 to 66F (11 to 19C°)2" (51mm)
July57 to 71F (14 to 22C°)3" (76mm)
August53 to 66F (12 to 19C°)3" (76mm)
September45 to 57F (7 to 14C°)2" (51mm)
October37 to 45F (3 to 7C°)2" (51mm)
Photo & Video permissions have to be ordered in advance in order to bring into the museums. Restrictions also of bringing coats, bags and umbrellas - coat checks are available.
Passports will be registered in the hotel and kept during the first night.
The main shopping areas and department stores are Passage & Gostvinny Dvor in St. Petersburg (payment only in Rubles). Arranged shopping tours with assistance is recommended.
In the hotels the charges are high due to satellite connections. Local telephone cards are available for use. The GSM net is established in St. Petersburg.
Cards for free transportation on Metro can be supplied. Payment in tram, bus and TB is in cash only.
WATER NOT RECOMMENDED TO DRINK!
Minibars are available in the main hotels or 1 liter bottles can be purchased in the hotel shops or pre-ordered by Fremad Russia.
THE LOCAL TIME
Eastern European Time Zone: GMT+3 hours. When noon in St. Petersburg it is 10.00 in Paris and Berlin, 09.00 in London.
SPECIAL SERVICE NUMBER
For special services numbers are used:
810 - international calls
01 - fire
02 - police
03 - ambulance/emergencies
060 - time
State and private taxis are equipped with meters. As with many things in St. Petersburg prices are more than reasonable but you should not ever get in a cab which doesn't have the name of the company on the top of the car.
Foreign currency can only be exchanged at banks and authorized exchange offices. As rates can vary from one place to another it is wise to shop around. Do not exchange currency from dealers in the street. No matter how good the rate they offer is, they will find a way to cheat you.
Normally a small tip for good services is appreciated but it is at discretion of the client. Do not pay more than 5% off your bill.
Apart from normal seasonal clothes, it is always advisable to pack a warm pullover, a raincoat and walking shoes. Very warm clothing is recommended in winter.
220 volts and 50 Hz. 2 prong plug.