Updated 10 months ago

St Petersburg, with a population of some 5,131,967 inhabitants, is Russia's second major city after Moscow, the capital city. St Petersburg is nicknamed the Northern Venice due to the presence of many canals across the city. The resemblance is that strong simply because the city was modelled on Venice upon Tsar Peter the Great’s order. However, Russians call it the Northern capital, which shows its importance and its eternal competition with Moscow. 

The city has a dynamic economy thanks to its maritime port, which is the Baltic Sea's largest port. Other fields such as industry, research and education also contribute to its economic prosperity.

St Petersburg is also known to be a historical and cultural city with rich architecture. St Petersburg was known as Petrograd and Leningrad respectively before 1991.

Find accommodation

If you intend to settle in St Petersburg, you are more likely to find the best accommodation options around the city centre. In fact, the most popular residential neighbourhoods are found downtown. You will definitely find affordable housing units across the city centre. However, as everywhere in Russia, western standard housing options are more expensive.

In general, most available housing options are fully furnished and have a heating system for cold winters. However, sanitary equipment may be in poor condition. All accommodation in Russia has central heating that only the local authorities control. When temperatures drop under eight degrees Celsius for five days in a row, the heating is turned on by local authorities, when temperatures go above eight degrees Celsius for five consequent days the heating is turned off. This system means you will not be able to control the heating other than by opening your windows. Do not worry about being warm in your apartment; central heating generally works very well and you should not need to buy extra heating. 


Like in Moscow, lease terms and conditions in St Petersburg can be negotiated. For instance, you can discuss the lease duration and the agency fees which are generally equal to a month's rent. However, utility and telephone bills will be your responsibility. If you do not need a fixed landline you can agree with your landlord not to be charged for phone bills since you will not be using it. You will thus be charged for your own consumption of electricity and water, not for central heating and the building maintenance.

The only case in which you could be asked to pay a set amount every month is if you share an apartment with other people. Landlords usually ask for a thousand Russian roubles per rented room or per tenant, even if you go on vacation for a few weeks.

Rent prices

To date, there is no set price to the standard ratio in St Petersburg. Prices are lower than in Moscow and, to give you an idea, you can easily find a one bedroom apartment of about 30-35 square metres in the city centre for less than 20,000 Russian roubles ($337) or a two bedroom apartment in a residential neighbourhood further from the city centre. Rent prices, of course, vary according to different types of apartments, comfort level and facilities nearby.

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