St Petersburg has become one of my favourite cities in the world. Since my first trip to the city, back in 2004, it left me wishing for more trips. But unfortunately, I only returned 12 years later. But then I travelled to the city three times in one single year, making it one of the cities I travelled to most often in 2016. Like most visitors, I travelled by plane and had to find out how to go from St Petersburg airport to the city centre. There are many ways indeed, but it’s not as simple as in Moscow, for example.
ABOUT SAINT PETERSBURG PULKOVO AIRPORT
Pulkovo airport is located 23km south of Saint Petersburg and is the only airport to serve the city. It has only one terminal but it is very modern. The airport offers free wifi in the arrivals and departure halls.
In the arrivals hall, you can find ATMs dispensing Russian Rubles, currency exchange accepting all major currencies and cafes. The airport information desk is about 30 metres on the right-hand side of the arrivals gate.
HOW TO GO FROM ST PETERSBURG AIRPORT TO THE CITY
Getting from St Petersburg Pulkovo airport to the city centre is not as convenient as in Moscow. While all airports in the Russian capital are served by express trains, that doesn’t happen here. This will make your journey from the airport to St Petersburg either very inconvenient, since you’ll depend on a bus AND a metro (underground/metro), or have to choose between a taxi or a private transfer.
It’s not surprising that I’m not a fan of airport taxi drivers, but sometimes I had no choice. As soon as you go through the arrivals gate, you will see the usual crowd waiting for their loved ones. Among that crowd, there will be a lot of taxi drivers. They’ll come to you saying “taxi, taxi” and show a credential. Almost none of them speak English.
Some of them are real taxi drivers, but others are just chancers. My advice is that you do not go to the city with one of them. They will most likely overcharge you either by not switching on the metre or drive around unnecessarily to make your journey pricey.
There are taxi desks in the arrivals hall, where you can pay by card or cash and get a receipt.
BY PRIVATE TRANSFER
Another way of getting to St Petersburg from Pulkovo airport is booking a private car transfer prior to arrival. Most hotels will be able to do that for you at a cost. You can also book them yourself with reliable transfer companies such as this one or you can book a ride with Blacklane. Both websites are easy to use and offer quality drivers. Prices are quite fair.
The advantage is huge, I think. Your driver will be there waiting for you and, in most cases, there will be no money transaction between you and your driver. Unless you only part-pay for your transfer online. Sample fares from St Petersburg to Nevsky Prospekt are:
Kiwi Taxi: from 22 euros for up to four passengers with three pieces of luggage in an economy car.
Blacklane Business: from 75 euros for up to three people (you may cancel up to 1 hour prior to pick-up).
BUS + METRO (UNDERGROUND/SUBWAY)
Now, the cheapest way to get from Pulkovo airport to St Petersburg is by public transport. Believe me, it’s dead cheap! The inconvenience is that the bus doesn’t go to the city centre neither does the metro go to the airport.
Don’t confuse MoskovskayA station, for Metro Line 2, far from the city centre, with Moskovsky station (for intercity trains) in the city centre. Both options cost only 30 rubles (50 euro cents) and you pay the fare controller on the bus.
At Moskovskaya station, you just take metro line 2, which takes you to the city centre stopping at several stations, including Nevskiy Prospekt. The metro fare costs 45 rubles (75 euro cents) and you buy the jeton at the station tills.
Just remember that the metro stations in Saint Petersburg are very deep. Changing between lines, if necessary, can take up to 30 minutes, given the depth of the stations and distance to walk underground.
GETTING FROM ST PETERSBURG TO PULKOVO AIRPORT BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
To go from St Petersburg to Pulkovo airport by public transport, just be careful with some small details. Once you take the underground/subway (line 2), you have to get off at Moskovskaya station. MoskovskayA. Just be careful so you don’t get off at Moskovskie Vorota, which is 3 stations before the one you need.
So, did you find this information useful? What’s your preferred way to travel from Pulkovo airport to St Petersburg?