When traveling to Russia, you don’t want to miss either Moscow or St. Petersburg. These fascinating cities lay only 700 km apart, so there is no reason to forgo seeing either one. Luckily, there are several options for modes of transport between the two. Visitors to Moscow can choose from plane, train, bus or car transport.
Plane travel between the two cities is generally quick, dependable and not pricey. Prices range from ₽3000 and ₽13000 ($50 to $200). Both airline quality and the time left until the trip factor into the price. Trips abound each week; it’s only a matter of booking them. However, Moscow’s airports are not centrally located. Reaching an airport at the far end of a large city might become a hassle.
Fortunately, the train service called Aeroexpress shuttles passengers to the airport. For only ₽500 ($8), this ride lasts between 35-40 minutes. Trains departs every half hour or hour. Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, local buses and minibuses (marshrutkas) connect to the metro station, Moskovskaya. A one-way ticket costs ₽40 ($1). Once you travel into the city using the metro, about 90 minutes will have passed, for a total of about four hours. Add in the time for airport procedures like baggage, and it may or may not be the best option.
PROs: Plane travel is quick, especially without luggage.
CONs: Luggage and check-in procedures, along with additional transportation, negate the advantages of quick flights.
Have you ever experienced the wonder of zipping to another city on a high-speed train? If not, the Sapsan (spelled “Сапсан” in Russian) is sure to wow! The 700-kilometer trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg lasts only four hours. Better yet, this route is traversed several times per day. The Sapsan train cars are comparable to those in the West. Offering adjustable seats and reading lights, even the least expensive classes trump a bus ride. Some would prefer them to a plane ticket when considering that it’s easier to stand up and stretch your legs, sleep or read on a train. The higher-class tickets, which are still reasonably priced, offer modern entertainment options. Unlike the airports, the train station in St. Petersburg is centrally located. Instead of booking or trying to catch additional transportation, start seeing the sights sooner! If traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow, hop right on the train.
PROs: The Saspan is fast yet doesn’t require additional transport. It’s easier for checked luggage.
CONs: The train is expensive, and not quite as fast as a plane.
The Night Train
If you don’t want to waste daylight hours traveling between the two cities, or want an authentic Russian experience, consider the night train. Young and budget travelers will be excited to know that these Russian train tickets start at ₽800 ($13) for a seat. To reserve a bed in a large, shared cabin, a passenger need only spend ₽1200 ($19). Because the trip lasts seven to ten hours, booking a cabin for one, two or four people might be a wise idea. Long train rides are an interesting way to befriend Russians.
PROs: The night train is inexpensive. It could be a cheaper option than a hotel room or other lodging, saving time and money.
CONs: The night train is slower. It may be hard for some to rest well.
Of course, cars for hire and buses are always an option. For only ₽1200 ($18), blablacar can transport you between Moscow and St. Petersburg. A minimally less expensive option is a bus. They take a little longer too. With the completion of the M-11 highway, drivers and riders can shave time off the trip for a proposed 5.5 hours. However, when adding in toll charges, drivers incur another ₽3000 ($50).
PROs: See the landscape and experience driving on Russian roads, along with a pit-stop or two.
CONs: Driving is time consuming and can be confusing. Riding a bus can be a slow drag.
When moving between two too-good-to-miss Russian cities, it’s important to calculate several factors in the choice of transportation. By considering the amount of luggage and whether it needs to be checked, the speediness of the airport might become a moot point. Meanwhile, traveling by car or bus can be unpredictable, incur tolls and be uncomfortable. For those reasons, St. Petersburg to Moscow trains strike a balance between affordability, reliability and comfort. Those able to book in on high-speed trains enjoy a quick trip, the scenery, and being dropped in central St. Petersburg. With a slightly higher ticket, they receive the time and technology to accomplish something, peace and quiet and a hot meal. Meanwhile, those who book in on the night train do not waste daylight traveling hours. Likewise, the ticket is affordable and may substitute a night’s expensive lodging in a big city. However you plan to travel from Moscow to St. Petersburg, do consult our website for more travel insights in the amazing country of Russia. We also offer Moscow St Petersburg tickets.
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