Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg, Russia – Tips From A Local!

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia saint petersburg church 1

UPDATED: MAY 2019

Saint Petersburg in Russia is an amazing city that I simply admire! In my honest opinion, 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 very first time, I am so happy for you, you will surely have a great time and I am sure this list with the best things to do in Saint Petersburg, Russia will come in handy!

Even if you were not planning to visit this destination in the near future, read my St Petersburg guide nonetheless! You might add it right to your bucket list after this! 😉

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 Russian Royal palaces can be found here too and 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 to any traveler, regardless if they are going there for the first or tenth time!

While you can easily stay for two weeks and discover the city and its surroundings, there are some places and things to do in Saint Petersburg that are simply unmissable!

Here is my list of 11 best things to do in St Petersburg, Russia that I carefully crafted for you:

If you want to visualize all the attractions I will talk about, here is my St Petersburg map (the yellow pins are for my selection of best things to do and the pink ones are for the bonus activities):

1. Hermitage Museum (save $7 per person with my tip!)

Winter Palace hermitage Saint Petersburg

You might find it boring that I included a museum as the 1st best thing to do in the city, but I believe me, the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is an absolute must while in the city!

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

This is actually one of the oldest museums in the world and it includes works by Van Gogh, Monet, and even Leonardo da Vinci! And yes, if you want to visit everything at your own pace, your visit will most probably take more than one day, as the museum is very large, so make sure to plan your visit carefully!

It is worth it to mention the museum’s location as well – The Winter Palace of Empress Catherine, which is an ex-Royal Palace of Russian Tsars (trust me, Russian kings knew a thing or two about luxury life!) – which I truly believe is an absolute must for a jaw-dropping experience! This is one of the most famous buildings in St Petersburg, Russia!

How to buy tickets the smart way:

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia hermitage museum

I recommend buying tickets online, as there might be long queues at the place. If you did this, congrats, you have skipped the long lines and you can now enter using the special queue for the selected people that have online tickets (read – no queue!). Check this map to see the entrances.

PRO TIP 1: In case you did not do your homework and you don’t have your tickets bought already – 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 with everyone else to present your ID in order to buy the discounted ticket.

PRO TIP 2: On every third Thursday (not Sunday) of the month the entrance is free of charge for all visitors.

PRO TIP 3: If you want to get a professional guide that speaks great English (but also German, Italian, Spanish and French) for 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 $17.95 US$. You can buy the same ticket if you switch the language to Russian (Pyc) for 730 RUB (11.2 US$) or 680 RUB during the summer season – about 10.5 US$. The difference is presumably due to currency exchange fluctuation.

Hermitage museum Saint Petersburg Winer Palace

UPDATE: One of my readers told me that you can now buy tickets on the Russian version of the website only if you type your name in Cyrillic. I think this is not fair to our foreign guests, so here is how to trick the system – just use this site to transliterate your name into Cyrillic and copy-paste it to the buying form on the website. It is not always correct though, so I advise matching it with your Cyrillic name on the visa. Also, I don’t think that it will be a problem if you make a mistake in your name – it is a museum ticket, not an airplane one, no one actually checks your name there!

Once you have your printed ticket, the barcode will be scanned at the entrance and voila, you are in! Here is the map to see where the entrance is located for you.

NOTE: Like most of the museums in the world, the Hermitage is closed on Mondays. Usually, the museum opens at 10.30 AM and closes at 6 PM, but on Wednesdays and Fridays it is open until 9 PM. 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 PM. Check the up-to-date schedule here.

2. The Palace Square

palace square st petersburg

The Palace Square is located right in front of the Hermitage Museum, it is basically impossible to miss it!

In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and you might already know that it is one of the main St Petersburg tourist attractions! It is huuuuuuge (bigger than the Red Square in Moscow). This is the place where you can feel how enormous and opulent the Russian Empire was. This square witnessed both posh emperor parades and drama during the revolution and many Russians consider it to be among the 10 most beautiful places in Russia!

When you’re there, you can stare at the Alexander Column that is located right in the center of the square. The column is 47.5m tall, weighs 704 tons and it does not have any foundation!

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia palace square

Can you even imagine it? A huge 704-ton column stands in the middle of the square just under its weight. It is so heavy that it does not even need a foundation!

No worries though, we had some great engineers back in those times, the column is created perfectly 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, in case you do not believe me. Pay a visit – it is so worth it!

3. Cathedrals and churches!

Cathedrals in St Petersburg Russia

There are so many great cathedrals and churches in St Petersburg, Russia that require your visit, it can be so hard to choose! I decided to group them in one chapter, so you can easily decide which could be your favorite.

These are the main three cathedrals that are an absolute MUST in Saint Petersburg:

1. Kazan Cathedral

Kazan Cathedral is located on Nevsky Prospect, the main street of the city that I strongly recommend strolling around. It is the main cathedral of the city and they call it the “little brother” of the Vatican and you will see why when you get there!

WORKING HOURS: Open daily from 7 AM to 6 PM.

PRICE: Entrance is free of charge.

2. St Isaac’s Cathedral

Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg serves as a museum now and the colonnade above has a wonderful overview to the city from 43 meters up! This is the largest Orthodox church in the world and the fourth largest cathedral in the entire world (it has space for 14.000 people standing inside)! Also, don’t miss the statue of the Bronze Horseman located right in front when you go out from St. Isaac’s Cathedral – it has become one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg!

WORKING HOURS: Open from 10.30 AM to 6 PM and until 4.30 AM during The White Nights in the summer.

PRICE: 250 RUB (3.8 US$) for the cathedral and 150 RUB (2.3 US$) for the colonnade. You can buy your ticket at the machine on the spot.

If you want the whole experience and explanations for what’s inside, I recommend you book a private guided tour of the Cathedral!

3. Church of the Savior on Blood

It is also known as Church on Spilled Blood or “Tserkovʹ Spasa na Krovi” in Russian. – many people mix this one up with Saint Basil cathedral in Moscow. It is, indeed, quite similar as it is made in the colorful “Russian style”.

The church has a very long and interesting history, including a period when it served as a warehouse of foodstuff during World War II and it actually marks the place where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated. Now it is a working church again.

WORKING HOURS: From 10 AM to 6 PM. On Wednesdays it is closed. From the 1st of May until the 30th of September it is open until 10.30 PM.

PRICE: The entrance is 250 RUB (3.80 US$). Tickets can be purchased online here if you want to avoid queuing (make sure to select “Savior on the Spilled Blood” right below “Buy a ticket”), but the online price is 350 RUB (5.40 US$).

I recommend taking a tour if you want to get to know the history of the place and the details and mosaics inside. For example, this tour that includes Spilled Blood Church and Peter and Paul Fortress (more details below) can be a great option!

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4. Watch the bridges open during a drawbridges tour

drawing of the bridges Saint Petersburg Russia2

In case you are looking for some things to do in St Petersburg, Russia at night, you have come to the right place!

Saint Petersburg is also known as the city of bridges – and guess what? They open them up every night for the big cargo ships to pass. This is a really BEAUTIFUL show that you should not miss!

Not sure why it took me years for this, but I have only done a drawbridges tour on my 4th of 5th visit. But I can say 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 AM and then they go up one by one and, of course, it is much more beautiful to see it from the water when you are on the boat. This way you will see the opening “from the inside”, observe all the details and not stay in the crowd. Plus, if you are doing it by boat, you can manage to catch the opening of all the main bridges!

The tour starts at midnight and it usually lasts for two hours. Normally, Drawing bridges excursion costs about 1.500 RUB (23 US$) per person.

Opening of the bridges tour St Pete Russia

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

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

If you want to see the show from the land, this 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 AM) to get back to your hotel!

5. Visit the Mariinsky Theatre

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia Mariinsky Theatre 1

– Is she being boring again with her theater recommendations?

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

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

This theater was always famous for its fantastic opera and ballet performances – needless to say, it is also one of the top things to do in St Petersburg, right? And before you tell me that you don’t understand Russian – you don’t have to, as there are English subtitles!

So I can definitely say that going to a play, opera or ballet is an absolute must do in Russia, as we are well-known for this art!

You can book your tickets here. Make sure to double check if your play has English subtitles.

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia mariinsky theatre 2

NOTE 1: Keep in mind that there is not only one, but a couple of buildings that belong to the Mariinsky theatre. The brand new one is spacious and it has great acoustics, so I think it is more interesting to visit it!

NOTE 2: The opera play I have been to (“Idiot” by Dostoevsky) only had Russian subtitles. Even if it said “English subs” on their website, it just did not work when we were there. This is why I suggest to call and ask – it never hurts! You can ask your hotel to do that for you, or just call them yourself (see my 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 spots somewhere on the balcony (until the break, when you can change). Try to arrive 15-20 minutes in advance, just to be safe.

PRO TIP: If you did not manage to buy your tickets on time or the only tickets that are left are outrageously expensive, but you really want to go, I might have a solution for you! Just arrive about 1-1,5 hours earlier and you will probably see some resellers there. Bargain hard with them (use body language or write the price, they will probably speak basic English too) and you will get your ticket this way.

6. Climb the roofs of the city

rooftop tour Saint Petersburg russia

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

Locals LOVE to climb on the roofs and admire the Saint Petersburg sights, they even organize romantic dates there. If you want, you can even propose on the roof – there are companies that specialize in providing this service!

If you decide to take a rooftop tour in St. Petersburg, you will get to see a view like this. I bet none of your friends can brag they have a picture like this in St. Pete, can they?

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

St Pete Russia Hotels

Experienced roofers will take you up one of the buildings. As long as you respect their advice, it is safe to be there 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 – it is 950 RUB (14.50 US$) and it is in English.

I chose to go up during the sunset, so I could watch the red-colored sun hiding behind Isakiy Cathedral. What an unforgettable experience!

PRO TIP: Make sure to bring some comfortable, suitable shoes (and your camera!) and you will have a lot of fun!

7. Peter and Paul fortress

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia Peter and Paul Fortress

Peter and Paul Fortress was built in 1703 by Peter the Great to protect the territories that were conquered by Russia in Sweden and you should add it right to your list of things to see in St Petersburg!

The fortress (known as “Petropavlovskaya krepost” in Russian), marks exactly 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 the XX century. From 1954 until now, there is a museum called State Museum of Saint Petersbourg History there.

Oh, and did you know that the bell tower of Peter and Paul Cathedral is the tallest building in the city?

If you decide to go there, you can just walk around on the island (called Zayachiy Island or Hare 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 the museums if you wish to visit them. There are different option depending on what you want to visit, check the rates here.

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

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8. The Admiralty

admiralty saint petersburg russia sightseeing

The 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 Saint Petersburg, so you will probably see it on many postcards or magnets!

If you want to go to St. Isaac’s Cathedral during your visit to St Petersburg, you can pass by this attraction as well, it is only two minutes away by foot.

9. See some peculiarities at Kunstkamera museum

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia Kunstkamera 1

Kunstkamera Museum might actually be one of the weirdest museums you will ever visit!

No, this time I do not invite you to enjoy fine art, this museum is far from that! Instead, if you go there, you will see some… 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 kind were looked at as black magic, even the devil’s creation. People were scared of them.

So what did the Tsar (Peter the Great) do? He sought to educate people and fight against 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!

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia Kunstkamera 2

In fact, there are quite many unborn babies there, “marinated” in jars! So I can dare say this is one of those unique places to visit in St Petersburg that you will never forget!

I visited this museum when I was only 15 years old and it completely freaked me out! I remember my mom was pregnant back then and I honestly don’t know how she could be so calm looking at all those unborn kids.

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

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM. Admission is 300 RUB (4.60 US$). You can check the updated schedule and prices here.

10. See the maquettes of Russia and St. Pete

There are two scale model museums in Saint Petersburg that I really liked and I am sure that, if you are into tiny, realistic models, you will enjoy them as well!

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

  1. Grand Maket Show Museum

Grand Maket Show Museum saint petersburg russia

Grand Maket Show Museum is spreading around 800 m2 of the colossal working layout of different cities in Russia. The exhibition gives you a chance to have a glimpse of the country nowadays in less than one hour! Grand Maket is one of the great activities to do in Russia if you are traveling with kids – they will have lots of fun as the exhibition is dynamic – all the trains and cars are moving, and many objects can even be controlled by visitors! Sounds fun, right?

The entrance fee is 540 RUB (8.30 US$) and the opening hours are from 10 AM to 8 PM.

  1. Petrovskaya Akvatoria

Saint Petersburg weather Russia

Petrovskaya Akvatoria shows how “the Northern capital” (one more way to call St. Petersburg) looked in the 18th century.

25.000 tiny pieces were carefully placed on the model where everything has its own place and meaning. They even have a change of day and night time and you can see tiny people dancing at the balls in the palaces during the night. I mean, how cool is that?

I highly recommend visiting it, as it is located only five minutes away from the Palace Square. But I advise you to go when you already got to know the city a bit better, maybe after two-three days of visiting.

The English guide (included in your ticket) will tell you some fascinating facts about the old places during those times. NOTE: If you want the tour in English, please write them an email with the time of your ticket in advance. Here are the contacts. If you did not write in advance, no worries, there is an audio guide that you can take for 100 RUB (1.50 US$).

The entrance fee is 450 RUB (7 US$) and it is open daily from 10 AM to 10 PM.

11. Get wet in Petergof

Petergof Samson fountain parks fountains

Last but not least – Petergof (or Petrodvorets) is an imperial palace located in the suburbs or St. Petersburg (around 30km away from the city) and it was built by Peter the Great as well.

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

Petergof is also known as “the Russian Versailles”! Peter the Great was, indeed, inspired by the French architecture. Even though this place is not as big as Versailles, in my humble opinion it is much more beautiful and fun than Versailles (yes, I know, I am biased, but it is true!).

If you want to find out more, you can take a tour that will explain its history, take you to the upper and lower parks and explain the unique system of the famous Samson fountain.

If you prefer buying normal tickets, you can find them here.

Peterhof park in Saint Petersburg

FUN FACT: There are more than 144 fountains and 500 statues at Petergof! Plus, the main fountain plays classical music at 11 AM during summer days.

PRO TIP: While you are there, make sure to visit Monplaisir Palace as well – the place where the tsars would have their baths – it is so unique! The entrance fee is 500 RUB (7.60 US$) and you can buy your ticket here.

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

How to get to Peterhof from Saint Petersburg:

Even if it is located a bit outside the city, it will take you no more than an hour to get to Peterhof! It is not complicated to get there, don’t worry!

Here are a couple of options – an expensive one and a budget one. You can choose which one works best for you:

Fast and expensive: Take a Meteor speed boat. The price is 750 RUB (11.50 US$) one way and it will only take you 30 minutes to get here.

LIFEHACK: You can get your Meteor tickets at the pink stands that you will see in all the touristic places in the city, the price will be 550 RUB (8.40 US$) instead of 750 RUB.

Adventurous option (nothing crazy, you just need to take public transport): Get to either “Avtovo” or “Leninskiy Prospect” metro stations and take a “marshrutka” (a minivan with a fixed route) that has Peterhof (Петергоф) written on it. The driver is usually outside calling for passengers, or you can just ask him “Peterhof?” See, no Russian knowledge needed!

Peterhof Saint Petersburg

The minivans are leaving every 10-15 minutes. The price is 50 RUB and the time to get there all together with the metro ride from St Petersburg city centre is about one hour.

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

If you don’t want to take care of all the details about getting there and buying your tickets, I recommend you take a Peterhof half-day tour like this one (hotel pick-up and drop-off included) or this Peterhof group tour by bus!

UPDATE: I have found a cheaper Peterhof tour here for 4.150 RUB (63 US$)!

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Bonus Things To Visit in Saint Petersburg, Russia

canal tour saint petersburg2

The only reason these places did not make it to the top list is because it already had so many suggestions that I could not squeeze them all in! Nevertheless, these activities and attractions are awesome as well, so you should consider visiting these sights too:

SIDENOTE: Leningrad is an old communist name for Saint Petersburg

  • Canals excursion – Saint Petersburg is similar to Amsterdam in the way it was built and we have many canals with countless pretty bridges, each one of them having its own interesting history! Actually, there are more than 800 bridges in the city!
  • Erarta – In case you are looking for some more art-related St Petersburg activities, this is a very nice contemporary art museum. I haven’t been there, but I have heard it is one of the biggest in the world!
  • Free walking tour – St Petersburg guided tours are always recommended! After this 2.5 hours tour, you can pay as much as you think the tour was worth! I love this concept and I try to take this tour everywhere I go in the world!
  • Chizik Pyzhik – a funny little statue of a bird. It is said that if you try to throw a coin and it lands on the bird, your wish will come true!
  • Nevsky Prospect – I mentioned this before, but it is worth it to recommend again! Nevsky Prospect is the main avenue of the city, it is 4.5 kilometers long and it is full of shops, gorgeous hotels, restaurants, and palaces! Regardless if you are planning to enter the shops or not, a short stroll on this avenue is recommended! Needless to say, the avenue was created by Peter the Great as well!

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia bronze horseman st petersburg

  • 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 this?), its citizens suffered chronic deprivation and constant bombardment. The people’s extraordinary endurance during those times 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, as it was on restoration while I was there, but now 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 communist era, the 2 hours tour will take you to the places where important events of the Communist past of St. Petersburg took place. You will see a very unique side of Saint Petersburg that not many tourists get to see during their stay!
  • Fabergé Museum – A museum dedicated to the jeweler Carl Fabergé where you can see 9 of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs and many jeweled works of art. The museum opened in 2013, but it is already one of the highlights of the city, so buying your tickets in advance on their website is advised! Alternatively, you can take a guided tour if you want to find out more.
  • Hop On Hop Off Bus – If you are a fan of the hop-on-hop-off bus in general as a way of quickly discovering and getting used to a city, then you might enjoy taking it in Saint Petersburg as well! You can choose if you want to add a boat tour with your ticket as well!
  • Aurora museum ship – If you are curious to find out about more fun things to do in St Petersburg, this is a great idea! The Aurora is a cruiser built in 1900 that played a big role in the Russian-Japanese war at the beginning of the century and in the Bolshevik Revolution as well. The ship was renovated and transformed into a museum which is definitely worth visiting! Aurora is located 1km away from Peter and Paul Fortress. Entrance is free, but you need to pay a fee if you want to enter the engine room (recommended!)

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia aurora ship

  • Yeliseev Emporium – This huge, opulent shop located on Nevsky Prospect is advised to all the foodies out there! You can find Russian candy, unique souvenirs and even a café there.
  • Lazarus Cemetery and Tikhvin Cemetery – If you are into this kind of activities, then you should know that some of the most famous Russian artists and writers are buried here!
  • Take a cooking class – During this 2.5-hour class, you will learn how to cook homemade bread from a local. Alternatively, you can request to learn how to cook a cuplet casserole, borsch, crepes or herring salad! The class is in English, even though the description is in Russian!

Bonus – Day trips from Saint Petersburg

gatchina saint petersburh day trips russia

If you have even more time during your stay, don’t worry – there are still plenty of interesting places to visit and things to do near St Petersburg!

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 for the old Russian tsars. If you decide to go there, you cannot miss Catherine Palace and Gardens – they’re absolutely gorgeous! You can get a tour with transportation included here or here if you want a cheaper option.
  • Pavlovsk – another breathtaking imperial estate and park complex. You can combine Pushkin and Pavlovsk in one tour.
  • Kronshtadt – St. Petersburg’s main old seaport. If you want to explore this island on the Gulf of Finland, you can take this half-day tour for 52 US$.
  • Gatchina – not that touristy, but worth it for its natural beauty and architecture. It was a home to Romanov family in the old times!
  • Oranienbaum – If you are looking for some non-touristy things to do in St Petersburg or around it, this is the place to go! I haven’t been there yet, but looking at the pictures of this posh palace, it seems like it is one of those gems that are still undiscovered by mass-tourism!

Bonus – Useful things to know

Now that we discussed all these things that you must see and do in St Petersburg, Russia, I could not leave you without some useful information as well, right?

Good restaurants in Saint Petersburg

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia traditional russian food

Here are some good places where you can serve a delicious meal while in St Petersburg:

  • Gogol – good food and a great old time-y atmosphere!
  • Katyusha Restaurant – one of the best places in St Petersburg to eat some traditional Russian dishes
  • Mr. Bo – a very modern restaurant with good and nicely presented food
  • Buterbrodskybar – an old-factory-style restaurant with good Russian food
  • Pkhali Khinkali – delicious Georgian food for a very good price
  • Francesco – the first real, authentic Italian restaurant in Saint Petersburg

Where to stay in St Petersburg, Russia

Saint Petersburg Russia map

There is an abundance of hotels from all price ranges in St. Petersburg, so you have plenty of options to choose from!

Try to choose a hotel that is within walking distance from a metro station, this way all the attractions will be easily reachable.

Now, about the visas – by law, every foreigner is supposed to be registered by authorities. If you are visiting St. Pete as part of the organized group, all the formalities will be taken care of (moreover, if you are in St Pete for max 3 days as part of the cruise, you don’t even need a visa). If you are staying in a hotel, you also don’t need to worry about anything – they will take a copy of your passport and deliver your registration paper to the authorities by themselves.

In case you are staying in an Airbnb or with friends, you will need to take care of it by yourself (I strongly do not recommend this, I once had to do it for my friend, we spent hours in line and everything was in Russian, so he could never fill in the papers by himself). Thus, I think the best option for all foreigners is to stay in a hotel at least for the first night so that the hotel takes care of your registration in the country and saves you time and nerves.

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia saint petersburg hotels

Here is my list of recommended St Petersburg hotels – all of them have fabulous reviews, best-rated locations and they do the registration (for visa) if you need it:

Luxury hotels ($190 and up) – Trezzini Palace Boutique Hotel is one of the best hotels in St Petersburg, Russia and the perfect 5-star 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 fireplace and a charming patio with a library, I loved the design of the room 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, located only a 5-minute walk away from Sadovaya metro. They have attic rooms with an amazing city view! Station Hotel S13 is another great option, located only 900m away from St Isaac’s Cathedral. It has free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour front desk!

How to get around in Saint Petersburg

Nevsky prospect St petersburg russia

1) Taxis are quite cheap (especially with the recent currency fluctuations). The normal fare in Saint Petersburg would be 35-40 RUB (now ~0,5 – 0,6 US$) per km.

These are the companies that locals use in Saint Petersburg and all of them have a phone app, of course:

  • Uber  – this is what I was using while I was in the city. It is 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, with 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 any reason.

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia st petersburg metro

2) Don’t omit the metro!

Metros in Moscow and Saint Petersburg are so beautiful, you can take a separate excursion to visit them. I recommend you download this application on your phone, as it will help you calculate the fastest route with the metro, changed lines included. 1 metro ride costs just 45 RUB 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. Russian people who speak little English will point at the fast food chain that is called “Subway” instead! 😉

How to get from Saint Petersburg Airport to the city center

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia st petersburg airport

There is only one airport in the city – it is called Pulkovo airport. Here is how you can 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 AM to 01:20 AM, riding time is 30 minutes without traffic (20 minutes for express) and the ticket is just 40 RUB (0.7 US$).
  • By fixed-route minivan taxi: (“marshrutka” in Russian) minivan K-39 will get you to the same metro station for the same price (40 RUB), but a bit faster – 15 minutes if there is no traffic. Note that the minivan works only until 11:30 PM. Check the stops on the map here.
  • By taxi: A taxi ride to the city center should be about 600 – 700 RUB (9 – 11 US$) if you get it through one of the apps above. You can also get your taxi from a taxi stand, but it will be much more expensive (multiply the above-mentioned price by 2).

Which SIM card to get in Russia

Saint Petersburg things to do Russia

If you arrive during the working hours at the airport, you can get a SIM card with Internet right there.

The mobile operator tariffs are pretty cheap. The average price that I looked up right now is 5GB for 300 RUB (4.60 US$) a month.

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

You could make a research on all their websites 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, as 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 will work in all regions, not only in Leningrad (domestic) region!

When to visit Saint-Petersburg

Palace square in the summer St Pete

We have this entire list of things to do there, but when is the best season and month to travel to St Petersburg?

I have visited Saint Petersburg 4 times until now, every time in June – August. These are usually the sunniest periods in the city. Not only that, but 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 and I totally recommend it! It is basically a never-ending day and even though it is no sun during the night, it is still light! I have only seen something similar to this in Sweden.

I have never been to Saint Petersburg in autumn, but I have heard from my friends that 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 just as beautiful and there will be no tourists around!

So, in conclusion, the best time to visit Saint Pete is during summer, but it is just as beautiful at any time of the year.

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 mandatory to learn the Russian alphabet for your St. Petersburg travel vacation because you can easily get around without it. But if you want to do so, believe me, it is really easy – half of our letters are the same and another half is just a funny mirror reflection of the Latin alphabet! 🙂 You will have a lot of fun reading signs and you will impress your travel buddies by only investing 30 minutes of your time to learn it. So why not to do it?
    Here is a great Youtube video that will make you a pro in the Cyrillic alphabet:
  • Credit cards are widely accepted almost everywhere – you can usually pay with your credit card in any restaurant, museum or supermarket.
  • Here is one of those useful facts about Saint Petersburg, Russia: It is better to visit all the popular museums in the afternoon or during the evening because all the tourists that are coming in the morning with the cruises will leave the city by then.

Saint petersburg Postcard from Neva river

  • Public transport does not work after midnight, so you will have to go by taxi. And yes, some routes will be unavailable even by car because the bridges are opened up at night, remember? Make sure you take care of that fact in advance. If you stay on one island after 3 AM and your hotel is on the other island, you might have to make a big loop, oops! Or stay there overnight until 6 AM. By the way, we have many romantic songs about this kind of stories!

UPDATE:

I know this is a long post (sorry about that, I can go on forever when it comes to St. Petersburg!) and by 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). You can print it or download it on your phone so it will be 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 US$. Of course, all the information on the blog will remain free forever! 🙂


Conclusion

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia saint petersburg 2

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

In this article we talked about the best 11 places that cannot be missed in the city and some important information about transportation, accommodation, things to do outside Saint Petersburg, etc. I also suggested tons of other great activities for those of you who have more time and are eager to explore, so your list for what to do in St Petersburg, Russia should be never-ending!

Us, Russians, we all love Saint Petersburg for its charm and cultural heritage. I hope I managed to pass a tiny bit of love for 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 so happy if you manage to see all the things on my list. If not, oh well, you just have to come back!

Let me know if my tips were useful! In case you have further questions, ask me in the comments, I will gladly reply!

 

Yulia


 

Pin it for later!

Top 11 Best Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia

Pin it for later!

Top 11 Things To Do In Saint Petersburg Russia

By | 2019-05-06T12:55:22+00:00 February 19th, 2017|Europe, Russia, Saint Petersburg|74 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".

74 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

  33. Josefa Seeney 28.01.2019 at 19:07 - Reply

    I love your website, it has engaging content, Have a great day!

  34. VERENA 15.02.2019 at 20:42 - Reply

    HEY YOU!
    MY NAME IS VERENA, I’M ITALIAN AND I LOVE RUSSIA SINCE I WAS CHILD!
    I REMEMBER MYSELF IMMAGINING OF DANCING WITH PRINCESS ANASTASIA IN THE BIG HALL OF WINTER PALACE…AND NOW I WILL FINALLY GET TO SEE IT! I BOOKED TODAY MY TRIP FOR COMING AUGUST IN MAGICAL PITER 😀 LAST YEAR I’VE BEEN TO MOSCOW, SO THIS YEAR IT’S OTHER’S CAPITAL TURN! I BOOKED MY STAY IN SOUL KITCHEN HOSTEL AND I’M DEFINITELY GONNA GO THROUGH AS MANY OF YOUR ADVICES AS POSSIBLE.
    I WANTED TO ASK: ARE THERE EVEN SOME NICE SPOTS FOR DINNER OR BREAKFAST (OF COURSE TYPICAL, BUT POSSIBLY CHEAP) WHICH YOU’D RECOMMEND? I LOOOVE RUSSIAN FOOD *.* AND SOME NICE BARS?
    THANK YOU AND SPOKOINOIJ NOCI :*

    • Yulia 27.02.2019 at 00:47 - Reply

      Hello, Verena!
      I am very glad you are living your dream to see Russia, St. Petes is an amazing city! Here are some good restaurants I can recommend: Gogol, Katyusha or Buterbrodskybar for Russian food, Mr. Bo for a modern approach of the decor and food and Pkhali Khinkali for delicious and cheap Georgian food! Of course, there are many other great restaurants in the city and, as a general tip, try to search for the small, rustic-looking restaurants – those are the ones that usually serve the best traditional food! 🙂
      Have an awesome time in Russia!

  35. Alex 28.02.2019 at 06:52 - Reply

    Lovely pictures. Who would ever believe that there are places more beautiful than … The Bronx!
    -Alex (NYC)

    • Yulia 02.03.2019 at 15:46 - Reply

      Haha, Bronx has it is own vibe 😉
      Have a great time in St Pete!

  36. Sakhhi Chhabra 07.05.2019 at 22:43 - Reply

    Excellent post… Keep up the good work… Thanks

  37. Melissa 12.05.2019 at 08:59 - Reply

    Amazing post! I am planning a trip for my mom and me to go to St. Petersburg in a couple weeks and this was by far the most helpful blog and information I’ve found. Fantastic!

    • Yulia 12.05.2019 at 11:53 - Reply

      Happy to hear that! Have a great trip guys, hope the weather will be as good as it is now!

  38. Rajiv Khurana 22.05.2019 at 13:12 - Reply

    Hi Yulia. I relied a lot on your blog during my recent visit to St. Petersburg.

    I wanted to let you know that the Raising the Drawbridges tour we did turned out to be quite disappointing.

    Here is the review I’ve posted on the website of the tour organiser —

    “Not half as interesting as expected.

    The tour concentrated more on the canals than on the drawbridges. We only saw the Palace Bridge opening up. The Trinity Bridge was already open by the time we were in position to see it but the boat didn’t even go up to the bridge & turned into a canal much before the bridge.

    Our friends who decided to watch the raising of the Palace Bridge from the riverfront got as good a view as we did, without paying for it & without having to brave night temperatures of 2 degrees in a moving boat on the water.”

    • Yulia 22.05.2019 at 14:11 - Reply

      Hi Rajiv,
      thanks for letting us know and I am so sorry your experience wasn’t that good.
      I LOVED my boat tour of bridges, I think it was magical and I recommend it to all my friends.
      Can you tell me which of the tours offered did you take so I delete it from the post?
      I took the one in Russian, so it would be hard for me to know which one is good in english

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