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Regular version of the site
Important announcements 1

Staying in St Petersburg

General Information

St. Petersburg is a beautiful city with a unique atmosphere. Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, it is perhaps best seen from the water. Aside from the obligatory canal trip, during your time in St. Petersburg you can indulge in world-class theatre, explore any number of parks and palaces, marvel at the White Nights, and visit some of the finest museums in the world… St. Petersburg really does have it all!



800 bridges

47 islands

over 300 museums

more than 40 palaces


Home to around 5 million residents, including many students from all over the country and abroad, St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great as Russia’s ‘Window to Europe’, the city was the country’s capital for over two hundred years and remains one of the major ports in Russia to this day.
Every year the city marks the anniversary of its founding on 27 May. Another important commemoration for the city takes place on 27 January when residents remember the ‘Blockade’ (Блокада) – the 900-day Siege of Leningrad that took place during the Second World War.


universities & colleges

over 400,000 students


The official currency in Russia is the Russian Rouble (RUR/rbl/rub). You can find the current official rate at http://www.cbr.ru/eng/. Although most foreign currencies can be changed into roubles in St. Petersburg, the majority of banks prefer to buy dollars or euros.

The easiest way to get cash is through ATM machines (банкоматы) once you arrive in St. Petersburg. ATMs can be found all over the city (e.g next to banks, in hotel lobbies, in metro stations). Transaction charges are usually fairly low, and exchange rates are normally close to the official rate (although it is not always possible to check beforehand). Alternatively, you can withdraw dollars with no commission (e.g. at Citibank) and then exchange them at a bank with a good rate.
Credit and debit cards are now widely accepted in large shops, most restaurants (including fast-food outlets), and larger bars and nightclubs; however, you may need to show your passport or another form of ID to verify the transaction. It is always worth checking that you can pay by card before placing your order, since it is not unusual to find that the card terminal is temporarily out-of-order. Visa and MasterCard are accepted almost everywhere, but American Express and Diner's Club are less widely used.

Cost of Living

Prices are generally comparable to other large European cities. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting research, St. Petersburg is 28th on the list of the most expensive cities in the world. However, it is possible to live on a more frugal budget.

 Cost of Life in St. Petersburg (PDF, 220 Kb)

For more information on staying in St. Petersburg please visit the official city tourist website.

Cultural Norms in Russia


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