St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport

The changing face of Pulkovo Saint Petersburg airport ….

Duty Free Shops St Petersburg AirportSt. Petersburg is rightly famous for its historic buildings and rich, cultural heritage, but the international airport that it serves is hardly a fitting gateway to this wonderful jewel of a city. In fact, damning passenger reviews of Pulkovo international often portray the airport as a drab relic of the Soviet era. And as for the customer service levels on offer, well let’s just say you’d find more smiles at a funeral.Happily, change is afoot at Russia’s fourth largest airport and December 2013 saw the opening of the new Pulkovo Terminal 1.Service standards need to improve too. On that score the airport’s new operator Northern Capital Gateway has already taken a step in the right direction by bringing in a second duty-free operator, German travel-retailer Gebr. Heinemann. The new concessionaire has already opened two 500 square metre shops, which sell a full range of duty-free goods, in Terminal 2, and another single store of the same size in Terminal 1.

Heinemann’s arrival at Pulkovo means the end of a 22-year monopoly for the airport’s other duty-free retailer Lenrianta, which has been trading at the Russian airport since 1989. Here at taxfreetravel we always like to see competition wherever possible and having two duty-free retailers competing with each other should result in better prices and improved customer service.

Lenrianta, the older of the airport’s two duty-free retailers, has stores in both terminals and is the only one of the two to operate a consumer website: www.lenrianta.ru. Sadly, it’s only in Russian, but nevertheless you can still get a good idea of the offer before you travel. Cognac is one of the most popular buys for Russian travellers: the versatile Courvoisier VSOP is priced at €40 (£34.40) for a 1-litre bottle, while the top-of-the-range Rémy Martin Louis XIII will set you back a little bit more at €1,600 (£1,375).This being Russia, the vodka aisle is definitely worth a look if mixing up cocktails is your thing. Away from the usual suspects, Beluga Gold, a ultra-premium, small-batch Siberian vodka, makes a great gift. It comes with a neat little hammer to chip away the wax, which seals the bottle’s cork stopper, and is priced at €129 (£111) per bottle. Alternatively, forget style bars and lounge suits and opt for something truly bizarre in the shape of a Kalashnikov rifle-shaped bottle of vodka at $259 (£222.50). At that sort of price it doesn’t give you many bangs for your buck, but it will certainly raise some eyebrows amongst your guests the next time you host a drinks party.While liquor prices are certainly not rock bottom, cigarettes are without doubt ridiculously cheap by Western European standards. A carton of 200 Camel cigarettes is priced at just €19 (£16.33), Benson & Hedges at €20 (£17.20) and Marlboro €25 (£21.50).

Among the wide range of fragrance brands stocked travellers will find brands such as Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Gucci, Versace, Armani and Yves Saint Laurent. New additions to the range as of November 2011 included Gucci’s Flora Eau Fraiche 50ml at €50 (£43), Dior’s Addict to Life (50ml spray) at €42 (£36), and Marc Jacob’s Daisy O So Fresh (75ml spray) at €56 (£48).

Browsers at Lenrianta will also find bags and accessories from the likes of Longchamp and Texier; jewellery from Kenzo, Swarovsksi and Misaki, and top-class watches from brands like Raymond Weil, Longines, Tissot and Tag Heuer. Anyone wanting electronics, travel gadgets or mobile phone accessories, however, will be disappointed. In both terminals you will find plenty of locally run kiosks selling souvenirs and gifts. Popular buys from this part of the world include the ubiquitous (but still cute) Matryoskha nestling dolls, military memorabilia and retro-posters from the Soviet era, jewellery, lacquered wooden boxes, Fabergé-style eggs and of course, caviar.

In the arrivals hall of Terminal 2 you will also find a store dedicated to the work of Vladimir Mikhailov, a Russian artist who has specialised in making Russian Orthodox images, icons and objects since 1983. With branded stores in downtown St. Petersburg and Moscow, the shop sells a wide range of crosses, rings, icons, spoons and even Easter Eggs. To take closer look at this most Russian of artists, take a look at his website: www.vmikhailov.ru.

The range of dining choices at Pulkovo has improved recently. For instance, travellers can now choose from hearty Russian fare at the grand-sounding Siberian Crown (Terminal 1, Third Floor), or pick at healthy sushi at the newly opened Vabi-Sabi (Terminal 1, Third Floor). Alternatively, if you are in a hurry grab a coffee and a sandwich at either Shokolandica (Terminal 2, departure hall) or the ever-reliable Costa Coffee (Terminal 1).

Related links

Pulkovo Saint Petersburg airport’s official website (English version)
http://www.pulkovoairport.ru/eng/

Pulkovo Terminal 1

  • Duty Free Shops by both Lenriata and Heinemann.
  • Banking by Master-Bank. Open from 10.00 to 22.00.
  • Internet services are free, connect via the OBIT page on your browser.

Pulkovo Terminal 2

  • Lenrianta duty free shop in departures, ground and 1st floor.
  • Heinemann duty free shops, departures 1st floor.
  • Banking by Master-Bank. Opening hours are 13.00 to 23.30.
  • Internet services are free, connect via the OBIT page on your browser.
  • Post Office is on the 1st floor of departures hall, opening hours are on week days from 08.30 to 17.30 p.m. Closed for lunch from 13.00 to 14.00.

See our airport shopping guide to …..

and for arriving travellers check your allowances