At the eastern end of the Gulf of Finland, on the Baltic Sea, stands the city of St Petersburg. In the 18th century, Peter the Great transformed the swampy banks of the Neva River into a fine European-style city, his “window on Europe”. Known as Petrograd and then Leningrad, many Russians refer to it as “Piter”.
Its attractions are numerous. There are 539 bridges, more than anywhere else in the world. Apart from Peter the Great’s modest wooden cabin, and the Winter Palace, main residence of the Tsars and the Hermitage Museum’s main building, there are St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood, a St. Basil-esque building, a swirl of colourful onion domes, red brick and mosaics.
Head out on foot to best experience St Petersburg’s sights and architecture. There are plenty of public transport options for those who don’t feel like walking. You can still get great views of the city by taking a cruise on the Neva River. The metro is a very popular option for both residents and tourists. It’s cheap and fast, but can get very crowded during the day. Buy your tokens or multiple-trip tickets at the station. You can also ride a bus, tram or trolley car.
Buses cover the areas the subway doesn’t. Trolleys are the slowest option. Purchase tickets for any of these from the drivers or at kiosks beforehand. Make sure you validate them when boarding. Marshrutky are minibus shuttles that you can flag down on the bus route. Pay the driver and request a stop when you get to your destination. There are also plenty of taxis, which are inexpensive as well.
Private cars often act as non-metered taxis, so negotiate a fare before you get in. Avoid driving yourself if you can. Roads are often in disrepair, traffic is congested and street signs are in Cyrillic.
Flights to St Petersburg arrive at Pulkovo International Airport (LED). The public bus leaves for Moskovskaya Metro Station from outside the terminal, from where metros go to the city centre. Taxis are also available from the terminals; pre-booking a taxi is far cheaper. Passengers who are staying in a major hotel can arrange to be picked up.
Pulkovo Airport is located roughly 20km (12 miles) from downtown St Petersburg, Russia. One of the busiest airports in the country, Pulkovo is a hub for Rossiya Airlines and processes nearly nine million passengers each year.
The airport can best be described as “no frills”, with little to offer in the way of shopping or restaurants. One of the major complaints is the high prices, with a sandwich costing sometimes six times the price of a cafe in town. The airport also tends toward chaos, especially if you use popular Russian airline Aeroflot. Once you’re past security, it’s best to find your gate as soon as possible and take your cues from other passengers, as information is often only posted in Cyrillic.
Flights to Pulkovo Airport come from cities all over Europe and Asia in addition to the numerous domestic routes within Russia, including Rome, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Helsinki, Beijing, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Oslo, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Barcelona, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Istanbul, and Phuket.
Great question - LED just means Saint Petersburg Pulkovo Airport. Now you’ll know what this unique code and ones like it mean when you look for flights!
Booking a flight to Saint Petersburg Pulkovo (LED) is your only option if you intend on flying to St Petersburg. It is only a 8.7 mi journey from Pulkovo to St Petersburg’s city center.
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