St Petersburg Guide

1 Travel tips

As you might expect of the world's most northerly big city St. Petersburg is pretty darn cold from October to April, and really bitingly cold from…

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2 Getting to St Petersburg

Above: Join Kermit on the Aeroflot service... Below: ..or avoid hassles with your visa by going cross country!By air Pulkovo Terminal II is…

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3 Getting around St Petersburg

Above: Bring your compass Below: Travel by Volga - it would be rude not too! By metro Whilst nowhere near the beast that is Moscow's Metro system…

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4 Money Matters

Whilst credit cards have become a symbol of wealth in Russia, and use of them is on the rise, there are still many shops where your flexible friend…

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5 Language

The chances are if you weren't born in the Motherland you'll never learn to read Nabokov in his native tongue (well, he wrote his best works in…

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6 Info about St Petersburg & Russia

Saint Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, who wanted to establish a new capital outside Moscow (a city which he greatly disliked)…

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About the guide

Above: Sunset over the river Neva Below: A guardian stands watch

When it comes to cultural and architectural wonders most cities can't hold a torch to St. Petersburg. Despite being stranded on the North Eastern peripheries of Europe, and with no capital status, St. Petersburg's legacy as the seat of power of Tsarist Russia has left it with a grandeur few can match. Although that grandeur faded considerably in the 20th Century, today the city's increasing fortunes are making her resplendent once again. If wide avenues, romantic waterways, magnificent cathedrals and row upon row of white palaces are your thing, then step this way...

An obvious place to start any tour of St. Peterburg is the Hermitage, which, despite the odd well-publicised theft, still has three million treasures in the vault. Enough to keep you busy for several hours at any rate - and the buildings themselves merit attention, particularly the Winter Palace, a sterling examples of the city's neo-classical architecture.

If it isn't dark by the time you get out of the Hermitage then there's plenty more to see in the immediate vicinity. St. Isaac's Square, and the impressive St. Isaac's Cathedral is just nearby, and Kazansky Cathedral and Church on the Spilt Blood are also to be found in the very heart of the city.

After such a culture fix, shop-a-holics and anthropolists will be keen to take a stroll up the Prospekt Nevsky - St. Petersburg's very own Champs-lyses. This enormous boulevard runs all the way from the Hermitage to Alexander Nevsky Square in the far South East of the city and affords plenty of commercial and people-watching experiences in a stunning architectural setting.

Meanwhile across the river from the Hermitage is another absolutely essential St. Petersburg attraction - St. Peter and St. Paul's Fortress. This symbol of the city sits majestically upon Zayachy Island and was built to protect the city in the event of a Swedish invasion and later served as a jail. Today visitors can pay a trip to the Prison Museum and of course the St. Peter and St. Paul's Cathedral.

If you can cover all of the above you'll have certainly got an excellent flavour of the city, however that's not to say there aren't many more sites and attractions for the eager tourist. Dozens of ecclesiastical treats spring to mind such as Chesma Church, Smolny Cathedral and the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, whereas there's no shame either in ditching the museums and churches and simply enjoying a waterside walk alongside canals and over the famed three hundred or so bridges. Come the evening and you can take in a refined ballet at the renowned Mariinsky Theatre, or explore St. Petersburg's rather raucous nightlife!

Finally, those with a little more time on their hands might want to venture further afield and visit some of the attractions outside the city. The impressive Peterhof Palace is best seen in summer when its legendary fountains are in full spray.

(which during summer at least is very likely as the White Nights rule the skies!),


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Bob M
United States

What is the best way to see St. Petersburg? Local tour groups? If so which ones? Ship charges too much. Any tour group suggestions?

Reply Apr 25th, 2016
Mr Blue

After reading it, I decided, that I have to visit this beautiful city.

Reply Jan 9th, 2016
Charles Bruce
United States

This is very educational. It helped me with a project.

Reply Nov 9th, 2011
yo bob
United Kingdom

this page is the beginning ... gotta read the whole thing

Reply Apr 30th, 2010
andre zgraggen

i had a glance at the downloadable guide. it is short, covers the main topics. in short - i like it. that is why i wonder what it takes to add my b&b to the downloadable guide. as my b&b is already listet on your site, i would appreciate if we could extend that coverage to the guide as well. please let me know what you thing about that. regards, andre

Reply Oct 28th, 2008