TOP 11 things to do in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Updated 2018)

top 11 things to do in Saint Petersburg RussiaSaint Petersburg is an amazing city that I simply admire! IMHO, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world (and I am not only saying that because I am Russian!)

If you are heading there for the first time, I am so happy for you, you will surely have a great time!

In case, you were not planning to visit Saint Petersburg in the near future, read this post! St. Pete might be added to your bucket list right after! 😉

Thanks to its royal history, Saint Petersburg is a unique city. This is where the Tsar family used to live 300 years ago, and all the splurge royal palaces can be found here too, not in Moscow.

St. Pete, or “Peeter”, as we call it in Russia, the city of Peter the Great and Queen Ekaterina can offer so much!

While you can easily stay here for two weeks and discover the city and its surroundings, here are the main 11 things to visit in Saint Petersburg that I carefully crafted for you!

1. Hermitage museum (save $10 per person with my tip!)

Winter Palace hermitage Saint Petersburg

You must think I am boring for including a museum as the 1st thing to do in the city, but I don’t care!

Believe me, Hermitage museum is an absolute must!

Hermitage (“Эрмитаж”- rus.), or we also call it the Winter Palace, can easily compete with the Louvre by the amount of masterpieces stored inside.

Don’t forget the museum’s location – it is an ex-Royal Palace of Russian Tsars (trust me, Russian kings knew a thing or two about luxury life) – it is an absolute must for a jaw dropping experience!

How to buy tickets the smart way:

I recommend buying tickets online as there might be long queues. If you did what I advised, congratz, you should go to a queue with the selected people who have online tickets (read- no queue!) see map here.

Hermitage museum Saint Petersburg Winer PalacePRO TIP 1: In case you did not do your homework and you don’t have tickets – be smarter than all those tourists lining up! You can also buy your ticket in the yellow building (called the Modern Art Museum) that is located right in front of the Hermitage. Then you can easily go to the main entrance bypassing the queue!

NOTE: If you are a student – you can get in for free, but you will have to stand in line to present your ID.

PRO TIP 2: The first Thursday (not Sunday) of the month is free of charge for all visitors.

PRO TIP 3: If you want to get a professional guide speaking great English (also German, Italian, Spanish and French) in a small group of up to 8 people and skip the line at the same time – this tour is great for you!

PRO TIP 4: If you are buying your tickets online, the price in English on the official website is US $18. You can buy the same ticket if you switch the language to Rus for 580 Rub (Update – 680 RUB during the summer season – about US $11). The difference is presumably due to currency exchange fluctuation. 580 Rub indeed used to be $18 a couple of years ago, but not anymore because of the current economic crisis (good for you, guys!)

UPDATE: One of my readers told me that now you can buy tickets on the Russian version of the website only if you type your name in Cyrillic, please use this site to generate your name. It is not always correct though, so I advise matching it with your Cyrillic name on the visa. Also, I don’t think that will be a bit problem if you make a mistake in your name, it is a museum ticket, not an airplane one.

Once you have your printed ticket, the security at the entrance will scan the bar code and voila, you are in with no troubles! This is the map of where the entrance is located for you.

NOTE: Like most of the museums in the world, Hermitage is closed on Monday. Usually the museum closes at 17 00, but on Wednesday and Friday it is open until 20 00. It is a good idea to visit it in the second part of the day because huge groups of cruise ship tourists usually leave by 3-4 p.m.

2. The Palace Square

palace square st petersburg
The Palace Square is located right in front of the Hermitage museum, you cannot possibly miss it!

In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful squares in the world!

It is huuuuuuge (bigger than the Red Square). This is where you can feel how enormous and opulent the Russian Empire was. This square witnessed both posh emperor parades and drama during the revolution.

When you’re there, stare at the Alexander column that is located right in the center of the square. The column is 47,5 mt. tall, weighs 704 tones and it does not have any foundation!

Can you even imagine it? A huge 704 tonne column stands there just under its weight. It is so heavy it does not need a foundation.

No worries, we had great engineers back in those times, it is perfect and it’s not going to fall down! There are plenty of musicians and people that sit right on the floor to prove my point if you don’t believe me. Pay a visit!

3. Cathedrals and churches!

Cathedrals in St Petersburg RussiaThere are so many great cathedrals and churches in the city that requires your visit, so I decided to group them in one point.

There are the main three that is a MUST.

  1. Kazan Cathedral – located on Nevsky prospect, the main street in the city that I strongly recommend strolling around. They call it a little brother of the Vatican and you will see why, when you get there! The entrance is free of charge.
  2. Isaac’s Cathedral – serves as a museum now and the colonnade has a wonderful overview to the city. It is open until 4 a.m. during the white nights in the summer. The price varies depending on the time and day, but it is around 600 RUB (10 USD) and you can buy your ticket at the machine. Right in front, when you go out from St. Isaac’s Cathedral, don’t miss the statue of the Bronze Horseman that has become one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg.
  3. Church of the Savior on Blood (Church on Spilled Blood or “Tserkovʹ Spasa na Krovi” in rus) – many people mix it up with the St. Basil cathedral in Moscow. It is indeed quite similar as it is made is the “Russian style”. The church has a very long interesting history including serving as a warehouse of foodstuff during World War 2. Now it is a working church again. I recommend taking a tour to get to know the story of the place. The entrance is free.

Get a printable PDF
of this post
(with the metro map
and Russian alphabet!)

4. Watch the bridges open (Drawbridges tour)

drawing of the bridges Saint Petersburg Russia2Saint Petersburg is the city of bridges, and guess what? It opens them up every night for big cargo ships to pass. And it is a BEAUTIFUL show that you should not miss!

Not sure why it took me years, I have only done drawing of the bridges tour in my 4th of 5th visit. But it is one of the most interesting things to do in the city to truly feel its spirit!

The first bridge opens up at 1.25 a.m. and then they go up on one by one.  It is much more beautiful to see it from the water when on the boat. This way you see the opening “from the inside”, see all the details and not stay in the crowd. And by boat you can manage to catch the opening of all the main bridges!

The tour starts at midnight and usually lasts for two hours. The usual Drawing bridges excursion costs about 1 000 rub (~$17) per person.

UPDATE: some readers experience problems finding the tour for the quoted price. It is true indeed – the tours you will find in English is usually more expensive – 50 – 80 USD per person. They are good for people who would like all their tour to be arranged – transportation from/to the hotel, assistance of any type etc. You can find a tour like this here and here.

If you do not mind having a small language barrier (which should not be too much of an issue as you are going to see a spectacular show, it is not that much about giving important historical information etc.), then this tour of drawbridges at night will be great for you! I have taken this tour with my foreign friend and he loved it (as I said, no translation needed).

Opening of the bridges tour St Pete Russia

If you want to see it from the land, it is fine, just make sure you are on the right side of the river, otherwise you will have to wait until they close the bridges back and open them to traffic (at about 3 a.m.) to get back to your hotel.

5. Visit Mariinsky Theatre

– Is she being boring again with her theater recommendations?

– Well, what can I do guys, you are visiting the cultural capital of Russia!

The Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg is the main competitor to the Bolshoy theatre in Moscow. Just that the prices are much lower than in the capital! 😉

It was always famous for its fantastic opera and ballet performances. And before you tell me that you don’t understand Russian – you don’t have to, there are English subtitles!

Buy your tickets here. But be sure to double check if there are subtitles in English.

NOTE 1: Keep in mind that there are a couple of buildings that belong to the Mariinsky theatre. The brand new one is spacious and it has great acoustics, I think it is more interesting to visit the new one.

NOTE 2: The opera I have been to (“Idiot” by Dostoevsky) had only Russian subtitles. Even if it said “English subs” on their website, it just did not work when we were there. It never hurts to call and ask. You can ask your hotel to do that for you, or just call yourself (see sim card options below). I am quite sure somebody should be able to reply in English.

NOTE 3: Do not be late! Picture this – you paid for your tickets and you are supposed to have some good seats, but because you were late, you will be seated in some random free places somewhere on the balcony (until the break, then you can change). Try to arrive 15-20 minutes in advance just to be safe.

6. Climb the roof of St. Pete

rooftop tour Saint Petersburg russia

You are waiting for some action, weren’t you? Let’s see if you are brave enough for this one!

Locals LOVE to climb on the roofs in St. Pete, they even organize romantic dates there.  You can even propose on the roof, and there are companies that specialize in that service!

And well, you get to see view like this. I bet none of your friends can brag they have a picture like this in St. Pete, can they?

To be fair, roofing is technically illegal in the country, but there are a handful of tours organized that are known to be safe. Don’t worry, I would not recommend it if I was not sure about that. But please use common sense, you still have to be careful.

St Pete Russia HotelsExperienced roofers will take you up one of the buildings. As long as you respect their advice, it is safe and they also have agreements with the locals who live in the building, so no worries about that. This is the rooftop tour I took.

I chose to go during the sunset, so I could watch the red disk of the sun hiding behind the Isakiy cathedral. What an unforgettable experience!

HINT: Just bring suitable shoes (and your camera!) and you will have a lot of fun!

7. Peter and Paul fortress

The fortress was built in 1703 by Peter the Great to protect the territories that were conquered by Russia in Sweden.

The Peter and Paul fortress (“Petropavlovskaya krepost” in Russian) is the place where Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Later on it was used as a prison and execution ground for Bolsheviks (until XX century). From 1954 until now, it is a museum called State Museum of Saint Petersbourg History.

You can just walk around on the island (called Zayachiy island) or visit one of the many museums including the emperor’s tomb in the Petropavlosvkiy cathedral. Here is a cool interactive map of the attraction.

Admission to the fortress is free, however, you have to pay to get into museums. There are different option depending on what you want to visit, check the rates here.

HINT: Don’t miss the daily firing of the cannon from the Naryshkin Bastion at noon!

Get a printable PDF
of this post
(with the metro map
and Russian alphabet!)

8. The Admiralty

admiralty saint petersburg russia sightseeingThe Admiralty used to be a shipyard for the Baltic fleet and a fortress at the same time.

The first ship sailed from there in 1706 (with the participation of Peter I himself, who was an expert in shipbuilding). Now the place is completely rebuilt, and it has a gilded spire with a little ship at the end. The ship has become a symbol of the city, you will probably see it on many postcards or magnets!

Just pass by the building when you are near St. Isaac’s cathedral, it is two minutes away by foot.

9. See peculiarities in Kunstkamera museum

Opening of the bridges tour

It might be one of the weirdest museums you will ever visit!

No, this time I don’t invite you to enjoy fine art, far from that! You will see some, khm… peculiarities.

Kunstkamera (or officially the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography) is the first ever museum in Russia and one of the oldest in the world.

The museum was founded, you guessed it, by Peter the Great.

Back in those times, human or animal malformations of any sort were treated as black magic, the devil’s creation. People were scared of them. So what did the Tsar do? He sought to educate people and fight those superstitions. He gave a prize to anybody who would contribute to his museum of peculiarities – a deer with two heads, an unborn baby with a huge head – every kind of abnormality was welcomed there.

Oh, there are quite many unborn marinated babies in jars there!

I was there when I was just 15 years old and the museum completely freaked me out.  I remember my mom was pregnant back then and I don’t know how she could be so calm looking at all those marinated kids.

To be fair, the museum holds thousands of ethnographic, anthropological and archaeological artifacts from all over the world, this was just one of the exhibitions. But of course, it was the one I remembered the most!

Find price and schedule here.

10. See the maquettes of Russia and St. Pete

There are two scale model museums that I really liked.

The first one is about Russia, the second one is dedicated to Saint Petersburg specifically.

1. Grand Maket Show Museum is 800 m2 of colossal working layout of different cities in Russia. The exhibition gives you a chance to have a glimpse of today’s Russia in less than one hour!

Grand Maket Show Museum saint petersburg russiaGrand Maket is a great choice if you are traveling with kids – they will have lots of fun as the exposition is dynamic – all the trains and cars are moving, and many objects can even be controlled by visitors!

2. Petrovskaya Akvatoria shows how the Northern capital (one more way we call St. Petersburg) looked  back in the 18th century.

Saint Petersburg weather Russia25, 000 tiny pieces were carefully placed on the maquette, where everything has its place and its meaning. They even have a change of day and night time! You can see the balls in the palaces during the night. I mean, how cool is that?

I highly recommend visiting it, it is located five minutes away from the Palace Square. But go when you got to know the city a bit better, say in two-three days.

The guide in English (included in your ticket) will tell you some fascinating facts about the places of these times. If you want the tour in English, please write them an email with your time in advance. Here are the contacts. If you did not write in advance, no worries, there is an audio guide for 100 rub.

11. Get wet in Petergof

Petergof Samson fountain parks fountains
Last but not least! Petergof (or Petrodvorets) is an imperial palace in the suburbs or St. Petersburg that Peter the Great built.

Now, you might have the impression that all the amazing things were built by Peter the Great. Yep, that is pretty much true!

People call it “the Russian Versailles”.

Peter the Great was indeed inspired by French architecture, but, in my humble opinion, Peterhof is more beautiful and more fun than Versailles (yes, I know, I am biased, but it is truuuue!).

You can take a tour that will explain the history, take you to the upper and lower parks and explain the unique system of fountains, the famous Samson fountain.

The best time to visit is summer, but the park is open and all fountains operate from May to early October.

Peterhof park in Saint PetersburgHow to get to Peterhof from Saint Petersburg:

Even if it is outside of the city, it will take you no more than an hour. I’ve got you covered, you won’t get lost!

Now, here are a couple of options – expensive and budget. You choose which one works best for you:

Fast and expensive: Go by Meteor, which is a speed boat. The price is 750 rub one way and it is just 30 minutes to get.

LIFEHACK: You can get your Meteor tickets also pinks stands that you will see in all touristic places, the price will be 550 instead of 750.

A bit adventurous (nothing crazy, you just need to take public transport):

Get to either “Avtovo” or “Leninskiy Prospect” metro station and take a “marshrutka” (a minivan that has a fixed route) that says Peterhof (Петергоф) on them. The driver is usually outside calling for passengers, or you can just ask him “Peterhof?” See, no Russian knowledge needed!
Peterhof Saint PetersburgThe minivans are every 10-15 minutes. The price is 50 rub and the time altogether with the metro ride from the center is about one hour.

Don’t worry, you won’t miss the stop, it is the last one!

Get a printable PDF
of this post
(with the metro map
and Russian alphabet!)

Even more things to visit

canal tour saint petersburg2The only reason these places did not make it to the top list is because it already had so many suggestions and I could not squeeze them all in. Nevertheless, these are awesome, consider visiting these sights too:

SIDENOTE: Leningrad is an old communist name of Saint Petersburg

  • Canals excursion – Saint Petersburg was built similar to Amsterdam and we have many canals with countless pretty bridges, each has an interesting history!
  • Erarta – contemporary art museum. I haven’t been there but I have heard it is one of the biggest ones in the world!
  • Free walking tour – you pay as much as you think the tour was worth at the end. I love the concept and try to take this tour everywhere in the world I go!
  • Chizik Pyzhik – a funny little statue to a bird. Try to throw a coin so that it lands on the bird and your wish will come true!
  • Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad – the siege of Leningrad lasted 872 days and took place during World War II. For more than 2 years (can you even imagine?), its citizens suffered chronic deprivation and constant bombardment. People’s extraordinary endurance is a source of immense pride, but almost a million died of starvation. Leningrad Blockade is a source of deep sorrow for the locals. I haven’t visited the museum yet, it was on restauration, but not it is open and you can visit! There is an audio guide in English, but if you want to know more about the siege, I highly recommend taking this private tour.
  • Communism Leningrad Tour – for those interested in the communism era, take in just 2 hours the tour will take you to places with important events of the Communist past of St. Petersburg. You will see a unique side of St. Petersburg that not many tourists see!

Where to stay in Saint Petersburg?

Saint Petersburg Russia mapThere is abundance of hotels of all price ranges in St. Petersburg!

Try to choose your hotel to be within walking distance to the metro, this way all the attractions will be easily reachable.

UPDATE: I have written a post about Great hotels in Saint Petersburg

Now, about the visas – you will most certainly need the registration (Don’t even ask me why. It is a very old useless communist rule, but you still need the invitation from the hotel nowadays, sorry!)

Most of the hotels will make you a registration, you should double check with yours just in case.

Here is a list of recommended hotels – all with fabulous reviews, best rated locations and they do registration (for visa) if you need it.

Luxury hotels ($190 and up) – Trezzini Palace Boutique Hotel is a perfect place for those who want to splurge themselves in elegant imperial interiors. Just look at the pictures – isn’t it a small palace? Alexander House is another great hotel located in a historical center. It has a cozy firelplace and a charming patio with a library, I loved the rooms design as well!

Middle price ($70 – $190) – Pushka INN hotel is a 18th Century mansion located in an historic heart of St. Petersburg, what’s better – it is just 1 minute walk from the Palace Square! Galunov Hotel is also centrally located tastefully decorated hotel with great service!

Budget accommodation ($70 and less) – Station Hotel Premier S10 is a great value for money hotel, 5 minutes walk from Sadovaya metro, they have attic rooms with an amazing city view! Chemodan MiniHotel can be as low as $6 for a bunk bed or $15 for a room if you book it in advance. it is clean, centrally located and have great reviews!

How to get around in Saint Petersburg?

Nevsky prospect St petersburg russia1) Taxis are quite cheap (especially with the recent currency fluctuations). The normal fare would be 33 RUB (now ~0,6 USD)  per km.

These are the companies that locals use in St. Pete, all of them have an app of course:

  • Uber  – that is what I was using. Usually, cheaper than a normal taxi and the service is always great! If you still don’t have an account, register here (or type this promo code – “YULIAS774UE”), you will get your first ride for free!
  • Yandex Taxi – the same thing as Uber, more or less the same prices. Yandex is a Russian competitor of Google by the way! 🙂
  • Gettaxi – another app that you can use if none of the ones before worked for some reason.

2) Don’t omit the metro!

Metros in Moscow and St Pete are so beautiful, you can take a separate excursion to metro stations. Download this application on your phone, it will help you calculate the fastest route with changes in the metro. 1 ride costs just 45 rubles at the moment (about 70 cents).

NOTE: Oh, and one more thing – if you want to ask people about the nearest subway station, use the word “metro” instead. People who speak little English will point at the fast food chain that is called “Subway”. 😉

How to get to the city from Saint-Petersburg airport?

Hotels in Saint Petersburg RussiaThere is just one airport in the city, it is called Pulkovo airport.

Here is how to get from Saint Petersburg airport to the city center:

  • By bus: City buses 39 and 399 (express) run between the airport and “Moskovskaya” metro station from 5:30 a.m. to 01:20 a.m., the time ride is 30 min. without traffic (20 min. for express) and the tickets is just 40 RUB (0,7 USD).
  • By fixed-route minivan taxi: (“marshrutka” in Russian) minivan K-39 will get you to the same metro station for the same price just that a bit faster – 15 min. if there is no traffic. Note that it works only until 11:30 p.m. See the stop on the map here.
  • By taxi: taxi price to the city center should be about 600 -700 rub if you get it through one of the apps above. You can also get your taxi from a taxi stand, but it is much more expensive, multiply the mentioned price by 2.

Which sim card to get in Russia?

Saint Petersburg things to do RussiaIf you arrive in the working hours in the airport, you can get a Sim card with internet right there.

Any mobile operator tariffs are pretty cheap. The average price that I looked up right now is 5GB for 300 Rub a month.

The companies are – Beeline (the one that I also use), Megafon, Tele2, MTS (written МТС).

You could make a research on all these sites in advance (Google translate them) to understand which one currently has the best promotions, but you can also just stop by in any of those offices with your passport and get a sim card, the price difference is really not that significant!

NOTE: if you are going to travel to Moscow or do the Trans-Siberian, make sure your internet works in all regions, not only in Leningrad (domestic) region!

When to visit Saint-Petersburg?

Palace square in the summer St PeteI have visited Saint Petersburg 4 times, all the times in June – August. These are usually the sunniest days in the city. Not only that, you will also be able to enjoy a natural phenomenon that is called the “white nights” if you go in July. It is really cool, totally recommended! It is basically a never ending day, even if there is no Sun in the night, it is still light! I have only seen something similar to this in Sweden.

I have never been in the autumn, but I have heard from my friends what September – Early October can be incredibly beautiful and romantic, too!

Winter is wet, very humid and well, let’s face it.. quite depressing. But hey, the architecture is the same beautiful and no tourists around!

So, the best time is summer, but it is the same beautiful at any time of the year.

Day trips outside of St. Pete

gatchina saint petersburh day trips russiaIf you have even more time, don’t worry, there are still plenty of interesting places to visit outside of the city!

All of these places are reachable in an hour trip from St. Pete, so you can easily make it a day trip.

  • Pushkin – Tsarskoe selo, the place where our great poet A. S. Pushkin studied and a summer residence of Russian tsars.
  • Pavlovsk – another breathtaking imperial estate and park complex. You can combine Pushkin and Pavlovsk in one tour.
  • Kronshtadt – St. Pete’s main old seaport. If you want to explore this island of the Gulf of Finland, you can take this half-day tour for just 20 USD.
  • Gatchina – not that touristy, but worth it for its natural beauty and architecture. It was a home to Romanov family once upon a time.
  • Oranienbaum – I haven’t been there yet, but looking at the pictures of this posh palace, it seems like it is one of those undiscovered by mass-tourism gems!

Get a printable PDF
of this post
(with the metro map
and Russian alphabet!)

Other useful things to keep in mind

bronze horseman saint petersburg russia

  • It is not obligatory to learn the Russian alphabet, you will get around without it. But believe me, it is really easy –

half of our letters are the same and another half is just funny mirror reflection of the Latin alphabet! 🙂

You will have a lot of fun reading signs and will impress your travel buddies by investing about just 30 minutes of your time. So why not to do it, huh?
Here is a great Youtube video to get you a pro in the Cyrillic alphabet:

  • The cards are widely acceptable almost everywhere, usually you can pay with your credit card in any restaurant, museum or a supermarket.
  • It is better to visit popular museums in the afternoon or in the evening, because there are many tourists from cruises during the mornings, they all leave the city by evening.
  • The public transport does not work after midnight, so you will have to go by taxi. Oh yes, some routes will be unavailable even by car because the bridges are opened up at night, remember? Take care of that fact in advance. If you stay on 1 island after 3 a.m. and you hotel is on the other island, it might be that you will have to make a big loop, oops! Or, stay overnight until 6 a.m. We have many romantic song about these kind of stories by the way!

Saint petersburg Postcard from Neva river


UPDATE:

I know this is a long post (sorry about that, you can go on forever when it comes to St. Petersburg!) and by a popular demand, I have created a printable PDF version of this post (I added the Russian alphabet and the metro map to it and deleted some unnecessary info in it). You can print it or download it on your phone available offline when you are in Russia.

You can support my work by purchasing the PDF guide here if you wish to, the price is only 2,99 USD. All the information will remain free forever on the site 🙂


Conclusion

As we say in Russia: “Moscow is the financial capital and Saint Petersburg is a cultural capital”. There are so many things to do in St. Pete, you see now why this post is so long! This city is an eye candy for photographers.  It is my favorite city in Russia and one of my favorites in the world!

We talked about 11 places that cannot be missed in the city and some important info as transportation, accommodation, things to do outside Saint Petersburg etc. Also I suggested tons of other great activities for those of you who have more time and are eager to explore!

Us, Russians, we all love Saint Petersburg for its charm and cultural heritage. I hope I managed to pass a tiny bit of love to this city and you will be able to feel its imperialism, scale, communism and its great history. All of this is reflected in every square meter of this city and you will feel it when you see the places described here in this post!

Remember, you haven’t been to Russia if you haven’t seen Saint Petersburg!

I will be happy if you will manage to see them all. If not, oh well, you have to come back!

Let me know if my tips were useful!

Do you want to know anything else? Like sim cards, flights, packing lists?

Ask me in the comments, I will gladly reply!

Yulia


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By | 2018-06-20T14:27:22+00:00 February 19th, 2017|Europe, Russia, Saint Petersburg|64 Comments

About the Author:

Yulia is originally Russian but truly is a world citizen in heart. She was traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Her blog MissTourist.com is created with the purpose to inspire people to travel more and to share her advice of how to travel "smart".

64 Comments

  1. Kay 25.02.2017 at 22:40 - Reply

    St. Petersburg looks so lovely! I love your photographs – you’ve captured it beautifully 🙂 I’ll definitely have to keep your tips in mind when I visit.

  2. Richard Schiffman 02.03.2017 at 06:28 - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE Saint Petersburg! I did and saw just about all of these things when I went there about four years ago. Moscow is beautiful but Saint Petersburg is GORGEOUS! I will definitely visit again. When I went to the Mariinsky theater, I saw Swan Lake by Peter Tchaikovsky. Also the Hermitage is waaaay better than the Louvre. Peterhof might be my favorite palace ON EARTH! I know it’s a bit long but I have to emphasize just how utterly stunning that city is. I’ve been to many cities in Europe( London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Rome and yes MOSCOW just to name a few) but virtually none of them come close to the gorgeous metropolis that is affectionately known as “Peeter”. Saint Petersburg is so beautiful, I actually had tears of joy when I was there because I cannot believe that any city in the world can be THAT beautiful. By the way Miss Tourist, the way you were describing Saint Petersburg in your vlog was soooooooo cute, it almost sounded like you were talking about a beautiful woman which in many ways she is. Saint Petersburg= KRASIVAYA!!!

    • Yulia 02.03.2017 at 06:29 - Reply

      Yes, thats more or less how I feel about Peeter! 🙂
      Peterhof is one of my fav places on earth too by the way!

  3. leonardo 06.03.2017 at 18:59 - Reply

    Really..first i read your blog than i checked some books about San Petersburg..last i moved in Tallinn for an internship cause i wanted to live close to the true capital of Russia (at least for me). I m just waiting for Easter to have some days off and get to Нева́. Thank you for your tips Yulia..

  4. Becky 12.04.2017 at 14:38 - Reply

    Great Post! Really informative as well 🙂 I really want to go to Saint Petersburg one day it looks absolutely amazing, especially the Palace Square!

  5. SG 26.05.2017 at 23:38 - Reply

    I am here for 5 weeks for immersion. I have been learning Russian (full time) for the past year! Thank you for your tips – I will organize my days around them! Cheers!

    • Yulia 02.06.2017 at 04:04 - Reply

      wow, thats so awesome!
      Удачи, все получится! 🙂

  6. Daniil Timin 30.05.2017 at 18:25 - Reply

    This is an incredible guide to St. Petersburg which is a must-read for the first-time visitors. I just have an add-on that the entrance to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is not free and it’s not that interesting on the inside.

    • Yulia 02.06.2017 at 04:11 - Reply

      Thank you, it has been a while when i went inside! 🙂

  7. Dancing Bear 10.06.2017 at 21:20 - Reply

    I live in St. Petersburg, we have more than 200 museums

  8. Heitor Uchoa 21.06.2017 at 03:37 - Reply

    this is really awesome! Can’t wait until i arrive to russia to check all the tips out.

    • Yulia 02.07.2017 at 06:23 - Reply

      i am sure you will have great fun there, Heitor!
      Let me know if you need anything! 😉

  9. Haidee 23.06.2017 at 01:20 - Reply

    Thank you Yulia. Now I’m even more exited to visit. Your photos are really beautiful also. I wish we had longer than one night here, but we’ll try and cram in as much of what you suggested as possible.

    • Yulia 02.07.2017 at 06:25 - Reply

      Glad you found it useful Haidee!
      Have a lot of fun discovering one of the most beautiful cities on eart, hope you will be lucky with the weather! 🙂

  10. Andy 26.06.2017 at 11:32 - Reply

    Beautifully explained and pictured….Simply loved the way you presented each and every thing with TIPS to save money and time

    • Andy 26.06.2017 at 11:45 - Reply

      Do you recommend HOP on HOP off Bus for 1 day or 2 days ?

      • Yulia 02.07.2017 at 06:34 - Reply

        Completely up to you! if you have more time, take the one for 2 days

    • Yulia 02.07.2017 at 06:32 - Reply

      You are very welcome, Andy!
      Enjoy St. Pete! 🙂

  11. Karenlee 30.08.2017 at 15:25 - Reply

    Great article! I am going to be visiting in December, and hope it won’t be too “depressing” because of the weather. The way you make it sound, I think I will enjoy it anyway.

    • Yulia 31.08.2017 at 15:51 - Reply

      You will have a lot of fun, I am sure!
      But bring warm clothes, the humidity is strong!

  12. Sarayoot 13.09.2017 at 20:33 - Reply

    I’m interested in rooptop tour ,I wonder you could give me the tour you took(the link you give broken) thx a lot

  13. Maya 09.10.2017 at 09:39 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,
    I’m going to moscow and St petersburg the third week of October, and the weather forecast is rain and some snow ..how heavy does it normally rain? Will walking around be impossible? Will just a light raincoat or umbrella do ? Hope you read this in time !!

    • Yulia 11.10.2017 at 00:45 - Reply

      Well, we are not a tropical country, so rains are definitely not that hard as they could be in south east asia.
      Though it really depends and it might be so that it will be very unpleasant for you to walk. If you are visiting in the end of October, it will most probably be quite cold by then, so i recommend wearing something warmer than just a raincoat.

      • Maya 11.10.2017 at 09:13 - Reply

        Thank you so much for your reply . Will definitely carry something warm .

  14. Lana 20.10.2017 at 07:03 - Reply

    Hi. Loved reading your blog. I’m planning a trip in July. Tell me more about SIM cards. Why do I need a new SIM card? I’m so bad when it comes to technology. Thanks.

    • Yulia 01.11.2017 at 13:44 - Reply

      Hi Lana!
      Well, it depends on your needs. For example me- i am a travel blogger and I need to always stay connected for Instagram stories, checking emails, calling an Uber etc. If having occasional internet connection during the day and in a hotel in the evening is fine with you, you might not need a local sim card with internet! 🙂

  15. Igor 10.12.2017 at 22:10 - Reply

    I live in suburb of Saint-Petersburg.
    It’s called Pushkin with an amazing ,world-famous heritage.
    There are lot of attraction and sight here like churches, сathedrals and famous palace.

    • Priya 11.05.2018 at 09:31 - Reply

      Can you tell me what are the MUST do’s in Pushkin ? And whats the best way for a group of 9 to travel to Pushkin ? How long is the travel time ? Can one combine any other place with it ?

  16. Patrick J Connors 14.01.2018 at 20:49 - Reply

    arriving may 16 2018 on regal princess cruise ship departing the 18 th can we pree arrange several of your recommended things to do patrick/valerie

    • Yulia 15.01.2018 at 13:28 - Reply

      Hello guys!
      You can find many great tours for St. Pete here
      Take some warm clothes,
      I hope you will enjoy it! 🙂

  17. Galen 24.01.2018 at 19:10 - Reply

    Really enjoyed the detailed articles on visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg. I’m coming over for the 1st two weeks of the World Cup and will be visiting both those cities. Only wish you had the same kind of detailed information on Sochi and Kazan. Was really glad to see all the tours that are available in English. Thanks!!

  18. David Delgado 30.01.2018 at 05:58 - Reply

    Great guided article!

  19. Ona 06.05.2018 at 18:22 - Reply

    Hi !! I must say your post was waaaay more useful than any other travel blog I have visited, thank you so much for the info 😀 !!
    May I ask a thing… I will travel there in August and I assume the Hermitage will be very crowded. Do you have any tip about which time of the day visiting it? I read it can be crowded in the morning when the cruise ships tours are visiting, so maybe it would be better to get there around midday/afternoon?
    Thanks a lot !

    • Yulia 08.05.2018 at 11:31 - Reply

      Yes, I think it is better to go in the mid day, but you still never know, it might be crowded even then.
      To avoid waiting in the long line you might want to get this tour or this one

      Have a great trip!

  20. Monica 15.05.2018 at 14:39 - Reply

    Hi Yulia!
    I tried to buy the tickets from the Hermitage as you mentioned (through the Russian website) to spare $10. However, almost at the end, it is requested to register to buy the tickets. I tried to put my name but it seems to me that it doesnt accept any letters but only Russian alphabet letters.. do you have a tip for that?
    thanks for your help and great site! loved it 🙂

    • Yulia 16.05.2018 at 11:51 - Reply

      Hello Monica,
      thank you very much for the update!
      You are right, indeed the site implemented some restriction in those fields and you can only type Cyrillic letters there. This is really strange and that is the first time I see it.
      What you can do it type your name in Russian (Google Translator will help) the way it is written in your visa and then it will work.
      Sorry for the extra step, I think the reason they implemented it is because people started to learn the “trick” from my site and others.
      FYI, this is not a trick, if you will buy your ticket from the cash register, the price you will pay is 680 rub (not 1120 RUB which is 18 usd in todays rate).
      Have a great time and please let us know if everything is ok!

  21. Khoo 28.05.2018 at 18:17 - Reply

    Thank You for the informative post Yulia.

  22. Axel 05.06.2018 at 12:15 - Reply

    Hi Yulia, I like the way you smile, those eyes, that hair…Not only you are beautiful, but what you write is beautiful too.

    I am coming in Russia in 2 weeks for the football World Cup and your tips are much more precious than any tourist’s guide book.

    Million thanks for taking your time and inspiring fellow travelers…

    • Yulia 05.06.2018 at 17:16 - Reply

      Thank you for your nice comment, Axel! <3
      I hope you will enjoy your time in my homecountry!

  23. Shane 05.06.2018 at 23:14 - Reply

    I searched San Petersburg in Google and I am so glad I find your site. It’s much more informative and useful than some famous travel websites. Spasibo Спасибо

    • Yulia 07.06.2018 at 00:41 - Reply

      Thanks so much for your words, Shane!
      Indeed, many of the big travel website often fail to describe really useful tips for travelers. I guess I could easily do it as Russia is my home country and I know stuff about it 🙂

      have a great time in St Pete! 🙂

  24. Janice 07.06.2018 at 09:09 - Reply

    Amazing information, Thank you so much! Midnight Neva Cruise is not 10 USD, I’m trying to book and its more than $50 plus the reviews says that is not a must… what do you think? Do you know where is the best place to buy? Thanks 🙂

    • Yulia 07.06.2018 at 18:04 - Reply

      Hello Janice,
      awesome you liked the post!

      You are right, the tours one English sites are more expansive, like this one, but it is nice for some people who want to have everything arranged, like transpiration to/from the hotel, assistance etc.
      You can also take a tour for locals, there will be mostly russians there and it will cost 1000-1300 rub. If you do not mind a little language barrier (you should not need much translation though – it is a spectacular show that you can understand without words), I recommend taking this tour.
      Just print your vouchers in advance and I am sure you the staff on the boat speaks enough english to understand you if you have any questions, want to buy something.

      Let me know if you decide to take it!

  25. Marina Refaat 11.06.2018 at 00:44 - Reply

    Thank you veryyy useful!
    I have a question i need to book a night train from moscow to St. Petersburg and no website is accepting foreign cards for payment
    Any help

    • Yulia 16.06.2018 at 18:03 - Reply

      Which site did you use?

    • Yulia 16.06.2018 at 18:06 - Reply

      try this one, it should accept all foreign card, and if there is still a problem, you can pay by PayPal

  26. Khuaish 11.06.2018 at 20:19 - Reply

    Really got good information from your blog. We are a group of 4 adults (2 couples) planning a trip in August to Moscow and St Petersburg. Would like to do something really exciting during our stay. How do we take the boat ride to watch the bridges opening. What time do they open and close the bridges? Are there any beaches which we can explore during our stay. Any shopping areas in St Petersburg where we can strol around and do some shopping?

    • Yulia 16.06.2018 at 18:02 - Reply

      hello! Nevslyi Prospect (in the center) is the shopping street, you will find pretty much everything you need there.
      As I am not originally from the city, i might not know all the nice beaches they have there, but I remember there was a beach in 300 of St Petersbourg Park. Here is a list of beaches that I found for you (in Russian, but google translate helps a lot).
      As for the bridges, please read above, I describe the tour and the times in the text above.
      Have a great time in Russia!

  27. Radhika (from India) 15.06.2018 at 21:53 - Reply

    Hey, great write up! 🙂 I’m coming to st.pete in july with family and kids, and would like to have tickets etc taken care of in advance as much as possible. Wanted to know which all places you mentioned need entry tickets?

    • Yulia 16.06.2018 at 17:51 - Reply

      hello Radhika,
      the attractions where I mention the price require an entrance ticket

  28. Leon 16.06.2018 at 10:59 - Reply

    Julia, your blog covers every aspect. I am heading to Russia for the World Cup and have stumbled on this site which indeed is very informative. Possible to make available the above info. in the form of a PDF File that is easily accessible.

    • Yulia 20.06.2018 at 14:30 - Reply

      Hello Leon,
      thank you for your suggestion!
      I have created a printable PDF version of this post (I added the Russian alphabet and the metro map to it and deleted some unnecessary info in it). You can print it or download it on your phone available offline when you are in Russia.

      You can support my work by purchasing the PDF guide here if you wish to, the price is only 2,99 USD. All the information will remain free forever on the site 🙂

  29. Ray 19.07.2018 at 07:34 - Reply

    Hi Yulia, thanks for an amazing article!! This makes me want to go to St. Petersburg. Like many have said, this covers basically everything and I can just use this as my travel book. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

    • Yulia 19.07.2018 at 16:35 - Reply

      Hey Rey, thanks for your meaasage and I hope you will visit St Pete soon! 🙂

  30. Lynne 07.08.2018 at 05:59 - Reply

    Yulia – thanks so very much for posting your blog of both Moscow and St. Petersburg. My husband and I are traveling to Russia in September. I have a couple questions – we are taking the fast train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Is it a trip we should take during the day or evening? The river trip0 at night in St. Petersburg offers an early evening option rather than the midnight option. Would we be disappointed to take the earlier cruise. I am not real confident to be out and about in a strange city that late. Lastly, Catherine Palace. Is there public transportation to take there rather than a private tour?

    • Yulia 08.08.2018 at 10:52 - Reply

      Hello Lynne,
      happy you found it useful! 🙂
      You can take the trip any time of the day, whatever is convenient for you, it does not matter much. It might be a bit more crowded after 6 (people going afterwork), but that is the only difference.
      There are different boat trips in St Petersburg, the one you will be taking is probably a simple canal tours that will show you all the canals (it is really pretty), the Opening bridges tour will take you to all the bridges and it is not canals, it is on the big river, this tour is in the night time.
      If you have enough time, i recommend taking both tours, they are both lovely! Do not worry, there will be plenty of people admiring the opening of the bridges, it will be not deserted, not at all. If you leave far and you do not want walking around at night, you should take a tazi (we have Uber in Russia, i always use it)

      As for the palace, yes, you can get there with public transport (metro+minibus), you can use google maps to see the exact route from your location.

      Hope it helps, have a great holiday!

  31. Petra 25.09.2018 at 20:09 - Reply

    Hi Yullia, this is the most detailed blog I have ever read! Thank you for that :).

    Can you advice me about the Petergof… Is it recommended to get tickets in advance, to skip the line. Or is it ok just to go there and see what happens :). I bought tickets for Hermitage as you suggest ( soooo thankful for that). But I am not sure for Petergof ;).

    Thnx for everything 🙂
    Petra

    • Yulia 26.09.2018 at 13:28 - Reply

      Hi Petra,
      happy it was useful!
      I definitely recommend booking tickets in advance for Peterof if you are visiting during the season (summer), but if you are visiting outside of those dates, you can just buy it at the place.

  32. Lynne 04.10.2018 at 15:44 - Reply

    Yulia – we have returned from our trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. We did it “on our own”, purchased all our tickets ahead of time and saw as much as we could in the time we were there. WSe picked the best-of-the-best as we probably will not travel there again.

    One comment, there is now a small admission charge to go into some the Cathedral’s in St. Petersburg (your blog says they are free). Can’t remember how much at each one, but from 150 – 250 Rubles.

    Thanks for your wonderful information – Lynne

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