This is possibly one of the cheapest ways of getting into Russia if you’re having trouble finding a good deal on flights, Lux Express have direct buses from Helsinki to St Petersburg for between €10-15 per person. The bus is a luxury tourist bus with partially reclinable seats, free water, on board toilet and a touch screen entertainment system for each person. The journey itself only takes between 7.5-8 hours and travels through well laid roads.
We would recommend the overnight service which departs at 10.30pm and arrives at 6am.
Now don’t expect to get undisturbed sleep – you will be expected to wake up for several immigration processes:
1) First passport control – quick check of your passport and a stamp given
2) Second passport control -here you will have to hand in your filled in arrivals card (which the bus driver should have given you) and a slightly more thorough check of your passport. Another stamp is printed in your passport
3) Third passport control – this time you will be able to stay in the bus whilst a staff member comes on board and checks your passports have the appropriate immigration stamps.
By about 5.30am-6am you with arrive at St Petersburg Baltic Station. At the station there are:
– cash machines
– metro trains
These facilities should make it relatively easy for you to get to your hotel.
Overall it was a very comfortable journey. There was plenty of leg room, the service was timely and the multiple immigration stops meant we had access to clean toilets if we didn’t want to use the ones on board. Definitely consider this as an option if you are looking for a cost-effective way of getting into Russia.