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Pulkovo Airport is St. Petersburg’s local airport and just a 30-minute drive out of the city centre. A number of international airlines, including British Airways and KLM, regularly fly to and from Pulkovo, as well as many domestic airlines offering regular connections to Moscow. For those travelling to St. Petersburg from the UK, there is a direct flight from London Heathrow. However, it’s possible to keep flight prices down by flying via Istanbul or Riga.
Flight prices tend to increase in the summer, especially during St. Petersburg’s White Nights period. Even though they begin in the middle of May, the White Nights attract crowds of visitors in June, when St. Petersburg’s parks and gardens are in full bloom. During these few weeks, the city is bathed in a 24-hour glow from the midsummer sun. St. Petersburg hosts many festivals throughout this period, such as the Stars of the White Nights at the Mariinsky Theatre, which holds daily opera and ballet shows throughout the festival.
Pulkovo Airport is very accessible by car, and there are plenty of car-hire desks in the arrivals hall. The drive into central St. Petersburg should only take half an hour, though during peak times this can rise to around 40 minutes.
Direct buses also run to and from the Moskovskaya Metro Station on a regular basis. From here, central St. Petersburg is just a short Metro ride away. Taxis offer visitors a flexible way to get into St. Peterburg and can be booked at one of the taxi desks in the airport’s arrival hall.
Before travelling to Russia, it is very important to arrange a valid visa. The tourist visa is one of the cheapest and easiest Russian visas to obtain, and is suitable for any single entry trips that last up to 30 days. Applicants need to supply a recent passport photo, completed application form and confirmation from your hotel or travel agent. The passport you intend to travel on must also be valid for at least six months after the end of your stay in Russia. Those who are just flying via Pulkovo Airport but will be in Russia for more than 24 hours are also required to present a transit visa upon landing.
St. Petersburg’s main avenue, Nevsky Prospekt, is lined with a range of hotels from five-star boutiques to modest mini-hotels. Staying in this area places you right in the middle of St. Petersburg’s best nightlife and just steps away from some of the city’s historic sights, including Kazan Cathedral.
The Petrogradskaya district is situated on a number of islands just off St. Petersburg’s mainland and is another popular location with tourists. The large Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the area’s most notable sights, but there are plenty of other attractions to keep visitors busy. Families can explore the St. Petersburg Planetarium and Leningrad Zoo while history buffs can wander around the Cabin of Peter the Great.