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Saint Petersburg Metro
learn how to get Around the City by subway


The Saint Petersburg Metro is not only the best and most efficient way to get around our beautiful city, but it's also a remarkable work of Russian architecture that is worth experiencing.

St. Petersburg's Metro is one of the deepest in the world (105 meters below ground) and one of the most beautiful (second only to that in Moscow). Opened on November 15, 1955, the subway is considered the 12th busiest metro system in the world.

St. Petersburg's subway system is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city, aside from walking. It has five lines, 72 stations, 3,500 trains and about 3 million passengers each day, and is served by a staff of 13,000 people.

As you can imagine many Petersburg residents are using the subway so trains can get easily crowded during peak time. However, that should not stop you from using it because you won't need to wait more than three minutes for a ride. And, most importantly, the Saint Petersburg Metro is an open museum worth visiting.

For this reason, if you plan to visit Saint Petersburg we recommend booking a tour of the Metro!

Almost each metro station is a magnificent work of art designed by some of the country’s best architects. So, when you get off the train, don't be surprised to see beautiful statues, mosaics, and golden carvings. Each metro station has its own decoration and meaningful story to tell. Some are dedicated to the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet era, others to great Russian famous writers such as Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, while many metro stations are dedicated to the victory of Russia in WWII.

Nowadays, these subterranean palaces continue to rise year after year to complement the awesome buildings of the city, preserve Russian art, and bring to life the culture and personality of the entire country.

all you need to know about the metro


Thinking of taking the subway? No problem. It's easy, exciting, and safe.! Below you can find all the information you need to know about the Saint Petersburg Metro. To get started just click on a topic below to fast-track to that section.

why take saint petersburg metro?


There are many reasons you should use the subway, but here we only give you three main reasons.

Firstly, you can easily reach most tourist attractions. Secondly, you can move across each island of the city faster and experience vertiginous views from the top of the escalator. Thirdly, once you're inside you can enjoy a huge dedicated work of Russian art and get a glimpse of the daily life of many Russian People. Yes, you can also take photos!

Of course, you can also be getting around the city by taking the bus, tram, or the trolleybus, allowing you to take in the stunning architecture of our city at a slow pace, but as we said the subway is faster and efficient, and most importantly, is an attraction itself not to be missed.

Keep in mind that without a stop at the Russian subway, your trip to St Petersburg won't be complete.

st petersburg subway basics


The Saint Petersburg Metro entrances are marked with a blue letter "M" on top. It has five colour-coded (red, yellow, blue, green, violet) and numbered metro lines (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5) with a total length of 124 kilometres. In order to change lines, you'll need to change stations.

Please note that there are a few transfer points and underground passageways linking adjacent stations like Sadovaya or Sennaya Pl. and Nevsky Prospekt or Gostiny Dvor. Also, when you arrive at a station, it can be difficult to see the name of where you are. You will hear the arrival station announced, followed by the name of the next stop.

You should know that some platforms are enclosed and resemble a long hall full of elevator like doors. So, you can't see the train as it approaches, but you can hear it and suddenly the doors will open – on the other side of the doors you will find a train to board!

The trains run quite frequently (every 2-3 min) and are always punctual. During rush hours the Metro can get crowded, so it is better to avoid travelling during these times if you want to avoid pushing, shoving, and queue-cutting.

Lastly, the map of Saint Petersburg Metro, all tourist information, and metro signs are now in English and no longer in Cyrillic like it was before. This change makes it easier to take the subway if you don't speak the Russian language.

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HOW TO PAY AND GET IN


To take the subway you'll have to buy tokens (Zheton) which can be bought from the ticket windows (Labeled Kacca) upstairs at each Russian metro station. Currently, a token costs 55 Rubles (less than one dollar) and let you travel anywhere in the city until you get out.

Russian Metro TokenMetro Token

Please note that to get to the metro cars, you will have to insert your token into the appropriate slot to the right, go through the barrier, and then, go down the escalator. You will find also vending machines of two types in nearly all metro stations, including a few shops.

The old orange machines will allow you only to insert a set denomination of note (currently 100Rubles) and obtain a set number of tokens plus change. If no light is showing, the machine is not working.

The old orange machines will allow you only to insert a set denomination of note (currently 100Rubles) and obtain a set number of tokens plus change. If no light is showing, the machine is not working.

The second kind of machine is computerized with a touch screen and will allow you to choose the number of tokens you require, pay with different denominations of note or coin, and also to buy or top off cards.

For your information, a really good way to save time and money is to buy a magnetic card or electronic pass for as many rides as you want (10/20/25/40/50/70 units), or simply use a one month-metro pass, if you wish to stay longer. For example, you can get a card for 10 rides that can be used in seven days for the price of 400Rubles (around €5/US$7) and so on.

The Podorozhnik CardThe Podorozhnik Card

However, whether you stay just a week or longer, we highly recommend buying a pay as you go travel card called "Podorozhnik". It costs 100Rubles, and you just top up once with the amount you need and you are ready to go. If you're interested in this option find out more here, or ask us to buy one for you.

With the Podorozhnik card (We got one ourselves and it works great) you will avoid standing in the queue to buy a token every time you enter the Saint Petersburg Metro. Also, you will be able to use all other St Petersburg public transportation, including the Marshrutka. This price range of this type of card is between 50-100Rubles (Less than one Dollar or one Euro), then on top of that, you put any credit you want.

We believe buying the travel card can be a good deal for independent travellers and visitors or anyone not using the subway so often.

WORKING HOURS


The Saint Petersburg Metro runs from 5:45 am till around 00:30 am on a daily basis. You can transfer from one line to the other until 0:15 am. During rush hours (8:00 - 10:00 am or 6:00 - 8:00 pm) the Russian subway is overcrowded, so it's better to avoid these hours if you can.

During the Russian New Year or other special occasions such as the Scarlet Sails or the Night of the Museums at the White Nights festival, the subway works until 5 am and opens at 4 am on January 1st.

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GET additional ORIENTATION


If you are wondering at some point where you are, then don't worry! To navigate yourself around the Metro you can always look at the maps well located in each station and inside every carriage of the trains.

As we already said, all of the city metro maps are now in the English language, and when you arrive at a station you will also hear the arrival station announced, followed by the name of the next stop in the Russian and English language.

To further help yourself navigate around the metro and don't get lost you can also count all your metro stops, or much better, you can plan your metro route online with this updated and interactive map of St Petersburg Metro.

Another option could be to buy a map before you go or try to get one for free at Pulkovo Airport or at the tourist offices in downtown. For a better resolution download the city metro map here!

Russian Metro SignsRussian Metro Signs

Lastly, if you need to find your way out of the Saint Petersburg Metro keep in mind to lookup for the signed exit to the city (выход - way out) and which street (улица - street). On the opposite side look for the entry sign (вход - entrance).

TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Our Tips and Recommendations

Undoubtedly, the Saint Petersburg Metro is a major cultural and historical landmark that will greatly enrich your travel experience, so you should not miss it. If you plan to visit the subway, remember that central stations and those on the red line are particularly impressive, featuring tons of soviet symbology in bronze, glass, and stone.

  • When taking the metro, remember to learn your route well (count all your metro stops or take a map with you).
  • Have a local city map by your side to help you to get around (not all Petersburg residents speak English).
  • Always watch your belongings closely (unfortunately, pickpockets are a pain these days).
  • Avoid rush hours, so try to use the Metro between 10 am and 6 pm.
  • Tickets can be bought from the cashier windows operating in every station entrance hall - the easiest way to make yourself understood is just to pass through exact change and/or use your fingers to signal the number of tokens you require.
  • As anywhere else, keep in mind also that when entering the metro stations you will notice some ticket inspectors and policemen standing near the barriers. Therefore, always buy a ticket, and in case the police stop you (you never know), make sure to have your passport (not a copy) with a Russian visa in it and your migration card.
  • Please note that you may need to buy separate tokens for larger baggage, but this rule is rarely enforced.
  • For your information, the subway works at night (from 1 am to 5 am) only during the following period of the year: New Year’s Eve (from December 31 to January 1), Orthodox Christmas (January 6-7) Easter, May 1-2, May 9-10, The “Night of Museums”, The “Day of the City” Celebration, and The “Scarlet Sails” Festival.
  • Free Wi-Fi is available! Just lookup for the MT_Free Network. However, a local phone number is required to complete online registration.
Davide & Anastasia founders of St Petersburg Essential Guide Travel Website

Hello! We are Davide & Anastasia the founders of st-petersburg-essentialguide.com.

We would like to let you know that apart from writing unique content for our travel website we can also help with the arrangement of your Airport Transfer, Private City Tour, and Russian Visa Support, or anything else you may need during your stay or the planning of your trip to St Petersburg Russia. Just get in touch with us today for more info!


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