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Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

by Bothwell Online Now Mar 10, 2013 at 10:02 PM

Hello Friends,

We’re leaving for Russia next week and have done limited research due to work-related time constraints. Wife and I will be in St Petersburg around noon time of March 22nd and will take the train to Veliky Novgorod on the 26th and thereafter take the overnight train that will get us to Moscow on the 28th. We plan to visit the following sites in St Petersburg but would appreciate your valuable help in organizing our schedule, as we don’t know the location and proximity of one attraction to the next.

St. Petersburg – March 22 noon to March 26 afternoon (4 pm)

Hermitage Museum (bought the combined ticket online)
Palace Square
The Peter and Paul Cathedral
Tsarskoe Selo 1. Catherine Palace 2. Alexander Palace 3. Pavlovsk Palace
Peterhof Palace and Garden
The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Anichkov Bridge
Yusupov Palace
St Nicholas Naval Cathedral
Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan (Kazansky Sobor)
Bronze Horseman (Monument to Peter the Great)
Smolny Cathedral
Cottage Palace in Peterhof
Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge
Gatchina Palace and Park
Neva Embankment
Strelka
Narva Triumphal Arch
Boat Tour

We intend to use Metro to visit the above attractions. Is this workable?

Another question: Do Bureau de Change in Moscow airport provide decent rate? Or are we better off withdrawing through ATM?

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12 Answers
  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Mikebb Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    you really have 3 days in St Petersburg, you will be busy, I think you are attempting to do too much. We were there in 2010 on a coach tour which took us to each tourist site.

    I recall visiting Peterhof Palace & Garden, just magnificent, huge. It took around 1 hour to drive there. The palace is massive, you need minimum 2 hours inside , but could take half a day, the gardens require a minimum of 1 hour, more like 2 hours.

    The Church of our Saviour and Spilled Blood - a must see, but extremely crowded and you may have to wait for entry. 2 hours plus travel time.

    So it goes on. Have you a guide book with map to see where each site is located, how to get there . Go to your local library and check out.

    We took the fast train St Petersburg to Moscow, only 4 hours.

    Good Luck.

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  • starship's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by starship Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 5:15 AM

    I agree this itinerary seems very ambitious in the time given unless you plan to spend only a minimal amount of time at each sight. The Hermitage, and Yusupov Palace alone require several hours to a half day at each at a very minimum --- however, "attendants" in each place keep visitors on the move it seems. The other major sights on your list also deserve an appropriate amount of time to really appreciate them. We spent 2 full days in St. Petersburg several years ago spending time at the major sights (The Hermitage, Yusupov Palace, a boat trip on the Neva, and stops at other major sights, etc.) but but not having too much time to see the rest except in passing. We also stopped at the Field of Mars.

    Good luck -- I really hope you are able to do all that you wish!

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  • Skillsbus's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Skillsbus Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 5:58 AM

    Wow you wish to visit so many places in such a short time.
    Where do i start !!!!
    Quite a few of these places are fairly close to each other but with the amount of things you wish to do it wont give you much time inside them.
    The Hermitage and Palace Sq are next to each other so i would start here. Then most of the other places in the centre are fairly close so you could walk to quite a few without using the metro (BTW metro was 25rur per journey. you buy tokens at the stations and just put them in the slot each time you wish to use the metro). After the Hermitage you can walk along Neva Embankment to the Bronze Horseman (ok that is go left along the river).
    You will see St Isaacs behind the Bronze Horseman. You will have to cross Admiralteyskiy Prospect. After visiting St Isaacs go back to this road and walk along the pleasent Alexander Garden towards Nevskiy Prospect and Palace Sq. Once at Nevskiy Prospect Turn right and follow the main road along crossing the canal (at the first canal called the Moika you can get a boat trip here in the afternoon in English, i think it is at 15.00 or 16.00) you will find Kazan Cathedral on your right. After, cross the main road(make sure you wait for the green man) and the Church of Spilled Blood will become visible down the side of the Griboyedova canal (at this time of year the queues will be quite short). I would sugges t after this if you have the time go back and do the boat trip.
    Boat trips from Moika canal show you Peter and Paul Fortress, Anchikov Bridge, Yusupov Palace and the Naval Cathedral aswell as many other places of interest not on your list.
    For Peterhof you can catch a hydrofoil from the Neva Embankment near the Hermitage. There is alot to see at Peterhof and a couple of hours may not be enough so you might wish to allow at least 5 hours or maybe more.
    Tsarskoe Selo is another day trip on its own. Take the metro to Moskovskaya. You can catch a bus from here to Puskin. The buses park in front of the House of Soviets. They are clearly marked up with destinations in the windows and the drivers are usually very helpful.
    They do not actually go to the Catherine Palace so you need to get off at Pushkin town square. Then it is a short walk to the palace and gardens. Remember which bus you used to get there as you need the same bus back but across the road.
    Smolny Cathedral is quite a way out of the central area and there is no metro station nearby.
    The Narva Triumphal Arch you need to catch the metro to Narvskaya and the arch is outside the station, also the Peter and Paul fortress is best to use Gorkovskaya metro station. You will need to buy tickets to get in the cathedral here.
    I will suggest you look at my St.Petersburg page "Saint Petersburg - more canals than Venice" - Saint Petersburg by Skillsbus
    All information and photo's are my own work over the last few years.
    I will be back there in July this year.
    If you require any further help let me know
    I hope you enjoy your time in St.Petersburg

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  • Skillsbus's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Skillsbus Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    The price of the metro has gone up to 28 rur not 25 rur as i mentioned.

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  • bugulma's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by bugulma Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    well, please, extract Peterhof from your list. Fountains is not working in March and Neva is frozen that to get River cruise!!!
    Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk in one day sounds great but if I were on your place I would separate it on 2 days. it is really much to see both places even in the short winter days!
    I really suggest, again, to avoid any canals and boat trip in March - too cold! besides, Neva will be frozen in the period of time!!
    Gatchina will take other day for you because it is 2-3 hours-day trip off of Saint Petersburg!
    All main sightseeings on you list, you may see in StP during the day but both Hermitage and Yusupov Palace are at least 3-hours as a minimum!!!

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  • bugulma's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by bugulma Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    about metro.
    it is the best transport in both cities that to get the points you wish 'cause of trafic in both cities, especially in the working days...
    although both city center (many sight-seeings) you may cover by walk. In Moscow you may buy ticket for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 60 trips. Since February 1st the ticket is valid for any public transport (metro, bus, tram, trolleybus, - except regional trains within Moscow). The more trips you buy the less you pay (for 1 trip). So 1trip-ticket is RUR 28 (USD 0.95), if you buy 10-trips, it is RUR 265 (USD 8.85 or USD 0.85 per 1 trip). the ticket is a card.
    in Saint Petersburg there is tockens, RUR 28 for 1 trip. There are cards as well, but I used only tockens before because I prefer walking in the city (not much using the transport system).

    I am sure the airport rates are not good in Moscow (as in any other places), use ATM in the airport (or in StP or Novgorod before going to Moscow)

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  • bugulma's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by bugulma Online Now Mar 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    just in case
    pulkovoairport.ru/eng/transp...
    welcome to StP! :-)

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  • Bothwell's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Bothwell Online Now Mar 13, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Thank you all very much for your suggestions. We decided to just skip Novgorod and concentrate the entire trip in St Petersburg and Moscow.

    New Question: We just booked additional 2 nights in another hotel in St P an hour ago.

    Crowne Plaza - 4 nights
    Golden Garden - 2 nights

    How will this affect our tourist registration? If Crowne registers us for 4 days, do we still need to request Golden Garden to register us for the next 2?

    Now that we have 6 days free for St P. I'd really, really appreciate your suggestions on how to optimize our trip in this city.

    Cheers.

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  • Skillsbus's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Skillsbus Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    The first question is what country are you from?
    If the first hotel has registered you then you should be ok.
    The second hotel may do it automatically but as you'll still be in StP then it shouldn't affect your visa.
    Six days should give you plenty of time to see the main sights.
    Can you tell me where you actually want to go in and where you just want to see?
    Some places such as the Hermitage you need a couple of hours at least to see and other only a few minutes :)

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  • Bothwell's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Bothwell Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Hi Duncan. I'm from Hong Kong (requires no visa) while wifey is from Taiwan (requires visa and Tourist voucher).

    We intend to cover all the attractions listed on my original question above. I'd very much appreciate your input on this.

    Kind regards.

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  • Skillsbus's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by Skillsbus Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Hello,
    For day one i would suggest you do the Hermitage and Palace Square first, but get to the Hermitage for when it opens. That way you will have plenty of time to visit all you want to see inside. Allow yourself 2-3 hours as a minimum here. Afterwards you have a couple of options. 1, go to Peter & Paul fortress which you will see across the river. Whichever bridge you use to cross the Neva it will take about 30 mins to walk. You will also get wonderful views of the Winter Palace and the Spit of Vasilievsky island.
    option 2 would be to walk along the Neva embankment and visit the Summer Palace and Gardens. This is not so far. The gardens have just been restored and reopened last year.
    Option 3 could be the walk along the Embankment to the Bronze Horseman and follow the route i gave you before.
    Day 2 i suggest you do Pushkin, especially if its a good day. The Catherine Palace and Gardens will take about 2-3 hours at a minimum to go round and if your still feeling upto it you can go into the Alexander Palace & Park afterwards or go onto Pavlovsk Palace.
    Day 3 Go to Smolny cathedral. I hope you dont mind a walk BTW !!!! or you can catch bus 46 from Nab. Lebyaznevo Kanal which runs at the side of Mars field or from Chernyskevskay Metro station. Catching the bus will be the quickest way to get there. Make sure you go up the towers. You get wonderful views "Smolny Cathedral" - Cathedrals and Churches Tip by Skillsbus
    Let me know if you want to walk one way as i can tell you the route and what to look out for along the way, but be warned it is a long walk.
    Day 4 i suggest you do Anchikov Bridge and the Naval Cathedral. If you walk along the Fontanka you can see both of these aswell as many other places of interest. Alternatively go to Anchikov Bridge first then catch the metro to Sadovaya from Gostiny Dvor and take a much shorter walk to the Naval Cathedral along Sadovaya Ulitsa. You can catch the tram #1 or 11 too. After go back to Sadovaya Metro and get the metro to Narvskaya changing at Technologie Institute to view the Narva Arch and Communist wall mural which are both outside the station.
    Day 5 if you have done Peter & Paul Fortress on another day. Go to Yusupov Palace first and again when it opens. after yhe Bronze Horseman and St Isaacs are close by so you could do the walk i described in my first message after doing these.
    Day 6 you probably want a relaxing stroll along Nevsky Prospect before you catch your train to Moscow.
    As other have said forget Peterhof and Gatchina. They are both long trips and at this time of year there is not much to do when you get there. And the boat trips around the canals probably wont be running due to the canals and the Neva still being frozen with ice.
    If you need anymore help or specific details please contact me.
    Oh and take very warm clothes with you and an umbrella. It is still very cold in StP and short rain showers are common place.
    I hope all this is useful and you enjoy your visit to StP.

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  • bugulma's Profile Photo

    Re: Help with itinerary suggestions in St. Petersburg

    by bugulma Online Now Mar 14, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    in my opinion Aleksander Nevsky Lavra is much more interesting than Smolny Cathedral. besides in my opinion if you will not visit museums (except Hermitage of course) you can see all main attractions in 1-2 days by walk. But the end of March is not good season to walk around and maybe you will attend to museums (as it was said above, Yusupov palace, Russian Museum (arts), Mikhailovsky Castle (life of Pavel I Emperor) or Menshikov Palace (the first stone building in the city, and interiors of the first half of XVIII century)) and cathedrals (like Isakievsky Cathedral or The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood).

    Besides you may visit the model of Russia (some in english here tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRevi..., the official site (on Russian): http://grandmaket.ru/

    Moreover, if it will be raining, you may visit Oceanarium http://www.planeta-neptun.ru/ocean/

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