Difference between revisions of "Leningrad Oblast"
Revision as of 19:13, 29 June 2011
Leningrad Oblast is a region of Northwestern Russia named for the old name of its principal city, Leningrad, now known as Saint Petersburg. It borders Pskov Oblast to the southwest, Estonia and the Gulf of Finland to the west, Finland to the northwest, Karelia and Lake Ladoga to the north, Vologda Oblast to the east, and Novgorod Oblast to the south.
Leningrad Oblast is most often visited by travelers staying in Saint Petersburg, either on a day trip or overnight to places of interest. If you are interested in Russian history or Orthodox art, you should put Staraya Ladoga at the top of your destination list, but be aware that it is difficult to get to on your own so get a tour. If castles are more your thing, Vyborg, Shlisselburg, and Ivangorod are excellent destinations, but in the case of the latter, be sure to get all your paperwork in order because the Estonian side of the city is more interesting and accommodating. Finally, if Saint Petersburg and its suburbs have not tired you out of seeing palaces, Gatchina's palace is quite impressive.
As a general rule, the closer you are to either a major tourist site or to Saint Petersburg, the more likely you will find people who speak English or other European languages, like German, Finnish, or French. Still, some knowledge of Russian or a qualified guide will almost certainly elevate your experience here.
Most visitors to the region arrive via Saint Petersburg's airport or rail terminals.
In general, the most efficient and cheapest mode of transport is to take the electric rail elektrichka (электричка, eh-lehk-TREECH-ka) services from Saint Petersburg's main rail terminals. Tickets are very cheap and the elektrichka will take you to all but the smallest destinations in the region (Staraya Ladoga).
Saint Petersburg beers luckily predominate in this region. Go for a light Baltika #7 or a dark Baltika #8.
The whole of Northwestern Russia and major cities across all Russia await from the rail stations and airports of Saint Petersburg. The region is also a convenient last stop in Russia for travelers heading on to the Baltic states, Finland, or Belarus.