St. Petersburg
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Unlike in the US and Europe, Russian airports and rail road stations tend to have bad planning and offer very poor service to travellers. Amazingly, St. Petersburg still has no central tourist information center where you can walk in and expect to get an answer to any question. The St. Petersburg Travel Co., which has inherited the old Intourist center on St. Isaac's Square, is basically just an administrative office, of no practical use to anyone. Service desks at hotels are usually willing to help, but they are not so good on requests different from currency exchange offices addresses. Finding your accomodation yourself may turn to be a hell, unless you like to walk miles and miles in an unknown city and have a talent to oriental languages, such as Russian.

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Getting to St. Petersburg

St Petersburg has direct air links with most major European capitals and airlines, many offering several connections each week. On getting to St. Petersburg you are suggested to travel by air, as it is the most convenient and fast way of travelling. Check appropriate Internet sites for available discounts. Domestically, you can fly just about anywhere you want, but only a few times a week in some cases. Air service is best between St Petersburg and Moscow. St. Petersburg has two long distance bus stations - one serving northern destinations; the other serving destinations to the south and east. There are three two companies offering shuttle services between Helsinki and St Petersburg.

The main international rail gateways to St Petersburg are Helsinki, Tallinn, Warsaw and Berlin. The city has four stations, all south of the Neva River, except the Finland Station, which serves trains on the Helsinki railway line. Moscow Station handles trains to and from Moscow, the far north, Crimea, the Caucasus, Georgia and Central Asia; Vitebsk Station deals with Smolensk, Belarus, Kiev, Odessa and Moldova; and Warsaw Station covers the Baltic republics and Eastern Europe. Baltic Station, just along the road from the Warsaw Station, is mainly for suburban trains.

Foreigners can legally drive on almost all of Russia's highways and can even ride motorcycles. You'll need to be 18 years old and have a drivers' licence, along with an International Driving Permit. On the down side, driving in Russia is truly an unfiltered Russian experience. Poor roads, inadequate signposting (except in St. Petersburg's centre), low-quality petrol and keen highway patrollers can lead to frustration and dismay. Motorbikes will undergo vigourous scrutiny by border officials and highway police.

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