Arrival in St.Petersburg and Moscow
A number of international and Russian airlines offer regular flights to Moscow (international airports Sheremetievo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo) and to St.Petersburg (Pulkovo).
Train is another way to travel to St. Petersburg and Moscow. Students should be aware of the fact that if they plan to travel from Europe by train via Belarus they will need a valid transit Byelorussian visa to pass through this country. There is also a possibility to travel to St. Petersburg by bus or boat (from Helsinki, Finland or Baltic States).
Upon arrival in the airport visitors first pass the passport control, followed by the customs control. Visitors arriving with an invalid visa face stiff fines or are asked to leave the country immediately.
It is possible to change money at the airport in the arrival hall. There are also ATM (cash machines) which accept most credit cards (Master, Visa, EC International).
Upon arrival in Russia foreign visitors receive an immigration card they need to keep until departure. No customs declaration form needs to filled out if foreign visitors carry less than USD 10.000 or equivalent in other currencies.
Detailed information about export restriction of art-work, paintings, musical instruments, cash, caviar etc. are available on request.
All our students are met at the airport, railway or bus stations by a school representative carrying a ‘Liden & Denz’ sign and taken straight to their host family or other point of destination.
In the unlucky event that there is nobody at an airport or train station to meet a student, he/she should immediately call the school using our emergency numbers. There is always somebody on duty in all our centres, who will immediately send for a car or/and a member of staff to pick him or her up.
Arrival transfers are included in the course fees if accommodation is booked via the school.
To travel from St.Petersburg to Moscow and vice-versa, students can either fly or go by train. There are always at least ten flights per day between St.Petersburg and Moscow. Airfares are reasonable.
Train is another very popular form of travel between the cities. In St.Petersburg trains for Moscow depart from the Moscow railway terminal (nearest metro station – Ploschad Vosstanya/Moskovsky Vokzal). Leningradsky Vokzal is a railway terminal in Moscow (nearest metro station – Komsomolskaya) to leave for St.Petersburg. There are several night trains that depart late in the evening and arrive early morning. High-speed services during the day (Sapsan) will have reduced travel times to under 4 hours. Trains are clean, safe and comfortable. Some trains offer business class services.
The St. Petersburg climate is similar to Scandinavia. In the short summer (mid-June to mid-August), temperatures can reach 30° C. The winters are generally cold and temperatures can fall below minus 20º C. The position of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland tempers the summer heat a little, and in autumn and winter produces a cool breeze. Moscow’s climate is continental: cold in winter and hot in summer.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are CET + two hours in summer and CET + three hours in winter as Russia does not move the clock back in winter.
The standard voltage is Russia is 220 volts. Unearthed Western European plugs with two narrow pins fit Russian sockets. An adapter is required for Swiss three-point plugs and German earth contact plugs.
The following are not working days in Russia: January 1 and 2 (New Year), January 7 (Orthodox Christmas), February 23 (Day of the Defenders of the Motherland), March 8 (International Women’s Day), May 1 (International Labour Day), May 9 (Victory Day – End of Second World War), June 12 (Independence Day), November 4 (Day of Reconciliation and Accord) and December 12 (Constitution Day). When a holiday falls on a weekend, the next weekday is generally a day off.
No general rules exist, or at least none are followed. Most shops and businesses open from 10 am and close in the late evening. Many food shops and restaurants are open 24 hours. Many shops also open on Sunday. No alcohol is on sale during night times.
Calls abroad from Russia by mobile telephone are expensive. Both cities have plenty of Internet cafés and there are Wifi zones available in all Liden & Denz language centres. Students staying over two weeks should consider buying a Russian SIM card (pre-paid).
There are ATM’s everywhere so there not really a need to change cash money. However, Euro, US dollars and other currencies can be exchanged in most banks and exchange offices. Banknotes should be as new as possible and in good condition, as notes that are worn, torn, have been written on or are otherwise marked are not accepted. Students should be aware that they will not be able to change any money without a passport (or a passport copy stamped in the Department of Visas and Registrations) in most currency exchange offices.
Please note that despite inflationary tendencies the only accepted form of payment in Russia is the Rouble (RUB).
Although crime has become a problem in post-Soviet Russia, foreigners in Moscow and St. Petersburg have nothing to fear provided they behave as they would in any major European city. Common sense rules. Negative reporting about Russia is often wildly exaggerated. And when complaining, as many Russians do, about the growth in crime, it is worth remembering that the Soviet Union was one of the safest countries in the world and crime has risen from a very low level. Below are some basis safety tips.
Out and about: Only carry with you what you need for the day or evening, i.e. enough cash, and credit cards only if you plan to use them. Otherwise, leave them at home. In Moscow you should always carry your passport with you. In St. Petersburg, a copy will do.
Pickpockets: Keep a close eye on your possessions at all times and especially in restaurants and cafés. Bags and mobile phones are stolen even in the smarter places with security guards.
Important telephone numbers:
Fire service: 01
Emergency medical treatment: 03
Accurate and up-to-date travel information available at Russia In Your Pocket.