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Airport Transfers in St Petersburg, Russia

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Visitors to St Petersburg often find that they get a strong taste of visceral Russia before they have even arrived at their hotel because of the excitement and adventure inherent in airport transfers from Pulkovo, the city’s airport.

The problem lies in the absence of an adequate shuttle service, either train or bus, that can whisk arrivals straight into the city, which is approximately 20 kilometres away. In fact there are no direct public transport links at all, visitors have to either hop from bus to metro or else entrust themselves with the city’s taxi drivers.

As with many of their brethren around the world, the taxi drivers that lurk at Pulkovo airport exist not to convey their passengers from one place to another, but rather to extract from unwitting tourists as much money as is possible for them to keep a straight face.

My recommendation, therefore, is that visitors to St Petersburg book a hotel room before they arrive and ensure that the hotel arranges the airport transfers for them. Even if the hotel charges for this service, although it shouldn’t, the price will almost certainly be lower than charged by an unscrupulous taxi driver.

I recognise, however, that this may not be an option for everyone and so there are alternatives. If you do not have large and heavy bags then public transport is an inexpensive and quick option, but quite difficult. From the arrivals area visitors must take one of the many buses that run to Moskovskaya metro station. From there it is a simple journey into the centre of the city. The entire trip should take about half an hour.

Visitors preparing to take this route should be aware that you will need to use a few simple phrases of Russian and be able to read the signs on the buses and the metro.

If this does not appeal then the taxis waiting in front of the airport will be difficult to resist and all hope should not be lost. There are two options. The first is to jump straight in and begin to haggle, expect to knock up to a half off the starting price depending on how many other passengers there are at the airport terminal and the time of day. Haggling will be easier if you speak Russian.

At busy times there are also taxi marshals who will arrange a taxi and set the price. They will give you a little ticket with the price on it so there can be no ‘confusion’ when you get to your destination.

Visitors should note that unlicensed taxi drivers hang around outside Pulkovo airport touting for business, but it is not recommended that visitors use them. Most of the scams involving over-charging and downright robbery are perpetrated by these unscrupulous drivers.

Top 5 St Petersburg Hotels offering airport transfer service :

Photo of Pulkovo Airport, St Petersburg, Russia, by Leszek Golunbinski

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

12 responses to “Airport Transfers in St Petersburg, Russia”

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  1. Alexey says:
    January 21st, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Great post, I enjoyed this. Maybe we will have some kind of shuttle train one day

  2. airport transfer says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    thanks for helpfull info

  3. Tudor Arter says:
    October 13th, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    The real challenge is the return journey by public transport from St. Petersburg city centre to Pulkovo 2. There is absolutely no signage in Russian or English to direct you from the Moskosvskaya metro to the appropriate bus stop and, to make matters worse, the latter is quite some distance from the underground exit.
    Best tip: Ask someone under the age of thirty for the way to McDonalds. You will be told to cross the main road on the side of the square facing the underground exit and then to go left for some 400 hundred metres or so. In the diistance you will see the remarkable chimney-like structure that is part of the Soviet war monument. The bus stop is just along from McDonalds and is serviced by minibuses, not coaches. You need a 13. The airport is not its last stop, so sit so that you can see when you get there.
    Sounds a bit messy but compared with the cost of taxi it’s practically free!

  4. Airport Transport says:
    December 21st, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Very Good services for Airport Transport

  5. Limousine Service Los Angeles says:
    December 21st, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Limousine Service Los Angeles is a very good services for you.

  6. John says:
    January 23rd, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I really don’t understand this article. I arrived during the day at Pulkovo 2 in September 2010. At arrivals was a taxi desk with a friendly English-speaking lady. I paid afixed price of 700 Roubles for a taxi fare to the centre of st Petersberg. And going back I paid 550 Roubles to a Taxi arranged by my hotel. both of which i found very reasonable.

  7. Loren says:
    February 19th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Hello! When I was in St Petersburg I bought Spb guest card. Whit this card I took a bus from the airport to the center of the city with a big discount!!! Also I had a discount in many restaurants and hotels

  8. Saint-Petersburg Airport Transfer says:
    February 17th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    You can always book airport transfer before arrival and it will cost you around 40 Euro.

  9. Steven says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Like your notice regarding taxi drivers: they extract from unwitting tourists as much money as is possible for them to keep a straight face.

  10. Tom says:
    May 20th, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Airport Trans has been the market leader in airport transportation services .
    Thanks!

  11. sabiha gökçen transfer says:
    August 28th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    hello thanks for helpfull info Sir.

  12. katherina says:
    December 19th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    This site really has all of the information and acts I neededd about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


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