Many websites write about the beauty of Saint Petersburg, the White nights, the Hermitage, the magnificent suburbs – Pushkin, Petrodvorets (Peterhof), Pavlovsk, Vyborg, etc. Who will provide travelers with regularly updated information about the toilets? Judging by the letters we receive, potential guests of the city have got a lot of questions on this topic. In this article, we talk about where and how you can find public toilets in St. Petersburg.
In contrast to Soviet times, the 1990s or even the early 2000s, now the toilets in St Petersburg are timely washed, cleaned, completed with soap, toilet paper, and disposable towels. In general, you will not be disappointed (although there are rare exceptions).
As a rule, they are marked with the WC letters or graphic symbols, icons (signs) representing male and female, or «М» and «Ж» symbols in Russian. You will not take them mistakenly for something else. In case, you want to be thoroughly prepared just learn how the «toilet» is written in Russian: it’s «туалет».
М and Ж symbols in Russian
So where can you find them?
Public toilets in St. Petersburg
1. There are free toilets at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Subway, Carl’s Junior, KFC, Burger King, etc.
2. There are toilets in shopping malls. Most of them are free, but somewhere you will have to pay about 30 rubles ($0.5).
3. The city government recommended that all cafes and restaurants allow citizens in the toilets, even if they are not customers, free of charge. And we must admit that they follow this recommendation. So, if necessary, search for the nearest café, where you can order a cup of tea or coffee and use a WC or don’t buy it if you don’t want to pay.
4. As of January 1, 2020, WC are free at all the railway stations serving long-distance routes (i.e. all the stations in Moscow, St. Petersburg and all other major cities) in Russia.
5. In suburban electric trains, there are toilets usually in the first wagon from the head of the train. The “Lastochka” train (runs between St. Petersburg and Vyborg, St. Petersburg and Veliky Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Sestroretsk, St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk) has several toilets.
6. All the toilets at the Pulkovo airport are free. To find them, look for signs-pointers.
7. At palaces and museums the toilets are also free.
8. Stationary toilets (freestanding buildings on the streets) are managed by SUE Vodokanal (the cover photo and the photo below). They are plotted on a map. Unfortunately, the text on the map is only in Russian. However, having spent quite a bit of effort you can deal with a small number of Russian words 🙂
Stationary public toilet in St Petersburg
Note! Not all toilets are open all year round! If you click on the corresponding mark on the map, you can see information about opening hours and the mode of operation. There are year-round toilets, and those which work during the summer period (from May to September) only. Many toilets of Vodokanal work only from 10 to 21 hours. Again, all information will be available after a click on the mark of the map.
9. Also, Vodokanal has a large number of modular toilets (see photo below) and portable toilets (cabins). You can see them near every subway station and in other places where there is a large flow of people.
10. During the tourist season, in places popular among tourists and local residents, for example, the Dvortsovaya (Palace) square, the Central Park of Culture and Recreation, etc., as well as during fests and public festivals, Vodokanal increases the number of modular and portable toilets, and brings special buses-toilets (the photo below).
All in all, SUE Vodokanal of St Petersburg currently has 787 public toilets now, including:
• 216 stationary public toilets;
• 116 network modular toilets;
• 20 portable sanitary and hygienic complexes based on a truck chassis;
• 402 portable toilets;
• 33 modular toilets with storage tanks for installation in parks and gardens.
Sanitary and hygienic complex based on a truck chassis
Currently, the payment for entering the city public toilets, which are managed by Vodokanal, is 30 rubles.
There are categories of Russian citizens (heroes, veterans, the disabled, etc.), who can use toilets for free.
11. Not all modular and portable toilets are owned by Vodokanal. A large number of them belong to private companies. Although, the price is practically always the same – 30 rubles.
A modular toilet operated by a private company
12. There are no public toilets in the St. Petersburg subway!
We do not advise you to pee with the risk to be seen by someone. Chances are high that you will have problems with the police. In practice, guards of the law consider this act as «Minor hooliganism», the punishment for which is a fine in the amount from five hundred to one thousand rubles or an administrative arrest for up to fifteen days.