The best way to travel Russia.
No visit to Russia is complete without experiencing the two Russian capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg, right? But those wishing to see it all from the Red Square and the Kremlin to the Hermitage should be prepared to travel more than 600 kilometers between the cities. If you compare, the capitals are as far from each other as France and Switzerland, and even further if we look at Portugal and Spain, which are less than 500 kilometers apart.
Luckily, traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg isn’t arduous, and, most importantly, doesn’t last an eternity anymore. All thanks to the Sapsan, the pride of Russia and one of the world’s fastest high-speed trains, which was brought into service in 2009. It’s not without a reason the Sapsan now accounts for few million passengers each year, as it is has become one of the most convenient and modern ways there could be for this journey. Nevertheless, it is always good to know your options. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and come up with these top 4 reasons why the Sapsan should be your number one choice.
Reason #1: Faster than a plane
Nothing beats the Sapsan if you are looking for the fastest way to travel between the cities. Choosing a speed train over an ordinary suburban train or a bus seems only logical if you want to spend less time staring out the window. But can it beat a plane you may wonder? Yes, traveling on the Sapsan turns out to be way faster and less exhausting.
Of course, the flight itself, from Moscow to St. Petersburg or vice versa, approximately takes from 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. Nevertheless, the actual travel time greatly multiplies when you count in the time needed to get to the airport (the international airports are far away on the outskirts), to go through security, and pass check-in. So the actual travel time is between 5-6 hours.
In comparison, the Sapsan will take you from point A to point B in less than 4 hours. And you don’t need to worry about traffic jams on the way. The Leningradsky Station in Moscow, or Moskovsky Station in St.Petersburg, from which the Sapsan departs, have convenient and central locations. Both stations are very easy to access, and because it brings you from one downtown to another, you won’t feel like wasting your vacation time.
Reason #2: Cliché but true, value for money
As we mentioned above, the Sapsan is the fastest option you can get. But is it the cheapest? There is no dramatic fare difference comparing it to other means of transportation, but the value for money is unquestionable. Safety, speed, comfort, right on time schedules – all are essential for a smooth trip in Russia.
Regular Train. A one-way ticket on a regular train is around 50 USD, but let’s not forget, it runs two times slower than the Sapsan and will take you about 9 hours to reach the arrival station. Moreover, it is less comfortable and for sure noisier. Of course, booking a regular train is better than a bus, but recommended only if you have more than a week for these two cities, really need to save an extra dollar for your vacation, or enjoy long train rides!
Plane. If you are lucky, you can get your plane ticket as low as 40-50 USD. But if you do not plan in advance, or want to travel business class, you might have to spend up to 300 USD per a one-way ticket. You will also need to put away some roubles on your taxi to and from the airport to the downtown, which starts from 1300 RUB, which is around 20 USD.
The Sapsan, high-speed train. If you are looking for a cost-effective alternative to planes and still need the comfort – there is just no better way than taking the Sapsan. Your ticket might cost from 90 USD to 120 USD and up, depending on your travel date and class preference. By paying a few extra dollars, you get to save a lot of your precious time, enjoy the smooth ride, comfortable seats (with tables if you prefer), and various snacks, sandwiches, and drinks from the bistro onboard. As compared to planes and regular trains – the Sapsan gets 10 stars out of 10.
Reason #3: Takes 5 minutes to book
One of the main reasons why people choose a plane over a train is the language barrier. It is astonishing, but true, that in this age of technology many Russian ticket websites still use Cyrillic, often have inconvenient interfaces, and even don’t allow you to book your tickets via mobile devices. It is not a mere inconvenience, but rather an unsolvable obstacle if your Russian knowledge stops at “privet” and “do svidania.” But it doesn’t have to be so.
Luckily, the tickets for the Sapsan train can be conveniently purchased at some modern online booking websites like sapsantrains.com. They are serving customers from 50 countries around the world and clearly know what their customers need. What is even more convenient, you can choose your language and see the prices in your selected currency. The website is easy to navigate, and there is a live chat if you need some advice.
Reason #4: Surprisingly modern & stress-free
You can safely forget those stories and media images of old, uncomfortable and overcrowded trains, with little space for your feet and belongings. With the Sapsan you will have an entirely different experience. It is not only fast and modern, but also very clean and comfortable. You will have enough room for your legs and luggage, which according to the Sapsan regulations can be up to 36 kilograms and 180 cm size (the sum of length, width, and height). You will also get a chance to enjoy some sightseeing along the way, take a nap before your future adventures, or read that book you’ve been putting aside for a better moment.
By the way, Sapsan really knows how to make their travelers happy. It has developed a special menu for the FIFA 2018, how great is that? Sometimes even smallest details will surprise you on the Sapsan trains, let it be a customized menu, friendly staff or the passing views of forests and villages.
A railway trip is favorable in many ways, but in the end, the choice only depends on your preferences and priorities. We have no doubts that Russia, a country of some of the oldest fortresses, grand cathedrals, and rich museums, will leave you in awe. So see it all, don’t limit yourself just to one capital. Moscow and St. Petersburg are now closer than ever.
About the Author: Other Voices
Other Voices has written 823 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
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