Arriving by Sea

St Petersburg has a long and celebrated association with the sea, and the city's founder Peter the Great was himself a shipbuilder and founder of the Russian navy. So arriving by sea is an entirely appropriate way to arrive and is becoming one of the most popular ways thanks to improvements in the bureaucratic burden for foreign visitors arriving at the port, as well as recent capital improvements to the port itself. The passenger port, known as Marine Facade, is the first specialized port in the country which confirms to international standards in terms of infrastructure, security, and the size of vessels it can receive - up to 317 metres in length and 9 metres depth. As such the port is successfully welcoming ever more cruise ships and ferries which has placed St Petersburg firmly on the international cruise ship map.

Since 2009, the city authorities have also been granted special authorization by federal authorities to allow foreign visitors arriving by cruise ship or ferry to visit for up to 72 hours without a visa, and every year more visitors do exactly that. The requirement for this is that a sightseeing trip should be pre-booked, but there are various economical options offered by the shipping lines. With regular routes between St Petersburg and several cities in the Baltic region, a relatively cheap and spontaneous long weekend in the city becomes a real possibility for those spending any time in Sweden, Finland or Estonia. The main ferry company is St Peter Line, check the website for full details of routes, fares and other conditions.

How to get there

Primorskaya metro station is the last station on the green line that links Vasilievsky ostrov to the rest of the city, including (conveniently) Nevsky prospekt and Moskovsky railway station at Ploshchad Vosstaniya. A regular bus service Number 158 shuttles backwards and forwards between the metro station and the passenger terminal every 25-30 minutes from 0630 to midnight. A taxi to/from the city centre should cost around RUB 500. For those with deeper pockets, there is also a helicopter pad which must be booked in advance.