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trains to St Petersburg
  find out how to get to
russia's northern capital by train


Looking for trains to St Petersburg, Russia? If so, learn how to get to the city, and beyond by train with our best recommendations. 

Going to Russia by train may sound a bit crazy but it is actually quite simple and in our views an unforgettable experience.

We've been traveling many times with several trains to St Petersburg and Moscow from Europe, and each time we had a great time. Going by train is not as fast as traveling by plane, but if you got time on your side, a trip by train can be really entertaining because during the journey you can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Russian countryside and those of the neighboring countries.

For example, from the window, you can see pine forests, lakes, rivers, and rural villages, and more. And, we can assure you that train travel is a safe, comfortable, and inexpensive way to get to Russia or travel within the country. In fact, it can be safer to use Russian trains than internal flights! Without doubts, it will certainly be cheaper and far more interesting.

That being said, when it comes to travel to Russia by train the most popular routes for visitors are Helsinki to St Petersburg, Moscow to St Petersburg, and Tallinn to St Petersburg.

For your information, you can also travel from London to St. Petersburg or Moscow, or take a train from Paris, Warsaw, and Berlin through Belarus and get to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Russia within two days.

The main rail operators connecting Saint Petersburg or Moscow to Europe are the Allegro, Tolstoy, Go Rail, and Sapsan. Of course, there are other rail operators available, but those are the ones we recommend looking for as they are currently better equipped, comfortable, and faster than all other trains to St Petersburg in circulation - plus they offer a great English service on board.


Now let's get into the content of trains to St Petersburg and see what train you should keep an eye on to get here. To get started just click on the links below or scroll down the page. Happy reading!

ST PETERSBURG TRAIN STATIONS


If you're arriving in St Petersburg by train surely you would like to know which rail station you will be arriving at. Below we have gathered all the major train stations in the city. All the train stations are located next to metro stations, so you simply need to step off the train and enter into the bowels of St. Petersburg's subway system and find your way to the metro station nearest your destination.

The city of Petersburg has five major decorative train stations, but only four of them handle long-distance trains to St Petersburg and from the city. These four central train stations are:

  • Vitebsk Station (Vitebsky vokzal) is the destination for trains from the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. Long-distance trains to Berlin, Brest, Budapest, Chisinau, Dnepropetrovsk, Gomel, Kherson, Kyiv, Lviv, Minsk, Odesa, Prague, and Smolensk. Suburban electric trains to Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), Pavlovsk, Oredezh.

          Metro: Pushkinskaya Street: D-4, Zagorodny Pr. 52

  • Finland station (Finlyandsky vokzal) - International express trains to/from Finland arrive here. Long-distance trains to Sortavala and Kostomuksha. Suburban electric trains to Vyborg, Priozersk, Primorsk, Zelenogorsk, Vysotsk, Svetogorsk, Vsevolozhsk, Schlisselburg.

          Metro: Pl. Lenina Street: E-1, Pl. Lenina 6

  • Moscow station (Moskovsky vokzal) is the hub for Moscow bound trains. Long-distance trains to Moscow, Adler, Akmola, Arkhangelsk, Briansk, Cheliabinsk, Kazan, Kharkiv, Murmansk, Novorossiisk, Omsk, Petrozavodsk, Samara, Saratov, Sevastopol, Volgograd, Vologda, Vorkuta, Voronezh, and Yevpatoriya. Suburban electric trains to Volkhov, Malaya Vishera, and Mga.

          Metro: Pl. Vosstaniya Street: E-3, Nevsky Pr. 85

  • Ladoga station (Ladozhsky vokzal). Built-in 2003 on the east side of the Neva, it's the most modern station in Europe with electronics providing comfort, security, and a high level of service. Long-distance trains within Russia depart from here. Suburban electric trains to Luga, Gatchina, and Tverskaya.

          Metro: Ladozhskaya Street: Zanevsky Pr. 73

All railway stations have been recently refurbished, so now they look much better than in the past. Each train station has ATMs (Bankomaty), money exchanges (Obmyen valyuti), luggage-hold rooms (Kamera khraneniya), toilets and cafes, and even automatic ticketing machines that you can use but only in the Russian language.

There are also taxi stands outside every station and the drivers there usually charge less than the ones waiting to pounce on the station platforms.

Wondering at what train station you'll arrive? Here you go...

If you travel to St Petersburg by train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg with Allegro, you will arrive at Finland station. This is where V. Lenin arrived in 1917 from Siberia and gave his historic speech. If you travel from Tallinn to St. Petersburg, then you will get off at Vitebsk station. If you take trains to St Petersburg from Moscow or reverse - the most popular route in Russia - then you will arrive at Moscow station.

helsinki to st petersburg by train


If you are looking for trains to St Petersburg from Helsinki in Finland, then we recommend taking the new high-speed train Allegro. The Allegro train (which replaced the old Sibelius and Repin in 2010) has four departures per day from Helsinki and St. Petersburg with a range of electric tilting Pendolino trains (№151, №153, №155, №157). This is really your best choice if you want to travel from Finland to Russia faster, safer, and in comfort.

The travel time between Helsinki and St. Petersburg is only 3 and a half hours. Roughly, from Helsinki in under 3.5 hours, from Lahti 2 hours 45 minutes, from Kouvola 2 hours 20 minutes, and from Vainikkala in 1.5 hours. The train stops also in Pasila, Tikkurila, and Vyborg. Please note that Vyborg is the place of entry into Russia, while Finland Station  (Finlandskiy Vokzaland) is your final destination in St. Petersburg.

On board the Allegro trains you can choose to seat in 1st or 2nd-class, and you can enjoy a proper restaurant car. Also, you can find a folding table, free WiFi, adjustable backrest, individual lighting, a socket between the seats for recharging mobile phones and laptops, a place for coats, a footrest, and storage pockets for newspapers and magazines.

There's also a children's play area, wheelchair spaces, and a conference room, in case you need one. The first-class fare includes a snack or light meal, newspapers, and tea or coffee from a self-service counter.

HELSINKI > ST. PETERSBURG

St Petersburg by trainTimetable for the train Allegro.

ST. PETERSBURG > HELSINKI

St Petersburg by trainTimetable for the train Allegro.

Lastly, the best part of going to St Petersburg by train with Allegro is that passport and customs controls are conducted aboard the moving train and the authorities start inspections already after the train's departure from Helsinki or St. Petersburg. All of this makes your train journey easier and convenient - plus the picturesque rural scenery along the way will amaze you as much as it has amazing us.

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tallinn to st petersburg by train


If you're looking for trains to St Petersburg from Tallinn in Estonia, then you should take the Baltiski Express Train by GoRail. This is a passenger rail operator in Estonia operating services to Russia as well as in Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Finland, China, Mongolia. Currently, this is the only option to reach St Petersburg by train apart from the bus of-course.

Since 2015 the train is operated by RZD Russian railways with services departing once daily and operating on a daily basis. The train stop in St. Petersburg, and after it continues to Moscow, with the capital of Moscow being the final destination. The distance between Tallinn and St. Peterburg is about 342 km (212 miles), so the trip takes approximately 7 hours if you go to St. Petersburg, and 15 hours if you go to Moscow.

When taking the modern Baltiski Express Train, you can choose from 6 sleeper coaches and 1 seating coach. Usually, travelers choose between the 1st and 2nd- class sleeper coaches. The 1st-class cabins accommodate 2 passengers while 2nd-class cabins are designed for 4 travelers. The third-class offers open-plan sleeping-cars and ordinary seats. The price varies based on what class you choose.

TALLINN > ST. PETERSBURG > MOSCOW

St Petersburg by trainThe train Baltic Express timetable.

MOSCOW > ST. PETERSBURG > TALLINN

St Petersburg by trainThe train Baltic Express timetable.

On board the trains to St Petersburg you can stretch your legs and enjoy a restaurant car fully functional but expensive. Both the first and second-classes provide air-conditioning, lockable doors, racks for hand luggage, plus the bed linen is included in the ticket price, and if you travel with pets you can take them with you. The third-class has only seats with basic facilities, and for such a long trip we recommend booking a seat in the first or second-class if you want to travel in comfort.

Like for the train Allegro you don't need to leave the train at the Russian border because passport and customs controls are conducted aboard the train and the authorities start inspections already after the train's departure from Tallinn or St. Petersburg.

moscow to St petersburg by train


If you're looking for trains to St Petersburg from Moscow or reverse, then we recommend taking Russia’s newest and fastest train Sapsan, a modern bullet Sapsan train named after a fast high-flying bird.

The Sapsan is the smartest way to travel between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

This high-speed Russian train runs five times per day on a daily basis and is capable of reaching the speed of 250 kph (155 mph), connecting the city centers of the two Russian capitals in only 3.5 hours. Built by Siemens and based on the superb German ICE, there is no need to say that this is the best Russian train you can hope for. In fact, it is the train of choice for many Russians, including us.

The train offers extremely comfortable carriages with good seats (superior first-class, premium first-class, standard first-class seats, and second class-seats). It has plenty of storage space and good coffee dock, including an excellent English speaking staff on board.

St Petersburg by trainTrains to St Petersburg: The train Sapsan timetable.

Of course, there are also other Russian trains you can use that operate on the Moscow to St. Petersburg and Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod routes.

For example, if you want to try something different to get to Saint Petersburg you can take the historic overnight train Krasnya Strela and the Red Arrow, two prestigious Russian premier trains in Soviet times, or take the Grand Express, a new privately-run luxury train, or the modern Express Megalopolis, a new train operating since 2006.

All these trains to St Petersburg have all great service starting with the more modest and efficient second-class sleeper tickets to the quite luxurious first-class and VIP tickets. However, they are more popular with Russians than with foreigners because they are cheaper but the journey will be longer.

St Petersburg by trainTrains to St Petersburg: The train Sapsan timetable.
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london to st petersburg by train


If you are looking for trains to St Petersburg from London in the UK, there are a few good options you can choose from. However, you must know that there are no direct trains. You need to leave from London and arrive in Moscow firstly. Once you're in Moscow you can take the Sapsan (Peregrine Falcon) 250 km/h high-speed train and get to Saint Petersburg in just 3 hours 55 minutes. From London to Moscow you also need to change the train.

With that in mind, in order to get from London to Moscow, you can take the daily Warsaw-Moscow sleeper train (This is the cheapest option routed via Belarus); and you can take the train from London to Moscow via the weekly Paris-Moscow Express (The most glamorous and comfortable option, once a week all year. Routed via Belarus); or you can travel from London to Moscow through the twice-weekly Berlin-Moscow Talgo (Another classy option, twice a week all year. Routed via Belarus).

However, in the event you don't want to travel via Belarus, then you could travel from London to Moscow via Kyiv (This way requires an extra night, but avoids getting through Belarus and the making of the transit visa).

Alternatively, you could take a train from London to Stockholm, spend a night there, and the day after go boarding the ferry company St Peter Line and go on a ferry to St Petersburg. This way you can see a bit of Scandinavia on the way to Russia and split your trip by land and sea.

Of course, there are other options you can think of if you want to go to St Petersburg by train but so far these we share here with you are the best ones.

There are several trains to St Petersburg from London via other European cities but we recommend going with Eurostar, an international high-speed railway service connecting London with the major cities of Europe. With Eurostar, the travel experience is comfortable, convenient, and sometimes even quicker than flying, but it is not cheap.

Instead, if you start your trip from central Europe you should choose to go with EuroCity. This type of train is a cross-border train category within the European inter-city rail network. In contrast to trains allocated to the lower-level "IC" (InterCity) category, EC trains are international services that meet 20 criteria covering comfort, speed, food service, and cleanliness

helsinki to moscow via st petersburg by train


Other trains to St Petersburg you can take is the train Tolstoy, but only if you land or you're in Helsinki in beautiful Finland. The train isn't modern and fast as the popular Allegro but recently it has been refurbished. On board you can find comfortable sleepers, a restaurant, and even business class sleepers with a private shower.

The direct overnight Tolstoy train operates only once per day and stops in Saint Petersburg before arriving in Moscow. It's safe, cheap, and now comfortable to go with, but keep in mind that it is an old Russian train style. The train stops in St. Petersburg for 2-3 hours to leaves again quickly the same day.

HELSINKI > MOSCOW

St Petersburg by trainThe train Tolstoy taimetable.

MOSCOW > HELSINKI

The train Tolstoy taimetable.

The cost for traveling from Helsinki to Moscow with the Tolstoy train or vice versa costs €107 one-way per person in a 2nd-class 4-berth sleeper, or €158 per person in a 1st-class 2-berth sleeper, or €206 in a 1st-class sleeper with sole occupancy. A return is twice the one-way fare.

If you travel in a deluxe business class sleeper with a private toilet and shower may costs €296 per person for two people or roughly €419 for sole occupancy. Children aged 6 to 16 (inclusive) travel at half fare. Children under 6 go free.

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trains to st petersburg from other european cities


If for any reason, you would like to reach Russia from other cities across Europe and you are wondering if there are other trains to St Petersburg than those we have suggested so far, our answer is Yes, there are, but keep in mind that such a journey can be very long.

That said, if you're looking for further trains to St Petersburg you should know that Russian Railways RZD currently operates six-night trains from Central and Western Europe to Moscow. All of them consist of modern and comfortable sleeping cars. Among them, we recommend going with the "Transeuropean Express" from Paris to Moscow and the "Nice Moscow Express" from Nice on the Cote d'Azur to Moscow. Other cities with direct trains to St Petersburg are Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and Warsaw.

In addition to that, the Latvian Railways LDZ also runs a night train from Riga to Moscow and from Riga to St. Petersburg. For example, you can get from Riga to St. Petersburg on a train with the Baltiya trains or from Riga to Moscow on a train with Latvijas Express.

Both of these trains to St Petersburg are comfortable and safe overnight sleeper trains with 2-berth and 4-berth sleepers (First and Second-class) operating on a daily basis. Also, you can find a 3rd-class, but it probably won't interest you because there is no WC in the compartment and is not comfortable to seat there.

The most important thing to know when planning your trip by train from other European cities (apart from Helsinki and Tallinn) is that all night trains to St Petersburg cross Belarus on their way to Russia. This means that you may need a visa for Russia as well as a transit visa for Belarus, according to your nationality. Also, you may need travel insurance for Russia.

Of course, you can take the night trains of RZD only on parts of their route. For instance, you can travel with Transeuropean Express from Paris to Berlin, or use the Nice Moscow Express to comfortably travel from Nice to Vienna. You don't need to go to St Petersburg if you don't want to!

day trips from st petersburg by train


If you're already in Saint Petersburg and you would like to get out of the city for the day to see some of the city's famous attractions, there are cheap local trains that you can take to go to the nearby Russian villages and suburbs of Saint Petersburg.

For instance, you can visit Gatchina, Lomonosov, and Peterhof from the Baltiisky station; or you can go to Vyborg from Filyandsky station; and you can visit Pushkin and Pavlovsk departing from Vitebsky station.

All the local trains to St Petersburg and reverse are electric and cost almost nothing so they can be a cheap, fun, and an alternative travel option to explore the imperial estates near St. Petersburg. However, if you go don't expect any comfort or luxury on board as well as don't expect someone to speak English.

There are even no toilets on board, but if you forgot to bring ice cream, water, plasters, or knife sharpeners, a seller may wonder the hallway with just what you need.

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TRAIN FARES FOR ST PETERSBURG RUSSIA


Generally, the cost of the train ticket can vary by train class, travel distance, season, or train berth. And, remember that the price is double when you buy your tickets in Europe (Finland), and cheaper when you buy your ticket in Russia.

To give you an idea about the cost of trains to St Petersburg, a one-way trip from Helsinki to St. Petersburg with the train Allegro starts from around €86 ($95) in second-class, rising to €137 ($150) in first-class. Instead, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki a one-way ticket in 2nd-class costs €39 ($43), and reach up to €79 ($86) in 1st-class. Children aged 6 to 16 (inclusive) travel at half fare. Children under 6 go free.

If you choose to travel from Tallinn to St. Peterburg with the rail operator GoRail the price starts at €36/$39 for a one-way trip in second-class. Instead, it is double if you seat in first-class.

If you take the high-speed train Sapsan from Moscow to St. Peterburg, expects to pay around $134/$208 - €122/€189 for a business-class, or around $76/$112 - €69/€102 for an economy class.

Overnight trains to St Petersburg such as the Krasnya Strela or Red Arrow costs around €104 ($114) in spalny vagon (1st-class 2-berth) or €52 ($57) in kupé (2nd=class 4-berth), while if you take the Megalopolis or the Grand Express luxury trains the fares start from €58 ($63).

Please note that the prices given here are just an estimation and are subject to change, therefore for more information and price updates you should always check with the railway company you choose to book with.

where TO BUY TICKETS


You can easily and safely buy Russian train tickets online here with us. You pay online and an e-ticket is emailed to you. Or you can visit any central railway office station (open from 8 am to 8 pm Mon-Sat, or from 8 am to 4 pm Sun) at least two days before your departure.

You can also buy tickets for your trains to St Petersburg through special ticket offices or from travel agencies, but pay a mark-up of 10 to 50%.

When buying your Russian train ticket remember to purchase the tickets in advance, especially to popular destinations such as Southern Russia, Central Russia, and the Trans-Siberian route. And, don't forget to bring your passport as it will be requested - no other documents are acceptable (except for a Russian military pass or Russian civil servant card).

Also, don't forget to arrange your Russian visa and Belarus transit visa, if you need one.

For your information, booking opens 60 days before departure. There are no open tickets for Russian trains - you will have to buy a ticket for a particular train on a certain date. Usually, tickets bought from Russia are cheaper than in Europe. Remember, pre-booking your tickets can lower down the fare.

If you decide to buy your tickets directly from the official station, but the Russian language is an issue, then simply pass the ticket lady a piece of paper with your travel details or ask someone who speaks English to help you. Otherwise, you can use Google translator too.

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good to know


Today traveling to St Petersburg by train is more convenient than traveling by bus because you won't need to get off the train. Your passport and documents will be checked on board while the train is moving.

This new intelligent approach, which has started in 2010, saves you a lot of time and stress! Since then, all customs and border checks take place on board of all the main trains to St Petersburg such as the Allegro, Tolstoy, Go Rail, Sapsan, etc.

For example, when you travel between St. Petersburg and Vyborg in on the train Allegro, you will see the Russian border guards and customs officers (situated in the center of the train) moving towards the head and end of the train checking the passport of each passenger, including yourself.

Alternatively, Finnish border guards will check passes at the section between Vainikkala and Kouvola in Finland, while Estonian guards will check passes at the Narva border. This should take no more than one hour. However, if you de-train or take a train in Vyborg, then, you will go through customs and passport control at the railway station of Vyborg.

Remember, when crossing the Russian-Finland border or Russian- Estonian border make sure you have a valid passport and a Russian visa with you. Moreover, fill in all the parts of the immigration card given to you on the train before you arrive at the Russian border and keep a copy with you until you exit the country.

TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


Our Tips and Recommendations

If you are boarding one of these trains to St Petersburg passing through Belarus or Ukraine, remember that you may need a transit visa for those countries along with a Russian visa.

Be aware that you can't buy tickets on board the train, but only a few weeks ahead in major Finnish or Russian Railways stations, travel agencies, or online.

  • Please remember that summer is the peak season for traveling and it’s better to organize your journey in advance. This also applies to late spring and early autumn. If you plan on traveling during these periods, it is important to book your tickets a few weeks in advance.
  • The cheapest place to buy tickets for trains to St Petersburg or anywhere in Russia is at the station reservation office.
  • If you decide to buy tickets from the train station remember to take your passport, even if you only want a Russian domestic train ticket. To avoid language problems if you don't speak Russian, it's a good idea to learn the Russian alphabet, so you can write down the journey and date you want to show to the ticket office staff.
  • There is no double pricing system for foreigners when buying train tickets.
  • If you wish to travel to St Petersburg by train with Allegro, we know that by sending an email to Kansainvalinen.Lipunmyynti@vr.fi (VR customer service) the customer support of VR will book the tickets for you and you only have to pick them up on the day of departure. You can also reach them even through their website!
  • When you travel to St Petersburg make sure you arrive at the train station 30 minutes before the train's departure at the latest.
  • Do not drink the water from bathroom faucets. Trains to St Petersburg and in Russia have hot, potable water from coal heated samovars on every carriage.
  • Search timetables of Russian domestic trains in Russian Railways (RZD) timetable search.
  • When you return from St Petersburg by train to Finland do not bring wild boar meat into the country! You should know that all import for gift or souvenir purposes of meat products is prohibited from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine.
  • Avoid taking a taxi from the railway stations as you will most likely pay 2-3 times more than the regular fare. Therefore, it would be better to order a taxi beforehand, or just walk 5-10 minutes to the nearest St Petersburg metro: Pushkinskaya (Vitebsk station), Ploshad' Lenina (Finland Station), Ploshad' Vosstania (Moscow station), Ladozhskaya (Ladoga station).
  • For your information, there is a taxi connection service for trains to Russia that operates between Lappeenranta (Matkakeskus) and Vainikkala railway station.
  • Please note that e-visas cannot be used to travel to Russia on an Allegro train because Russia’s decision on e-visas does not apply to the railway border crossing points of Vyborg and St. Petersburg’s train station for Finland.
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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