How to Travel From Moscow to St Petersburg

The Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin | © Pixabay | © rperucho / Pixabay
Anastasiia Ilina

For many travellers, visiting Russia is a journey of a lifetime. Therefore, if you do make it to Russia and are arriving in Moscow or St Petersburg, it would be a pity to see one and not the other. These two major cities are well connected, and both have something unique to share.

Why should you visit St Petersburg

Moscow may well be the contemporary capital of Russia, but historically St Petersburg also held the position of capital in the 18th and 19th centuries. These were the two centuries of imperial rule, when the Russian empire was at its height of power and wealth. As memories of its historic past, St Petersburg has many lavish palaces, museums and beautiful works of architecture. Moscow provides the vibe of a modern capital, but when you feel exhausted with it all, head over to St Petersburg for a change of scenery and a whole new city to discover.

A reason to visit St Petersburg – The Hermitage Museum

Travel by train

Sapsan Moskovsky railway station in Saint Petersburg

Travel by plane

Despite the short distance, there are frequent flights between Moscow and St Petersburg. The travel time is around 1.5 hours. Prices vary depending on the airline and how far in advance you book. The price range can be as big as US$65-200. Usually, these flights are taken by business travellers or passengers in transit. The overall journey time, including getting to and from the airports, will likely be longer than taking the high-speed train. On the other hand, planes are obviously a better option for night travel, when the high-speed trains are not running.

At Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow

Travel by car

It is definitely possible to travel by car between Moscow and St Petersburg. Depending on which route you take, the total distance between the cities is around 650-700 km (400-435 mi.). Travel time is strongly dependent on how long you are willing to drive without stopping and the inter-city traffic conditions. Driving on your own in Russia can require some getting used to, especially on high-speed highways. In case you decide to rent or borrow a car, make sure to read carefully through all the information and make sure you are eligible to drive overseas.

Driving through the Russian countryside

What you need to know

Whichever way you decide to travel, there aren’t too many complications to consider. If you require a Russian visa, it needs to be valid for the whole duration of your stay, encompassing visits to both cities. It is advisable to think about these two journeys in advance. The Russian visa application asks for information about all the cities you intend to visit on your journey. If you are taking a day trip, then don’t forget to take your passport. There will be a check before boarding the train, and the passport details should match those written on the ticket.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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