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St Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city and its erstwhile capital. It was built by Peter the Great as a display of Russia’s growing world status, and magnificent palaces and cathedrals were added by his successors. The capital moved back to Moscow after the revolution, but it remains as Russia’s cultural capital. Some of its architectural gems include the
Artistic excellence abounds in St Petersburg. See the monumental collection of art, jewels and antiques at the
Once you’ve covered the main city sights, you will want to have a rental car in St Petersburg to explore islands, palaces and castles beyond.
To avoid the hassle and travel in comfort, you can rent a car at Pulkovo Airport and get to the centre in half an hour.
St Petersburg is connected to the rest of Russia and Europe by an extensive road infrastructure, making it easy to explore beyond the city limits with a rental car in St Petersburg.
Traffic jams are common, so avoid rush hour. Metered on-street parking is available, but for easy and safe parking use the underground car parks at large shopping malls, such as Stockmann and Galeria. Beware of leaving your car under a ‘No Parking’ sign, even if there are other cars parked, as your vehicle may be towed.
One of the highest-rated luxury hotels, frequented by celebrities, is the
Major car rental companies operate at Pulkovo Airport, such as Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. You can use the Expedia car hire tool to help you find the best rental car in St Petersburg.
In less than an hour, you can reach two of St Petersburg’s most beautiful summer residences of the Romanov tsars, the Versailles-inspired
Samples of medieval architecture can be seen in
You must be 18 or older to drive in Russia. An international driving permit is required for holders of a UK driving licence. Carry it at all times alongside your passport and visa and your insurance papers. You must drive on the right and overtake on the left. A right turn at red lights is forbidden. The speed limit on motorways is 62mph, but visitors with a driving licence of less than two years mustn’t exceed 43mph.
Use of seatbelts is compulsory as is daytime use of dipped headlights. There is zero tolerance for drink-driving, so resist that pre-drive shot of vodka.
Road conditions are often poor, especially outside major cities, and accidents frequent. Don’t expect Russian drivers to show road courtesy and always drive carefully, avoiding driving at night if possible.
Feeling inspired to start planning your trip to St Petersburg and other parts of the Russia? Use this city guide and the Expedia search tool to find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and research your preferred attractions and activities.
Car hire gives you the chance to be completely independent during your time in St. Petersburg, and you’ll be able to see much more of the Imperial architecture than you would by walking or using public transport. Most four- and five-star hotels offer free onsite parking, while the majority of other hotels are located close to public car parks. Some of the high-end hotels will even help guests with organising car rental.
Hiring a car allows you to be flexible during your time in St. Petersburg and makes it easier to get to the Imperial estates on the outskirts of the city. With you international driving licence and passport you are free to roam the countryside. Even though the roads in the Russian countryside have a reputation for being a bit bumpy, some visitors take the five-hour drive through pine forests and past medieval castles to Tallinn for a night or two. The drive to Helsinki is about the same distance, through equally beautiful landscapes.
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