Several hours between the flights in Novosibirsk. What can I do?

Recently I’ve received a question from people who have only a couple of hours in Novosibirsk, 3.5 to be more exact, on the way from somewhere to somewhere, between the flights. They asked me what they can do in the city and it took me a while to answer the question.

First of all, because the airport is outside of the city, as usual, and, secondly, traffic jams in the Siberian capital are getting bigger and bigger.

So, if you happen to arrive and depart in the daytime, between 8.00 and 19.00, I would not recommend you to try to arrange a city tour, but stay in the airport, however boring and sad it may sound. You can try, of course, but you risk spending the most time in the bus/taxi.

The distance between the airport and the city is not very big, but there are not many ways to get there, and the existing streets are always full of cars, except for the very early morning or late evening/night. Stantsionnaya Street, the main way to get to the city, is traditionally full of traffic between 16.00 and 19.00, and the fact that the International Exhibition Center is now located there, makes it worse. Normal business hours in Novosibirsk are from 9.00 to 18.00, but it is clear that people start for work about 8.00 and may leave it slightly after 18.00.

The next unpleasant fact is that there is no train connecting the airport and the city. The nearest train station is the suburban town called ‘The Ob”, but it is several km from the airport. There are regular buses connecting the airport and the central railway station, one-way travel costs about 70 rubles, and the estimated travel time is 40 minutes, but beware of traffic jams… And anyway, even if you use this bus, the way to the city and back takes about 1.5 hours, so you will only have about 30 minutes in the city, if your flights are only 3-4 hours apart.

You could, of course, avoid going to the city center and explore Leninsky city district instead, where the Glory Monument (read about it in this blog soon) is situated, but you have to use the same Stantsionnaya Street, which is the main obstacle.

Another option is a taxi, which, if ordered from official taxi companies, cost about 500 rubles one way, and it could be somewhat faster, but again, all depends on the time of the day. There are lots of private taxi drivers offering their services in the airport, who charge a much higher price.

All this might sound pretty pessimistic, but I really think that, having only 3.5 hours or so between the flights, you’d better not try moving to the city. There is not much to do in the airport and around it, of course, but there are several cafes, restaurants not only in the airport building but also around it. As usual in airports, the prices are pretty high, but, compared to Moscow, they are reasonable. You can walk along the street leading in the direction of the city, and on the first corner you will see an old airplane standing there as a monument. Not a very funny entertainment, but it is better than just sitting inside. Besides, there is a small picture exposition in the airport building and a VIP lounge with soft sofas.

Wish you a nice stay in Novosibirsk, no matter what you choose to do!

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