There is no denying it, traveling in Saint Petersburg for me was like traveling in western European cities with all the unique historical values and developed infrastructure but at half the price of that in the west. If you are looking for a tourist-friendly, familiar but unique enough to entice your wanderlust destination, Saint Petersburg should be on the list.
I spent a week in Saint Petersburg during Autumn (not the best time) and I have decided to compile a list of things to do in this city compressed in a more vacation-friendly timeline. Within this city guide, you will find out when is the best time to go, affordable accommodation, ways to around and a list of fun things for you to do in this wonderful city.
When To Go
June to August is the best time to go as the temperature is perfect for outdoor activities hovering around 20 - 25°C and you are more likely to get a clear day than shoulder seasons. Clear days are hard to come by out of the summertime so I would only recommend this period.
How to Get Here
Traveling to Russia is cheaper than most people think. You can easily find a plenty of flights by Aeroflot operating in Europe and Central Asia. You can also browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find the cheapest possible flight from where you are.
How To Get Around
Saint Petersburg attractions are mostly concentrated around the winter palace area so most of the places are walkable.
If you want to explore a little further, the metro system is possibly the cheapest and fastest way to get around inside the city. It should cost you around 45 RUB (0.8 USD) per single trip of any distance.
Buses are a little bit cheaper (40 RUB) but depend on the traffic and time, it might be faster and more reliable to stick with the metro.
Getting from the airport and vice versa are relatively easy and cheap. When you exit the terminal, there will be a bus waiting going to the city. Hop on and pay 40 RUB (luggage not included) and it will take you to "Moskovskaya" metro station and from there you can take the metro to where you are staying.
Saint Petersburg - Hostel Chickadee - 6.5 USD/Night (Centrally located inside an old European building with beautiful wooden decors and comfortable beds with curtains.)
If you booked the same hostel that I do, from Moskovskaya station, get on the dark blue line and change to red line at Tekhnologicheskiy Institut station and head to Vladimirskaya station and you are 2 blocks away from Hostel Chickadee.
This place is moderately priced with transportation, food and accommodation average around 35 - 55 USD per day per person. Not that cheap but not too expensive.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Russia, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
Things to Do in Saint Petersburg (3 nights)
Walking along the Nevsky Avenue, you will stumble upon Kazan cathedral, one of the biggest cathedral in the city so it is difficult not to check it out. The cathedral is free entry from 7AM - 8PM.
The Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral
One of the most iconic landmark of St Petersburg, this colorful cathedral is located in between the criss-crossing canals of Saint Petersburg. The cathedral is especially beautiful at dusk from the big bridge on Nevsky Avenue near Kazan Cathedral.
Be sure to go inside and look up. The interior is even more epic than the exterior in my opinion.
The Winter Palace and the Palace Square
The winter palace is another beautiful landmark you have to see in Saint Petersburg. Its unique green/white color combination and its perfect symmetry make the exterior quite a sight to behold. To make this place even better, the inside of the palace is the Hermitage museum.
The Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum houses one of the most prestigious and largest art collection in the world. Even if you are not interested in the art, the museum do house temporary exhibition for you to learn about the history of Russia. When I was there, the October Revolution exhibition was on display. It was interesting to see how the revolution played a big role of transforming Russia to what it is today.
The 3 million items houses in the Hermitage museum occupies a large complex of six historic buildings. The museum is a labyrinth. I can see myself spending an entire day here learning and admiring the prestigious art collection and a unique interior grand Russian design.
St. Isaac's Cathedral
This cathedral is both impressive on the outside and on the inside but the best part of this cathedral is not any of that, it's the fact that you could climb up the tower to get to the balcony and absorb Saint Petersburg from the top.
Although you have to pay a few RUB to get up and get in separately but due to its location, 360° open air panoramic balcony, and its proximity to the winter palace, it was worth all the Rubles needed. I spent almost an hour up there taking timelapse videos of the city's skyline.
When you get inside, beware. You might get neck pain afterward because the cathedral decors and the colorful interior will have your head all the way back looking up and your jaw all the way down. Yes, it is that stunning!
Photos by Alex 'Florstein' Fedorov
Peterhof is a summer palace located outside of Saint Petersburg. The palace consists of a series of palaces, gardens and the Grand Cascade which the place is known for. If you are here during the summer, check out the big fountains at the Grand Cascade. Keep in mind that the fountains are only operational from May to September so time your visit accordingly.
Photos by Perfektangelll
If you plan your trip ahead of time, be sure to align your visit with any opera, ballet or concerts that perform in the Mariinsky Theatre and book the ticket before hand so you can see the grand interior of this historic theatre. To see the upcoming shows, please visit this page.
Cafe for Digital Nomad
I haven't done this in a while but since I found the perfect place for people traveling in Saint Petersburg, it is hard not to recommend.
Located near the Winter Palace, Coffee Bar Bonch is the best place to sit and enjoy a nice cup of cafe, watching the locals socialize or just sit and work on your laptop in peace. The cafe has a fast free Wifi (you need a Russian phone number to activate the wifi) and plenty of power sockets around the cafe. Coffee and cakes are delicious and not too pricey.
The location is shown above.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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