There are plenty of ATMs and legit currency exchange booths. ATM and big shops accepts usually following kind of card: ''Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Electronic'' and ''Maestro''. Other card (e.g. ''American Express'') accepted rarely. Do ''not'' exchange money on the street: the rate won't be any better, and you run a high risk of encountering any of numerous [[scams]].
There are plenty of ATMs and legit currency exchange booths. ATM and big shops usually following of : ''Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Electronic'' and ''Maestro''. Other (e.g. ''American Express'') rarely .
Do ''not'' exchange money on the street: the rate won't be any better, and you run a high risk of encountering any of numerous [[scams]].
Small cornerstores are not necessarily more expensive than larger stores.
Small cornerstores are not necessarily more expensive than larger stores.
* '''Nevsky Prospekt''' (''Невский проспект'') — Saint Petersburg's Champs-Élysées, lined with department stores and fancy shops. A recommended shop for souvenir hunters is Nevsky Gifts on the corner of the road entering Palace Square.
* '''Nevsky Prospekt''' (''Невский проспект'') — Saint Petersburg's Champs-Élysées, lined with department stores and fancy shops. A recommended shop for souvenir hunters is Nevsky Gifts on the corner of the road entering Palace Square.
*'''Udelnaya flea-market''' take blue metro line northwards ( 27 RUB one-way ) from Nevsky Prospect station to "Udel'naya" station, go up the escalator, turn right, cross the railway in front of you and turn right. (You will find it with these instructions.) Starts off with blocks of concrete-steel-glass cubes selling various new goods, turns to roofed flea market stalls with good stock and widely varying wares which turns to non-roofed stalls and ending up with trade-places of blankets and sheetings on placed on the ground up-north where the market ends after running for hundereds of meters. Impossible to rob. Half way up the flea market on left side is Middle-Asian style open-fire grill-restaurant-tent with reasonable prices and delicious kebabs, shashliks and pork ribs. Bargaining in Russian will be appreciated as keeping it real.
*'''Udelnaya flea-market''' take blue metro line northwards ( RUB one-way ) from Nevsky Prospect station to "Udel'naya" station, go up the escalator, turn right, cross the railway in front of you and turn right. (You will find it with these instructions.) Starts off with blocks of concrete-steel-glass cubes selling various new goods, turns to roofed flea market stalls with good stock and widely varying wares which turns to non-roofed stalls and ending up with trade-places of blankets and sheetings on placed on the ground up-north where the market ends after running for hundereds of meters. Impossible to rob. Half way up the flea market on left side is Middle-Asian style open-fire grill-restaurant-tent with reasonable prices and delicious kebabs, shashliks and pork ribs. Bargaining in Russian will be appreciated as keeping it real.
* '''Passazh''' (''Пассаж'') — The Harrods of Saint Petersburg, a smaller and very beautiful shopping center for the elite.
* '''Passazh''' (''Пассаж'') — The Harrods of Saint Petersburg, a smaller and very beautiful shopping center for the elite.
Alexander Pushkin, soliloquising eternally on the Square of the Arts
Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петерб́ург Sankt-Peterburg;) is a world-class destination and Russia's second largest city, with a population of more than 5 million perched at the eastern tip of of the Baltic Sea and the Neva River.
The city was formerly known as Petrograd (Петрогр́ад), and later Leningrad (Ленингр́ад).
This is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth, and virtually any building in the large historic center, threaded with canals dotted with baroque bridges, can be considered an attraction—and indeed, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a magical city, with a long list of major attractions. Its Hermitage Museum, housed in the Winter Palace of the Romanov Dynasty, is both one of the world's greatest and oldest collections of art, treasure, and antiquities, and one of its most beautiful buildings.
Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, in the territory of Inkeri town of Nien which was a capital of Finno-Ugric province Ingermanland which was part of Novgorod Republic, and Sweden. The first settlements in this region date from 2500 years ago. Archaeologists found old graves full of izhora silver treasures, also korela-inkeri epos of Kalevala halfly was written near Sester river, modern Sestroretsk. In this time the lifestyle of aborigines was very different it was forest people which lived in tunnels underground, famous for hunting, mushroom medicine, and making steel. It was place of joining three finno ugric subethnosos suomi Inkeri and Karela, St Petersburg the former home of the tsars and the center of imperial Russian culture, Saint Petersburg was known as "The Venice of the North" in its heyday. Re-christened Petrograd during the first World War, the city was renamed Leningrad in 1924 in honor of communist revolutionary and founder of the Soviet Union, Vladmir I. Lenin. Bombed, besieged and starved during World War II, the city took a back seat to Moscow during the Soviet-era.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the city has rapidly been making up for lost time and is by far the most cosmopolitan and Western of Russia's cities. Renamed once more in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians know it as Piter (Питер), a familiar diminutive of Saint Petersburg.
During the hardship years of Yeltsin's presidency, much of the city was controlled by the infamous Tambov gang, but have since reduced in influence. With world-class architecture, astonishing views and friendly people, there's lots to do here.
Saint Petersburg is nicknamed the 'Venice of the North'
April–May sees warmer temperatures, but snow is not uncommon, and the sludge resulting from the melting snow gets tiresome fast. This is also that time of year when you should be wary of giant thawing icicles overhead, which threaten the occasional impaling. 9 May is Victory Day (День победы) celebrating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. This day is marked with an opening military parade on Palace Square, directly in front of the Hermitage, visiting various war monuments, giving flowers to war veterans who are dressed in full military outfits, and an evening parade down Nevsky Proskpect which includes survivors of the Leningrad blockade. 27th of May - is Foundation day. It is always festival and music during the day and fireworks at the evening.
June is peak tourist season during the famous White Nights (roughly, 11 June–2 July), when the sun sets only for a brief period of twilight, and the streets stay alive around the clock. The last ten days of June, during the White Nights Festival of all-day performances, concerts, festivals, and parties, are the busiest time of the season and it can be difficult to reserve accommodation and transport. Book early.
July–early September are usually the warmest months, albeit a bit humid. Rain showers are possible throughout this time, so it is always a good idea for one to have an umbrella at all times. Last Sunday of July is a NAVI day. Modern NAVI ships of Baltic fleet are staying in Neva embankments and open for visitors.
Late September—October is a lovely time in the city. The humidity and temperatures drop to moderate with strong winds, and the tourists are all gone. Rain is still common.
While yes, the city gets cold in the winter, there are a couple advantages to a visit November–March: there are hardly any tourists—even domestic tourists, so you won't see the barest hint of the long lines of the summer at the Hermitage; Saint Petersburg's neoclassical streets are also simply gorgeous in the snow. Temperatures can range from relatively mild to very cold. All major tourist attractions are still open and some hotels offer lower prices during this time. But be prepared to dress warmly, as temperatures can easily dip -25C (-13F) with blustery winds. The biggest danger, though, is the ice. The city's lovely marble surfaces, when mixed with snow and ice, create a very real danger of slipping and seriously hurting yourself. Wear good boots, take small steps, and watch your feet!
Keep in mind that New Years is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia. Reserving a hotel room is usually not a problem during this time, but be prepared for very large crowds and noisy celebrations.
The Hermitage and the Winter Palace across the Neva River
Russian visa requirements are complex but should not be feared. Numerous visa services exist to help in this area. See the Get In section of the article on Russia for information. The visa is not required for 72 hours if you arrive to St.Petersburg by ferry.
Pulkovo Airport (IATA: LED | ICAO: ULLI)  serves a wide variety of destinations both international and domestic. Terminal 1 serves domestic flights, selected international charter flights and low-cost airlines, while Terminal 2 is reserved for international connections. The airport is located approximately 17 kilometers south from the center.
View down Nevsky Prospect
Chillout Lounge(Зал отдыха), 3rd floor. Newly renovated, perfectly airconditioned and equipped with automatic coffee machine, some juice and simple snacks, chocolate vending machine, several TVs, several TV-DVD player combos, internet cafe, and even an electric fireplace--all included into base price. For extra charge, there's a shower room (220 RUB). Wifi is the same (BeelineWifi) as elsewhere, not free. Entry fee: 680 rubles per person pays for 3 h of stay.
Some airlines (e.g. S7) provide free stay to passengers of delayed flights. Shower is not reimbursed, but if you have a personal towel and bathing set, you don't need to ask anyway.
Children playroom is a part of Chillout Lounge.
VIP Lounge: for 24 hours-long stay, it is 4600 rubles if you pay for immediate stay; 3600 rubles if you book at least 24 hours in advance.
Wifi: paid, provided by BeelineWifi. Free access also available and working (as of February 2012).
Toilets: Good facilities. Look up when you want to see your fellow toilet visitors, there is a mirror!
Getting from airport to the city
By public transport
The airport is served by two local bus lines: line 39 from terminal 1 and line 13 (til 00:40am) from terminal 2 both going to Moskovskaya metro station with a frequency of 8 minutes costing 35 rubles one way with a trip taking around 30 minutes. Then change to metro line 2 (blue) which takes 15 minutes to the city centre.
Both bus routes to Moskovskaya pass Aeroport railway station a few minutes from the terminal, where you can change to a local commuter train to Baltijskij rail terminal (taking 18 min) in the city centre. However, these trains can run over an hour apart, so best to check the timetable first . For going back to the airport, press the blue arrow.
New night buses have been introduced recently, so you can go to Moskovskaya by line 13 (till 00:40am) and then change to night bus line to the city centre.
Taxis at Terminals 1 and 2 have now joined a structured pricing scheme based on geographic zones, and taxis can be ordered from the service booth in the arrivals hall (Terminal 1 - before baggage claim; Terminal 2 - by the exit door to the street). The fixed price for a taxi to the central district (Nevsky Prospekt/Hermitage area) is 900 RUB plus luggage surcharges. The trip by taxi will take around 30 minutes without traffic, but can take over two hours during the day. Those who speak Russian and have a cell phone can order a taxi by phone for a lower price than the taxis at the airport. Companies such as 068 or 6000000 (which are also their respective phone numbers) charge about 500-550 rubles for a trip to the city center/Hermitage area. The operator will take the order, then call you back to tell you the license plate number and color/model of the taxi that will meet you. They will also tell you the fare in advance, so there is no need to haggle. If calling from the airport arrival hall, it will take about 15-20 minutes for the taxi to arrive.
You might want to consider to pre-book your taxi through Internet. It will cost slightly more, approx 1200 RUB to the heart of the center, but you will be welcomed in the arrival hall by your driver carrying a sign with your name. You are out of the airport in minutes. Pre-book through Internet is without risk, no credit card information is asked, and pre-payment is not required.
Lappeenranta airport in Finland is a small provincial airport located near the border of Russia and offers a low-cost alternative to Pulkovo Airport. It has become popular among Russian travellers, because it offers low-cost flights to Central Europe and is quite small airport not having the rush problems of bigger airports.
The airport is located only 2 km from the center of Lappeenranta. Air Baltic has a route to Riga. Ryanair has routes to Düsseldorf-Weeze and Milan-Bergamo.
There is a local bus connection number 4 from center of Lappeenranta to the airport. It serves once an hour. See more information from Lappeenranta local transport timetables .
Direct coach connection from Lappeenranta to Saint Petersburg leaves from railway station of Lappeenranta and the duration is about 6 hours. More information from Matkahuolto .
Connection buses from Lappeenranta to Vainikkala railway station offer possibility to use a train from Lappeenranta to Saint Petersburg. Connection bus travel time between Lappeenranta City and Vainikkala is 30 minutes and train travel time between Vainikkala and Saint Petersburg is 1,5 hours. Train timetables can be found from VR . You can find connection bus timetables from Lappeenranta city web site  or Matkahuolto .
Saint Petersburg is a major rail hub. The 3.5-hour train ride from Helsinki (Finland) is one of the most comfortable ways to reach the city. Trains also connect to destinations in the Baltics and Central Europe. Alternatively, you can head inland to Moscow.
Baltiskii Station (Балтийский вокзал): for Petrodvorets (Peterhof), Lomonosov (Oranienbaum), Gatchina, Luga. Also used by trains to/from Aeroport station, with connecting buses to the airport. Metro: Baltiiskaya.
Finliandskii Station (Финляндский вокзал): Now used again for high speed passenger trains Allegro to Helsinki in Finland. Also trains to Vyborg. Metro: Ploschad Lenina.
Note: Varshavskii Station (Варшавский вокзал) is now closed, trains to/from Poland arrive at the Baltic or Vitebsk Stations.
Until recently, you could only buy a ticket for a Russian train at a train station, but now you can purchase an electronic train ticket.
The Finnish VR Group provides excellent information on train travel from Finland to St Petersburg . Now operated with slick new high-speed Allegro trains running at up to 220 km/h, there are four daily departures from Helsinki at 05:12, 09:00, 14:00 and 18:00. Tickets can be purchased through some travel agencies and at major VR  train stations in Finland. Tickets are also available for purchase in the VR Online Shop . Border crossing formalities start immediately after departure from Helsinki. On board currency exchange is available. Train is the most expensive way of travel between Helsinki and Saint Petersburg.
The easiest way to get between downtown Moscow and St.Petersburg's heart is by a Sapsan high-speed express. The ride takes between 3h 45min and 4h 45min, there are 6 daily departures in both directions. This train boasts a full English-speaking crew. Ticket prices are within 2500 and 3500 roubles for second-class accommodation.
There are also numerous slower trains, most of them overnight, linking the two cities in 7 to 8 hours, up to two dozen departures daily. Price and comfort levels vary, with the luxurious Grand-Express private "hotel train" at the high end (featuring even some room-sized compartments for two equipped with a shower!), all the way down to budget connections in third-class platzkart or even seating-only cars. Second-class coupe coaches are most recommended, with the fare generally under 2000 roubles. Lower class tickets may save you half the price or more, if you are prepared for such travel conditions.
The cheapest, although by no means the most comfortable way of reaching Saint Petersburg from neighboring countries are long distance buses. Buses from Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Finland, the Baltic states and Scandinavia stop at the main bus station (Avtovokzal).
Metro: Obvodny Canal.
Matkahuolto connects Saint Peterburg to Helsinki, Turku, Lappeenranta and Jyväskylä. More information from Matkahuolto .
Saimaa Express connects Saint Petersburg to Lappeenranta and Imatra. More information from Kymen Charterline  and Saimaa Express .
For travel from Helsinki (Finland), Russian minibuses depart from the Oktyabrskaya Hotel (opp Moskovsky train station) around 10 PM and arrive behind Tennispalatsi at Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8, one block away from Kamppi, early in the morning. Departures back start around 10 AM in the morning through 8 PM. Other minibuses are parked along Fredrikinkatu, with the departure time and price often posted on them. The trip costs € 15 to 25 euros, depending on how much the driver wants to charge, making this by far the cheapest option, but the buses are cramped and uncomfortable. Do not expect drivers to speak anything but Russian. The border crossing time might be substantially longer than with regular buses.
Some people reported that even if your citizenship may not require a visa to enter Russia, the Russian immigration agents may not be aware of it and may refuse you entry into Russia. They only speak russian, and the process is lengthier than when travelling by train or air.
Ecolines: has daily departures to Riga with stops at Luga, Pskov, and Ostrov as well as twice-weekly service to Minsk, Belarus and Kiev, Ukraine. From Riga, one can easily find connections to Poland and from there to most countries of Western and Central Europe. Tickets can be purchased online or through their Saint Petersburg Office at Pod'ezdniy pereulok 3 near Metro Pushkinskaya from 10AM-8PM. Tel: +7 812 314 2550, +7 901 300 6170. Ecolines buses depart from Vitebskii vokzal (near Metro Pushkinskaya) and the Bus Station (Avtovokzal)
Lux Express has multiple daily departures to Tallinn with a stop in Narva. They also maintain a daily route to Riga from which buses to most of Western and Central Europe can be found. Connections can also be made to the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova from Riga and/or Vilnius. Tickets can be purchased online or at their Petersburg office at Mitrofanjevskoe Shosse 2-1, near Metro Baltiskii. Tel: +7 (812) 441 37 57. Lux Express buses depart from Baltiskii Station and Saint Petersburg Coach Station.
Summer cruises and ferry services from Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia appear and disappear at irregular intervals, often at short notice. St. Peter line has started visa free cruises from Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm to St. Petersburg. This includes a mandatory shuttle into the city (€25) which stops off at various hotels and St. Isaac's square. If you stay for more than one day, be sure to book your hotel in advance.
Passenger boats also operate on the inland waterway "Volga-Baltic" which links Moscow, the River Volga and Lakes Onega, Ladoga and Neva.
To get out, you could try your luck for Freighter travel, although the port is very large. It would be easier if you have connections in the port. Try to find a dispatcher.
Nearly all the major cruise lines (Princess, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC, etc.) offer a Scandinavia/St. Petersburg itinerary, and many stay overnight to allow shore excursions to Moscow. Azamara has itineraries that dock for three days/two nights. If you join a cruise tour of St. Petersburg then you don't need a Russian visa, but you have to stay with the tour.
Most means of transportation stop functioning at night. The subway is closed from midnight to 5:45 a.m., and transfers between lines close (and open) at this time, while the departure of the last (and the first) trains from each station varies slightly. Taxis are always available but are much more expensive at night. Every private vehicle is a potential taxi. Flagging down a vehicle and paying for a ride somewhere is perfectly normal in Russia and quite popular although ill-advised for tourists. Safety is, of course, an issue. As a rule, you should never get in a private cab if it already has passengers inside.
Also, refuse requests from the driver to take on more fares unless you reached your destination; if he insists, ask to stop at a safe-looking place, pay and leave. If the driver stops for gas, step out of the car, along with your belongings, and get some fresh air while he is fueling it. Those traveling alone (men and women) should feel free to wave off any suspicious ride for any reason whatsoever. Gypsy cabs which linger near popular bars and restaurants at night have been known to be especially dangerous, with several instances of druggings and robberies.
At night the city is divided in two by the Neva; all the main bridges are drawn up to allow for boat traffic, except during the winter, when ice makes the river impassable. Remember to make it to your side of the river in time; otherwise, you could find yourself stuck on the wrong side until early morning. One bridge, Volodarsky, closes once per night from around 3:45 a.m. to 4:15 a.m to permit crossing. Most of others are up between 1:45 a.m. and 5:15 a.m.; see below for details. There is however the tall cable Big Obukhovski bridge which is not drawn up, as it is an important part of Saint Petersburg Ring Highway, but it's rather remote from the city center which would multiple the taxi fare several times.
The following table represents a drawn schedule of Saint Petersburg bridges in 2009 (as of 15 April), which may have changed since:
The bridges over Neva
Finland Railway Bridge
Alexander Nevsky Bridge
Piter the Great Bridge (former Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge)
Saint Petersburg's metro is the second largest underground railway system in Russia, second only to Moscow. The subway is a cheap and effective way to get around the city, and also a major tourist attraction in itself thanks to the beautiful decorations of the stations. Taking pictures was once prohibited, but amateur photography (without a tripod, etc) is now allowed.
The trains are fast and run frequently (during rush hour, there are often only 30 seconds between trains). The metro costs 28 rubles per entry regardless of the distance. Brass tokens (жетон – zheton) can be purchased from kiosks at station entrances and vending machines, and it is good to stock up in advance, since queues can be long. You have to pay an extra token if you have a big baggage.
Metro maps can be found in every train car and always have station names in the Latin alphabet. The station names on the platforms are also in the Latin alphabet, and many other signs are in English. Station announcements on the train are only in Russian, but if you listen carefully you will hear the conductor announce the current station name and the next station as the doors are closing.
Stations are deep, and transfers between stations also involve long walks. There is little time saving to be made travelling between adjacent stations in the historic centre.
The Saint Petersburg metro can be unbelievably crowded during rush hour. Avoid traveling during this if not accustomed to big crowds. Be aware of your belongings and expect to have to push your way out upon arrival.
A more scenic, but slower, way to see Saint Petersburg is by tram (трамвай). In recent years, due to traffic problems, some tram lines were removed from the centre of the city. They cost 25 rubles and are sold by a conductor sitting in the tram.
By bus or trolleybus
Buses (автобус) and trolleybuses (троллейбус) are cheap (25 rubles) and frequent. They cover many areas of the city that the metro doesn't. There is no map for the trolleybuses, but Google Transit comprehensively shows all the routes making it easy to navigate using the buses with this service.
Trolleybuses are indicated by the letter 'M' on the stops, and diesel buses by the letter 'A'. The two types of buses themselves both show the same route number, but the trolleybus route is frequently shorter, and can vary in some minor respects.
Tickets are sold by a conductor sitting in the bus. Every bus has its own conductor. The conductor will work their way up and down the aisle of a crowded bus, and just handing them the correct change is sufficient. The conductors don't like giving much change, and only speak Russian.
Buses and trolleys on main routes are frequently overcrowded. Buses to suburbs cost 19 or 36 rubles within the territory of St. Peterburg (Zelenogorsk, Lomonosov and others). If you are caught without a valid ticket you will be fined 300 rubles.
Since July, 1 (2012) night buses have been introduced. They have the same routes as metro has, but the problem of the bridges is not resolved.
Route taxi (маршрутка - marshrutka) is sometimes the fastest way to get somewhere. Taxis are 14-20 seat vans, usually white or yellow, always with a letter K and route number plate (K-28). Often they are small Chinese or Turkish buses. There are no regular stops; you must tell the driver when you want to get out, or wave while on the roadside to stop one. You must pay to the driver at entry, usually from 20 to 35 rubles. If you cannot reach the driver on your own, pass the money through the other passengers and be ready to pass other's money if you sit close to the driver. The Marshrutka experience may seem exciting sometimes, especially when you see some brave driver counting change while steering with his knees at 70 MPH (110 km/h). Many marshrutka drivers are illegal immigrants and speak Russian poorly (if any at all).
Another interesting means of transportation is special taxi for tourists and visitors. The service runs 24/7 and offers English language support, low fares and online booking before landing (Pulkovo 1, 2). The service is new and operates through community friendly social networks like couchsurfing and facebook. For further information check Couchsurfing or Facebook.
Regular taxis are available, but drivers do not usually speak English. Watch out for overpriced taxis outside Hermitage museum. They have meters that run four times faster than those of regular taxis. A 3km ride on these runs 1600 rubles. Negotiate a flat fare before getting on the taxi. If the driver insists on using the meter you should walk away.
By local train
A commuter train (электричка, elektrichka) may be an option in areas distant from metro stations, such as the airport. Fares are based on travel distance, a ride within city limits should cost under 30 rubles. Speeds are moderate, but trains may be rare (1-2/h). Information available in here: .
The Historic Center of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments are UNESCO world heritage , so definitely worth your while.
The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum/The Winter Palace is Saint Petersburg's prime attraction, a massive palace-museum showing the highlights of a collection of over 3,000,000 pieces spanning the globe. The Hermitage is truly one of the world's great museums, with an imposing setting displaying priceless works by Rembrandt, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rubens and more. Getting a tour guide is recommended; they can charge as much as $100, but the additional information they impart can be well worth the price, and they can readily take you directly to the items you want to see.
Ticketing is complex, but the Hermitage itself is 300 rubles for Russians and 400 rubles for foreigners (2013) and they do check if you have a Russian passport, even if you speak Russian. Students of all nationalities get in for free, but don't forget your student card with photo (the 'administration' will likely reject your ID if it doesn't have a date on it). Entrance is free on the first Thursday of every month. Large bags aren't allowed in the museum, and a massive cloakroom downstairs (no charge, as usual in Russia) exists to assist with jackets and bags. A ticket allowing photography costs 200 rubles. Some rooms and all temporary exhibits prohibit all kinds of photography.
Getting into the Hermitage
Advice for foreigners visiting the Hermitage Museum: Find a tour group. This may have changed, call the museum ahead of time to find out.: Entry fee is 200 rubles instead of 400, and includes the photography fee and a whistle-stop tour of the museum (but note the free entry for students). Don't accept a tour from the numerous touts hanging around the queue. Instead, march past the queue and in through the main entrance, or the exit opposite if the queue's blocking the entrance (don't worry, you're not queue-jumping). Have a scout around for notices with museum tour times in your native language, or in extreme circumstances, ask at the desk. If you find a good candidate, you're all set to go to the Tours Office to book yourself on it. This is where things get slightly surreal. To get to the Tours Office from the main entrance, go forward past the cashiers, and turn left down the corridor. The Tours Office is in front of you at the end, and may or may not be marked. Get yourself a place on your tour, collect the bit of paper, go to cashier No. 5 (who is not with the rest of them, instead turn left out of the Tours Office and she's in a box at the end of the corridor), pay, get your paper stamped, take it back to the Tours Office and get it checked, stamped again and muttered over and then you're ready to brave the coat dungeon.
You can buy tickets on-line, and have a confirmation emailed to you. It is the same price as the local ticket ($18 including photos), you just walk straight to the front of the queue. Hand your booking confirmation and passport to information desk. She will get the ticket office to check your details and issue the tickets.
The queues at the ticket office can be long, and purchasing a ticket online can help you bypass this queue first thing in the morning. However, at other times the museum can limit the admission rate because of the numbers already in the museum. In this case having purchased your tickets in advance won't save you as much time.
The museum has a cafe and large shop near the entrance, and numerous small shops throughout the galleries. Audio guides are available in English, and most signs in the gallery are in English and Russian. Guide books are available for around 300 rubles.
Russian Museum, Inzhenernaya Ul. 4 (Across Ploshad Isskustv from the Grand Europe Hotel), ☎ 595 42 48, . 10AM to 6PM daily ex. Tuesday. An extensive collection of Russian paintings and sculpture. The main building, the Mikhailovskiy Palace houses the main exhibits, and the Russian Museum also oversees the permanent and temporary exhibits at the Stroganov Palace, Marble Palace and Mikhailovskiy Castle. Tickets to each can be purchased separately or as a universal pass.Foreigners 350 RR, Russians 150 RR.
Peter and Paul Fortress. You can go in for free, but to enter the church and exhibitions you need tickets. You can get a combo ticket for everything, or you can just enter the church. Other than the church, which is where the all of the Romanov Czars of Russia from Peter the Great (bar two or three) are buried, the other things on the island aren't terribly impressive, so it might be worth it to just see the church. Note that if you buy a combo ticket for everything, you still need to have a 'special ticket' for a lot of exhibitions within the fortress!
The Admiralty, North end of Nevsky Prospekt (Next to the Hermitage). Not open to visitors, but worth seeing from the outside.
Bridges by night
The bridges on the Neva. Open 2 times per night to allow boats to pass.
Museum of Artillery, Combat Engineers and Signal Troops. Housed in old Arsenal fortress-like building near the Peter and Paul Fortress and surrounded by moat. HUGE collection of weapons from the beginning of history until the present, including an extensive collection of Soviet weaponry from WW2 and the Cold War. Tanks, ballistic missiles, Katuscha trucks, countless Kalashnikovs. Personal note: Absolutely awesome, one of the highlights of all my European travels. If you speak Russian and can pass as a Russian, a 2-hour private guided tour costs around 15 euros.
Ethnographic Museum, (Next to the Russian Museum Mikhailovskiy Palace). An interesting and educational display of the traditions and costumes of various ethnic groups found in the lands of the former Russian Empire.Foreigners 350 RR, Russians 100 RR.
Alexander Nevskiy Monastery. Located at the Eastern end of Nevskiy Prospekt next to the River Neva. The site also has the Tikhvin Cemetery which houses the tombs of some of the world's most famous composers; Tschaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Borodin, and also the author Fyodor Dostoevsky, along with many other famous Russian figures.
Church of the Saviour
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, Canal Griboedova, 2a (Between Nevsky Prospekt and the Neva), ☎ (812) 315-16-36. A traditional style Russian church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. The interior is elaborately decorated with over 6000sqm of mosaics. Photography without a tripod and extra lighting permitted for free. 250 RR
Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral (Казанскийсобор, Kazansky Sobor), Nevsky Prospekt and Canal Griboedova (Metro: Nevsky Prospekt). Impressive neoclassical exterior, richly decorated interior. Includes the tomb of Gen. Kutuzov, hero of the war of 1812.Free entry.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral, St. Isaac's Square, 4, ☎ (812) 315-97-32. 11am to 7pm daily ex. Wed. Located near to the Admiralty. It was built in 1818 and is a major attraction in the city. It is the third highest cupola cathedral in the world. There are night time visits, too, and the view from the colonnade (observation deck) is one of the best views of the city, for those who are willing to climb 400 steps.Foreigners 300 RR, Russians 120 RR.
Peter the Great's Cabin. Peter the Great's men built the small wooden cabin in a matter of days for him when he planned the city and it has been preserved in a small brick building in the district Petrogradskaya. It is located close to the Cruiser Aurora on Petrovskaya Naberzhnaya.
Loft Project ETAGI, Ligovsky prospekt, 74, . Culture centre located in five-storey former bakery building with several exhibition spaces (combined surface around 5000 square metres). Contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, events (flea markets). Parts of Etagi loft are two art galleries, four exhibitions spaces, a cafe (with great interior and outside terrace), a hostel and a bookshop.
The fountain in waters of Neva River at the spit of Vasilievsky Island
Andreyevsky Cathedral, 6 line V.O., 11, ☎ +7 (812) 323-34-18, . Perhaps the most beautiful religious building on the island, built in 1780. The main cupola is framed by three narrow towers, and is topped by a two-tiered belltower. The gilt, three-layered iconostasis inside is an impressive 17 meters tall.
Church of the Assumption of Mary, Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 27. This five domed church was built in 1897. In 1935, as happened to many churches in Russia, it was converted by the Soviets into a warehouse, but in 1993 it was reopened for services. The ongoing careful renovations began in 1996.
Erarta Museum and Galleries of Contemporary Art, No 2, 29th line, Vasilyevsky Island, ☎ +7 (812) 324 0809, . 10am-10pm, Tuesday closed. Erarta project brings under one roof Russia's largest non-government Museum of Contemporary Art (with over 3,000 works in its collection as of the time of writing) and one of the branches of its international Galleries (other branches located in London, New York and Zurich). Erarta is a new project, just entering its second year of existence but has already been nominated for Russia's museum of the year in its first year of existence due to its unparalleled status in the Contemporary Art segment. The Museum especially is worth visiting for its creativity, not only exhibiting other artists' works but also acting as an author itself with unique projects such as "U-Spaces" (total installations created by the Museum itself to immerse the viewer in a particular world), Art-literature (accompanying essays of experts and regular visitors' thoughts about particular works of art, helping explain what kind of emotions they trigger in others), Art-animation (videos and cartoons taking the viewer into the world of particular works), Art-theatre (Russia's only multi-media play staged in the Figurina hall, whose cast is made up of only characters from her paintings). The building has a cafe (3rd floor), a restaurant (please note the restaurant is currently closed for redevelopment and will only re-open in May), a gift store and a print shop. It has an overall floor area of 8,600 square metres (and is currently being expanded to 10,200 sqm).RUB300 for the Museum, free admission to the Galleries side.
The Exchange Building and the south Rostral Column
Exchange Building (Naval Museum), Birzhevaya Square, 4, ☎ +7 (812) 328-27-01 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (812) 328-27-01), . 11AM-6PM Tu-Su. The Exchange Building, which houses the Naval Museum, is the centerpiece of the Strelka ensemble. It was built in 1816 in the Neoclassical style. The Naval Museum, one of the largest in the world, contains historical displays of the Russian navy from its founding to the present day, including weaponry, models of ships, and even some original mastheads. Extensive World War II display, and also (not directly related to Naval history) a diorama box of the storming of the Winter Palace.Foreigners 320 rubles, Russians 90 rubles.
Ivan Kruzenshtern Statue, Across from Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 17. A statue of Admiral Ivan Kruzenshtern, was built in 1870 in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the renowned Admiral's death.
Kunstkamera (Room of Curiosities), Universitatskaya Embankment 3 (Close to the Palace Bridge; enter around the corner on Tamozhenny Pereulok), ☎ +7 (812) 328-07-12 (email@example.com), . 11AM-6PM Tu-Su, closed every last Tuesday of the month. This museum is primarily famous for its one-room freak show collection of 300 year-old deformed fetuses in formaldehyde (of which you are not allowed to take pictures). The rest of the museum consists of trinkets from various world cultures (over one million exhibits). It's of interest mainly as it is the oldest state museum in Russia, established by Peter the Great in 1704—consequently it has a very dated feel.Foreigners 200 rubles, Russians 100 rubles.
The Menshikov's Palace
Menshikov Palace, Universitatskaya Embankment 15, ☎ +7 (812) 323-11-12. 10:30AM-5:30PM Tu-Su. Operated by the Hermitage, this museum displays some art and an exhibition on life in the early 18th century, in a palace built for the first governor of St. Petersburg, and before him Peter the Great. The Baroque palace was built in 1721, and was one of the first grand stone constructions of the city. Look especially for the grand staircase, and the Walnut, Naval, and Chinese rooms. Note: you will be given and required to wear special woolen "slippers" over your street shoes as to not damage the flooring.
Mikhail Lomonosov Statue, Mendeleevskaya St. A statue of the famous 18th century Russian Renaissance man himself, famous for his contributions to mathematics, literature, painting, natural science, chemistry, physics, mineralogy, history, philology, and art.
Mining Institute Museum, 21st line V.O., 2, ☎ +7 (812) 321-40-82 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (812) 327-73-59), . By appointment for group tours only. One of the largest and oldest geological museums in the world, containing more than 230 thousand items, collected from more than 80 countries. Even if you don't make it inside on a tour, it's worth passing by to admire it's imposing 1811 Imperial-style facade.
Narodovolets (the People's Will) Submarine D-2, Shkipersky protok, 10, ☎ +7 (812) 356-52-66 (email@example.com), . W-Su 11AM-5:15PM. A small museum aboard a WWII submarine, dedicated to the actions of the submarine throughout the war (run by the Naval Museum).
Naval Institute, Naberezhye Leitenanta Schmidta, 17. The oldest naval academy in Russia, founded by Peter the Great in 1701. Some of its most famous graduates include Ivan Kruzenshtern, Rimsky-Korsakov, and many others. The building was completely rebuilt in 1798.
Rostral Columns. The first monuments you'll immediately notice on the Strelka, the Rostral Columns are yet another symbol of the city. Constructed in 1810, the columns are each adorned with six rostra (traditionally, the prows of captured ships), symbolizing the might of the Russian Baltic Fleet. At the base of the columns you'll see sculptures representing the great rivers of European Russia, the Volga, Dnieper, Neva, and Volkhov. In addition to their decorative purpose, the columns also served as lighthouses, and to this day the gas flames are lit on holidays.
Rumyantsevsky Park and Obelisk, between the 1st and 2nd lines along Universitetskaya naberezhye. The big obelisk in the center of the park was moved here from Mars Field in honor of Count Peter Rumyantsev's victory in the Russo-Turkish War of 1791. On the southern end, look for two statues of the famous Russian painters Repin and Surikov.
Russian Academy of the Arts, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 17, . Russia's largest center for advanced study in the arts, founded by Lomonosov and Shuvalov, and was until the 20th century the only school of its kind in Russia. The impressive neoclassical building was built in 1788.
Research Museum of the Academy of the Arts, (Inside the Academy of the Arts), ☎ +7 (812) 323-35-78, . W-Su 11AM-6PM. A huge collection of drawings, prints, paintings of both Russian and Western artists, as well as casts and sculptures, all on display across three floors of the Academy. The models of great Petersburg architecture, of the Smolny Monastery, St Isaac's Cathedral, Mikhailovsky Castle, etc., are especially worth seeking out.
Theban Sphinxes, (across the road from the Academy of the Arts). You wouldn't expect it, but these two granite sphinxes are three thousand years older than the city itself! They were excavated in 1820 in the temple of Amenhotep III near Thebes. Upon seeing them, the Russian writer and diplomat Muravyev wrote to the Tsar, and convinced him to purchase the statues for display in Petersburg. They were installed in 1834. Oddly enough, sphinxes seem to be popular in the city - there are another six made by Russian sculptors lurking about.
The Twelve Colleges, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 7/9. One of Domeniko Trezini's many neoclassical buildings in Petersburg, built in 1742. The ensemble is comprised of twelve identical, connected, three-story buildings. The main facade faces Mendeleevskaya St, rather than the Neva, because at the time of construction, there was a canal in place of the street, across from which was the main market on the island. Today the ensemble houses the Geological and Agricultural departments, as well as Admissions.
Zoological Museum, Universitetskaya naberezhye, 1, ☎ +1 (812) 328-01-12 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 (812) 328-29-41), . 11AM-6PM daily. A wild lesson in taxidermy, the museum contains over 17 million species, stuffed, mounted, and fossilized (although due to constraints of finitude, the building "only" displays some 500 thousand). The collection began at the Kunstkammer, and grew into its enormous state under the later Imperial period. You won't have to look hard, but look for the complete blue whale skeleton, as well as the world's only stuffed mammoth.
Opera and Ballet
No trip to St. Petersburg is complete without seeing an opera or ballet performance. The Mariinsky is perhaps the most well-known institution, but it is by no means the only theater in the city. Tickets are sold throughout the city at kiosks and shops called Teatralnaya Kassa, which charge a nominal (usually about 20 RR) fee for "insurance," which is theoretically optional. The theater box offices themselves sell tickets directly, too, and usually for the same price. Sometimes blocks of tickets sell out at the kiosks but tickets are still available at the theater, or vice versa, so it is worth checking both places if you have your heart set on a particular performance. It is possible to take not-so-small children into some performances if you take a private box, although you will need to ask when you buy your tickets.
Do not buy your tickets "online". "Online" prices are 10x higher than the actual price and are geared for foreigners who don't know Russian. Example: 10th row seats at the Conservatory's performance of "The Marriage of Figaro" online cost $107, but if you go to the theatre directly a few days before, you pay 500 rubles ($15 US).
Mariinsky Theater, Theater Square 1, ☎ 326 41 41, . The Mariinsky Theater (formerly the Kirov, which is the name the troupe still uses when touring abroad) is world-class for both opera and ballet. There are English supertitles for operas sung in Russian; operas in other languages have Russian supertitles. Performances are offered in two halls: the main theater, and the newly-built Mariinsky Concert Hall. Tickets can be purchased on the theater's website.
Mikhailovskiy Theater, Ploshad Isskustv 1 (Between the Russian Museum and the Grand Hotel Europe), ☎ 595 43 05. The exterior is not as recognizable as the Mariinsky, but the interior is nearly as grand, and the theater hosts both Russian and foreign headliners in opera and ballet.
St. Petersburg Opera, Galernaya Ul. 33 (West of the Bronze Horseman), ☎ (812) 312 3982 (email@example.com), . An intimate theater (half-sized stage, and only about 150-200 audience seats) which puts on the major repertory operas at a lower price than the major theaters and has a fascinating foyer - one has to see it to believe it.
Conservatory Theater, Theater Square 3 (Across the street from the Mariinsky Theater). While the hall itself is not lavish - quite sterile, really - a good option for seeing Russian and repertory operas cheaply, performed by faculty and students of the conservatory where Tchaikovsky (and many other famous figures from the Russian music world) studied.
The music scene in St. Petersburg is diverse, with several classical, jazz, and pop concerts to choose from each week. Tickets are available at the same Teatralnaya Kassa locations as ballet and opera tickets, although tickets to pop concerts - especially US and European stars on tour - sometimes use exclusive distributors. For pop and rock concerts, unless you buy tickets for the dance floor (tanzpol), you are expected to sit quietly in your seat as if you were at a ballet - ushers are vigilant about keeping the audience from standing up, dancing, or cheering (polite applause is allowed, but that's about all).
Several of the ballet and opera theaters above also offer orchestral and recital performances, so those are not repeated below. Also, don't forget the many small clubs where up and coming bands play.
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Grand Hall, Mikhailovskaya Ul. 2 (Entrance across from the Grand Hotel Europe). A world-class orchestra which records and tours abroad. The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Small Hall, Nevsky Prospekt 30 (Next to the Metro station on Nevsky Prospekt). The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) of the Philharmonic hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.
Jazz Philharmonic Hall, Zagorodny Pr. 27 (South of Nevsky Prospekt, use Vladimirskaya Metro Station). Offers a variety of jazz performances several times per week.
Ice Palace (Ledoviy Dvorets), (At Prospekt Bolshevikov Metro Station). One of several sports arenas that also serves as a concert hall for pop and rock concerts.
Oktyabrskiy Concert Hall, Ligovskiy Prospekt 6 (Near Ploshad Vosstaniya), . Pop and rock concerts in an auditorium close to the city center.
Most cinemas in St. Petersburg show Hollywood films dubbed in Russian. Art cinemas like Dom Kino often show independent American or British movies subtitled in Russian. DVDs of American/European films are also often dubbed. There have been crackdowns on sellers of bootleg DVDs, so it may be difficult or expensive to find DVDs in English these days. There are several DVD stores in the city - often near Metro stations - and it is worth asking about films in English.
Annual Message to Man international documentary, short, and animated films festival takes place in June or July, screening many films in English.
Dom Kino, 12 Karavannaya Ulitsa (Near Gostiniy Dvor Metro Station), ☎ 314 56 14. Sometimes shows films in their original language.
Avrora Cinema, Nevksy Prospekt 60.
Canal boat tours
A tour of the canals by boat is a great way to see the city in the summer. The typical tour is through the Moika, out to the Neva to see the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Cruiser Aurora, then in through the Fontanka (sometimes as far as the Mariinsky Theater). Tours start at many points along the route and return to their starting point - hawkers for different boat companies abound - and the boats may or may not have a cafe and toilet on board. Almost all tours are in Russian. 400-600 Rubles seems to be the average price.
Anglotourismo Boat Tours, Fontanka Embankment 21, ☎ +7 921 989 47 22, . Canal boat tours in English, departing from near the Anichkov Bridge (Nevsky Prospekt and Fontanka) in season (May 2 - Sept 30).
Walking around with locals
The alternative way to explore St Petersburg is to know it from inside, walking and talking with locals and trying local activities. Those people who have lived here for years would like to tell you a plenty of stories, open some secret places (as roofs or courtyards etc.) and treat you as a friend.
Sputnik (Tours by locals), ☎ +7 (950) 028 0370 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Tours by locals for 1 to 10 people. Some tours are free and others are cheap (from 10$). Many of them are unique like Russian cooking classes, rooftop, flea market, Uzbek food tours, art galleries, lofts etc.from 10$.
Petersburg Voyage (Tours by locals), ☎ +7 (967) 513 26 80 (email@example.com), . Daily Tours in English in small groups. A good way to find out about St. Petersburg more!from 35$.
Discover Walks St Petersburg, Sytninskaya st. Saint Petersburg 197101, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Meet actual Native of St Petersburg in addition to exploring major landmarks. Join a walk with locals who will "decode" the city with you, and also learn from an insider about local events and festivals, about where to shop, good places to eat or drink, secret places locals keep to themselves. Severeal tours to join every day, €15, by reservation.
Universities and private schools offer Russian language courses (individual and group tuition).
CREF - Centre of Russian, English & French Studies, . Private language school in Saint Petersburg, Moscow & Nizhni-Novgorod.
Center of Russian Language and Culture, . Saint Petersburg State University, Smolniy Campus.
Department of Philology/SPSU, . Saint Petersburg State University on Vassilevskiy Island.
EducaCentre, . Private school in Saint Petersburg
Language Studio, . Private school in Saint Petersburg.
Liden & Denz, . Private school in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
ProBa Language Centre, . Private school in Saint Petersburg.
School of Russian and Asian Studies, . Schools in major Russian cities.
There are plenty of ATMs and legit currency exchange booths. ATM and big shops usually accept the following kinds of cards: Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, MasterCard Electronic and Maestro. Other cards (e.g. American Express) are rarely accepted. If you plan on using a US-issued 'stripe-only' card (not a European chip & PIN card), be prepared for it to be a hassle - some places (usually the more touristy locations) will run your card without any trouble, some places will ask you for your passport, and in some places the terminals will randomly either accept your card or insist on a PIN.
Do not exchange money on the street: the rate won't be any better, and you run a high risk of encountering any of numerous scams.
Small cornerstores are not necessarily more expensive than larger stores.
The store at the ferry is surprisingly reasonably priced. Souvenirs there can be bought in roubles, dollars, or euros; however, prices vary depending on the currency used. In general, using euros is cheapest.
Churches often have small souvenir/religious shops with a large variety of items.
Raketa wristwatches (Часы Ракета) for over half a century tourists have been hunting for Russian watches in Saint Ptersburg. But be aware of many counterfeits. The most wanted Russian watches in Saint Petersburg are the one produced locally by the "Petrodvorets Watch Factory - Raketa" Russian's 300 years watch factory (By the way the Factory, located in Peterhof, is open to visits http://www.raketa.com/visit-factory/ ). Founded by Peter the Great in 1721, this Manufacture is the last one in Russia, and one of the very few in the world to produce its mechanisms from A to Z. Since counterfeits are mostly found, we advise you buy only those Russian watches in the shops listed on the factory,s site: http://www.raketa.com/shops-in-saint-peterburg/
Apraksin Dvor (Апраксин двор) — The Apraksin Market (Apraksin Dvor) is perfect for people watching, but keep your purse and camera close since it is a favorite of both shoppers and pickpockets. You can find almost anything here. site : http://apraksindvor.piter-center.ru/
Gostiny Dvor (Гостиный двор) — The city's oldest and largest shopping centre, dating to the mid-18th century. The name means "Merchant Yard", as its old role was to provide both shops and housing to merchants from far away. It sells almost everything from Playstations to Saint Petersburg Vodka. The prices of goods are the highest in St.Petersburg. site: http://www.bgd.ru/
Nevsky Prospekt (Невский проспект) — Saint Petersburg's Champs-Élysées, lined with department stores and fancy shops. A recommended shop for souvenir hunters is Nevsky Gifts on the corner of the road entering Palace Square.
Udelnaya flea-market take blue metro line northwards ( 28 RUB one-way - 2013) from Nevsky Prospect station to "Udel'naya" station, go up the escalator, turn right, cross the railway in front of you and turn right. (You will find it with these instructions.) Starts off with blocks of concrete-steel-glass cubes selling various new goods, turns to roofed flea market stalls with good stock and widely varying wares which turns to non-roofed stalls and ending up with trade-places of blankets and sheetings on placed on the ground up-north where the market ends after running for hundereds of meters. Impossible to rob. Half way up the flea market on left side is Middle-Asian style open-fire grill-restaurant-tent with reasonable prices and delicious kebabs, shashliks and pork ribs. Bargaining in Russian will be appreciated as keeping it real.
Passazh (Пассаж) — The Harrods of Saint Petersburg, a smaller and very beautiful shopping center for the elite.
Souvenirs Market sells a huge variety of cheap souvenirs from Matroyshka (матрёшка) dolls to Soviet Memorabilia. It can be found behind the Church of the Saviour next to the Griboedova Canal. There are also some souvenir stalls in the square across from St. Isaacs Cathedral. Be aware that all the Russian Raketa watches sold in thoses souvenir markets are counterfeits, to buy original ones refer to the shop list on their official site.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, tastes better than hot Russian crepes with caviar, mushrooms, caramel, berries, or what have you with a cup of tea on a cold winter street.
Chainaya Lozhka (Чайная ложка), Has around 50 restaurants all over city (Nevsky Pr. 44 is one of the most centrally located), . These fast-food restaurants serve blini (Russian crepes) with a variety of fillings - you choose your own at the counter. They also have a wide selection of teas. Some restaurants have wifi.5 euro.
Yolki-Palki Traktir (Ёлки-Палки Трактир), Has 6 restaurants in the city, mainly in the centre (Nevsky Pr. 88 is right on the main street), . Some open until late, some open 24h. . Decent food with very affordable prices, smoking and non-smoking sections. Staff in some restaurants may actually serve you in English.10 euro.
Kroshka Kartoshka (Крошка Картошка), Has over 25 restaurants all over city, . It a big european chain of fast food restaurants that offers baked potatoes with your choice of topping but also has salads, soups and deserts.3-5 euro.
Teremok (Теремок), Several locations, . This blini chain began with street-corner kiosks throughout the city (many are quite easy to find), and they have expanded to include counter-service restaurants serving not only blini, but also kasha, salads, and other quick, inexpensive fare. Some central locations are Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. 11, Nevsky Pr. 60, and Nevsky Pr. 106. The restaurants have menus in English if you ask. Taste like paperboard.100-300 rubles for a filling meal.
Samovar (Самовар), Ulitsa Gorokhovaya 27, ☎ 314-39-45. This neighborhood blini shop makes blini as good as homemade (so says a native Russian blini-maker). Choose from a wide range of fillings and have your tasty blini made fresh; also has a decent selection of tea. Better lunch than any of the chains. No English; but you can just point at the toppings on the counter if you don't want to bother translating the menu with your guide book.20 rubles for a blin.
U Tyoshi Na Blinakh (У тёщи на блинах). Cafeteria-style Russian and Ukrainian food for a reasonable price with faux-rustic decor, not like a Soviet-era stolovaya. Has more than blini: soups, salads, meat dishes, desserts, etc. Those who know the Mu-Mu chain in Moscow will recognize this, although on a smaller scale.
St. Petersburg, kan. Griboyedova 7 or 9. Good and cheap food in the very centre (next to the "Saviour on the Spilled Blood" church). Pay attention, there are two restaurants called St. Petersburg next to each other and the second one is more expensive.45 rubels for a Borsch soup, 140-200 rubels for a main dish, side dishes 35 rubels.
Pirogi (ПирО.Г.И.), Nab. reki Fontanki, 40 (наб. реки Фонтанки, 40). Open 24/7. A cozy and charming cafe-restaurant ambience during the day, turning into cute and relaxing bar in the evening as well as a vibrant music venue at night. A variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at a very reasonable price. Good and moderately priced food served 24 hours a day. The menu comes in both English and Russian. Friendly and helpful English-speaking staff. Free Wi-Fi. Separated smoking/non-smoking sections. A good selection of traditional Russian pies filled with meat, chicken, fish, mushrooms or cabbage served with three different salads (big enough to be a main course), 130 rub. Beef Stroganoff with mashed potatoes: 240 rub. Soups: 130 rub. Average bill per person: 450 rub (two courses + beer or wine).
Pirogov dvorik (Пироговый дворик) (Pie Courtyard), kan. Griboyedova 22 and many other, ☎ 329-09-09, . Open 9-22 daily. Tasty pies with meat, fish, vegetables or fruits and berries. Different styles and sizes. Traditional russian cuisine like Borscht or roast beef. NB: a "pie" is not made with pastry in Russia, but with a bread-like substance. 5 eur.
Saint-Petesburg Metro office eatery, metro Primorskaya, ul. Odoevskogo 26 (on a Odoevskogo St. Walk 100 meters along high building of Metro Office. Second entrance with stairs is eatery). during daytime. closes early. Open during day time. You can freely come and have a lunch. Choise is not wide: 3 to 5 salads, couple of soups and few mains with tea or juice or fruit drink.3-5 eur.
V Meste (ВМесте), Just off ulitsa Vosstaniya (From Ploshad' Vosstaniya, wander north towards Chernishevskaya checking every side road to the right until you find one with a giant concrete and glass building at the end, second or third right turn. Head down that road, and it's on your right, but the sign is just an A4 piece of paper laminated and stuck to the open door). generally 9-23, but varies. Done out like an old Soviet apartment. Has a HUGE range of board games and a decent range of food. The food is simple, but filling and delicious. Pirogi and simple sandwiches are the name of the game here. Beer is also cheap, and coffees are bottomless. There are also a few old Soviet era videogames for you to try your hand at for a nominal fee. If you've never visited a Russian flat that belongs to someone over the age of 30, then it's worth visiting just for the experience. The staff speak English, and are friendly enough to help you navigate the menu - unlike a lot of Russians!250 rubles.
Saint Michael's Castle by night
La Baguette, Grazhdanskaya ul 27. Very nice, cosy little tea and cake shop near Griboedova canal with a sweet faux-French atmosphere. You can also have tasty meals there.Mains approx. 300 rubles.
Kavaleria, Kavalergardskaya ul 20, (email@example.com), . A great family-run place just a block away from the spectacular must-see Smolniy Monastery and Tavricheskiy garden. Fresh local and foreign beers, great cuisine (huge portions), english menus and english-speaking staff. Great for watching sport events too.Mains approx. 300-400 rubles.
1,001 Nights (Тысячаиоднаночь), ул. Миллионная, 21. noon-23:00 daily, live music & belly dancing F-Su 20:00-23:00. This would be but an ordinary undistinguished Uzbek restaurant, were it not within one block of the Winter Palace. Given location, the place is spectacular in that it maintains decent service and very good food.300-500 rubles.
Acquarel, (next to the Birzhevoy bridge), ☎ +7 (812) 320-8600. Right on the water, this restaurant offers Italian food alongside a French/Asian fusion menu. Friendly people, delightful atmosphere, and a wonderful view, Acquarel is a wonderful and delicious dinner option or even a great place to relax and get a drink in their lounge chairs.
Cafe Old Tbilisi (кафеСтарыйТбилиси), В.О. 4-я линия, 5 (near the Vasilieostrovskaya metro station). 11:00-23:00 daily. You'll probably be the only foreign visitor to this small unassuming place on Vasilievsky Island, but the great Georgian food is absolutely worth the short metro trip. The quality for the price here is just outstanding.650 rubles.
Caravan-Sarai (Караван-Сарай), ул. Некрасова, 1, ☎ +7 (812) 272-7153. In a city with plenty of Uzbek food, this may outshine the competition. Not for the service or the decor, but for the very long menu of top-notch Uzbek cooking.400-600 rubles.
Clean Plate Society (Обществочистыхтарелок), Гороховая ул., 13, ☎ +7 (812) 934 97 64 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . After the enormous success of opening bar "Mishka" last year, avant-garde musician/heartthrob Kirill Ivanov and budding chef-mogul Alexander Berkovksy have ventured into the restaurant, or more precisely "cafe-club," business. "Obschestvo Chistykh Tarelok", or "Clean Plates Society" in English, is named after a children's fairy tale alleging that Lenin told children that those who finish all the food on their plate would become members of the Clean Plates Society. Quality burgers, cream soups and vegetarian dishes with worldwide influences. Almost everything is under 300 rubles. Recommended for hipster-watching in St. Petersburg.
Gin-no Taki (Гин-ноТаки), пр. Чернышевского, 17. 11:00-06:00 daily. A very reasonably priced Japanese chain restaurant just across the street from the Chernyshevskaya metro station. The interior is very stylish, even if the fashion shows on the TVs are a bit much, and you can control your service with the aid of a call button. The food is good, but the sodas might be even better—free refills! It's also a very solid choice for a place to unwind late-night after a wild night.150-400 rubles.
Gastronom (ресторанГастроном), наб. реки Мойки, д. 7 (close to Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood; вход с Марсового поля), ☎ (812) 314-3849 (email@example.com), . Sun-Thu: 12PM-12AM; Fri, Sat: 12PM-3AM. Excellent desserts (tiramisu is really great); good reviews for dinner. Wide selection of international fare: Thai, Italian, Russian, steaks. Rare place with 5 varieties of Caesar salad. Outdoor terrace is comfortable for a baby stroller, but closes before late Sept.Simple salads average at 200, sophisticated salads 300-400. Most soups are at 200. Pasta 300-400. Mains average at 350-400..
Jean Jacques (Жан-ЖакРуссо), Ул. Марата д.10 (very close to Moskovsky vokzal), ☎ +7(812)315-49-03. Decent lower-end French cuisine. Nothing-special breakfasts: either omlet or croissant or porridge.
Kafe Ket, 22 Ul. Stremyannaya. Kafe Kat is a tucked into a rather unassuming location, just off Nevsky. This little restaurant serves what might be the best Georgian food in St. Petersburg. There is an English menu and the staff is friendly. 1500 rubles for 2, 3 courses + beer
Kafe Tbilisi, Sytninskaya ul, 10 (Metro Gorkovskaya behind the market), ☎ +7 (812) 232-9391. Georgian food. The dishes prepared in pots are excellent.
The Idiot (Идиот), 82, Moika Emb, ☎ +7 (812) 315-1675. Named after the Dostoevsky novel, and offering a wide variety of very tasty vegan, vegetarian, and seafood dishes at prices higher than what you'd expect. All served in a very cozy and attractive cellar stocked with books, ex-pats, and intellectuals.
Montana Saloon, 20, Kirochnaya str. or 19, Izmailovsky pr. American cuisine, wonderful steaks (best in S-Petersburg), good wine and pleasant atmosphere. A bit expensive (the best steak costs 850 rubles), but it is worth it.
Fasol na Gorokhovoy (ФасольнаГороховой). Until 1am; kitchen closes at 11:30pm. Artictic minimalism interior; creative fusion cuisine.Avg bill: 1000 rubles per person (3 courses).
Harbin, ул. Жуковского, 34/2. 12:30-23:30 daily. Chinese in Saint Petersburg is often better than in most parts of Europe. This restaurant is cozy and overcrowded (show up early or late if you want to ensure that you get a table), and has an extraordinarily long and complex menu. If you have no native speaker with you, bring a food dictionary, or you will have no idea what you are ordering.800 rubles.
Giuseppe Park (ПаркДжузеппе), 2B Canal Griboyedova (just next to Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and Russian Museum), ☎ (812) 571-7309; (812) 973-0943, . 11am-1am. Excellent Italian food in a white nearly-luxury setting. In peak hours, choose easier-to-cook dishes to minimize risk of mistake. Great gaspacho, "quatro formagio" pizza. Good for a late breakfast as well (although no breakfast-time menu: only omlets, 170 rubles). Heated outdoor terrace open until at least end of Sep. No wifi, for a reason: it's a place to eat.Average bill per person: 1500 rubles (3 courses, no alcohol).
Mama Roma, . A chain of Italian restaurants; free wifi. Malaya Konyushennaya, 4/2: outdoor terrace is open heated until at least end of Sep; terrace perfect with toddler: spacious enough for baby strollers; has children-safe wide couches.
Oliva (Олива), 31 Bolshaya Morskaya ul.. Kitchen closes at 11:30pm. Greek restaurant with a genuine Greek chef; popular with expats.
Oriental Express (restaurant/buffet) (ВосточныйЭкспресс), ul. Marata 21 (close to Moskovsky train station), . Tourists-oriented and doesn't hide it, the place has a good selection of traditional Russian dishes. Buffet and restaurant share the same building and kitchen and have few common dishes, but are otherwise very distant from each other (at least in prices). Free wifi (ask waiter for instructions).Restaurant: salads 220..310; soups 210..340; mains: 310-540. Buffet: salads 80, soups 80-130, mains 130-190.
Tepló (Тепло), B. Morskaya, 45 (close to Isaakiyevsky cathedral), ☎ (812) 570 19 74, . Mon-Thu, Sun 9am-12am, Fri-Sat 1pm-1am. Still TripAdvisor #1, it's currently loosing its charm and excellent service. Still, quite charming good value for money, although drinks are quite expensive. Fireplace in winter and courtyard with umbrellas and flowers in summer. Most staff speak English, those who don't are still helpful at navigating the English menu. Lunch set menu from 1pm. Equally good for breakfast (from 9am, Mon-Fri only) with omlets, pancakes, a weekly rotation of porridges and fritters. Free wifi (ask waiter for instructions); childrens playroom; separate non/smokers; outdoor terrace open until at least 5ths of Oct (but no gas heaters). Same owners as a nearby Zoom Cafe.Dinner: average bill per person: 1000 rubles (three courses, no alcohol). Breakfasts: omlet 110, porridges 80, tea 90.
Traveling Sack for a Pregnant Spy (Саквояждлябеременнойшпионки), ул. Б. Конюшенная, 17 (close to Kazansky cathedral), ☎ +7 (812) 570-06-37. M-F 11am-01am, kitchen closes at 11:30pm; Sa-Su noon-02am. A very fun Russian restaurant, that would be worth visiting as a gallery of weird spy-kitsch, but the food is also decent. No wifi.Average bill per person, no alcohol: 800 rubles.
Vostochny Ugolok (Восточныйуголок), Гороховая ул., 52 (close to Isaakievsky cathedral), ☎ (812) 713-57-47 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 24 hours. Good-quality Caucasian cuisine in a vivid interior. Excellent shahlyki and manty.Average bill per person (3 courses): 1000 rub.
Zazhigalka (Зажигалка), Невский проспект, дом 74 (Nevsky Prospekt 74) (Opposite McDonald's (Rubinshteyna Street), next to Red Tower Chinese Restaurant. Walking distance from Anichkov Bridge over Fontanka River), ☎ (812) 272-24057, . 24 hours. Located just opposite McDonald's (the one near ul. Rubinshteyna), this restobar is open 24 hours a day. They serve business lunch from 12-5 PM with 3 options. Choose the 250 rubles one, it includes salad, soup, main meal, garnish (a.k.a side dish), berry drink, and bread. The 200 rubles option include no soup and the 150 rubles includes no course/garnish. Food was very good. Looked classy and tasted great. Very great cool, lounge feel atmosphere. Menus have English translation and several staffs can speak English. Great service too.Business lunch - 250 RUB.
Zoom, Gorohovaja str. 22 (close to Isaakiyevsky cathedral), ☎ (812)448-5001, . Until 24; last order until 22:30. Same owners as Tepló, but much more intimate;not a victim of top TripAdvisor positions.About 1000 rubles per person (three courses, no alcohol).
Austeria (Аустерия), Iohann Alley, Peter & Paul Fortress (Near the entrance to the fortress), ☎ +7 812 230-03-69, . 12PM-12AM. This restaurant, offering a very European setting with mostly Russian high quality food, nabs a lot of tourists visiting the fortress. But nonetheless, the service and food remain phenomenal - while tourists are trapped here, it is no tourist trap. Off season, particularly during the snowy winter months it place can be almost magical, as you get the beautiful restaurant more or less to yourself.Meals start at 1150 rubles but can reach much higher.
Baku, ☎ +7 812 941-37-56, . 12PM-2AM. One of the city's more impressive interiors, modeled after the palaces of the Shirvan Shahs (imagine eating in Sheki's Khan-Saray). Only opened in 2006, but has received rave reviews from all quarters since. A great place to try out Azeri cuisine.Prices from 1300 rubles.
Grand Hotel Europe Restaurant. The Sunday Jazz Brunch here is a "Not to Miss" if you are looking for a real splurge. About $90 USD per person includes a full caviar spread and sushi bar in addition to the normal brunch fare (carving station, omelette station, salads, fruit, baked goods, desserts, the options are nearly endless). There is also bottomless champagne glasses (and the champagne is quite good) and a huge frozen ice sculpture that is tapped where you can refill your glass with iced vodka as many times as you'd like. The jazz is very good and the pace is relaxed and enjoyable. The only caveat: As with most Russian eateries, there is no non-smoking section, so if you are not a smoker, ask for table away from the majority or risk having to inhale cigarette smoke while you dine.
Kalinka-Malinka (Калинка-Малинка), Ital'yanskaya ulitsa, 5. Overdone and overpriced Russian-kitsch tourist trap for foreigners (Russians wouldn't be caught dead here). But if you're staying nearby, they'll treat you fine and you can eat some bear meat.1400 rubles.
Na Zdorovye! (Наздоровье!), П.С. пр. Большой , 13/4 (3 blocks up Bolshoy Prospect from the Sportivnaya metro station). 12:00-23:00. This is the kitschiest kitchen in town, but it's no tourist trap, not by a long stretch. Its way off on the Petrograd Side north of the stadium, and is frequented mostly just by Russians, who come to enjoy the fun over-the-top decor, and the delightful "tastes just like babushka makes it" cooking. Sending the kitsch even further over that top are the performances of Russian/Gypsy folk music and singing 19:00-23:00 daily. Come here for a full meal or the vodka shots + zakuski, and you'll have a memorable night.900 rubles.
Sunduk (Сундук), ул. Фурштатская, 42. M-F 10:00-24:00 Sa-Su 11:00-24:00. A great, small, cozy, and very stylish brick-walled Russian restaurant, with excellent food, and good enough service. Live entertainment comes often, and is often surprisingly good—imagine sitting down and only then seeing a solo jazz guitarist sit down to play some beautiful music. It's been open for more than a decade, and there's a reason why it's a fixture of the local restaurant scene around Furshtatskaya.850 rubles.
Terrassa, Kazanskaya, 3 (Highest floor of shopping center behind Kazansky cathedral), . Offers magnificent view to Kazansky cathedral from terrace. Pastries are well worth the price. Averages: soups 330-380 rub; salads 400-700 rub; pizza 500 rubles; mains 1000 rubles; tiramisu 320 rubles.
The city acts as a beer destination for Moscovites visiting St. Pete for business or vacation reasons--hence its pubs frequently have a much wider choice of beers than an average pub in Moscow (not to mention other cities in Russia). St.Petersburg, being the the fatherland of the most popular beer in Russia - Baltica, is considered the beer capital of the country, while Moscow is more of a Vodka Capital.
Bristol Pub, ul. Marata, 36/38. Very home-atmosphere and friendly.
Dickens Pub, 108 Fontanka Canal (Near Sadovaya & Technologichesky Institute metro stations, just off Moskovsky-Fontanka bridge), ☎ +7-812-380-7888. Dickens Pub offers good service, great food, and a wide range of English and other international beers, with over 15 on tap. There are also many superior whiskeys too! Dickens Pub is a good place to eat. Be prepared for a party - especially on Fridays & Saturdays!
Tower Pub, Ul. Bolshaya Konyushenaya 14 (Very close to the metro station Nevkij Prospekt), ☎ +7 (812) 315 14 31. Open 24 hours. The Tower Pub is a great place to rest, have a quick drink or stay for the whole evening. The bartenders are really nice, do speak English and are in for a chat (on a quiet night). It's located in the basement of a large building but the atmosphere is really nice. No live music.
Gordon & MacPhail's Whisky Bar, Nekrasova St 9, ☎ +7 812 579 4059. Lovely place where you can have a couple of whiskeys and a pint in the evening. Lots of brands and a cosy atmosphere.
Hemingway Bar (Хемингуэй-бар), ул. Ломоносова, 3, ☎ +7 (812) 310-7007, . 12:00-05:00. A comfortable, big bar with upscale drinks and cooking. The biggest draw is the cool clientele and live performances: blues, jazz, R&B. One tip though, if you open the door to a DJ blaring Russkaya popsa—leave because you won't be able to hear yourself think.~1400 rubles to eat.
REGGAE BARS & BEACH SUMMER PARTYS
St Petersbourg is a capital of Russian underground culture,its fool of rusta people,u can find small street reggae music gangs on north end of purple and green line(Komendatski pr ,Black River,Old Village,Holiday Inn area Primorskaia and Nevskii at night.also i suggest to go to Sensation white party in June.
Best Reggae Bar in Petrorgadka distr.Big Prospect,full of rusta people,cheap Jamaican food,reggae music,free entrance with bikes and dredes.
Izzi Bar*&Ibiza Bar
Two great summer reggae &windserfing bars on the beach Gulf of Finland near Sestroretsk(Sesterborg) in Kurort station,full of nice girls and nice aroma of freedom in the air.Largest nude beach in Russia.Lots of sports activites and bungalo on a beach.Good for swimming in summer.
Saint Petersburgers know how to party. There is a wide and excellent selection of great clubs that will satisfy all tourists looking to spend the night out. The city hosts clubs of all music. Rock, pop, jazz, hip hop/RnB, and a lot more. The most popular trend within music and clubbing in Russia at the moment is house/techno.
Dumskaya ulitsa several small, very, very crowded venues (Datscha, BarBarA, Fidel, Belgrad, also near liquor store seems to be part of the complex)), cheap beer, crazy dances, Balkan, ska, punk, disco or whatever the DJ has on his mind. The underground place. Slightly similar to Hamburg St. Pauli area.
Griboedov (Грибоедов), Voronezskaya Ul. 2 (Metro: Ligovsky), . A suitably spaced out place for a club whose name can also be interpreted as "the mushroom eater" or a famous Russian's poet surname, the acts here are famously offbeat, especially on weekdays when you're as likely to find a poetry reading as live reggae or a DJ spinning psychedelic trance. This club is hidden in an underground bomb shelter with a new performance space/bar/restaurant atop the bunker's hill. Open daily except Tuesday.
Metro Club (Метроклуб), 174 Ligovsky Pr (Metro: Ligovsky), . Saint Petersburgs biggest club. Mostly for people from age 16 to 30. Entry prices vary from 180-400 rubles depending on the time of arrival. The club is open between 10:00 p.m-6:00 a.m.ry day. The club boosts 3 floors and 6 bars. The preferred music is techno, trance and house.
Mishka, Fontanka, 40 (in the basement) (Metro: Nevsky Prospect; Mayakovskaya; Ploshchad Vosstaniya), . A popular DJ bar/cafe for local scenesters, as well as 20something tourists and ex-pats, located on the most central intersection (Nevsky prospekt and Fontanka). Due to strict dress code don't try to enter with a backpack and be ready to hear that the party tonight is "invitation only". It means the security did not like your look. The place was opened by St. Petersburg avant-garde musician and heartthrob Kirill Ivanov and friends in the beginning of 2011, at the end of 2011 Mishka has already achieved the title of St. Petersburg's Best Bar according to TimeOut magazine. During daytime, Mishka more of a cafe (with free wi-fi), where you can relax, read and/or chat and enjoy a selection of sandwiches and fresh salads. In fact, it's one of the few places that serves in line with the Western understanding of "salad" - a huge bowl of fresh greens with a choice of other fresh ingredients to add, rather than the traditional Russian understanding of salad which is usually a lot of mayonnaise with other ingredients and often without any greens at all. There are two spaces - the entrance space is the "club" side, generally the rowdier side and the place to get boozed up and drunkenly dance the night away, and the second space is more relaxed, more brightly lit, non-smoking, and a comfortable place to grab a bite to eat (even at 4am!) and sit and chat with your friends without shouting over the music from the entrance space. At night there is usually a DJ playing (even on weeknights!) whatever hipsters are listening to these days (rather than typical Russian clubs that only play worn-out house and 90s pop) and the bar can get very crowded on weekend nights. Try one of the dozens of specialty shots to get your night started in the right spirit... or to end your night, if you're on a bender.
Mod Club (Мод), Kanal Griboedova, dom 7 (in the courtyard) (Metro: Nevski Prospect), . Cult club in the St. Petersburg center, next to Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood. Cavernous live music hall with old brick walls and loft bar, separate room with wrap-around bar and small DJ stand, chill-out room with small concerts and a terrace bar for dancing under the White Nights skies. Very diverse music program: from reggae to punk/metal, but mostly rock. Friendly atmosphere. The crowd is made up of students, musicians, artists and expats. The space also includes MOD Gallery with local art on display. Design of the club is worth checking out as well. Menus in English, English-speaking bartenders, inexpensive beer. The entry is 150 rubles on Fridays and Saturdays, with free entry all other days.
Morrison (МореСон), Lomonosova 2,  a DJ bar with a friendly atmosphere, a summer terrace, & an attractive menu including the world's best cocktails and traditional Russian drinks for as low as 100 rubles. Evening coffee breaks near Nevskiy Prospekt, free wi-fi, & all-night dancing (until 6 am). Photo reports from all weekends are posted on Facebook. Music: Funk, Disco, Boogie, Hits, Funky house.
Produkty, Fontanka, 17 (Metro: Nevsky Prospect; Mayakovskaya; Ploshchad Vosstaniya), . Cafe-bar "Produkty" (Russian for "groceries", don't bother trying to google this bar) was opened in the fall of 2011 by Lisa Izvozchikova, a St. Petersburg-born designer and best known as the former bosslady of another very popular DJ cafe-bar "Stirka" on Kazanskaya ulitsa. The space is modest in size, but being one of the rare cafe-bars in St. Petersburg located above basement-level, boasts views of the Fontanka and features local DJs as well as more "amateur" music lovers spinning their favorite tunes, sipping cocktails and occasionally dancing and even singing along if the mood strikes them. "Produkty" features a carefully thought-out range of alcohol - all the makings of any classic cocktail as well as a delicious and dry cider "St. Anton", grog, milkshakes with berries, a homemade hot ginger tea, as well as freshly squeezed orange juice. The food is mainly vegetarian, and the offerings include couscous and sandwiches. The design concept of the bar was conceived by the proprietor, who is also a designer. All the furniture was brought from Berlin: the leatherette-upholstered bar, massive leather armchairs, round bar stools from the 1970s, chairs taken from GDR kindergartens and schools, typewriters and a Wurlitzer jukebox that only accepts Deutschmark (don't worry! you can buy the necessary Deutschmark tokens at the bar). It has been written that Produkty is a bar straight out of the GDR, but this is hard to confirm, since there were no bars in the GDR. In any case, the classic hipster-reference to East Germany is not completely lost when it comes to describing the style and clientele of Produkty.
Underground (ex-Tunnel) (Undergeound), Zverinskaya Ul (Metro: Sportivnaya), . Reputedly Russia's first techno club and certainly its most legendary, Tunnel is back after an extended shutdown. This unused bomb shelter isn't exactly pretty and the crush and "face control" at the entrance when the doors open at 12 midnight sharp are legendary, but the crowd and the DJs are worth it. Entry 250-350 rubles depending on who is playing.
Gay & lesbian
Central Station. The biggest gay club in Saint Petersburg, it features three floors, plays a selection of house and disco music, performances of drag queens, a dark room and also contains St Petersburg's only all day sushi restaurant. Be aware that gays are not very accepted among the locals and are even targeted once in a while. It is not uncommon for people to wait outside to beat up clubgoers.
Because of the difficulty in operating gay clubs and the social stigma associated with visiting gay clubs, many young men prefer to use gay iPhone applications like Hornet and Scruff to arrange to meet at coffee shops and more discrete locations. This change in technology and the new political issues in St. Petersburg is transforming how gays meet, from nighttime dark watering holes to public straight venues during the day.
Saint-Petersburg has a pub crawl  for both Russian and foreign tourists. The route of the pub crawl takes the guests around the city center, covering about 6 bars in a row. A good way to make friends with locals, not caring about having a list of drinking spots to visit. Be aware of that they won't take you to nice pretty pubs with fruit beer - the bars they visit are pretty hardcore, but they do play some good music and have lots of youth rockin' it.
Hostel Underground Hall, Voznesenskij prospekt 41, ☎ +7 (812) 920-02-04 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (812) 312-06-11), . New hostel in the city centre. 7 min from metro. Staff with Smile =) and clean rooms. Free Wi-Fi for all customers. The showers are hot, worked all the time. All equipped kitchen. 24h reception.from 400 rubles per person.
Hostel Avantage, 1 Line, 24. Vasilievskiy Island, ☎ +7(960)2581523 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 7 min from metro, free WiFi, fridge, microwave. Located in the historical centre.from 500 rubles per person.
Cubahostel, Kazanskaya 5, 4th floor, ☎ +7 (812) 921 71 15 (email@example.com), . A nice hostel, with modern and inventive decoration, just off Nevsky Prospekt, near the Church of Our Lady of Kazan. Although it's advertised as a party hostel and situated over an English pub, noise isn't a problem.650 RUB. (59.933254,30.322073)
Location Hostel, Admiralteijskij prospekt 8 top floor, ☎ +7 (812) 979-22-33 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Good and new hostel in the city centre almost in front of the Hermitage. Great staff and good and clean rooms. Free towel. The showers are ok, worked all the time, but the ceiling in showers is not too high! Free WiFi for all customers and an internet computer to use. Microwave, fridge and washing machine available but no cooking plate available. 24h reception.600 rubles dorm and 700 rubles for a twin room (1 available).
Nordhostel, 10 Bolshaya Morskaya street, ☎ +7 (812) 571-03-42 (email@example.com), . Located in the very center of the city — a stone's throw from the Hermitage. Free internet access and continental breakfast. A grungy place, but it has an good location and is relatively cheap.888 rubles per night.
RedMedved Hostel, 57 Zhukovskogo str., ☎ +7 (812) 272 21 82 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Party style hostel. Located only 5 min from the main train station. Free towels and bedlinen. Light and spacious rooms.From €12 per night.
Sleep Cheap, Mohovaya Street. Very hard to find (go to number 18, and through the dark tunnel), no internet access or hot water (for a couple of weeks during the summer).700 rubles per night.
Soul Kitchen hostel, 1-st Sovietskaya 12 app 1, (email@example.com), . 2 min from metro, free breakfast, free laundry, free WiFi, free international calls, big kitchen, fridge, microwave, activities. Located in the historical centre, 2 min walk from main "Moskovsky" train station.From 450 rubles per person.
Friends hostels, 4 locations: Griboedov channel, Nevsky prospect, Bankovsky pereulok and Vosstania street, ☎ +7 812 331 77 99 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Named after the famous TV show, the hostel chain “Friends” was reviewed by Lonely planet city guide and considered to have spotless dorms, great location and extremely helpful staff.From 400 rubles per person.
B&B swissSTAR, . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 11.00. A Swiss managed Bed&Breakfast in the historical centre of the city. Stylish, safe and very clean. 8 Rooms (5 with attached bath) and a big, fully equipped kitchen. Free breakfast and tea/coffee. Free Wifi and local phone calls. Non-smoking. English speaking staff.From 1600 rubles per night.
5th Corner Hotel (ОтельПятыйУгол), Zagorodniy avenue 13 (metro: Vladimirskaya or Dostoevskaya, trainterminal: Moskovskiy Vokzal), ☎ +7 812 380 81 81 (email@example.com, fax: +7 812 380 81 81), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Business hotel in a restored building from the 19th century. Al the rooms are decorated in warm autumn tones and equipped with AC, sat TV, free wireless Wi-Fi, safe and mini-bar.(59.92613,30.34198)
5th Sovetskaya 21, ☎ +7(921)957 24 40, cell: 8(921)957 24 40, (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. A cozy Swiss managed Bed & Breakfast in a nice neighborhood off the main drag. Rooms come including breakfast, with TV-sets with satellite channels, tea/coffee free, WiFi, Non-smoking.From 1600 rubles per night.
Alexander House Boutique Hotel, 27 Kryukova kanala emb., ☎ +7(812)334-3540, . checkin: after 14:00; checkout: before 12:00. A 4 star boutique hotel close to the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre on the embankments of the Kryukov Canal . Designer interiors and a homey atmosphere. Each of the 19 rooms is individually furnished and designed. From €116 per room per night. (59.9189,30.2996)
Acme on Malaya Morskaya Str, Malaya Morskaya str, 7-8, ☎ +7 (812)600 20 80, cell +(911)127 09 99, fax +7 (812)312 95 42 (email@example.com), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Stylish, modern design. Rooms come with a fridge, TV-set, tea/coffee makers, and WiFi. Non-smoking.from 1500 rubles.
Acme on Rubinsteina str, Rubinsteina str 23-81, ☎ +7(812)575 82 33, cell: 8(911)008 00 99, fax: +7(812)575 86 53, . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. An elegant, small, luxury hotel in a nice neighborhood off the main drag. Rooms come with LCD TV-sets with satellite channels, tea/coffee makers, WiFi, DVD players. Non-smoking.from 1500 rubles per night.
Bed & Breakfast Sabrina, Bolshaya Morskaya st.21, ☎ +7(812)314-76-02 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7(812)314-76-02), . A family-run bed & breakfast 1 block from Nevsky Prospect and the Hermitage. Basic, but very clean and comfortable. A bit difficult to find as it is on the fourth floor of an apartment building. Code for building entrance: 2230#.€40 - 100.
Comfort Hotel, 25 Bolshaya Morskaya Ul. (2 blocks off Nevsky Prospekt between the Moika and Admiralty), ☎ +7 (812) 570 67 00 (email@example.com), . Small hotel (18 rooms) with attentive service. Central to public transportation and walking distance to St. Isaacs Square and Palace Square. Rate includes breakfast buffet and internet. They have English-speaking staff, above-average security and credit cards are accepted.3200 to 7500 rubles, depending on room and season.
Dom Dostoevskogo, 61/1 Griboedov channel (3 underground stations are within 2 minutes walk: Sennaya, Sadovaya, and Spasskaya.), ☎ +7(921)947-76-56, fax: +7(812)314 82 31 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. A small and comfortable mini-hotel in the centre, in the same building where the famous Russian writer Dostoevsky used to live. 10 cozy rooms with plasma TV sets, safe, and free wireless internet.From 2000 rubles per night.
Ermitage Hotel, Millionnaya st.11, ☎ +7(812)571-54-97 (email@example.com), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A small hotel with genuine St. Petersburg spirit. Located in the historical centre. Offers 4 double rooms that allow usage of a fully equipped study and a magnificent hall with fire-place - and with the whole staff of the hotel at your disposal.The price is from 4300 rubles.
Herzen House, Bolshaya Morskaya st.25, ☎ +7(812)315-55-50 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A newly opened hotel right at the historical center. 20 rooms of different types, TV, bathroom,phone, wi-fi, air-condition in each room. 24-hours English speaking reception. Excellent breakfast (buffet) is included in the price, free internet access for guests.From 3100 rubles.
Kamerdiner Hotel, 6 Ozernoi Pereulok (Metro: Ploschad Vosstaniya), ☎ +7(812) 273-0113, 272-5027 (email@example.com), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Small cosy hotel located in a quiet, leafy lane a short walk from the Moscow Railway Station. Walk along Ulitsa Vosstaniya from Nevsky and take first right after small park. Seven rooms in lavishly restored former mansion looking onto monastery, very friendly service and attentive staff. Continental breakfast, Wifi, satellite TV, fridge, safe, air-conditioning, 24-hour security, visa support, theatre bookings, guided tours, airport transfer.Price: 5200 rubles, seasonal discounts.
Matisov Domik, Matisov Island, . A small, cosy hotel located a short walk away from the Mariinsky Theatre. The hotel has excellent service with large, clean rooms and satellite television (all but one news channels, Russia Today, are in Russian). The hotel is a jewel in an otherwise poorer area of the city, however this should not put potential visitors off as it is the perfect way to see both perspectives of the city.
Mini-hotel Krupskiy, ul. Marata, 33, ☎ +7 (812) 928-08-12 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Located in the very center of the city
Moskva Hotel, 2 Alexander Nevsky pl (Metro Ploschad' Alexandra Nevskogo), ☎ +7(812)274-4001, . Incredibly gargantuan concrete monolith that continues to carry forward the Soviet traditions of former monopoly operator Intourist. Ugly and user-hostile, but the location right above a subway station is excellent and the price can be right, especially if booked in a package.
Nevsky Express Hotel, 93 Nevsky pr., ☎ +7(812) 717-18-88 (email@example.com), . 3 star hotel near the central station and the Ploschad Vosstania underground station.
Nevsky Forum Hotel, Nevsky pr., 69 (800 m from Moscow Railway Station), ☎ +7(812)333-0-222 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7(812)571-64-43), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 5 minutes walk from Moscow railway station. The hotel offers 29 rooms different categories. All rooms are equipped with: bathroom with bathtub or shower, satellite TV, telephone, air conditioning, mini-bar, Internet (LAN/Wi-Fi), electronic safe-box, hair-drier. 24-hours receptions & room-service, business & conference facilities, transport & excursion service, visa support & registration service, laundry.From 5000 rubles per night.
Nevsky Grand Hotel, 10 Bolshaya Konyushennaya St, ☎ +7(812)703-38-60 (fax: +7(812)703-38-60), . Just around the corner from Nevsky Prospect, 5 minutes from the subway and a 10 minute walk from the Hermitage Museum. Free and very reliable wi-fi access in all rooms (very speedy: 5Mbps), and air conditioning in every room. Rooms are very small, but functional. Staff speak English well, and breakfast is included in the room rate (available from 7AM til 11AM). Shortcomings: no fridges in rooms; steep staircase at the entrance is difficult for a stroller.From €80 for double; frequent special offers.
Nevsky Hotel Moyka 5, 5, Moyka, ☎ +7 812.6010636 (email@example.com), . 3 star hotel located in the center near to the Hermitage Museum and Palace Square. Free internet. Buffet breakfast. While the cheapest rooms are a bargain, you get what you pay for. Go the extra and get a room with a jacuzzi and sauna.
Northern Lights, Bolshaya Morskaya st.50/6, ☎ +7(812)571-91-99 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7(812)570-64-09), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. A small, beautifully designed hotel located in the historical centre. The hotel is Western owned and managed, ensuring that services are up to the highest international standard. Continental breakfast, free internet access, visa support, airport transfers.
Old Vienna, mini hotel, Malaya Morskaya13/ Gorohovaya 8, ☎ +7 (812) 314 35 14 (email@example.com), . checkin: 13; checkout: 12. A both stylish and "home-cozy" mini-hotel of buisiness class level, located in the centre. 400 m. to Hermitage. All 14 rooms of the hotel are equipped with: air conditioning, Internet (Wi-Fi), bathroom, satellite TV, telephone, mini-bar, hair-drier, DVD. Breakfast(buffet) and Internet are included in the price.
Petro Palace, 14 Malaya Morskaya, . A clean, very efficient, and ideally located hotel. It has a spa, swimming pool and gym (but only free for guests before 11AM) and the rooms maids are very efficient - appearing to clean rooms several times a day. It is within a few seconds of several excellent restaurants, coffee bars and a small shop.
Hotel Safari, Uliza Babushkaya. Good service and you might be able to negotiate a better price. Looks bad from outside, but from the inside is fairly new and clean.2200 RUB double (includes an extra bed).
Sonya Radisson. Free wireless broadband internet (20MBps). Difficult to find a place to eat nearby if you arrive after midnight on weekday.
Hotel Vera, Suvorovsky prosp. 25/16, 5th floor (close to Grand Hotel Emerald), ☎ +7(812)702-72-06 (fax: +7(812)271-28-93), . checkin: 2pm. Up-to-date and cozy rooms; 4th to 6th floors of an old building. Staff speak English by default, not Russian--which is quite rare. 6th floor features mansard windows. Some rooms have poor sound isolation from the corridor (eg. 514, 604). Free internet over wire, cable supplied. Breakfast: No-frills; no hot plates but fresh fruits; no espresso, only American coffee.
Hotel Astoria, 39 Bolshaya Morskaya, ☎ +7 812 494 5757 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 812 494 5059), . Hotel Astoria is a five-star hotel. It is located on Saint Isaac's Square, next to Saint Isaac's Cathedral and across from the historic Imperial German Embassy.
Grand Hotel Emerald, 18 Suvorovsky pr., ☎ +7-812-740-50-00 (email@example.com, fax: +7-812-740-50-06), . Luxurious five-star hotel. Located within few-minute walk from Moskovsky Railway Station and Nevsky Prospekt. Hosts several restaurants, SPA, Top Gym fitness centre and conference facilities.
Grand Hotel Europe, 1/7 Mikhailovskaya st., ☎ +7(812)329-60-00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7(812)329-60-01), . A five-star hotel in the centre of town on Nevsky Prospekt. Hosts Ballet, and several restaurants. Many rooms have great views over the city. Well worth a visit.
Radisson SAS, 49/2 Nevskiy pr., ☎ +7(812)322-50-00 (reservations.led@RadissonSAS.com, fax: +7(812)322-50-01), . A five-star hotel located on Nevskiy Prospekt. The hotel boasts a fitness centre, sauna and massage parlour.
W St. Petersburg, 6 Voznesensky pr., ☎ +7(812)610-61-61 (email@example.com, fax: +7(812)610-61-60), . Ultramodern and chic hotel, located next to St. Isaac's Cathedral. Hosts Bliss Spa and mix restaurant by Alain Ducasse.
There are four GSM 900/1800 networks (MTS , Beeline , Megafon  and Tele2 ) and a CDMA 2000 network (SkyLink ) and the coverage is quite sufficient (every built-up area and most of the country roads). If you stay for a few days or more and need to make local calls it is advised that you buy a pre-paid SIM card (you may be asked for a passport) and a cell-phone if you don't have one matching local standards (possibly a used one) which is going to be much cheaper than roaming in most cases. A SIM card with a balance will cost you less than $10. Cell outlets are plentiful around the city (numerous at every subway station and shopping center). You can pay for your talks at most supermarkets, cell-phone shops and ATMs. The emergency service number is 112.
For international calls, consider buying a calling card which allows very cheap calls (a few rubles for a minute to Europe or the US). Calling from a hotel room may result in rather painful bill.
The following internet cafes offer computers with internet, gaming, and WiFi as noted.
CafeMax, Nevsky Prospekt 90. 24 hours. Large, well-lighted, and clean. Also offers copying, scanning and faxing services.120 Rubles/hour for internet computer. Free WiFi with food purchase..
Shangri La, Nevsky Prospekt 98. 24 hours. 90 Rubles/hour for internet computer. 100 Rubles/hour for WiFi..
Players, 26/27 Kazanskaya Ulitsa (A few blocks behind Kazan Cathedral in the direction of Sennaya Ploshad). 24 hours. No WiFi service.60 Rubles/hour for internet computer..
Tvoyo (TBOE), Liteyniy Prospekt 63 (Northeast corner of Nevsky Pr. and Liteyniy Pr., entry off Liteyniy), . 24 hours. Also serves drinks & snacks for only a few rubles. This cybercafe used to be known as "Quo Vadis."70 Rubles/hour for internet and WiFi..
Also there are so-called computer clubs with dozens of computers for network gaming (usually crowded by kids playing CounterStrike) which also offer internet access in separate rooms for a little charge.
Free wifi is available in most hotels, business and shopping centers. In restaurants and pubs, wifi is really everywhere--thanks to huge amount of Finnish tourists that are used to it.
WiMAX (new generation 4G internet) is offered by Yota , with excellent coverage within city boundaries. 900 rubles/month (or 90 rubles/day). Must buy Yota USB modem (2,390 rubles) to access the 4G network.
Also you can buy a USB-modem with a pre-paid SIM card of any mobile network operators mentioned above. It will cost about 1200 rubles for GSM operators and 3900 rubles for SkyLink. Note that MTS, Beeline and Megafon offer high-speed UMTS interconnection, but Tele2 offers only standard GPRS. Plans start at 1 rub/Mb for GSM operators and 0.30 rub/Mb for SkyLink. (Prices as of 2009)
Saint Petersburg has a somewhat undeserved reputation for being a dangerous city. Things have calmed down since the Wild West (or Wild East) days immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but some common sense is still required.
As with most other major cities, avoid traveling alone at night, and do not get into altercations with drunks. If traveling at night, it is recommended to stay on the main sidewalks and avoid any dark alleys or yards. Gypsy cabs are not recommended under any circumstances, especially those that linger near bars where expatriates and tourists congregate.
Downtown and western parts of the city are safest. Suburbs like Kupchino, VeteranovLigovo and Sennaya in the centre should be avoided at night time.
As a general rule, the farther you are from the city center, the more dangerous it is.
Gangs are a problem, although mafia gang wars are unlikely to affect tourists. Some gangs, however, such as neo-Nazis or angry hooligans, are out looking for problems and commit crimes that can affect tourists. After the war with Chechnya and terrorist attacks in some Russian cities, local hatred is growing toward people with darker complexions, and neo-Nazism is a concern. St. Petersburg, and Russia in general, can be regarded as a seriously dangerous destination for tourists of darker complexions so travelling in groups is highly advised.
Saint Petersburg's football club, Zenit Saint Petersburg, is one of the biggest clubs in the country, and has its own gang of hooligans. If you decide to visit the football stadium to watch the club play, you should buy tickets to center sectors. If you do not do this and a fight starts, you are likely to get dragged into it by either the hooligans or the police, since both will think you are part of the brawl.
Take care of money, documents, cameras, mobile phones, and anything of value because of pickpocketing. Especially watch out on the Metro during busy times, as people start pushing at the train doors, and pickpockets are frequent, particularly (but not only) at Gostinyy Dvor Metro Station. When riding the Metro, keep in mind that robbery can be a real threat; you should constantly watch what is going on around you and who is standing very close to you.
Thefts of photo equipment are really a big problem in Saint Petersburg. Photo bags probably won't save your camera -- it can be opened in less than 5 seconds. Cameras should be kept in bags slung across the body at all times, with your hands keeping a firm grip on them, and no watches or jewelry should be visible at all. Quite obviously, do not show in public that you have a lot of money. Robberies are not uncommon, and many foreigners have been threatened at gun and knife point. However, foreigners are not targeted specifically, and robbers will attack both foreigners and natives that carelessly reveal their wealth.
Take special care on Nevsky Prospekt, particularly the area with the city tour buses, a favorite spot of pickpockets and particularly of those after photo equipment. On the bright side, "Nevsky Prospekt" sees little mugging.
Russian driving is wild. Drivers attack their art with an equal mix of aggressiveness and incompetence. Guidelines are lax and rarely followed. As a pedestrian, take great care when crossing the roads, as pedestrian crossings are in 99% of cases ignored (even by police). If you are thinking of driving yourself, bear in mind that the Russian traffic police are extremely corrupt, even by Russian standards. Pedestrian crossings with a traffic light are quite safe to use, most car drivers will stop. Just like in any other big city always look left and right before crossing the road and make eye contact with the driver if possible.
Saint Petersburg has a relatively big problem with street children who make their living out of stealing. They can be a hassle and can beg you aggressively. Act like any other Russian would: say no, then just ignore them and go away.
Homosexuals must practice extreme caution while staying in Saint Petersburg, as attacks often occur. Many Russian people look upon public demonstrations of homosexuality with undisguised contempt.
Racism is another serious problem in Saint Petersburg. Some Russians may have rude and unfriedmly attituee to those wih darker complexion. Some may even have physical touch against you (e.g. Push you aside).
Bar fights do occur. In the center of the city and around Nevsky Prospekt, they are unlikely to happen. However, in the suburbs and local cheaper pubs, fights occur almost daily. If you are staying with locals living in these areas, it might be a good idea to avoid these bars. Police are unlikely to show up as they consider fights as small, unimportant, regular and a waste of time, and they will probably laugh at you for calling.
Another subtle danger that can affect your trip is the inevitable effect of winter weather. Poor harvesting of snow and ice is a big problem in city. Caution is advised in snowy winters because of falling ice from roofs, and pedestrians should pay special attention to ice on the streets.
Overall, be warned that if you are used to living in the US and/or Western Europe, Saint Petersburg, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, will seem different, and, at times, a bit intimidating. On the other hand, Russian people are usually friendly, welcoming and interested towards foreigners, and nothing should happen to you unless you put yourself in harm's way. If you don't care about them they don't care about you, and nothing should get in your way of having a great holiday.
The below private hospitals have English-speaking Russian doctors (very few, if any, hospital staff are expats). Depending on the type of service provided and the terms of one's insurance policy, these hospitals may be able to arrange direct billing with European and American medical insurance companies.
American Medical Clinic, Moyka Embankment 78 (Just west of St. Isaac's Square), ☎ +7 812 740 2090, . 24 hours. Includes dental clinic and pediatric unit.
Euromed, Suvorovsky Prospekt 60, ☎ +7 812 327 0301, . 24 hours. Multi-specialty medical center that provides a full range of medical services,applying international standards and protocols of diagnostics and treatment. Includes it's own laboratory and pharmacy units, in-patient department with comfortable 5-star hotel class wards, ambulance team. English-speaking personnel provides direct insurance billing and any administrative support to the patient(accomodation,visas,transfers,medical evacuatuons).
MEDEM International Clinic and Hospital, Marata str. 6 (near Mayakovskaya Metro, 50 meters from Nevsky), ☎ +7 812 336 3333, . 24 hours. Full range medical service in cooperation with Clinique des Grangettes (Geneva, Switzerland). On-site trauma, laboratory, dentistry, pediatric ward, overnight pharmacy. Private Ambulance with medical transportation/evacuation services. Diagnostics Center with MRI unit, ultrasound, X-Ray, endoscopy, functional diagnostic. Emergency and elective surgery, urology, gynecology, ENT, general practitioners, family medicine. Stroke unit, hospital with ICU and resuscitation. English-speaking staff, direct billing with Russian and foreign insurance/assistance companies. Fully equipped Conference Room for medical/pharmaceutical symposiums and colloquiums.(59 55' 50'',30 21' 17'')
The city's water-system is not ideal because of a number of old pipes and as a result does not provide 100% clean water. Some locals boil or also filter tap water before use; you might want to buy it bottled if water quality affects you.
In Saint Petersburg cold water is cleaner than hot, also there isn't hot water for 3 weeks every summer.
There are numerous public toilets, most of which are attended by a person who will charge about 15 rubles for entry. It is a good idea to take your own toilet paper, as it is not always provided. The toilets are typically extremely dirty by Western standards. If you are a Westerner, you can get away with wandering into the Western hotels, which have lovely bathrooms— the Grand Hotel Europe in particular. Just don't ever push your luck with suit-clad men guarding the hotel entrances, they are tough as nails if provoked. Many restaurants also allow tourists to use toilet without being a customer.
The first 24 hours in Saint Petersburg may be a shock to the system. The welcome from immigration officials seems like a hang-over from Communist times- don't expect to be spoken to or even looked at by officials. Flying into Saint Petersburg may seem unusual, with the sight of old concrete tower blocks and factory chimneys. The suburbs of the city are a contrast to those with which you may be familiar. Nevsky Prospekt is the most 'Westernized' street in the city and would be more familiar to Westerners traveling to Saint Petersburg. If you are from a Western country, you will find this either shocking or amusing.
Saint Petersburg is plagued by a number of mosquitoes during the summer, as the swampy surroundings of the city give the mosquitoes excellent living conditions. In budget accommodation with few countermeasures against the mosquitoes, this can be a problem at night, putting your well deserved sleep at risk.
One-day excursions are popular with travellers to Saint Petersburg. Taxicabs and buses are the most common forms of transport and trips can often be organised either with the holiday operator e.g. Intourist, before traveling to Russia, or from your hotel. Several tour bus companies have kiosks in front of Gostinyy Dvor, with some tours (but not all) offered in English. Some of the most popular excursions include:
Oreshek fortess, a view from the right bank of Neva River
Gatchina — Big park and museum. Can be reached by train from Saint Petersburg Baltiskiy station to the Gatchina's Baltiskiy railway station, which is situated fairly close to the palace. One can also take a bus from near the former Warsaw station (next to Baltiskiy station) in St. Petersburg.
Ivangorod and Narva — Two towns on the Narva river (border between Russia and Estonia). Twin castles (Russian, established Grand Duke Ivan III, and Danish/Swedish). Clarify your visa status before crossing to Estonia, as you may not be able to come back on single-entry Russian visa.
Kronshtadt — Old seaport town on the Kotlin island. Main Russian naval base from early 18 century. You may take a hydrofoil back to the Hermitage for 100 RR.
Lomonosov (AKA Oranienbaum) — Park with museum honoring Michael Lomonosov. Not far from Peterhof (15 minutes by car). Station name is Oranienbaum. TIP - You may also visit Kronshtadt and take a hydrofoil back to the Hermitage for 100 RR, an inexpensive alternative to the more expensive ones leaving from Peterhof.
Novgorod — Ancient town with churches and museums. About 180 km. from St. Petersburg.
Oreshek fortess — a medieval russian fortess at Orekhovy Island in the mouth of Neva.
Pavlovsk — Lusicous green park where you could feed the squirrels from your hands. Can be reached by train from Vitebskiy station (not the main hall, but the smaller hall for local trains, which is on the right side as you face the station). Pavlovsk train station is close to the northwestern gate to the park, and from there it is a long (but pleasant) walk though the park to the palace.
Peterhof — Home of the sumptuous "Russian Versailles" and the recently open to visits "Petrodvorets Watch Factory - Raketa". The municipality can be reached by train from Baltiskiy station for 50 RR, although figuring out which station you want to arrive at can be tricky if you can't read Cyrillic. Station's name is Noviy Peterhof. You may also try going on the red line to Metro station Avtovo, and from there, take a 'Mashrut' Bus to Peterhof for 70 RR (2013). K424 is the most frequently recommended route, but other routes say they're going to the 'fountains' too. Travel time: 35 minutes without traffic. If you've got plenty of time, consider visiting Oranienbaum / Lomonosov, visiting Kronshtadt, then you may take a hydrofoil back to the Hermitage for 100 RR. If you are taking the share taxi/mashrut bus and not many people are going to be stopping in Peterhof, be aware that it's extremely easy to miss your stop, since you need to tell the driver when to pull over. You can try asking the driver to stop at the fountains when you get on the taxi, but he may forget. Watch for signs that say "Peterhof" (in Russian). Watch for a large cathedral on your left. Shortly after the cathedral the Upper Garden with its gates and fence will be on your right. You can ask the driver to stop right then or at the nearby bus stop.
Pushkin (A.K.A. Tsarskoye Selo) — City 25 km south of Saint Petersburg, with beautiful parks and palaces, most notably the Catherine Palace built for Tsarina Catherine I. Can be reached by train from Vitebskiy station (not the main hall, but the smaller hall for local trains, which is on the right side as you face the station). Take the train to Detskoe Selo station, but be advised that the palaces are still about a 20-minute walk through town from the station.
Repino — House-museum of the artist Ilya Repin, located just off the Gulf of Finland, where he lived and worked. To get there: Elektrichka train from the Finland Station (round trip fare 120 RR, eleventh stop on the westbound line — check in advance to make sure the train you board stops in Repino — then from the station cross the main road and walk down the path to the left of the supermarket through a resort complex to the next major road. Turn left and walk about 1.5km to the gate marked Penaty. The walk takes about 45 minutes. The museum and grounds close at 3PM, or earlier if there are no visitors.
Staraya Ladoga — the first capital of Russia is a pleasant little village four hours away with an incredible wealth of historical sights, including its own stone kremlin and church frescoes by the hand of none other than Andrei Rublev.
Vyborg — town situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, 130 km to the northwest of St. Petersburg, 38 km south from Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland. Swedish built castle, started in the 13th century and extensively reconstructed by Russians in 1891–1894. Mon Repos, one of the most spacious English parks in Eastern Europe, laid out in the 19 century. Fortifications of the Mannerheim Line (built by Finland against the Soviet Union) are close by.
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