Pay attention! Only the 'I need a visa for entry Russia, but my country is not on the list for obtaining an e-visa, or I was refused (E-Visa denied)' case is considered here!!!If you have a visa (or if you intend to apply), study the detailed manual clicking 'By Ferry + Visa' tab
Of course, you can obtain an ordinary visa at the consulates of the Russian Federation. But not forget, that you can come to St. Petersburg even without any visa. Citizens of any country
arriving in St. Petersburg by sea are allowed a 72-hour visa-free entry!
You can come to St. Petersburg by sea in two ways.
a) on a cruise ship
b) by ferry
Let's compare these methods and find out all their advantages.BY FERRY
Traveling by ferry is a good and not very expensive way to get St. Petersburg without a visa. You can even buy a big ferry cruise
to the four Baltic capitals with departure from any port. In addition to St Petersburg, the cruise package includes Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden) and Tallinn (Estonia). However, there are several important things and limitations that you must remember. ✱
The Moby-St Peter Line
is the only one that currently operates routes to/from St. Petersburg. The route is served by only one fairly old ship, in addition, it should be remembered that this is not a real cruise superliner, but just a sea shuttle. Read trip reviews from TripAdvisor
to understand 'Where does the rabbit hole go and how deep is it
'. But given the possibility of entry Russia without a visa, one should not be too strict.✱
In all harbours, the ferry stops for one day (except for a very short stop in Tallinn on the route from Helsinki to Stockholm via Tallinn
). For Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn, this is quite enough. But for St. Petersburg this is too little. Therefore, if you buy a cruise with short (one-day) stop, our advice is not to run from one museum to another at the speed of Usain Bolt. Choose one or two attractions
and be sure to plan your free time for walks and restaurants.✱
The best solution, in our opinion, is to buy a ticket for a special visa-free cruise
with long (2 nights) overstop in St Petersburg (then mandatory departure to Tallinn). Available from Helsinki (direct route), Stockholm (one-day overstop Helsinki) and Tallinn (one-day overstops Stockholm, Helsinki). You can end the journey both in the port of departure and in another harbour (except St Petersburg).✱
Since only one boat is available, the ferry leaves from St Petersburg on different days in different directions. Please, learn schedule
. Choose your arrival and departure dates so, that you have enough time in St Petersburg, but do not violate visa-free (72-hour stay) rule.✱
Visa-free passengers are not allowed entry to Russia by (with) own car, motorcycle or bicycle. Only 'On foot'.✱
The territory of stay is limited within St. Petersburg only! You can visit such suburbs as Peterhof
, Pushkin (Catherine Palace
), Pavlovsk, Strelna (Konstantinovsky Palace
), Oranienbaum, Kronshtadt (are part of St. Petersburg), but it is forbidden to visit, for example, Gatchina (located outside St. Petersburg). In practice, you can go beyond the specified restrictions, but this is entirely your risk.✱
You must leave St. Petersburg in the same way (in this case - on the same ship!) as you arrived.
Unlike visa holders (incl e-visa), the duration of stay for visa-free passengers is limited to 72 hours, which is calculated exactly according to the time of entry/exit passport control. Therefore, do not be late for boarding. Otherwise, you will have big problems.✱
All visa-free passengers
are required to purchase a shore tour
from a licensed operator. It is necessary to present confirmation when passing passport control.Note! Life-hack!
For ferry passengers
it's enough to buy the cheapest CityBusTour
, which many use only as a transfer to the city center. Then do what you want!Note! Do not pay attention to the hotel reservation requirements indicated on this link. Details below.✱
If you buy the tour not from carrier, for example from Viator
or from GetYourGuide
or from any another authorized operator, we strongly recommend doing this in advance, no later than 4 days before arrival at the port of St Petersburg. The tour organizer must have time to provide information about you to the border authorities of Russia.✱
All visa-free ferry passengers
(except of those who make a short one-day stop without accommodation on shore) are required to book a hotel
(hostel, apartment) for the entire stay and provide a printed confirmation when passing passport control.Attention! Life-hack about the rules of stay (authorized hotels, registration rules and much more) read below! ↓ ✱
MOBY-St Peterline terminal or 'Ferry Passenger Port'
is located quite far from the city center and main attractions. Connection by public transport
is not very convenient, If you return to the port yourself - you need to get to harbour from the metro by bus.
Therefore, most likely you will have to take a taxi
or private transfer
to the pier or buy a tour
with included round trip transfers.Note. Sometimes, the arrival and departure of the ferry transferred to the port for the large cruise ships 'Marine Facade'. Check actual schedule, news and changes and choose the right points for ordering a taxi or private transfer✱
And something else. A very important trifle. To get ashore you must have, among other things, a medical insurance policy
. If you forgot about it in your holiday bustle, buy a policy online right now
from a reliable Russian company for only a couple of euros.Our advices and life-hacks ✪
You are not required to buy only those tours that the carrier (ferry company) offers you. However, the cheapest of mandatory - CityBusTour package is offered by the ferry carrier. If you plan walks around the city yourself, it is recommended to buy this one.✪
You can buy the tour online not from carrier only, but also, for example via Viator
or via GetYourGuide
or from any another authorized operator. But we strongly recommend doing this in advance, no later than 4 days before arrival at the port. The tour organizer must have time to provide information about you to the border authorities of Russia. ✪ Very important!
When buying a tour, pay attention to all services and tickets (not) included in the price
and, most importantly, whether the operator provides the necessary papers (confirmations) for the border authorities.✪
If you are told that you must buy a tour for the whole day to leave the ship, do not believe it. To go ashore, you can buy the shortest and cheapest tour.✪ About the rule for booking authorized hotels only via 'Moby St Peterline' website. Attention - life hack!
Although the carrier insists on booking only via its own website and reports possible penalties
- do not believe this. You have every right to book a hotel yourself. We are not aware of any sanctions by the carrier.
However, if ferry boat staff insist on booking of hotel or buying a tour only from the carrier, say that you will file a complaint about their illegal actions. Why does this happen sometimes? Nothing personal! Just a business ;-)
We recommend using Hotellook
. This is the largest, well-known Russian search engine, where offers of all operators, even Russian, are presented. Airbnb
offers also included. Prices are often lower than even on Booking.com✪ About the rule of mandatory registration at accommodation place in Russia.
Good news for you! In Russia there is a rule of notification of the place of stay after arrival in the country. But! You must do this if the length of stay is at least 7 days. Visa-free stays are limited up to 72 hours. Therefore, this is minus one problem, forget it and enjoy the journey - YOU NOT OBLIGATORY TO REGISTER! *
Pay attention! If you are afraid of fines, then remember that firstly, registering a guest (if the length of stay is at least 7 days) is the obligatory for hotel or other accommodation place, not yours.
Sometimes, the hotel administration may play it safe and insist on the registration procedure even if your stay is less than 7 days. But this formality is very simple and most often it's either free or fee is only a couple of dollars. * - Sometimes this rule may be real mandatory for you. But this happens very rarely - only during large events where stricter safety rules apply. For example, in 2018 - FIFA Football World Cup.
However, other rules for duration of stay, territory of stay and mandatory shore tour should be strictly observed. Have a nice trip! See you in St. Petersburg! ☺