Hi, I'll be going to St Petersburg this year, but will be travelling alone for the last three days of my trip. I'll be staying in a small hotel around the ulitsa Nakhimova area of Vasilyevsky Island. Could anyone who has lived or been there please advise me on (1) safety (is walking on the street at 10pm safe?), (2) the current crime rates, (3) any good places to eat/visit around there and (4) what mini-hotels like Freedom Hotel are like, and what I should expect? I know this is quite a lot but it would definitely be very helpful! Thanks so much (:
St. Petersburg is nowadays more safe than it used to be. Especially Newsky prospect and side streets are alive till midnight and the biggest treat there is pickpocketing. Be aware when you are in crowded areas (I was pickpocketed in Mayakovskaja metro station in the middle of day). Some times they use a group of young children strategy (and very seldom some weapons).
You live a little bit side, it's an apartment area, I haven't been just there during nights, I would say normal caution, if possible don't wander alone or drunk and don't use dark alleys.
I would propose Kafe Tbilisi, it's many kilometers from you place but some 500m from Gorgovskaja metro station in Sytninskaya ulitsa 10 (I found the place long time ago when I used to be weekly in St.P).
Please, provide some information about you in you home page, I just understood that you are probably a woman travelling alone, and being alone there?
I guess you've seen official site of the hotel (freedom-hotel.ru/%D0%9D%D0E%...">freedom-hotel.ru/%D0%9D%D0E%...). The mini-hotel in StP is usually the former big appartments for several families in the buildings but changed to mini hotel. I stayed at such places several times and they all not bad at all (classical B&B format :-)).
Agree with above, I find StP very safe city and 10 pm is quite early time I suppose :-)) and a lot of people could be in the streets yet, especially if you will be travelling during white nights period (end of May to July). I've never stayed in the area of Primorskaya metro station on the Island and all of my stayings were near of Vasileostrovskaya metro stations. In any way, Vasilevsky Island is one of my favorite places of StP.
At the same time, there are not many sightseeings near of your hotel, there is a port near by. But the eastern part of the island is full of sight seeings like the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange building with the Rostral Columns area or Kunstkamera museum as well as Menshikov Palace (the first stone building in StP). In the southern part of the island, Leutenant Schmidt embankment, there is cathedral as well as Ice-Breaker ship and military submarine which both are open for visitors (museums). Other sight seeings are in the central area of course, but it is close enough to your hotel, 2 stops by metro only and you will be in Gostiny Dvor area on Nevsky Prospekt.
I found this service in English quite useful, maybe you will find many good info about city here too: inyourpocket.com/russia/st-p.... The information is renovated once in 1 or 2 months and you may download file in .pdf
from my experience of the restaurants on Vasilevsky Island: I can recommend Mama Roma (chain of Italian cafes), the address is Sredny Prospekt 6. Other place I like is Lebanon restaurant Biblos, the address is Maly Pospekt, 5
Beware that during the summer, the bridges connecting Vasilevsky Island to the city center open for hours at a time after midnight so plan your returns during the periods the bridges are open. Public transportation ends by 00:30 just after midnight so most who are out past that time(most night life is late, clubs hardly start before 11pm) plan to stay out all night.
The area of your mini hotel is a sleeping area with fewer attractions but in recent years large shopping centers have opened. Cafes are more numerous there then full restaurants but there are some full restaurants, English pubs and a few night clubs. Getting to the city center is easy from 06:00 to 24:00 by using the metro(subway) that is fast and cheap and you will be in the heart of the city center in 10 minutes.
Streets are safe, very little street crime but there are a couple small areas where pickpockets work among the highly crowded areas around the Church on Spilled Blood, and a stretch of Nevsky prospect from address 20 up to 60, just a few blocks of the 3.5km long street. Two new gangs of camera thieves are active in the summer who target high end cameras so I would not take a valuable camera in the areas described above during the peak of tourism of the summer.
Mini-hotels are not hotels at all, just converted residential rooms in apartment houses, usually only part of one floor where all the rest of the apartments are lived in. They usually have no services or even staff most of the time since the main chains of them share staff between a number of mini-hotels. It is much cheaper, roomier and more comfortable to rent an apartment than mini-hotels which in the summer are not cheap at all.
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