Money & Tipping

Cash & ATM

The national currency of Russia is the ruble, RUB or RUR (руб). One ruble is equal to 100 kopecks, and it is the world`s first decimal currency (introduced in 1704). There are several different denominations of banknotes including notes of  10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rubles. The coins are of 1, 5, 10, 50 kopecks and 1, 2, 5 and 10 rubles.

Paying by card (credit/debit) is quite common in Russia, especially in the big cities, like Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, etc. Visa International and Mastercard are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, boutiques, airports and railway stations. Diners Club and American Express are less widespread. We recommend to carry a chip pin card while travelling in Russia.

Cash is the most popular way to pay for goods and services in Russia. It is essential to keep some cash on you while you are in Russia because in many small shops, open-air souvenir boutiques, food markets, as well as on public transport and in most taxies you can only pay with cash. Tips in restaurants, taxies, hotels or to your guide are also required to be made in cash.

You can withdraw rubles from ATM machines, they are widespread in the city center – you can normally find them in banks offices, metro vestibules, supermarkets, shopping centers and museums.

There are many currency exchange offices in St. Petersburg, where tourists can exchange US dollars, Euros, British pounds; for other foreign currencies, you should go to major banks. Rates at the hotels and airports are usually worse that those in banks, but they are usually more convinient. Some banks charge a commission for exchanging currency, either a flat rate per transaction or a percentage based commission. You can easily distinguish exchange offices by the electronic sign showing exchange rates. Some banks will ask you to show your passport or another form of  ID. It is important that banknotes you want to exchange are in very good condition new, without damage, and without any marks, as the bank can refuse to accept them.

You can use traveler’s cheques as safer alternative compared with cash. Changing them is not be a big problem as they are taken in all branches of Sberbank in Saint Petersburg and some other major banks. Keep in mind that banks in Russia are accustomed to dealing with Thomas Cook, AmEx and Visa but they may refuse cheques from other companies.

Like in many other countries in Russia gratuity make a significant part of earnings of waiters, barmen, taxi drivers, porters, chambermaids, tour guides and other personnel serving tourists in different ways. In general all those people who are involved in service sector will gladly accept tips from you, in case you are satisfied with their service; if not, tipping is not a must.

The common amount to leave as a tip in Saint Petersburg cafes, bars and restaurants is usually 7-10% of a bill, and is paid in cash. If you are in a group of more than 8 people, most restaurants will add a tip of 10% to the bill automatically; in this case you do not need to tip more. There is no maximum limit amount for tipping and in Russia there is no prejudice against tipping over the average just as no one as well as no one will say anything if you decide to tip less than 10%. This being said in higher class restaurants and hotels, larger are normally be expected. In such places tipping nothing at all may be considered as a sign of the client’s dissatisfaction with the service or just as being impolite. 

No Russian Visa Required

for cruise ship or ferry passengers arriving to St. Petersburg.
You can choose ANY local authorised travel company (not just cruise ship companies) for Visa-Free Shore Tours.

All you need is your valid passport
and our Tour-Ticket!

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