St Petersburg is one of the most popular cities in Russia for international tourism. This is because St Petersburg is a buzzing city where one can visit world-class museums like the Hermitage but also party all night long during the famous White Nights festival.
International tourists have several options to enter St Petersburg:
- By plane, via de Pulkovo International Airport
- By train from a variety of regions including Central Europe, Finland, the Urals, Central Asia, Belarussia, Moldavia, Ukraine, Crimea, and more
- By boat with an international cruise or ferry
- By bus or car, usually from Finland, Estonia, and Ukraine
Finnish citizens wishing to visit St Petersburg are in a privileged position: Finland and Russia share a land border and those preferring to travel by boat will be glad to hear that there is a ferry traveling between Helsinki and St Petersburg. Finnish citizens can also choose to travel by train from Helsinki to St Petersburg or take a plane to Pulkovo Airport.
Finnish nationals are eligible to apply for E-visa to St Petersburg. The proximity of the border and ease in obtaining a visa make St Petersburg a convenient destination for Finnish tourism, which is expected to rise in the near future.
Is Finland Close to Russia?
Russia and Finland share a border. However, the area surrounding the border is mostly made of uninhabited taiga forests. The distance between Helsinki and St Petersburg is 300 km.
The Finnish-Russian Border: How to Cross and Statistics
The Finnish-Russian land border is 1,300 km long and is part of the external border of the EU and the economical union. There are 19 border checkpoints but only a small number of these are used regularly. In 2015, more than 9 million people crossed the border and Finland is the country that issues the most Schengen visas to Russians.
In order to cross the land border to Russia, Finnish citizens will need to show the Russian authorities a valid travel authorization to Russia together with their passport and other relevant documents.
How Many Hours Is It from Finland to Russia by Car?
Traveling to Russia by car or bus is usually the most affordable option for Finnish tourists. Although reaching Russia from Finland by car only takes only 5 hours, a bus from Helsinki to St Petersburg (one of the most traveled routes) usually takes around 8 hours.
The price of the ticket — if you don’t want to drive your own car — is between $12-16.
International buses and coaches to St Petersburg mostly use the Central coach station, very conveniently located in the city center. However, many international private coach companies prefer to use their own stations.
Land points of entry to St Petersburg include Ivangorod, Brusnychnoe, Svetogorsk, and Torfyanovka.
Traveling from Helsinki to St Petersburg on the Ferry
The Marine Facade — the newly built passenger port in St Petersburg — is the point of entry for ferries coming from Helsinki. The journey lasts between 12 and 15 hours and many passengers decide to book a cabin and travel overnight.
Ticket prices vary greatly and depend on the season and the type of ticket you wish to purchase.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit St Petersburg Ir I Arrive by Ferry?
Cruise and international ferry passengers can visit St Petersburg visa-free for up to 72 hours when they go ashore during port calls accompanied at all times by a tour licensed operator.
Finnish visitors who want to explore the city on their own or arrive by boat but plan to leave by plane, train or other means of transportation must obtain a visa for Russia. They need to show their travel documents and passport to the Russian border authorities every time they leave or board their ship during port calls.
Fortunately, the Russia eVisa for St Petersburg allows foreigners to apply for a visa for Russia in advance from anywhere in the world. You can complete the application online from Helsinki and obtain your visa in less than 4 days.E-visa for Finnish Citizens
St Petersburg International Train Stations
St Petersburg has 4 main train stations for long-distance routes. Being all near the city center, they are very conveniently located for international tourists. Trains coming from Finland will most likely arrive at:
- Finlyandsky Station (Finlyandsky Vokzal). This is where the Russian-Finnish jointly operated “Allegro” fast train calls. You can board the train in Helsinki.
- Ladozhsky Station (LadozhskyVokzal). This is the most modern train station in St Petersburg, with 24h luggage storage, internet access, car rentals, and inexpensive accommodation. Trains from Ladozhsky station connect St Petersburg with Helsinki, the Urals, and Kazakhstan.
Train tickets are fairly affordable, starting at around $30. The journey can be very fast, taking less than 5 hours.