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3 days in St.Petersburg, Russia – complete itinerary

St.Petersburg is the most beautiful city in Russia and one of the most beautiful in Europe. Culturally, historically and architecturally it’s the most European Russian city though it’s very different from any other city in Europe. Sometimes it’s called Northern Venice for its multiple channels and rivers or Northern Palmira for its beauty and grace. One of the youngest European cities in its 316 years of history St.Petersburg has seen many tragic and dramatic events. The city with great history and culture where everybody will find something to his/her liking. We hope our Ultimate St.Petersburg city guide will help you to plan your trip and to get the most out of your time here. 

P.S. Many thanks to all my friends who helped me to write this post, shared their ideas and gave many useful tips!

For those who’d like to see more of Russia and to visit some difficult to access faraway places, there are several unique tour options with G-Adventures and Intrepid Travel that will make your holiday unforgettable. 

Travel insurance for Russia

Traveling includes different kinds of risks from a flight delay or cancellation to medical emergencies and credit cards, documents or baggage loss. It’s always advisable to have travel insurance that will cover you in case if something goes wrong especially if you venture to a faraway country like Russia and are planning to move around a lot. Let your insurance company worry about you while you exploring new horizons.

St.Petersburg accommodation

*All suggested below places have an Excellent rating and very central location which is important when you stay in a big city.

Best season to visit St.Petersburg

In general summer (June, July, August) is the best. Though with our Northern summer you can never be 100% sure about the weather at least long days (so-called White Nights) will help you to extend your limited time in the city quite a lot. With average temperature ranging between 15°C – 25°C it’s comfortable for long walks and boat rides in the city. 

September so-called Babye Leto (Indian Summer) the weather is often better than in August and the holiday season is over so it’s less crowded than in June or July. But the days are getting shorter you can almost forget about famous White nights.

If you’re a culture vulture and rather have bad weather and fewer tourists late September-October and April-first half of May are better months for you, there are not too many tourists like in summer, it’s not too cold (between 8°C and 12°C), you get a chance to explore quietly the main city attractions.   

White nights

My favorite time in the city with its peak in mid-June (night from 21st to 22nd is the shortest night)  when the city doesn’t sleep! It feels like you can sleep 4 hours a day and it’s enough. The weather in June can vary from cold 15°C to warm 22°C, rains are quite frequent. The only downside of White nights is too many tourists and multiple forums, exhibitions, and events. If you do want to come in June make sure to book accommodation in advance.

Need to know about St.Petersburg

You can get anywhere by public transport; around the city, to/from the airport and to the main suburbs. There are usually several options.

Most places (hostels, shops, restaurants, cafes, metro, etc.) accept Visa/Master cards. Note! On buses/trams/marshrutkas (commercial minibusses) you pay cash.

If you don’t speak Russian you’ll definitely survive here even if you get lost try to ask for help younger people you have a better chance they speak any English.

Google translate works quite good for English-Russian, Campbell used it a lot and could even hold a basic conversation.

The city is quite safe. In all my life I have never had any bad experience here. Normal precautions; watch for pickpockets, don’t walk alone at night on the outskirts (there is nothing to do there for you anyway), don’t leave your things unattended in public places.

There are many churches/cathedrals in the city most of them are functioning before you enter you have to; for women – cover your head/for men – take off cap/hat.

It’s better to draw money in ATMs of big international banks (Raiffeisen, City bank, etc.) where you can get up to RUB50 000/US$850.

Wi-fi is quite common in the city, all hotels/hostels most restaurants and coffee shops have free wi-fi. Though sometimes to connect to wi-fi in public places you need a local phone number. 

Recommended books and guidebooks; Lonely Planet St Petersburg, Lonely Planet Russia, Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & DictionarySt. Petersburg: Madness, Murder, and Art on the Banks of the Neva by Jonathan Miles. 

Set up your budget (per day, per person)* 

Backpacking: accommodation (hostels) – from RUB350/US$6 pp; food (meal) – from RUB200/US$3 pp; food (shopping) – from RUB300/US$5 pp; transport (public) – RUB45/US$0,7 per trip, activities (museums, boat rides, entrance fees) – from RUB700/US$11,5 pp.

Middle price range: accommodation (hotels**/***) – from RUB3500/US$58 for a double, food (meal) – from RUB600/US$10 pp; transport (public) – RUB45/US$0,7 per trip, activities (museums, boat rides, entrance fees) – from RUB700/US$11,5 pp.

Upper class: accommodation (hotels****/*****) – from RUB6000/US$100 for a  double, food (meal) – from RUB1000/US$17, transport (taxi) – from RUB300/US$5 pp, activities (operas, ballet) – from RUB1200/US$20 pp.

*Exchange rate for January 2019 1USD=65RUB. You can check the current currency conversion HERE.

Map of Top 14 must-see places in St.Petersburg
Map of Top 14 must-see places in St.Petersburg. 1 – Peter and Paul’s fortress; 2 – Summer Garden; 3 – State Hermitage and Palace Square; 4 – St.Isaac’s cathedral; 5 – the Bronze Horseman; 6 – Vasilevsky island and Strelka; 7 – Kunstkamera; 8 – State Russian museum; 9 – church of the Savior on Blood; 10 – Kazan cathedral; 11 – Nevsky prospect (avenue); 12 – Mariinsky theater; 13 – Trinity cathedral; 14 – Smolny cathedral.

Must see places in St.Petersburg

It’s difficult to decide which are the must places to visit in St.Petersburg and which aren’t but there are some iconic sights in the city that you can’t miss. All indicated entrance fees are for adults, children and students have discounts. Our free printable checklist of  Places to see in Saint Petersburg, Russia will be quite handy for your trip.
If you want to visit the main city attractions in one day you can do a full day grand city tour that includes a visit to Peter and Paul fortress, the Hermitage, St.Isaac cathedral and Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood with entrance fees, lunch, guide, and transportation (minibus) included.

Peter and Paul fortress, where everything started, the original citadel of the city was founded in 1703 (official year of the foundation of St.Petersburg). Metro Gorkovskaya. The entrance fee to the fortress is free. There are many different museums inside; the Museum of History of the city, museum of cosmonautics, Medieval torture museum, etc. Interesting fact! There is a tradition Noonday gun every day at midday from a cannon fires blank shot from the Naryshkin Bastion, the tradition dates back to Peter’s a Great epoch. To know more about city history and the fortress you can do a 2-hour guided tour.

Summer Garden, was established in 1704 by Peter I and originally was planned as a place for a royal residence, later become a regular park. Nowadays was restored according to the original plan. There used to be original marble statues but recently they were substituted by copies from an artificial marble. Kutuzova emb., 2, m Gorkovskaya. Open 10 am – 10 pm from 1st April to 30th September; 10 am – 8 pm from 1st October to 31st March. In April the garden is closed as well as every Tuesday. Entrance free.

State Hermitage and Palace square, probably the most famous places in St.Petersburg. If you have to choose only one museum to visit it’s an obvious choice. Open Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun 10.30am – 6 pm, Wed, Fri 10.30am – 9 pm. Closed on Mondays. Nearest metro Admiralteyskaya. Entrance fee – RUB700, students and children – free. Every third Thursday entrance is free for everybody. Attention! If you want to visit the Hermitage without crowds go on Wed or Fri after 5 pm and better buy your ticket at ticket offices inside the Former General Staff building (the collection of modern art, end of the 19th beginning of 20th cent.). You can skip the line and do a 4-hour private guided tour this way you save time on waiting in the queue and get valuable knowledge out of your visit. 

St.Isaac’s cathedral, one of the symbolic buildings in the city, impressive from both outside and inside. If you have a chance go up to the colonnade, you’ll have a great 360 view of the city center. Isaakiyevskaya Sq., 4, metro Admiralteyskaya. Open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 10.30am – 6.00pm, in the summer season (27th April – 30th September) 6 pm – 10.30 pm as well. Entrance fee RUB350/US$6. You can buy your ticket HERE.

St.Isaac's cathedral, St.Petersburg.
St.Isaac’s cathedral, St.Petersburg.

Bronze Horseman, a monument to Peter the Great and the most famous monument of the city. Senatskaya squ., m Admiralteyskaya.

Vasilevsky Ostrov (island) and Strelka (tip) with the Rostral columns. Tip! It’s the best place in the city to see a Russian wedding with its traditional glasses breaking, on weekends there are usually quite a few of them here. Birzhevaya sq., m Admiralteyskaya.

Kunstkamera, Anthropology and Ethnography Museum, the oldest museum in Russia. Universitetskaya emb., 3, m Admiralteyskaya. Open; summer (June-August) Tue-Sun 11 am – 7 pm, rest of the time 11 am – 6 pm. Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee RUB300/US$4,5.

State Russian Museum, the names speaks for itself, here you can see Russian art (mostly painting) from Russian icons to Malevich. Inzhenernaya st., 4, m Nevsky prospect/Gostiny Dvor. Open Mon 10 am – 8 pm; Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 10 am – 6 pm, Thu 1 pm – 9 pm. Closed on Tuesdays. Entrance fee RUB500/US$7,5.

State Russian museum. St.Petersburg city guide.
State Russian museum. St.Petersburg city guide.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, one of the iconic buildings of the city. Tip! If you want to take a nice photo without hundreds of people around come here early morning (5-6am) and you’ll have it all for yourself. Kanal Griboedova Emb., 2a, metro Nevsky prospect/Gostiny Dvor. Open Mon, Tue, Thu-Sun 10.30am – 6.00pm, from 27th April to 20th September there are evening excursions from 6.00pm – 10.30pm. Closed on Wednesdays. Entrance fee RUB350/US$5 (RUB400/US$6 evening sessions). Buy skip the line ticket here

Kazan cathedral beautiful building with colonnade, one of the biggest cathedrals in the city. Nevsky av., Kazanskaya Sq., 2, metro Nevsky prospect/Gostiny Dvor. Open Mon-Sun, from 6.30 am – 8 pm. Functioning cathedral, free entrance.

Nevsky prospect (avenue), the main artery of St.Petersburg, always busy and crowded. You won’t miss it most of the city attractions are located around it.

Mariinsky theater. Currently, there are three stages; the Old stage – historical white and green building, right behind it the Second stage, a big modern building and 500m away from the Concert Hall. All three stages are in use you can see opera, ballet or music concerts on any of them. Teatralnaya sq., 1, m Sennaya/Sadovaya/Spasskaya. Tickets from RUB700/US$11, can be booked online HERE.

Mariinsky theater, Old Stage. St.Petersburg city guide.
Mariinsky theater, Old Stage. St.Petersburg city guide.

Trinity Cathedral, different from all mentioned above, its huge blue dome with golden stars looks very impressive. Izmailovsky av., 7A, m Tekhnologichesky Institut. Open Mon-Sat 9am – 7pm, Sun 6am – 8pm. Functioning cathedral, free entrance.

Smolny cathedral, one of the masterpieces of an Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, you can find certain similarities with Catherine Palace in Pushkin. Rastrelli square, 1, m Chernyshevskaya. Open Mon-Sun from 7 am – 9 pm. Functioning cathedral, free entrance.  

St.Petersburg city center walking route

This loop allows you to see almost all the main city attractions. It takes between 3-4 hours to complete the route that gives you enough time to take photos and stop for a cup for coffee but not to visit any of the museums on the way.

Taking this route you will see (in order from start to finish): Nevsky Prospect – Kazansky cathedral – Singer House –  Stroganov palace – State Capella – Hermitage, Palace Square – Admiralty building – St.Isaac cathedral – Bronze Horseman – Dvortsovy (Palace) bridge – Vasilevsky island, Strelka – Kunstkamera – Stock Exchange – Birzhevoy bridge – Peter and Paul fortress – Troitsky bridge – Marble palace – Field of Mars – Summer Garden – Mikhailovsky castle – Mikhailovsky Garden – Church of the Savior on Blood – Russian museum – Mikhailovsky theatre. 

Things to do in St.Petersburg, Russia 

Take a boat ride through rivers and/or channels to get an absolutely different perspective of the city. It’s possible to do a night boat tour as well and go under open bridges. I’d say if you want to see the city and take nice photos do it during the day otherwise night boat it’s an interesting experience. It’s one of the must-do things in Saint Petersburg in summer. Price around RUB700/US$12. Book your boat ticket here.

Visit at least one of the royal suburbs; the two main Peterhof (park entrance fee RUB750/US$12,5) and Pushkin (park entrance fee 120RUB/US$2). To visit one you need a whole day. If you have to choose I’d recommend in summer (fountains are from 20 May till 16 September) definitely go to Peterhof to see its famous fountains. Outside of the summer season, I’d recommend Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo) with its Catherine palace and park which looks very impressive in winter and autumn. There are plenty of other royal residential suburbs to visit if you have enough time you can explore all of them. It’s very difficult to visit both suburbs in one day on your own but quite possible if you join Peterhof and Pushkin full day tour

See drawbridges at night. Only during navigation season from April to November with its peak in June – July (White Nights). It’s a real show with lights, music and unusual for this time of the day activity on the streets; thousands of people walking around, many restaurants and coffee shops open all night, night boat tours and excursions, etc. A great thing to do in St.Petersburg on a date night. Interesting fact! There are more than 300 bridges in the city, 13 of them are drawbridges. Tip! Make sure to stay on your island (side of the city) before the bridges open otherwise you’ll have to wait for a couple of hours to get back to your hotel. There are several tours that offer different ways to experience the White Nights in the city; Folk Show and City Night tourWhite Nights Segway tour1-hour night boat cruise on the Neva river. 

Troistky (trinity) bridge at nigth, St.Petersburg.
Troistky (trinity) bridge at night, St.Petersburg.

Take a ride in one of the most beautiful subways in the world. See a metro map with the most beautiful stations below. Tip! It’s better to escape rush hours (7.30-10.00am and 5-8pm). If you want to go deeper into the history of the underground and get some interesting details and unknown facts you can do a metro stations tour with an experienced guide

Try your luck with Chizhyk Pyzhik (siskin-reindeer from Russian), a tiny sculpture of a bird on Fontanka emb. 2. Its name originally referred to the students of the Law College which in its turn comes from the color of their uniform (Siskin) and deer fur hats they were wearing in winter. According to the legend if you make a wish and though a coin the way it stays on the statue’s platform your wish will come true. Interesting fact! The bird was stolen 7 times but every time was found and returned to its place.

Go to a classical music concert/opera/ballet, here you have a big choice; Mariinsky, Mikhailivsky, the Philarmony or one of many open-air free concerts in the city center. A must-do thing in St.Petersburg for classical music lovers. Price from RUB600/US$10 pp.

Explore the city on foot. St.Petersburg is a great city for walking, though some streets can get quite crowded in summer there is always an escape to one of the smaller streets or embankments. City is good for walking any time of the day but if you want to have it all for yourself go very early in the morning between 4-5am (in June-July it’s already daylight) then you’ll have a chance to take photos of empty Palace square, Nevsky avenue or Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. You can join a walking tour to get a better idea about the city and its main sights and some helpful tips.

Not a must but can be an option if you’re not a great walker or the weather is too bad, get on a famous hop-on/hop off tour bus. It takes about 2 hours to complete the whole route, you can combine the bus + boat tour.

Top 10 most beautiful metro stations in St.Petersburg

Need to know about St.Petersburg metro; you pay once to enter the metro and after that, you can spend as much time and change as many trains and stations as you wish without any additional payment. So you can see all the most beautiful metro stations in one go just for RUB45/US$0,7. You are allowed to take photos in the metro but without flash. Avoid rush hours Mon-Fri, from 7.30am to 10.00am and from 5.00pm to 8.00pm it’s a very bad time for exploring the metro and taking photos.

Avtovo metro station, St.Petersburg
Avtovo metro station, St.Petersburg

Red line: Avtovo (by the way the Guardian named it among Top most beautiful metro stations in the world), Kirovskiy zavod, Pushkinskaya.

Orange line: Spasskaya

Purple line: Bukharestskaya, Obvodny Kanal, Mezhdunarodnaya, Zvenigorodskaya, Admiralteiskaya (the deepest metro station in Russia and the second deepest in the world, 102m), Sportivnaya.

Map of Top 10 most beautiful metro stations in St.Petersburg
Map of Top 10 most beautiful metro stations in St.Petersburg. 1 – Avtovo; 2 – Kirovsky Zavod; 3 – Pushkinskaya; 4 – Mezhdunarodnaya; 5 – Bukharestskaya; 6 – Obvodny Kanal; 7 – Zvenigorodskaya; 8 – Spasskaya; 9 – Admiralteiskaya; 10 – Sportivnaya.

Off the beaten track attractions in St.Petersburg

Faberge museum (Shuvalovsky palace), a beautiful palace with a collection of Faberzhe’s masterpieces including famous Easter Eggs (9 in the collection) Fontanka emb., 21, m Nevsky prospect/Gostiny Dvor.

New Holland, an artificial island used as a minor shipyard and storage of materials for shipbuilding. Nowadays this open-air space used for concerts, lectures, performances, festivals. There is a restaurant, coffee shop, playgrounds for children, etc. Open Mon – Thu, 9 am – 10 pm, Fri – Sun, 9 am – 11 pm, free entrance. Admiralteysky Canal Embankment, 2, m Admiralteyskaya.

Grand maket Russia (Layout of Russia), here you can see the whole country with its regions, main attractions, landscapes etc. Open Mon-Sun, 10 am – 8 pm. Zvetochnaya ul., 16, metro Moskovskiye Vororta. Entrance RUB480/US$8.

Mozaichny dvorik (Mosaic yard), students of Small Academy of Arts slowly but surely converting a typical yard into a copy of Park Guell in Barcelona. Open Mon-Sun, 10 am – 10 pm. Chaikovskogo st., 2, m Chernyshevskaya. Free entrance.

Golizin loft, units 5 buildings, a creative space with many showrooms, bars, galleries, restaurants, workshops, and even one hostel. Fontanka emb., 20, m Chernyshevskaya

Rubinsteina street the main bar and restaurant street in the city. Metro Dostoyevskaya/Vladimirskaya.

The street art museum, a unique museum located on the territory of a working factory. Open Tue-Sun, 12 pm – 9 pm. Shosse Revolutsii, 84, m Ladozhskaya, m Ploshad Lenina. Entrance fee RUB150/US$2,5.

Bergholz center, former industrial building nowadays hosts local artistic community like in the previous loft in the center you can find coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, local designers shops and more from the young and creative local community. Grazhdanskay st., 13-15, m Sennaya/Sadovaya/Spasskaya.

If you want to see modern residential areas of St.Petersburg get off at Pionerskaya metro station here you can see big multi-story residential buildings some sort of modern urban architecture.

Rosenshtein House, St.Petersburg
Rosenshtein House, St.Petersburg

More sights to see in the city

  • Rosenshtein House (House with Towers), m Petrogradskaya
  • Mosque, m Gorkovskaya
  • Marble Palace, m Gorkovskaya
  • Field of Mars, m Nevsky Prospect/Gostiny Dvor
  • Mikhailovsky zamok (castle), m Nevsky Prospect/Gostiny Dvor
  • Admiralty building, m Admiralteyskaya
  • Stroganov Palace, m Admiralteyskaya
  • State Capella, m Admiralteyskaya
  • Singer House, m Nevsky Prospect/Gostiny Dvor
  • Alexandrinsky theater, m Nevsky Prospect
  • Eliseyev Merchant’s shop (shop), m Nevsky Prospect
  • Bankovsky bridge, m Nevsky Prospect/Gostiny Dvor
  • Anichkov bridge, m Nevsky Prospect/Gostiny Dvor
  • Alexander Nevsky cemetery, m Ploshad Alexandra Nevskogo
  • Nikolsky cathedral, m Sennaya/Sadovaya/Spasskaya
Eliseyev Merchant's shop, St.Petersburg
Eliseyev Merchant’s shop, St.Petersburg

Best photo spots in St.Petersburg

Nevsky prospect from the balcony of Karl Bulla’s museum. Nevsky pr., 54, m Nevsky Prospekt. Open Tue-Sat from 11 am till 7 pm. Entrance fee RUB50/US$0,8

Hermitage/Winter Palace from Strelka of Vasilevsky Island, Palace bridge or Peter and Paul fortress beach.

The St. Isaac cathedral from Universititskaya emb., the opposite side of the Neva river.

The iconic photo of St. Peter and Paul cathedral spiel between two halves of the Palace bridge from the Admiralteiskaya embankment.

Loft Project Etagi roof, view on the city center from the top. Ligovsky pr., 74. Open Mon-Sun from 9 am to 11 pm. Entrance to the roof RUB100/US$1,5.

Some not budget options to observe the city from the top – panorama restaurants

Terrassa restaurant, view on Kazan cathedral and Nevsky prospect. Kazanskaya st., 3A, m Nevsky Prospekt. Open daily from 12 pm till the last guest.

Mansarda restaurant, beautiful view on St.Isaac cathedral. Pochtamtskaya st., 3-5, m Admirlateiskaya. Open daily from 12 pm till 1 am.

A perfect 3-day itinerary. Ultimate St.Petersburg city guide

Tourists from any country can stay in St.Petersburg without a Russian visa up to 72 hours only if they arrive by ferries and follow certain rules, check HERE for all the details. We worked out a thoroughly planned itinerary in order to help you to get the most out of three days in St.Petersburg. It’s only our suggestion you can switch it anyway depending on your interests, weather and time you have in the city.

What to do in Saint Petersburg on the first day?

Morning. To get know the city and to see most of the sights take a walking route, you’ll need about 3 hours to complete it. On the way, you can visit a couple of cathedrals, drink coffee in one of the coffee shops. As an option, you can do a city bus tour that does almost the same loop.

Afternoon. It’s time for lunch, check our restaurant recommendations to find the best place for you. After lunch, go underground and explore some of the most beautiful metro stations, there are many but we’d recommend choosing 4-5 otherwise you risk to spend all day in the metro. Opinion! My favorite stations are; Avtovo, Zvenigorodskaya, and Admiralteiskaya. If you have time you can check some of the sights located outside the city center like Smolny cathedral, Troitsky cathedral or maybe visit some of the off-the-beaten-track attractions.

Evening/night. Music concert/opera/ballet in one of the theaters. Most performances start at 7 pm, some at 8 pm. We’d suggest having dinner or maybe a snack before, some operas are more than 3 hours long hunger can be a problem. You can buy sandwiches and drinks in any theater as well but it’ll be more expensive. After you can go to one of the busy streets (e.g. Rubinsteina, Nevsky Prospekt) to have a couple of drinks or even do a pub crawl.

Church of the Savior on Blood, one of tourists' favorite sights in the city
Church of the Savior on Blood, one of the tourists’ favorite sights in the city. St.Petersburg 3 day itinerary

Things to do in the city on the second day

Morning, afternoon. Visit one of the royal suburbs, it’ll take the most part of the day so go early morning to have more time for visiting parks and palaces. Tip! Better not to plan this trip on weekends there will be too many people.

Evening/night. Time to see drawbridges and White nights, the most spectacular is the opening of Palace bridge, at 1.10am after that you can walk along the embankment to one of the nearby bridges, take photos, drink coffee and go back to your hotel or stay awake all night to witness the shortest night in your life and to enjoy the tranquility of the city in the early morning.

Catherine palace, Pushkin.
Catherine Palace, Pushkin.

What to see in St.Petersburg on the third day?

Morning. Start with the Hermitage Museum, it’ll take a good part of your day, at least the whole morning. Tip! Buy your tickets at ticket offices inside the Former General Staff Building there won’t be many people.

Afternoon. After lunch, take a boat ride along rivers and channels, usually takes between 1-1,5hours. If you feel well-rested after a boat ride and ready for one more museum you can go to the Russian Museum for the rest of the day. You can switch the order of visits to the museums. Just remember the Hermitage opened till 9 pm on Mondays and Fridays and the Russian museum opened on Mondays till 8 pm and on Thursdays till 9 pm.

Evening/night. You can finally chill in one of the bars/restaurants in the center your sightseeing marathon is over!

The Raphael loggias, State Hermitage, St.Petersburg
The Raphael loggias, State Hermitage, St.Petersburg 3 day itinerary

Public transport in St.Petersburg

It’s cheap and easy to use no need to rent a car or take taxis all the time.

Metro – the easiest and fastest way to move around in the city, can get to any tourist attraction within the city. One trip costs RUB45/US$0,7 no time or station limit valid until you get out of the metro.

Buses – on some streets there is a separate line for buses but still, in rush hours you have a good chance to get stuck, I’d rather stick to the metro unless the bus is the only option. Bus ride RUB40/US$0,6 any distance.

Trams – the city used to have the longest tram in the world but not anymore, nowadays trams are quite scaring especially in the city center. Tram ride RUB40/US$0,6.

Marshrutka – it’s a commercial minibus that in a way repeats public buses’ routes, it may be a bit faster. It makes sense to take them when going to the suburbs (Pushkin, Peterhof). Price between RUB40-100/US$0,6-1,6 depending on the distance.

There are many taxi services as well as Uber and Yandex Taxi in the city if you don’t mind paying more you can easily get a taxi anywhere at any time of the day. I’d recommend asking for the price before you go.

Night buses in Saint Petersburg 

From 30 April to 15 November on weekends (Friday-Saturday and Saturday-Sunday nights) there are 5 bus lines that copy metro routes, they run from 0.00 till 6 am, every 30min., stop at bus stops along the route; №1M (red metro line), 2M (blue line), 3M (green line), 4M (orange line), 5M (purple line), price RUB40/US$ 0,6. Note! When the bridges are opened buses can’t cross to the other side in this case use metro. Two metro stations; Admiralteiskaya and Sportivnaya are opened on weekends from 1 am till 2.40am so if the bridges are opened and you need to get to the other side you can use the metro, RUB45/US$0,7.

The Bronze Horseman, St.Petersburg
The Bronze Horseman, St.Petersburg

St.Petersburg airport (Pulkovo)

Unlike in Moscow in St.Petersburg there is only one airport, doesn’t matter if you have international or local flight they all leave from Pulkovo airport. You can easily get to/from the airport by public transport.

How to get from Pulkovo to the city?

The bus stop is right in front of the exit, the bus leaves every 10-15min., cost RUB40/US0,6, plus the same for luggage if it’s big. Get off at Moskovskaya metro (you won’t miss it everybody will get off there). From here you can get by metro basically anywhere in the city, at least to all touristy areas. One metro ride is RUB45/US$0,7.

How to get from the city center to the airport?

First get to Moskovskaya metro station (red line), from the center about 20min. By metro. Than exit “Bus to the airport”, the bus stop is near McDonald. From there it takes between 15 to 30min. to get to the airport depending on traffic (from 5 pm to 8 pm the worst). So if you know the way it’ll take between 1-1h15min.

Arch of Former General Staff building, Palace square.
Arch of Former General Staff building, Palace square.

Railway stations in Saint Petersburg

Here you can get confused there are 5 train stations in the city; Moskovsky, Vitebsky, Ladozhsky, Baltiisky, and Finlandsky. Sometimes trains to the same destination leave from different stations, the station will be indicated on your ticket. You can buy train tickets online up to 60 days prior departure on Russian railways site 

Moskovsky railway station

If you want to go to Moscow, to most southern destination. Speed train Sapsan St.Petersburg – Moscow leaves from this station. As well as most trains to Moscow and Southern destinations.  Nevsky prospect, 85, m Ploshad Vosstaniya/Mayakovskaya.

Ladozhsky railway station

Trains to Northern parts of Russia like Vorkuta, Chelyabinsk. Trains Moscow – Murmansk stop at this station. The newest railway station in the city. Zanevsky prospect, 73, m Ladozhskaya.

Vitebsky railway station

Here you can catch a train to suburbs Pushkin, Pavlovsk as well as trains to Belarus and Kaliningrad. Zagorodny pr., 52, m Pushkinskaya/Zvenigorodskaya

Finlandsky railway station

The only one long-distance train that leaves from here is a speed train Allegro to Finland. The rest is suburb trains to local “resort” areas in the North of the city like Zelenogorsk, Vyborg, Priozersk, Ladozhskoe lake, etc. Interesting fact! In April 1917 Lenin (father of Russian Revolution) returned from his auxiliary and arrived at this station where he made his famous speech announcing social revolution.

Baltiisky railway station

Only suburb trains leave from this station with no long-distance trains at all. From here you can take a train to Peterhof, Gatchina, Oranienbaum. Obvodny Kanal emb., 120, m Baltiiskaya

Bankovsky (bank) bridge with griffons, St.Petersburg
Bankovsky (bank) bridge with griffons, St.Petersburg

Where to do shopping in the city center?

The best and the biggest is Galereya, a huge mall right in the city center on Ligovsky Prospekt, next to Moskovsky railway station and Nevsky avenue. Here you can find anything fancy clothes shops, H&M, a good variety of restaurants and coffee shops, ATMs, sports shops, and a supermarket OK on the ground floor. Ligovsky prospect (avenue), 30A, m Vosstaniya and Mayakovskaya, open Mon-Sun, 10 am – 11 pm.

TK Pik there are some shops as well but on a much small scale the good thing about this mall there is a big supermarket Perekrestok on the ground floor where you can stock your food supplies. Sennaya sq., 2, m Sennaya/Sadovaya/Spasskaya. Open Mon-Sun from 10am – 10pm.

Where to eat in St.Petersburg?

Budget options

The most budget is to cook for yourself but anyway there are some pretty cheap and ok places in the city center.

Чайная ложка/Chainaya lozhka (Tea Spoon) – local pancake place, all sort of pancakes with different fillings, salads, soups, tea, cool drinks. Meals from RUB150/US$2,5. Many around the city. Nevsky prospect, 44, m Nevsky pr./Gostiny Dvor. Nevsky prospect. 85, m Mayakovskaya. Open 24 hours.

Сел — Поел/Sel – Poel (Sit down and Eat) – all sort of food from traditional Russian meals (buffet bar with salads, sides, soups, and mains) to pizza, wok, burgers, steaks as well as desserts and coffee. Average bill RUB300/US$5. Sadovaya st., 27, m Sadovaya/Sennaya/Spasskaya. Open Mos-Sun, from 9 am – 11 pm.

Пироговый дворик/Pirogovy Dvorik (Pie Yard)traditional Russian pies with meat, chicken, vegetables, berries and more, they serve as well soups and salads. Breakfast from RUB130/US$2, lunch from RUB210/US$3,5. Griboedova emb., 22, m Nevsky Prospect. Open from 10 am to 11 pm.

Теремок/Teremok one more local pancake place with a big variety of pancakes, soups, salads, etc. Set meal from RUB150/US$2,5. There are many around the city, e.g. Nevsky prospect 60, Bolshaya Morskaya, 11. Open from 7.30am – 11pm.

Doughnuts on Bolshaya Konyushennaya. Not really a food place only doughnuts, tea, coffee but it’s the oldest doughnut place in St.Petersburg and they try to keep it the way it was during the Soviet area, my mum used to go there when she was at school and it looked and served the same. THree doughnuts with coffee will cost RUB120/US$2. Tip! Go there before lunchtime otherwise it’s very likely you’ll spend some time in the queue. Bolshaya Konyushennaya, 25, m Nevsky Prospect. Open from 10am – 8pm.

Subway, KFC, McDonalds all these are quite cheap, Sub of the Day you can get for RUB125/US$2, Cheeseburger RUB60/US$1. We always try to eat in local places but sometimes fast food can be an option.

Middle price range

Pelmeniya – mono cuisine restaurant, all sorts of pelmeni (Russian dumplings), momos, khinkali from around the world. Nice cozy place, good food, English menu. We’d recommend coming here for lunch to make a break in exploring the city. Average bill RUB400-600/US$7-10 per person. Fontanka emb., 26, m Nevsky prospect/Gostiny Dvor and Marata st., 8, m Ploshad Vosstaniya. Open from 11 am – 11 pm every day.

Suliko – Georgian cousin, house wine, English menu, one of our favorite restaurants in the city. Tip! Try khinkali, Ajarian Khachapuri, shashlik (a typical Georgian/Russian way of cooking meat on fire). Average bill RUB500-700/US$7-10 per person. Kazanskaya st., 6 behind Kazan cathedral, m Nevsky prospect. Open from 11 am-midnight every day.

Ukrop, vegetarian/vegan/raw food, everything from starters to desserts, breakfast menu. Very cozy chilled place, English menu. Average bill RUB500-600/US$7-10 per person. Malaya Konyushennaya st., 14, m Admiralteiskaya. Open from 9 am – 11 pm every day.

Bakhroma, Uzbek cuisine, breakfast and lunch menu, meat dishes, soups, dough dishes. Average bill RUB500-700/US$7-10. Bolshoy prospect, 30, m Sportivnaya/Petrogradskaya. Open from 11 am – 1 am every day.

Bekitzer, Israeli street food bar. Rubinstein st., 40, m Vladimirskaya. Average bill RUB500-700/US$7-10 only shawarma/falafel will cost you about RUB300/US$5. Open from 12 pm – 6 am every day.

MooMoo Burgers, the best burgers we’ve ever eaten, the English menu. Tip! Try Cheese blast it’s the best. Average bill RUB500-700/US$7-10 per person. Sadovaya st., 42, m Sadovaya/Sennaya/Spasskaya. Open from 8 am-midnight every day.

Cheese blast, the best burger ever! Moo Moo burger restaurant.
Cheese blast, the best burger ever! Moo Moo burger restaurant.

Upper class

In this price range, we haven’t visited any restaurants (too much for our budget) our recommendations are based on reviews from local magazines/websites and my friends’ opinion.

KoKoKo, a modern Russian cuisine restaurant with a creative menu, using seasonal products from local farmers. Average bill from RUB1500/US$25 pp. Voznesenzky prospect (av.), 6. Open Mon – Fri from 7am-12pm, from 2pm-1am. Sat-Sun from 7am-11am, from 2pm-1am. Tip! Try their famous dessert My mother’s favorite flower.

Полный Балет/Polny Balet (Total Ballet), modern interpretation of old Russian cuisine.  Average bill from RUB1000/US$16 pp. Gorohovaya st., 4, m Admiralteiskaya. Open daily from 10am-11pm.

Вкус есть/Vkus Est’ (Taste to Eat), Traditional and modern Russian cuisine. Average bill from RUB1500/US$25 pp. Fontsnka emb., 22, m Pushkinskaya/Zvenigorodskaya. Open daily from 1pm – 111pm. 

Food park, fusion, European, Asian, Indian cuisine. Average bill RUB1500/US$25 pp. Alexandrovsky park, 4/3A, m Gorkovskaya. Open Mon – Fri from 11am – 1am, Sat-Sun from midday – 1am.

Panorama restaurants mentioned above in the Best Photo spots section. Average bill RUB1500/US$25 pp.

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Handy items to bring with to St.Petersburg

Weather in St.Petersburg is unpredictable, it can change from warm and sunny to cold in windy in a day so my advice to bring some warmish clothes (hoodie, jeans, trainers) as well as summer clothing.

  • Comfortable shoes/sandals for walking – you’ll be walking a lot; around the city, in the museums and parks make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes.
  • Umbrella – it can rain at any time in this city.
  • Travel backpack – for hand luggage (to pack your laptop, phone, documents etc.) and to use as a day pack in the city.
  • Sunglasses – yes, it can be sunny in the city and if you do any water excursion sunglasses will be quite handy.
  • LifeStraw – tap water is not good for drinking (at least nobody I know drinks it unless there is a filter) bringing a LifeStraw bottle of just a filter is a good idea.

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Friday 7th of February 2020

We are two ladies spending 3.5 days in St. Petersburg. Our flight home leaves at 5 am and our hotel is on the Nevsky Prospect 50. We need to get to the airport and we were wondering if we should move to an airport hotel the night before that has a shuttle to the airport. We would have to be at the airport at 3 am. Any suggestions?

Stingy Nomads

Friday 7th of February 2020

Hello, Rose! Thank you for the comment! I think it's easier to stay in one place and just take a taxi at night to the airport, I'm sure your hotel can arrange a taxi for you the evening before that picks you up at 2am or so and drives to the airport. At night there won't be much traffic. Just make sure your hotel books a taxi for you and when you get up, ask them to confirm it again. Have a great time in St.Petersburg!


Tuesday 4th of February 2020

My husband and I are going to St. Petersburg in 3 days. It was a gift for my birthday. I had read all your information about the place and now, I cannot wait to arrive there and explore everything that I feel I know already. Thank you for introducing us all these details. It makes our trip much more comfortable.

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 6th of February 2020

Hello, Elena! Thank you very much for the comment! I'm sure you'll have a great time in St.Petersburg. Cheers!


Thursday 9th of January 2020

Hi there. Great blog. Travelling end of the month. Are there any circuses at this time or are they closed? Thanks

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 9th of January 2020

Hello, Estelle! Thank you for the comment! You can try Circus Ciniselli at the Fontanka emb., for now, I see their Christmas performances are scheduled till 19th January but I'd recommend checking their site in a week or two maybe they'll extend it or start a new performance. Cheers!

Vicky Harrison

Saturday 4th of January 2020

Thank you, this is so useful! Especially all the information on transport and getting about. It will really help us to go armed with a bit of information as we are very nervous about not being able to read the alphabet!

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 4th of January 2020

Hello, Vicky! Thank you very much for the feedback! It's not as scary as it might seem, metro stations and street names are written in both Cyrillic and Latin letters, the airport bus makes announcements in English, most hostels and hotels have staff that can speak at least some English and tours and museum have audioguides in English. I'm sure you'll be fine! Enjoy St.Petersburg!

Joan Nick

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

for ermitage visit, which thursday is free 1st or 3rd ? differents websites indicate either one or the other ? Experiences ..

Stingy Nomads

Tuesday 17th of December 2019

Hello, Nick! It's every third Thursday of the month as it says in this post and on the official Hermitage website, it was changed in 2019. The sites that say it's the first Thursday of the month have never updated their information. Cheers!

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