Hey guys, in this post, I wanted to share with you the best tours to take in St. Petersburg, Russia recommended by a local – me, who was born and lived in St. Petersburg for 22 years.
You will find different tours for any taste, interest or budget – keep reading to find out, whether to take tours in Saint Petersburg and which tour is an absolute must for anyone visiting the city.
I tried to sort these great tours in Saint Petersburg based on the tour type, e.g. walking tours in St. Petersburg, bus tours, skip the line tickets or even day trips from St. Petersburg, Russia. While I took some of the similar tours before, some others were recommended to me by my family, friends, friends of friends and you know, the word of mouth. All the tours suggested below have a really good rating, so hopefully, you won’t be disappointed.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the best tours to take in St. Petersburg, Russia
Walking tours in St. Petersburg
The first category of tours and excursions in St. Petersburg is walking tours. I would recommend those if you’re prepared to walk a lot, as the distances in St. Petersburg are not so small. I would also recommend only taking them when it’s warm in Saint Petersburg.
I would recommend taking bus tours, when it’s too cold to walk outside or when it’s not enough time to see the city. Let’s say you’re in St. Petersburg for only 72 hours (there’s a way to visit St. Petersburg visa-free if you come by cruise, read more here>>>), you don’t have much time. However, you want to see as much as possible and cover all the main landmarks in the city. In this case, you can take one of those tours below.
River and canal cruises are really popular in Saint Petersburg and I would definitely recommend you to go on one of these cruises. However, they are not available when the canals are frozen and that’s roughly from the end of October to April. Also, when it’s cold, sitting outside it’s pretty miserable, so you need to dress warm or pick a boat that has an inside section with heating.
There are so many different canal and river cruises in Saint Petersburg, that it could be confusing for you, which one to pick. I would definitely recommend Moyka River cruises. There’s no 100% need to buy them online, you can just head to the river (crossing with Nevsky Prospekt) and buy it there.
Many tourists and travellers are very curious about Russian food and drink habits, hence, there are quite a few of these tours available. While some of the tours are focused on trying local’s food, the others mainly involve drinking. Whichever you prefer – it’s up to you!
Even though distances in Russia are massive, there are quite a few places you can visit that are in close proximity to Saint Petersburg. Most of them involve palaces e.g. Peterhof or Tsarskoe Selo (Catherine Palace), where you can totally go by public transport as well. The others are more complicated to travel to and do require a tour.
Hi guys, in this post, I would love to share with you my detailed instruction on how to get to Peterhof from St. Petersburg city centre. I know that getting around Russia can be quite frustrating, especially if you don’t speak the language. As a person, who was born and lived in St. Petersburg for 22 years, I really like helping my fellow travellers out, especially when it comes to travelling to Russia.
Saint Petersburg is definitely the most beautiful city in Russia and one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Lavish imperial palaces, amazing museums, ballet and affordable prices (as well an easy way to visit the city without having to get the Russian visa) make St. Petersburg also a very desirable tourist destination.
Some of the best landmarks like Peterhof are located outside the city centre, so it’s not very obvious how to get there, especially if you don’t speak the language. Let’s talk about all the different ways to get to Peterhof Palace and Fountains from St. Petersburg city centre and St. Petersburg airport!
Please note that the fountains in Peterhof work only from the end of April (each year the date is different, but it’s roughly the 27-29th of April) until the mid-October.
How to get to Peterhof from St. Petersburg city centre or Pulkovo Airport
Let’s talk about getting to Peterhof from Saint Petersburg city centre first. I will rank the ways from the easiest to the most complicated and time-consuming.
The easiest way to travel to Peterhof: Buy a tour to Peterhof
The easiest and the most painless way is definitely to buy a quick tour to Peterhof. You can either get this tour online or you can get it in one of the tour stalls near the Gostiny Dvor (the main downside – they are rarely in English there opposed to the tours bought online).
Take a speed boat to Peterhof from the city centre
Not many people are aware of the fact that you can actually take a speed boat from St. Petersburg to Peterhof. The cost is 850 Rub (900-950 at the pier) for a one-way ride and 1600 for a return one and the journey time is about 45 minutes.
You can take the speed boat to Peterhof any time from 10:30 (11:00) until 14:30 (they depart every hour). The return boat goes from 14:30 to 18:30 every hour as well. I took this boat 4-5 times and it was the absolute fastest way to get to Peterhof. However, I prefer going to Peterhof by public transport and going back by the speed boat. You can buy the tickets online or in the ticket booths located at the pier. During peak times, the speed boats get sold out quickly, so I recommend buying tickets online. If you buy tickets online, you need to head to the different pier – Central Pier (near the Palace bridge) on Admiralteyskaya emb., 2.
The shuttle boat pier to Peterhof is located at the Palace Pier (Dvortsovaya embankment 36 – right in front of the back side of the Hermitage museum. Here’s the exact location on the map.
In Peterhof, you will arrive straight to the pier that is right at the entrance to the park, so a perfect location again.
Benefits: the fastest way to get to Peterhof. Downsides: a bit pricey, especially if you’re backpacking.
Taking a taxi from St. Petersburg city centre to Peterhof is actually not a bad idea at all. Make sure to download the Yandex Taxi or Gett app and only get a taxi that has a fixed price for your ride. A taxi ride from the city centre would cost you around 900 or 1000-1200 rubles, which is really affordable for an hour-long ride.
Benefits: travel with comfort, get it any time you feel like going to Peterhof. A great and affordable way to get to Peterhof for a family.
Downsides: you need the internet to ask for the taxi and you need to download one of these apps. I wouldn’t trust catching a random taxi on the road, so please only ask for taxis though Gett or Yandex taxi apps! Uber was bought by Yandex taxi in Russia, so most probably, the app won’t work anymore.
Okay, the last and the most affordable way to get to Peterhof from Saint Petersburg city centre is by public transport. It’s not really as complicated as it seems. From wherever you’re staying get to the Avtovo metro station in the South of the Red metro line. The one-way token costs 45 rub. Avtovo is also one of the most beautiful metro stations in the entire city.
Exit the metro in Avtovo and cross the road through the underground passageway. On the other side, there will be a bunch of minibuses that say Peterhof (sometimes in English as well) or Петергоф, Фонтаны in Russian. If it’s easier for you, the minibus numbers that go to Peterhof are the following: 424, 300, 224. There’s also a regular bus 200 that goes to Peterhof, however, it takes longer, as it stops at every stop, while the minibuses stop at the request only.
Tell the driver that you’re going to Peterhof (just say Peterhof – you can pronounce it Pye-tyer-gof and pay your fare (usually about 70 rub). The drive takes about 35-40 min depending on the traffic and you will be brought to the bus stop right in front of the entry to Peterhof state museum.
The return ride is exactly the same.
Benefits: really the cheapest way to get to Peterhof. You’ll spend around 120 rub one way. You’ll see the most beautiful metro station in the city as well. You can go and leave whenever you want. Downsides: some people find it complicated.
There are a couple of other ways to get to Peterhof, e.g. a minibus from Baltiyskaya metro station or a minibus from Prospekt Veteranov station. You can also take a train from the Baltiyskaya railway station, but that’s the worst way to get to Peterhof, as you will have to walk for 20 minutes to the entrance to the State Museum (Palace and Park) and well, it’s not easy to understand, where on Earth do you need to go, so better leave it for the locals.
Now let’s talk about getting to Peterhof from St. Petersburg airport
If you’re planning to travel to Peterhof from St. Petersburg airport, there are two simple ways.
Take a taxi
Download the app Gett or Yandex Taxi (Pulkovo airport has free WiFi) and ask for a taxi to Peterhof. It would take around an hour and will cost you about 900-1000 Rub. DON’T take unauthorised taxis from the airport as they can easily inflate the prices.
From the airport, take a public bus to Moskovskaya metro station. From there, take a bus 30 to Leninsky Prospekt and then hop on a minibus 103 to Peterhof.
What to see in Peterhof?
If you’re wondering, what to see in Peterhof and whether it’s worth the hassle to travel there, I must assure you, that it’s worth it, however, if you only visit it from the end of April to end of September, when the fountains are on.
The palace is absolutely stunning, it’s very luxurious and lavish, so I definitely recommend going inside. The park with the fountains is huge and you need a map to see the highlights and the most famous fountains that are a must in Peterhof.
Okay, hopefully, now it’s more clear for you how to get to Peterhof from St. Petersburg. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
If you’re planning to visit the Northern Capital of Russia and you’re interested in art, culture and sightseeing, this post is for you. In this post, you will learn about the best museums to visit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Why Northern Capital of Russia? Isn’t Moscow the capital of Russia?
Did the beginning of this post confuse you? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people get confused when they hear about the Northen capital of Russia because to them, it doesn’t make sense. Well, let me explain to you where did this phrase come from and why St. Petersburg is often referred to as to the Northern Capital of Russia. St. Petersburg is an imperial city that used to be the capital of Russia for more than 200 years. St. Petersburg was built to be the capital. Even though Moscow regained its capital status in 1918 (and it used to be the capital for almost 350 years before St. Petersburg), Saint Petersburg still plays a very important role in Russia. It’s the second biggest city and well, President Putin is also originally from St. Petersburg.
Other nicknames for Saint Petersburg include “the Venice of the North” – St. Petersburg was originally intended to look like Venice, in some parts at least; Piter (just short for Saint Petersburg), SPB – you might see it a lot on the Internet.
I’ve got a separate post about the best areas to stay in Saint Petersburg. The city is not small at all (hey, the population is more than 5 Mio people, that makes St. Petersburg the 3rd biggest city in Europe). There are plenty of properties available all around the city and it’s worth mentioning where to stay and where not to stay. So if you’re looking for a good hotel/apartment in St. Petersburg and not sure, where to stay, head to THIS post.
The best museums to visit in St. Petersburg, Russia
Before we start with the best museums in Saint Petersburg, I just quickly wanted to mention my post about the best places to see ballet (and opera) in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Read it here if you’re interested. I really recommend you to watch a ballet in Russia, as it’s a unique experience. Read my post about where to see ballet in Saint Petersburg here >>>
Okay, without further ado, let’s start with the best museums to visit in St. Petersburg:
1. Hermitage Museum
Okay, I won’t reinvent the wheel here and tell you something you haven’t known before (probably), but the absolutely best museum to visit in St. Petersburg is the Hermitage museum. The Hermitage museum is one of the biggest and also the most famous museums in the world. The main exposition is located in the gorgeous Winter Palace building located on the main square of St. Petersburg – Palace square. Sometimes the queues are quite long, so you can skip the queues and buy the ticket online instead. The tickets are sold on the official website of the museum and you can access it here.
What’s remarkable about the Hermitage? The Hermitage has a huge collection of paintings (featuring some famous works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Monet, Renoir, Raphael and more). Moreover, Hermitage has a lot of sculptures, furniture, ethnographic collections (e.g. the one of the Scythians is particularly impressive), the famous peacock clock and overall, incredibly beautiful rooms that are worth visiting on their own.
Would you be interested in taking a tour / excursion in St. Petersburg? Check my post about the best tours to take in St. Petersburg >>>
2. The Russian Museum
One of my favourite museums of St. Petersburg and the one I visited more than 20 times (not always voluntarily though, but I was 10-13 years old back then, you’ve got to understand). If you’re interested in the art of different eras and you would be interested in knowing and seeing more of Russian art, definitely head to the Russian Museum. It’s located in the heart of St. Petersburg on the Square of Arts and there’s always a queue for visiting the museum, although not as long as the one for the Hermitage. The museum is also very beautiful and impressive inside.
Head there to see some of the best artworks of the best Russian artists including Aivazovsky, Vasnezov, Bryullov and Repin.
If you’re looking for an interactive museum and would like to learn a bit more about the history of St. Petersburg, I’ve got a perfect museum for you. Petrovskaya Akvatoria is located in the heart of St. Petersburg, near the Admiralteyskaya metro station. Basically, it’s a miniature view of how St. Petersburg looked in 1720-1740 and why was it built like it was built. This museum was interesting even for me, as I thought I knew all about my hometown. It turned out, that there were quite a few things I didn’t know. So well, I definitely recommend you visiting Petrovskaya Akvatoria if you have a couple of hours of spare time.
Yes, there is a fortress in the city centre of Saint Petersburg. However, not sure if it’s fortress you just imagined (nothing like a proper medieval fortress, you know). Peter and Paul’s fortress is a place where St. Petersburg was founded in 1703. You can now enter the fortress and wander around visiting the first church in St. Petersburg and also the first boat the Peter the I (the first emperor of Russia) built himself (it was his hobby).
And of course, every day at 12 pm a cannon fires (be prepared, as it’s really loud and some tourists get pretty scared).
Photo by Andrey / Pixabay as I don’t have a decent photo
5. Russian vodka museum
The Russian vodka museum is all about vodka (as you could have guessed). I haven’t visited this museum myself, but I know quite a few people who did and the majority found it interesting. The most popular part of the museum is probably the sampling room and that’s why most foreigners actually visit this place. Russian vodka museum is a great place to learn more about vodka and try a couple of vodkas that you won’t see abroad.
My favourite place near St. Petersburg and the place I recommend to visit in summer is definitely the Peterhof Palace and its marvellous fountain park. Located outside St. Petersburg, in the suburbs, the Peterhof museum can be easily reached by a combination of metro & minibus (would take 1h 15 to 1.5 hours depending on where you’re departing from). I recommend visiting this place in late spring – all summer simply because the fountains are only open in summer. St. Petersburg is a Northern city and has pretty unpleasant weather (8 months of snow, who would like that?), but it’s usually lovely in summer (not always, though, we had summers when the average temperature was around 15 degrees Celsius).
The palace, however, is beautiful all year long. The Peterhof Palace is a typical Imperial palace and inside you can see the actual interior of the rooms, where the Tsars and their help lived. The interiors are very well preserved, so there’s a lot to see and admire.
Read my post about 1/2 day trip to Peterhof: how to get there >>>
7. Catherine Palace
My second favourite palace in St. Petersburg is the Catherine Palace, located in Tsarskoe Selo. Tsarskoe Selo or Pushkin is a small town outside St. Petersburg, just about 20-30 minutes driving from Moskovskaya subway station. The city is rapidly expanding, so soon Tsarskoe Selo will become just one of the districts of the city (I suspect). If you watched the animated movie “Anastasia” about the princess of the Romanov Tsar family, this was the palace where the ball took place. The interiors of this palace are really impressive and it’s the most lavish palace I visited in my life. So if you like visiting palaces and admiring what’s inside, this place is for you.
The part outside the palace is also very beautiful, so Catherine palace is perfect for a half a day trip from St. Petersburg.
8. Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines
Okay, enough classic museums for now, let’s talk about something fun for a second. A great and “cool” place to visit in St. Petersburg is the museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. The arcade machines are there not only to look at, but you can also actually play yourself and have a lot of fun. At the entrance, you get something like 15 old Soviet coins and you can use them to play. It’s not like a proper museum per se, but it’s definitely fun to visit with friends.
Okay, back to classics. Another one of the museums you should definitely visit in St. Petersburg is the Faberge museum. Have you heard of the famous Faberge eggs? Well, you can see plenty of those in the Faberge museum and on top of it, some really beautiful glassware, cutlery and more. The museum is also open until 9 pm (except for Friday), so it’s a good place to visit if everything else already closed or you don’t want to travel far.
If you can only visit one city in Russia, what would it be? People usually pick between Moscow and Saint Petersburg and in this post, I wanted to compare Moscow vs St. Petersburg and will tell you what to expect from either of them.
If you’re wondering, what’s the nightlife like in Russia and what are the best bars in St. Petersburg, you’re in the right place. In this post, I will tell you where to drink in St. Petersburg and what are the best nightlife spots in Saint Petersburg for any budget. I was born and lived in St. Petersburg for 22 years, so I’m pretty much an expert in all things related to my hometown.
If you’re planning to travel to Russia and looking for the best areas to stay in St. Petersburg, Russia, you’re in the right place. In this post, I will share with you the best neighbourhoods and metro stations in my hometown, Saint Petersburg. I was born and lived in St. Petersburg for 22 years and I sill regularly come to visit my family and friends at least 3 times a year, so I still stay updated with the recent changes and developments in my home town. Some people are also wondering, whether St. Petersburg is safe and I’ll try to answer this question in this post as well.
Let’s talk about the type of your holiday first, as you might enjoy different areas more or less, depending on your holiday type. If you’re coming for a weekend to St. Petersburg or on a 72-hour break with a cruise (you don’t need a visa for that if you come by cruise – read my post to find out more), you might want to stay in the city centre. If you’re coming for longer, e.g. a week or perhaps 2 weeks or a month – you might want to stay in a lovely quiet and well-connected place instead.
St. Petersburg consists of 18 districts or boroughs. Hence, you are likely to see the name of the district next to the street / hotel name when looking for the accommodation in St. Petersburg.
Where not to stay in St. Petersburg, Russia:
Following districts are purely residential – there is nothing to see and to do and the location is far from perfect:
Kirovsky (the areas of Prospekt Veteranov, Leninsky Prospekt, Avtovo, Kirovsky Zavod)
Petrodvortsovy (that’s where Peterhof palace is located, it’s just too far)
Nevsky (don’t confuse with the main avenue – Nevsky Prospekt)
Primorsky (some areas are good though)
All of these areas of Saint Petersburg are safe, so no worries, if you decide to stay there in the end. Let’s talk about the safety in St. Petersburg and then I will tell you where to stay in Saint Petersburg – about the best areas and neighbourhoods in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Is St. Petersburg, Russia safe? Areas to avoid in Saint Petersburg, Russia (no-go zones)
None of the areas are dangerous (in case you’re asking whether St. Petersburg is safe or dangerous), however, some areas might look quite rough. I would avoid staying near metro stations like Kupchino, Rybatskoe, Prospekt Veteranov, Prospekt Prosveshenya, Devyatkino, Udelnaya, Prospekt Bolshevikov. However, I wouldn’t say that Saint Petersburg has some no-go zones, where you can’t go. Not at all. So yes, I would say that Saint Petersburg is safe, however, like everywhere else, you need to be cautious. For more tips on what to do and not to do in Russia, head to my post about the Russia travel tips >>>
Best neighbourhoods to stay in Saint Petersburg
Let’s talk about the good areas to stay in St. Petersburg for a tourist. As promised, I will tell you a bit more about each area.
Tsentralny district – this would be my preferred choice for a short stay in St. Petersburg. Tsenstralny district means “City Center Area” and literally spreads all over the main touristic spots in Saint Petersburg. One of my favourite areas in St. Petersburg is the area around the metro station Nevsky Prospekt / Gostiny Dvor, Vladimirskaya and Chernyshevskaya. Also, Admiralteyskaya is great – you’ll be just minutes away from the Hermitage.
My favourite opera and ballet theatre in St. Petersburg, Mikhailovsky Theatre is located steps away from the Nevsky Prospekt metro station as well.
Petrogradsky district is charming in terms of the architecture and the location is also great. There are plenty of things to do in the area including Peter and Paul’s Fortress and the district is pretty walkable. Some of the best stations to stay next to: Gor’kovskaya, Petrogradskaya, Sportivnaya. You will need to take the metro to get to the main landmarks, however, that won’t take more than 10-15 minutes. Also, the new stadium (where the World Cup in 2018 took place and where Euro Cup in 2020 will take place as well) is located on the same metro line as Sportivnaya, for example, so it’s quite easy to get there.
Admiralteysky District – another of the best areas to stay in St. Petersburg, where you’ll be staying walking distance (although, around 20-30 min walking) from some of the main landmarks. Some areas near Pushniskaya metro station as well as Sennaya Ploschad are good.
Vasileostrovsky District is another area to consider, however, I would recommend it for longer stays. This zone of St. Petersburg is less touristy, however, it’s very very beautiful and I love coming there in summer and just walking around. If you stay next to the Vasileostrovskaya metro station, you can get to the city centre in 10-15 minutes as well.
Moskovsky District – the last area to consider and for a longer stay again. However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly accommodation in St. Petersburg or for a place close to the airport, Moskovsky district is your best bet. The airport bus comes directly to the Moskovkaya metro station (the ride from the airport takes 15-25 minutes depending on the traffic) and then you can jump into the metro and be in the city centre in another 20 minutes. Since it’s not the city centre anymore, the property prices are way lower there. Also, this area of St. Petersburg is very different from the city centre, as it looks very communist – the monument of Lenin, huge squares, Stalin-type buildings. You might actually like it. You can also easily hop on the minibus to the Tsarskoe Selo to visit the famous Catherine Palace (only if you stay close to the Moskovskaya metro station).
Read this post about the 15 best museums in St. Petersburg >>>
Where to stay in Saint Petersburg, Russia? Well, I hope you now more or less realise, which are the best places to stay in St. Petersburg. However, if it’s easier for you to see things on the map, you can see one below. The spots within the circles are the best areas to stay in Saint Petersburg.
Best place for a short stay in St. Petersburg, Russia
I hope you have a bit more clarity now and know a bit more about the districts in Saint Petersburg. If you’re looking for the best place for a short stay in St. Petersburg, you might want to look at the hotels / apartments next to these stations: Nevsky Prospekt, Admiralteyskaya, Vladimirskaya, Ploshad Vosstaniya.
If you’re looking for an apartment, Airbnb works very well in Russia. If you haven’t booked with Airbnb before, you could use my link to get some free credit for your first booking.
Best area for a longer stay in Saint Petersburg:
If you’re coming to St. Petersburg for longer, perhaps a week or even a month, you might want to find an area, where the properties aren’t so expensive, but at the same time, it’s a beautiful and quiet (and safe) area to stay in Saint Petersburg.
For this purpose, I would recommend staying near metro stations Vasileostrovskaya, Ploshad Alexandra Nevskogo, Chernyshevskaya and, perhaps, Petrogradskaya as well. There are lovely quiet but at the same time central areas that are great for a longer stay in Saint Petersburg.
I hope that now it’s easier for you to understand, where to stay or not to stay in Saint Petersburg, Russia and whether St. Petersburg is safe or not. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
What’s our next blogging destination? Correct, Russia! In this post, I teamed up with some really great travel bloggers to collaborate on the post about the best cities to visit in Russia. Even though I’m Russian and I lived in Saint Petersburg all my life until 3 years ago, I haven’t travelled around my own country a lot, so I needed help from people, who did.
Russia is the biggest country in the world and there are so many places to visit and explore. There are plenty of lakes, National reserves, islands, forests, mountains… I will need to create a separate post about the Ultimate Russia Travel Bucket list including all these spots. In this post, however, I will focus on the best cities in Russia. What makes all these cities the best ones to visit? Well, first of all, their beauty, historical value, landmarks, natural surroundings and infrastructure.
Let’s get started with the best cities to visit in Russia:
Number one destination in Russia: Saint Petersburg
As I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, of course, I placed St. Petersburg on the first place in this list of the top Russian cities to visit. My opinion might be biased, but St. Petersburg was recognized as one of the most beautiful cities in the world by multiple Travel Awards and Media outlets and the number one destination to visit in Russia. St. Petersburg used to be the capital of the Russian Empire, thus, it’s a big, beautiful and lavish city. Only around the city, there are 5 gorgeous Imperial Palaces: Peterhof, Catherine Palace, Gatchina, Constantinovsky Palace and Oranienbaum Palace. St. Petersburg is home to one of the biggest and most important museums of the world – the Hermitage museum. There are so many things to do and to see in St. Petersburg, that you would probably need at least a week to see a bit of the city. In my ultimate guide to St. Petersburg, I covered all the important aspects / things to do and other facts about St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg is the capital of culture and art and it’s one of the best places in the world to see a Ballet performance. You can read THIS post to find out, where and how to see ballet in St. Petersburg.
Moscow is the capital of Russia and it’s world famous for the Red Square that became almost a symbol of Russia. Unlike St. Petersburg which is a very European city built by the best European and Russian architects of the 18-19th centuries, Moscow is a more traditional Russian city. Moscow is way older and it’s a great place to learn more about Russian history, culture and traditions.
Sochi – tropical paradise and the top skiing destination in Russia
Chances are, that you’ve heard of Sochi as the place, where Winter Olympics in 2014 took place. Many people get surprised when they find out that Sochi is one of the warmest cities in Russia and it’s located in the South, on the coast of the Black Sea. It has the same climate as Varna or Golden Sands in Bulgaria and it’s really hot in summer. However, Sochi is located close to the really tall mountains (Rosa Peak is the highest – 2300 m), so it’s a perfect destination for skiing in winter and hiking and swimming in summer. If you’re interested in visiting Sochi, you can read my post about things to do in Sochi in summer and in winter.
Nizhny Novgorod – a historical city and the home to the best EDM festival in Russia
Nizhny Novgorod is another great city to visit in Russia. Just like Moscow, it’s a historical city and it has a large Kremlin (not as impressive as the one in Moscow though, but still very beautiful). Nizhny Novgorod is significantly cheaper than Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi (read this post to find out how much does it cost to travel in Russia) and it also has a great EDM (Electronic Dance Music Festival) held every July with some of the world’s top DJs coming to a village near Nizhny and perform for 3 days.
Most tourists in Russia only visit two places in the country – Moscow and St. Petersburg. While I enjoyed both cities, I took the opportunity to visit some of the less-discovered places in Russia as part of my trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Therefore, I planned a stop in Yekaterinburg and visited the city for a few days before continuing my trip further East.
One of the best places to visit in Yekaterinburg is the Church on the Blood. This church doesn’t only look impressive but is also a great place to learn more about its cruel history, since the Russian tsar with his family was murdered right where the church is built. Further, make sure to have a look at the very new and modern Yeltsin museum which is certainly worth a visit. For a panorama view of the city, head to the top of the Visotsky Observatory.
Just outside of Yekaterinburg, you’ll also find the “official” border of Europe and Asia, which is marked on the ground. While the monument isn’t, in particular, special, it’s still a popular trip for tourists, and you can take a fun picture with one leg in Europe and one leg in Asia. I certainly enjoyed my visit to Yekaterinburg and can recommend stopping there for at least two days.
In this post, I wanted to tell you about the tips for travelling to Russia for the first time, such as things you need to know about Russia, how to book tickets, which cities should you visit during your visit to Russia and how to avoid scams in Russia.
If you’re wondering, how come I have so much expertise about Russia, well, I’m originally from St. Petersburg and you can read more about my story here. However, right now I’m permanently based in London, but I still manage to travel to Russia at least 3 times per year.
In the first part of the post, I will tell you about the most touristic cities in Russia (I’m sure you’ll visit at least some of them).
The most touristic cities in Russia
Moscow is the capital of Russia and is definitely worth visiting. You can stay there for a couple of days (read the post about the 2-day itinerary for Moscow). Moscow is famous for its Red Square, expensive & exclusive restaurants and clubs and impossible traffic jams. The best way to get around Moscow is definitely by metro, otherwise, you risk to spend half of your day in a traffic jam.
Kaliningrad is this tiny piece of Russia located in the middle of Europe between Poland and Lithuania. It’s probably the cheapest city to visit in terms of transport – you can easily get there from Poland, Latvia or Lithuania and these countries are famous for their cheap flights (Ryanair and Airbaltic fly there!). Apart from that, Kaliningrad is a nice city, which is worth visiting for a day or two.
I have never been to Volgograd, but I’ve got a couple of friends from there. You probably never heard of Volgograd, am I right? And what if I say if Volgograd’s name during the Soviet Union was Stalingrad? Does that ring a bell? I bet it does. Volgograd is a Southern city with the population over 1 million people. Just like Samara, it’s located on the river Volga. Volgograd is famous for its role in the WWII and you can find many museums and war monuments dedicated to WWII in Volgograd. Apart from that, it’s just a nice and lovely city.
Located just 2 hours by speed train from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod is one of the nicest cities in Russia. Read my guide to things to do in Nizhny Novgorod here. It has some really beautiful architecture in the city centre, including a huge Kremlin (yep, not only Moscow has one), it has plenty of hipster places, e.g. burgers in the downtown and it’s way cheaper compared to Moscow, St. Petersburg or Russia. Also, if you stay a little longer in Nizhny, you’ll have a chance to experience the Alfa Future People festival – one of the best EDM festivals in the entire world. Here’s our review of AFP 2016.
Samara is the 9th biggest city in Russia with the population just over a million people (which is huge for European standards) and it’s a lovely city located on Russia’s most important river Volga. Since the Football World Cup in Russia is in summer, the weather in Samara will be quite hot and you can chill and sunbathe at the riverside beach in Samara. Also, you can visit a couple of traditional Russian churches in the city as well as the Cosmos museum.
Sarank is a pretty small city (just over 300,000 residents) located to the South of Moscow. It’s a really small city with almost no landmarks, so the best thing is Saransk would be just to walk around, eat out in different places (prices are really cheap compared to Moscow) and have a beer in very affordable pubs and bars of Saransk.
Kazan is the 4th biggest city in Russia and the capital of Tatarstan, one of the Muslim regions of Russia. Hence the Mosques you can see everywhere in Kazan. Kazan is lovely, vibrant and fast developing. Moreover, Kazan is also super cheap, so it’s definitely worth going there.
Ekaterinburg is located in the Ural part of Russia, which is the borderline between Europe and Asia (The Ural Mountains separate Europe and Asia). Ekaterinburg is the fourth biggest city in Russia and has plenty of things to offer to its tourists from nature parks to cathedrals and various museums. Ekaterinburg theatre is also pretty famous so if you have a chance to get tickets for opera and ballet there (especially if St. Petersburg is sold out), you’ll be lucky!
Rostov on Don is a large city in the South of Russia just next to the border with Ukraine (don’t worry, it’s completely safe). The population is again over a million residents, which makes Roston the tenth biggest city in Russia. Rostov is a nice city to..
Many people dream of winning a lottery, but never actually buy a ticket, missing out on a chance to actually win a good sum of money that could be used on the best activity in the world – travelling. In this post, I will showcase 10 luxury destinations to visit if you scooped a large prize, because who knows, maybe you’re going to be the lucky one!
Let’s be realistic: £10 M is kind of hard to win. However, £200,000 could be realistic. For this post, I collaborated with Lottoland, where you can try your luck and who knows, maybe win big! Of course, you can invest it in the property or stock, but you can also spend that money on a luxury break in Europe or an around the world trip. Just to help you with some ideas of luxury holidays, I decided to write this list of 10 luxury getaways to visit if you won big on a lottery bet (or maybe you have this money due to hard work or generous ancestors, who knows).
Let’s get started with the 10 luxury destinations to visit if you win a lottery:
French Polynesia, especially Bora Bora is the ultimate luxury destination in the entire world. You must have seen it at least a 1000 times in different travel ads, because Bora Bora looks like a paradise. Well, it actually is a paradise. If you want to stay in a resort in Bora Bora, be ready to pay at least $400-500 per night for a hotel, however, if you really want an ultimate luxury holiday, you can splurge on a 3 bedroom villa with a private pool in Four Seasons Bora Bora for $24,000 per night. Not bad, huh? Maybe your neighbour will be George Clunie.
Another luxury getaway is Seychelles. Known for its luxurious properties and cheap holiday villas alike, Seychelles can provide a lot of privacy to the ones seeking it, that’s why it’s one of the favourite spots of the celebrities around the world. Seychelles also have some of the world’s best beaches – especially on the Dhigu Island. What’s the ultimate luxury you can buy yourself in Seychelles? Well, you can stay in the Fregate Island Private Resort for just $8,000 per night. Alternatively, you can rent the Presidential Villa in Four Seasons Seychelles for almost $16,000 per night.
3. Safari in Kenya & Tanzania
Kenya and Tanzania aren’t luxurious destinations per se (if you’re looking for something affordable – I actually went there and wrote about my experience), but you can definitely go on a luxury safari for at least $10,000 per person. If you won a lottery, why not?
4. Cruise to Antarctica
If an adventurer has been asleep inside you all your life and now you finally realised that adventure is in your blood, head to Antarctica. The Antarctica cruises are some of the most expensive cruises in the world, and they are totally worth it. They start from $5,000 per person, but if you want comfort (I know you do), you can get yourself a suite for $40,000 per person.
5. Luxury getaway in Milan
Another luxury destination (this time in Europe) is Milan. Known for its boutiques, restaurants and the best opera in the world, Milan attracts a lot of luxury travellers, willing to spend their money on shopping, exclusive hotels and theatre.
Another luxury destination is the Maldives. I actually went to the Maldives in May and absolutely loved it (read about my experience here). I stayed in a 5* hotel and it was amazing, however, it’s far from what a huge sum of money can get you. You can stay in Soneva Jani and pay about $15,000 a night – for this money, you can get an overwater villa with your own water slide, how awesome is that?
6. Dubai, UAE
Another luxury spot to visit if you’re rich or you won a lottery is Dubai. Dubai has some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants, lavish hotels and posh nightclubs. Also Dubai is great for shopping and it’s warm all year long there (well, maybe a bit too warm in summer).
7. Santorini, Greece
Santorini itself is not an expensive destination – you can get things for any budget in Santorini, however, if you have money and you’re willing to spend it, you’ll be able to rent an amazing villa with the the infinity swimming pool and the most gorgeous view over the iconic white houses. It’s very romantic, isn’t it?
8. Courchevel 1850, France
If you’re looking for something different, e.g. winter sport destination, you should definitely consider Courchevel 1850, where you have a 70% chance to meet Russian oligarchs (not that it’s amazing to meet them – however, it’s an indicator of poshness). Skiing in Courchevel is very prestigious and you’ll have a chance to eat in some amazing Michelin-star restaurants.
9. Luxury cabin in the Transsiberian Express in Russia
Another luxurious adventure that you can buy with a lot of money is the journey in the Imperial Suite of the Transsiberian rail in Russia – just $30,000 and the suite is yours!
10. Yacht holiday in Capri
One of the most exclusive islands in Europe is Italian Capri. And what can be better than hiring (or buying) your own yacht and exploring every bay of the beautiful Capri while having your own butler on board who prepares you your favourite cocktails? I’m afraid of mentioning the prices here – it all depends on the type of yacht you want, but the possibilities are pretty unlimited!
I hope you enjoyed this post and now feeling inspired to maybe try to win a lottery?
10 luxury destinations to visit if you hit a jackpot was last modified: December 2nd, 2018 by Liza
Hi guys, in this post I’m going to tell you how much money you need to travel in Russia. How expensive is Russia? What’s the cost of travelling in Moscow and St. Petersburg? I’m going to cover this and much more in this post about cost of travel in Russia. Let’s get started.
I would call myself an expert in very few fields actually, but Russia would be definitely one of this fields. In case you’re new to this blog and you haven’t read any of my posts before, welcome, my name is Liza and I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia (read my local’s guide to Saint Petersburg, Russia). I also lived in Russia until I was 22 when I moved to the UK. I still go to Russia at least 2-3 times a year and stay on top of the trends, so I can definitely share with you the cost of travelling in Russia for 2018 & 2019 (I’ll be updating it for 2020 and further, don’t worry).
Moscow and Saint Petersburg are the most expensive cities in Russia (I don’t count Murmansk and other Northern cities, where groceries are extremely expensive because of their location above the Polar circle, but hardly any tourists go there). Moscow is definitely more expensive than Saint Petersburg in terms of restaurants and services, but don’t expect the difference to be that huge.
Let’s get started with the cost of travelling in Moscow and Saint Petersburg
Price of Hotels & accommodation in Russia
You can find all sorts of properties for all sorts of budgets in Russia. Because of recent (well, it happened a couple of years ago, but it’s still pretty recent) ruble drop, you can actually afford luxury for less in Russia.
Cost of luxury hotels in Russia:
You can stay in a 5* hotel in Moscow for $200-300 per night (there are cheaper and more expensive options, of course, but that’s just an average). Impressive 5* hotels to look at in Moscow are:Metropol,Peter I, Moscow Mariott Grand.
Moscow has many airports, however, the price for the aeroexpress (train to the city centre) is usually around $7-8 per person. A taxi (try to use Uber or Yandex Taxi) would cost you around $15-30. A cost of one ride a public bus, metro tram or trolley bus in Moscow ranges from $0.55 to $0.9.
In Saint Petersburg, the airport is close to the city, so you can actually take a public bus to the metro for $0.7 and then take metro to your accommodation – also around $0.75 for a single ride. Some of the metro stations also accept contactless, so you can pay with your bank card.
How expensive is Russia in terms of food? Well, there are all kinds of places (restaurants, cafes etc) in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and the prices can range from very low ($2 for a meal) to very high ($400 for a meal). However, usually, you can get a lunch in a very nice restaurant in Moscow for about 1500 rub ($20) and in Saint Petersburg, for about 1000 rub ($15).
Some nice restaurants also offer business lunches for about $10. If you go to some chain restaurants e.g. Teremok, you can have a menu for about $5, which is an insane price for the amount of food offered. If you’re looking for budget-friendly restaurants and eateries in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, you can go to the places with the name “Stolovaya” – these are usually very cheap and you can eat for as low as $2.
If you’re willing to splurge, you can head to White Rabbit (the best restaurant of Moscow) or the restaurants of the Ginza Project group in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Novikov restaurants are also a great choice, however, the prices are comparable to major European capitals. You would spend around $100 for a dinner with alcohol.
Nightlife costs in Russia
Going out & drinking in Russia is relatively cheap as well. Of course, there are a few luxirious nightclubs in Russia, but on average, a very nice cocktail in a posh place would cost you from 400 to 1000 rub ($6-15). If you consider cheaper bars / pubs in Moscow or St Petersburg, you can get a pint of local beer for about 150 rub (2.5$) and a pint of German or Belgian beer for about $4-6. There are plenty of affordable cocktail bars with the deals of 2-4-1 where you can get yourself two cocktails for $8.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are two very affordable bar chains in St. Petersburg – Kontakt Bar and SPB bar, where you can get 0.5 of beer for less than $2 (125 rub) and a shot of vodka for even less – 100 rub or $1.44.
The Catherine Palace + park (only charged in summer for the park) – 700 + 150 rub
Free museums in St Petersburg: Kazan Cathedral, The Hermitage (free of charge only on the 1st Thursday of the Month) & always for students, Please note that if you have a valid student ID, you can go to some museums free of change (e.g. Hermitage) or get a substantial discount.