ST PETERSBURG.

The former Russian capital, St Petersburg, has nothing to be ashamed of compared to the current one. It offers grandeur on a similar scale, just with a different twist to it. Often called the Venice of the North, it will make you fall in love with it with its 342 bridges, beautiful canals and charming waterfront. In addition to such a picturesque scenery, St Petersburg offers a heavily artistic core. The Hermitage alone, with its displays and exhibitions showcasing the works of the greatest artists, is able to make a trip to St Petersburg worth it, but there is much more to see. From the Russian Museum to Catherine Palace, St Petersburg offers a real feast for the art buffs. In addition to the museums and art galleries, tourists can enjoy restaurants and nightclubs which can easily rival those in Moscow. The sheer number of tourist attractions and things to see and do in St Petersburg is so overwhelming that it’s hard to explore everything during one trip – St Petersburg takes, and deserves more than just one city break!

Money Saving Tips

Money Saving Tips

Best Period to Visit St Petersburg

Best Period to Visit St Petersburg

Accomodation Tips for St Petersburg

Accomodation Tips

Getting Around St Petersburg

Getting Around St Petersburg

Top 10 Things to See and Do in St Petersburg

Top 10 Things to See and Do in St Petersburg

Other Things to See and Do

Other Things to See and Do

Money Saving Tips

Book the accommodation before you travel

Make sure you take some time before you depart on a plane to St Petersburg and plan the journey carefully. If you look for a hostel or some other accommodation a few months before you leave, not only are you sure to find plenty of free spots, but the prices are also much more affordable.

Get the St Petersburg Guest Card

Try to get this electronic card for tourists, which will allow you to save some money while sightseeing. The card gives you access to a guided city tour in a red double-decker, but you will also get free admission to more than seventeen museums in the city, as well as tours in many of those.

Visit during the white nights

If you are planning your trip to St Petersburg, visiting it in June might be a good idea. That’s when the streets of St Petersburg stay lit until midnight, as all of the pubs and bars stay open, along with some other elements of the rich nightlife of the city.

Save on a plane ticket

You might be inclined to get to St Petersburg directly by plane, but there is actually another route which could prove to be more cost-efficient. Take a cheap flight to Tallinn, Estonia, and then take a bus to St Petersburg. It takes another eight hours, but it will allow you to see some sights on the way and it is cheaper.

Eat for cheap

Many restaurants in St Petersburg often raise their prices during the summer months, when a lot of tourists come. Sometimes it is hard to find a spot which will serve you dinner for an affordable price, but make sure to look for set business lunches, as some of the restaurants offer those for a reduced price.

Search for a guide near the docks

While there are many guides waiting around the airport, who will surely show you around the city, the ones who take less money for their services are stationed near the docks where cruise ships arrive. Not only will this save you some money, but it will also allow you to skip the lines in some popular attractions.

Try the local champagne

While surely the cheapest drink in St Petersburg, and in all of Russia, is vodka, you might also want to try something with less kick. The Russian version of champagne is also often served in pubs and bars and is the second cheapest drink. While it’s not as exquisite as real champagne, it is still quite good.

Search for hidden restaurants

There are many flashy eateries in St Petersburg, and you are sure not to miss them when walking by. Try to stay away from such establishments, as those usually have inadequately high prices. Instead, try to search for some hidden gems, mostly on Bolshaya Morskaya Street, for the best local food.

Take a train to Moscow

While on your journey in St Petersburg, you may also want to dedicate a day to travel to Moscow, as it is just as beautiful. The best way to get to Moscow from St Petersburg is taking an overnight train, which is an experience in itself, as you travel through the picturesque landscape in an old-fashioned train.

Visit the Gold Room at the Hermitage

As you surely will visit the Hermitage, the most famous attraction of St Petersburg, make sure to stop by the unique Gold Room. As you step in, the doors will be locked from the outside, and you will not be able to leave until a guide describes you in detail every single item that is in the room, from hat pins to thimbles.

Best Period to Visit St Petersburg

Tourism

If you're not a big fan of crowds, consider visiting St Petersburg outside of the high season, which lasts from mid-June to September. However, St Petersburg is rarely overwhelming crowded, so unless you want to hunt for discounts, the season is generally the best period for enjoying St Petersburg.

Weather

Summer in St Petersburg is not overly warm, but still pleasant. Temperatures reach around 20°C, with 22°C being the high in July. Winter, on the other hand, can be quite extreme, with temperatures reaching -10°C and below.

Money

St Petersburg is quite expensive from mid-June to September, which is the prime season. Outside of that period, everything gets substantially cheaper. Winter offers the highest discounts, but it's harsh and not very pleasant.

Events

Maslenitsa Festival (February-March)
Dance Open (March-April)
International Ballet Festival (Late April)
Musical Olympus International Festival (May-June)
White Nights (June)
Singing World: International Festival of Choral Art (July-August)
International Early Music Festival (September)
International Winter Festival Arts Square (December)

Accomodation Tips

Apartments

Rental apartments provide tourists with increased convenience and privacy. They allow for cooking your own food, which allows you to save money, as well as provides a more personal experience when staying in St Petersburg.

Budget (1-2 star) hotels

St Petersburg is one of the more expensive cities to visit, but by carefully choosing your hotel, you can save a lot of money. Cheap hotels in St Petersburg are comfortable enough, while at the same time being substantially cheaper than their standard counterparts.

Standard (3-4 star) hotels

Standard hotels in St Petersburg are comfortable, affordable and conveniently located. This makes them the most popular choice among the tourists in St Petersburg. Nightly rates for 3- and 4-star hotels in St Petersburg start around €50.

Luxury hotels in St Petersburg

St Petersburg offers no shortage of luxury hotels, which are the most spectacular form of accommodation that one can choose. State-of-the-art facilities, perfect location and impeccable service are what makes luxury hotels in St Petersburg able to satisfy even the most demanding guests.

Getting Around St Petersburg

Bicycle

While St Petersburg is still in development when it comes to infrastructure as well as respect for cyclists, a bike is still a good way to traverse the city, as the flat terrain makes it even easier. The city has a bike-sharing programme with 56 stations all over town, and if you want a bike for yourself, try one of the many rentals.

Buses

A good way to travel around the city while sightseeing is to take a marshrutka, a local minibus. Not only do they cover certain parts of the city that the metro does not, but they are a sight to see in themselves. Take care though, as they have almost no signs in English on them.
The marshrutky are unique as they do not have any specific stops. You must open the door and jump in yourself, and after you are in, you pay the fee directly to the driver. A single fare costs R40, and you will need to tell whenever you want to stop.

Car and motorcycle

St Petersburg is not a bad city to drive around, considering most of it is open to traffic, and there seems to be plenty of parking space in the city. There are also a couple of rental agencies, some providing vintage Soviet cars.

Metro

The metro of St Petersburg is not only very efficient, but almost every station is a sight to see with marvellous architecture and Soviet ornaments. There are five lines of the metro, spread across more than seventy different stations. Make sure you keep looking for signs with a large, blue M, as those mark the entrances to metro stations. Each trip will cost you R45, no matter how far, and you will have to get additional tickets if you are carrying luggage with you.
There is, however, a smart card service operating in the city, which saves more money if you are staying for over two days. The card allows you multiple journeys, and you can recharge the card if you run out of credit.

Taxi

Taxis are a surprisingly affordable method of transportation in St Petersburg, as mobile apps have made the competition even higher, driving the prices down while improving the service. You can also order a taxi by phone, but you will probably need to speak Russian. Instead, you can always ask the reception of your hotel to call a taxi for you. Keep in mind that the prices of the taxis are not flat and can be negotiated, so don’t hesitate to do so.

Tram

While there are only a couple of trams operating in the city, they can be useful in Kolomna or Vasilyevsky Island, as there are not many other methods of public transport available.

Tickets and Passes

• Single metro ticket – valid for one ride only, without transitions. Costs R45.
• Smart card – while generally more cost-efficient than single tickets, better make sure you’re going to use all of the tickets on your card.
• Marshrutka – the local minibuses do not have a flat fare, and some of them will charge you differently. You always pay directly to the driver.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in St Petersburg

Shore Excursion City Tour

This tour takes two days and allows you to travel in your own, private ship, which is docked during the night. You will be able to learn the history of the city from a guide, who will also show you around the highlights of the city, including early access to the Hermitage to avoid the crowds.

St Petersburg Small Group Two-Day Tour

Allowing you to bypass some of the longest lines at the main attractions of the city, including the Hermitage, this tour will take two days to show you the city with a small group of people. Not only will you be able to see the gorgeous cityscape of St Petersburg from different viewpoints, but you will also be able to enjoy a traditional Russian dinner.

Small Group Hermitage Museum Tour with Skip-The-Line

This three-hour-long tour of St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum will give you plenty of time to explore the building on your own, and even provide you with a skip-the-line admission and early access in summer. Inside, you can see some of the greatest works of Western European art, including works of Da Vinci and Raphael.

Grand Tour of St Petersburg

Traverse the streets of the city of St Petersburg as you are led by a well-accustomed, English-speaking guide. The tour provides transportation throughout the city with an air-conditioned coach. You can even opt-in for a hotel pick-up, which will allow you to save yourself the trouble of getting to the centre.

St Petersburg Imperial Splendors and Faberge Museum

Spread across two days to give you a lot of time to discover the sights in your own pace, this tour provides a guided shore excursion trip around the city. You do not need any visa paperwork to enjoy the tour, and you will be enjoying panoramic views of the city and such monuments as Catherine Palace and more.

Peterhof Grand Palace and Gardens Tour

This four-hour-long tour of the Peterhof Grand Palace will take you aboard a comfortable boat as you cruise along the Neva River for forty-five minutes. After the cruise, you will be able to walk through both the Lower and the Upper Gardens and to conclude the tour, you will see the Palace from the inside.

Small Group Early Access Tour to Peterhof Grand Palace

Taking five hours of your day, this informative tour of the Peterhof Grand Palace will depart right from the centre of St Petersburg. You will be able to explore the gorgeous palace at your own pace with a local guide to answer your questions and provide you with facts about the history and heritage of the palace.

One-Day Imperial St Petersburg Highlights

This full-day tour of the city of St Petersburgh will show you some of its Imperial cultural heritage, with Russian visas included, so you don’t have to worry about anything. A well-informed guide will give you a history lesson on the royal past of the city, as you explore the Hermitage and the Church on Spilled Blood.

Tour of Pushkin and Catherine Palace

A half-day-long tour which will take you to Pushkin, a town near St Petersburg. In Pushkin, you will be able to discover Tsarskoye Selo, a town inside of a town, as well as the Catherine Palace, which was one of the residences of the royal family, and is listed on the UNESCO heritage list.

Moscow Must-Sees Private Tour from St Petersburg

This tour will allow you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets of St Petersburg and will take you on a full-day trip to Moscow, the capital of Russia. You will be able to walk around the Old Town as a local guide explains the culture and history of the city, and leads you to the Victory Park, Red Square, Kazan Cathedral and more.

Other Things to See and Do

State Hermitage Museum

While the Hermitage often requires an expensive ticket to enter, make sure to stop by during the first Thursday of the month, which will allow you to see the museum for free. Inside, you will find many exhibitions and collections of art, including the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Kunstkamera

Located just next to the Hermitage, the Kunstkamera is a museum of ethnology and ethnography and is among the most popular museums in the city. Inside, you will see the famous collection of Peter the Great. The museum was opened in 1727 and is open for free to all tourists on the third Thursday each month.

Vladimir Nabokov Museum

Open to the visitors for free during the whole year, the Vladimir Nabokov Museum is a 19th-century house, which was the childhood home of Vladimir Nabokov, the author of Lolita and by some regarded the most versatile Russian writer of the 20th century. The collection of the museum includes artifacts from his childhood, among others.

Sigmund Freud Museum of Dreams

While it is definitely one of the weirder attractions of St Petersburg, the Sigmund Freud Museum of Dreams is sure worth a visit. Inside, you will be able to experience an odd exhibition of abstractions and ideas, not physical items, with illustrations of Freud's patients' dreams.

Yusupov Gardens

Being one of the hidden gems of the city of St Petersburg, the Yusupov Gardens are often overlooked by tourists as they are located West of Sennaya Ploshchad. Inside the park, you will find a gorgeous lake in the middle, surrounded by flowery grounds and the Old Yusupov Palace not far from it.

Mikhailovsky Gardens

If you are looking for a cosy spot for an afternoon walk or a jogging session, make sure to stop by the Mikhailovsky Gardens in St Petersburg. The Gardens are operated by the Russian Museum, and span across almost nine hectares, presenting the famous Russian Style Moderne with wrought-iron décor elements.

Summer Garden

Being the oldest park in the city, the Summer Garden is still among the more picturesque ones. Filled with trees and bushes, the park can be entered at the northern Neva end or the southern Moyka end. It was laid out in the early 18th century in a baroque style and is filled with gorgeous marble sculptures.

New Holland Island

Located right in the city centre, the New Holland Island is one of the newest additions to the cultural scene of St Petersburg. The Island is a contemporary cultural hub and a haven for artists of all kind, who often put up their latest work for people to see among the stalls of the Island.

Alexander Nevsky Monastery

Not only can you gaze at the beautiful outside façade of the monastery, but you can also come inside for free during mass to participate in the occasion. While you are there, make sure to step outside afterwards to see the gravesites of some of the most famous Russian artists.

Anna Nova

Opened in 2005, the Anna Nova is one of the most prominent galleries in Russia which work in the field of contemporary art. The gallery presents collections of artists from different generations, local and international alike, and hosts many rotating exhibitions which are free to see.

Marina Gisich

Presenting a wide collection of mostly local contemporary and modern art, the art gallery of Marina Gisich is a place worth visiting. There is a range of rotating exhibitions with artists such as Belyi Peter, Kozin Vladimir, Morozov Alexander, Alexeeva Marina, and others, along with various art fairs.

Name Gallery

With a very unique group of exhibitions, the Name Gallery includes the works of six graphic artists spread across two eras, one from 1970 to 1980 and the other from 2014 to 2018. Moreover, if you come during one of the opening nights of one of the exhibitions, you will be given a glass of champagne and some appetisers for free.

Dom Knigi

When on your vacation in St Petersburg, make sure to visit Dom Knigi, the oldest bookshop in the city. It is located inside of the gorgeous Singer Building, which is worth visiting in itself and is free to enter. There is a lot of English-language books on the ground floor, and you can get some as souvenirs.

Singer Building

Being a former headquarters of the Singer sewing machine company, the Singer Building is one of the most picturesque buildings in all of St Petersburg. The modern architectural style of the building was designed by Pavel Suzor, and it is finished off with a gorgeous glass tower adorned with sculptures.

Udelka

If you are in the mood to visit a grand flea market, make sure to stop by the Udelka. Filled with a range of collections of WWII memorabilia, Soviet souvenirs, pre-revolutionary artifacts, and many more, the Udelnaya Fair, as it is properly called, allows you to gaze upon the curiosities for free.

Avtovo Station

While you may think that an ordinary metro station is nothing special to look at, you will be surely surprised by the gorgeous architecture of the Avtovo station. Not only is it furnished with sophisticated chandeliers and adorned with tall columns, commemorating the Soviet Union, but it is also filled with ornamental glass.

Anti-café

While the concept of an anti-café originates in Moscow, it is also very popular in St Petersburg. The twist of the anti-café is that you do not pay for the coffee, snacks, and pastries you get there, but instead you pay for the time you spent there. It's a great place to relax and unwind, or even meet some people and play board games together.

Ziferblat

Being the original anti-café of St Petersburg, the Ziferblat is one of the oldest free spaces of the city. As you pay for the time spent here, you will be provided with cookies, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and pastries. You can even spot some local artists who come here to work on their paintings in peace and quiet.

Free city tours

There are some free city tours departing from the Alexander Column on Palace Square, so make sure to stop by. The tours start at 10:45 a.m. and offers a two-and-a-half hour experience, along with a local guide who speaks English. Be cautious that the tours are widely popular and there are often full.

Gulf of Finland

With its northern coast not far from St Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland is a popular place among the locals to relax during the summer months. If you happen to visit the city during hot summer time, make sure to stop by the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Finland with a tranquil atmosphere and plenty of restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the best hotels for St Petersburg city break?

    Our list of the best hotels in St Petersburg are: Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg, Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge, The State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel, Angleterre Hotel and Kempinski Hotel. Discover the full list of best hotels in St Petersburg.

  • What are the luxury hotels in St Petersburg?

    The finest examples of luxury hotels in St Petersburg include Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel, Domina St Petersburg, Radisson Royal Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St Petersburg, So Sofitel St Petersburg and Grand Hotel Emerald. Discover the full list of luxury hotels in St Petersburg.

  • What are the cheap hotels in St Petersburg?

    Those trying to visit St Petersburg on a tight budget will find everything they need in hotels such as Grand Hotel Emerald, Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya Hotel & Conference Centre St Petersburg, Akyan St Petersburg, Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky, Pushka INN hotel, Original Sokos Hotel Olympia Garden and Best Western Plus Centre Hotel. Discover the full list of Cheap hotels in St Petersburg.

  • What is the best period to visit St Petersburg for a city break?

    Taking factors such as weather, crowds and prices, the best months to visit St Petersburg for a city break are July, September, October and November.

  • What are top 5 things to see and do in St Petersburg?

    St Petersburg offers plenty of exciting attractions and things to do. Must-sees in St Petersburg include: Shore Excursion City Tour, St Petersburg Small Group Two-Day Tour, Small Group Hermitage Museum Tour with Skip-The-Line, Grand Tour of St Petersburg and St Petersburg Imperial Splendors and Faberge Museum.

  • How much does an St Petersburg city pass cost?

    A city pass in St Petersburg costs around €57.

  • How much does public transport in St Petersburg cost?

    24-hour ticket for public transport in St Petersburg costs around €2.70.

  • What are the best night clubs in St Petersburg?

    The best night clubs in St Petersburg include: JFC Jazz Club, Nebar, Russian Paradise Bar, 7Sky and Lomonosov Bar.

  • What are the best bars in St Petersburg?

    Judging on the reviews and customer opinions, the best bars in St Petersburg are: Birreriya, Redrum Bar, Sidreriya, Khroniki Bar and Apotheke Bar.

  • What are the best places to eat in St Petersburg?

    Your choice of the best restaurants in St Petersburg may vary depending on your taste, however, Palkin Restaurant, Abajour Café, Chekhov Restaurant and Art Café Kommunalka are some of the most popular choices.

  • What are the top 5 best restaurants in St Petersburg?

    Top 5 restaurants in St Petersburg include: Philibert Café, Ukrop Restaurant, Gloss Café, L'Europe Restaurant and Na Zdorovye.