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Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

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posts: 64
Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

What is the best way to get to St. Petersburg from Moscow? I haven't arranged flights yet. Wondering if it would be less expensive to round trip from Houston, TX to St. Petersburg. We would need to get back to St. Petersburg from Moscow. Which is better, train or plane?

St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
posts: 2,209
reviews: 23
1. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

Hi TexasGal

There are some distinct advantages flighing directly from the European carrier's hub to St Petersburg. The main one being for a first time visitor the domestic airport SVO1 is not visitor friendly. The international airport is pretty normal(there are several airports so if you really insist on flying be sure find out how to get the domestic airport, it can be very expensive surprise, not to mention wasting most of one full day. Another factor is important if you are carrying luggage weight close to the International limit and finding out that the second leg is fully inside Russia so Domestic weight limits apply. This means going through the entire checkin process, and lines only to find out you need to start all over after they tell you how much over your bags are. They will tell you how much to pay for a overweight fine, but where? When you finaly do fine the cashiers office, pay your fine in Rubles only, and then bring the reciept back to stand in line again. Agents do not realise the tight timing to transfer from SVO2 to SVO1 and this process almost always causes connecting flights to be missed. If you think you might miss the connection( I used to miss them a couple times a month and I know how to speed things up) stay in the International terminal SVO2 because getting a later ticket is realitively easy from there but close to impossible if you do not speak Russian at the Domestic airport. If you do not use the low cost or free shuttles running the 30-45 minutes between terminals in the same runway complex, a taxi will be as much to get across the strip as a train ticket all the way to SPb.

This is why I suggest making your entire flight fit under International regulations, by flying into Frankfurt, Paris(watch for missed baggage connections)Amsterdam, or my favorite Finair that has a hub at Helsinki. SAS is also a no-hassle hub in Stockholm. Frankfurt is terribly efficeint but a little large for low stress. Helsinki is like a baby airport by European standards so it is very easy to navigate and you can not get lost.

Train is better, cheaper, more relaxing and sometimes faster than plane due to the travel times to and from the airports. Traveling the 330 miles will take all day by plane when you consider the waits described above and no airports are near where you are. Trains begin and end in the heart of both cities.

posts: 64
2. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

Is the international airport for St. Petersburg LED? What is the international airport for Moscow? It will probably cost more, but I am thinking that it might be easier to fly from Houston, TX to St. Petersburg, take cruise to Moscow, and fly home from Moscow. What do you think?

Asheville, NC
posts: 458
reviews: 2
3. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow


You may find some help with your questions on my post title Trip to Russia 2007.

I live in western NC and my FF miles are with Delta. I plan to use miles for my trip. Delta flys direct to Moscow from Atlanta. That will be my route...with the thoughts of less chance of lost luggage too!!

My primary interest is all the wonderful surrounding areas of St. Petersburg, but will spend some time in Moscow, too. Think I will spend 2 days upon arrival, take the train (that has been suggested to be the best way) 1st class compartment for 2 to St. Pete and return for another night in Moscow prior to returning home.

I have gathered a great deal of info and this site is great for help from locals!!

Good luck,


pasadena, ca
posts: 4,914
reviews: 22
4. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

We travelled "open jaws"-- meaning into one city, out of another. In our case, we flew into the international airport at Moscow (where we started our trip) and out of the international airport in St. Petersburg, where we finished. (We took the train between the cities.) I researched a lot, and to my surprise it did not cost any more to fly open-jaws than to fly roundtrip into and out of Moscow.

From L.A., we flew British Airways. This meant changing planes both directions in London, for our BA flights to and from Russia. Lufthansa also travels to both cities, and probably other airlines, too. Don't know which airlines use Texas as a hub, but you can figure this out.

I found it difficult to book "open jaws" ticketing on Expedia, Travelocity, etc.-- possibly it was just my ineptitude at using the Web-- so ended up booking directly with British Airways after figuring out which carriers went to both Moscow and SP.

Because we had a change of planes in London, we were able to stop on the way home in London for a few days, for only $50 more. This turned out to be a lot of fun. So if you would like to do something similar, try to book on an airline that will let you do this (not all airlines allow stopovers), and that has a transfer city you actually would like to visit. In our case, BA and Lufthansa were similar prices-- but we wanted to visit London, not Frankfurt, so we chose BA. Just a thought...

North Carolina
posts: 22
reviews: 1
5. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

Dear Texastravelgal,

The international airport in Moscow is a hassel. The one in St. Petersburg is MUCH easier to navigate. Reminds me of the one in Greenville S.C. The train is a great way to get from St. Pete to Moscow for two reasons, you can ride at night, not waste a day of site seeing and not have to pay for a hotel room on the nights of travel. There is a new train called the Grand Express. I have not used it but it looks fantastic1. I have used the No. 28 and the no. 5. There were both fine and inexpensive. You can see the Grand express on their site http://www.grandexpress.ru/en/

I have found that having a guide to purchase my tickets in advance of my getting there is much easier and worth the small fee.

Hope this helps.

Costa Mesa...
posts: 21
reviews: 1
6. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow


I really appreciate your advice and comments. I have a question about train travel. I'll be in Russia in July, and I want to go between St Petersburg and Moscow by train, but I'd like to go in the daylight so I can see a little bit of the countryside. I've heard about the Aurora, which I think leaves St Petersburg around 4pm. What can you tell me about this train? Since it isn't a sleeper what is the difference between 1st and 2nd class? Is there a dining car? How early do you need to get to the train station if you already have tickets? Thanks again for your excellent help!

Asheville, NC
posts: 458
reviews: 2
7. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

Here is a website that might be of help:


You can "google" several sites like this.


Brooklyn, New York
posts: 61
reviews: 59
8. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow


We are using Delta miles in August. We will fly Air France (from New York) but you could do the same from Atlanta on a Delta flight to Paris and then continue from Paris directly to St. Petersburg on a very good connection. We will then take the train to Moscow after our time in St. Petersburg and take the non-stop on Delta from Moscow to JFK (or in your case Atlanta). I would suggest doing it that way rather than flying direct to Moscow and having to deal with getting to St. Petersburg.

Brooklyn, New York
posts: 61
reviews: 59
9. Re: Travel between St. Pete and Moscow

Sorry Grace, my last post was for Joan . . . .