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Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

Canberra
Level Contributor
685 posts
177 reviews
Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

Thank you everyone for all your input. We had a great 5 days/6 nights in your wonderful city St Petersburg. This is just a brief Trip Report and I hope it helps future travellers.

We arrived at 9.50pm at the airport after an exhausting 26 hours of travel and this didn’t include the travel from our home city Canberra to Sydney for our 6am departure to St Petersburg via Dubai. So arriving at our hotel, Alexander House Boutique Hotel was a sigh of relief. I had researched various options and eventually decided to stay just a bit out of the city centre and I must say it was the best decision we made. See separate review.

We were met by the hotel’s arranged transfer and whisked away. After a great night’s sleep, I had planned a day of walking through the city using Google maps. We started with a taxi to the Faberge Museum (this was my favourite) and then walked to the Russian Museum which is huge and quite busy. But we were on a mission to see the paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky. With lots of hand pointing by the helpful staff we found the paintings and also had a look at some of the icon artwork which was amazing. So not much time spent here and we would love to return to see the whole museum one day.

We then walked to the Church of the Spilled Blood – amazing mosaics, followed by lunch at the Singer Café. We then walked across the road for a quick look at the Kazan Cathedral. After that we followed a canal and found the Yusupov Palace which was a lovely example of a small palace in the city but nothing compared to the big icons of Catherine’s Palace and Peterhof. Isn’t the theatre amazing though.

Then we walked back to Alexander house. What a day!

For the next three days we engaged the services of a private guide Alisa (PM me if you want her details) and this was also a great decision. Alisa took us all around St Petersburg by local bus and metro to Peterhof, the Hermitage, Catherine’s Palace, St Isaac’s Cathedral, Peter & Pauls Fortress, a metro tour and to some amazing lunch places. See separate review.

Before we left I bought tickets for the Mariinsky Theatre and we saw Swan Lake. This was a major bucket list item for me. It was an easy walk from our hotel and we indulged in a glass of champagne before the show. What a night out.

For the last day I had planned another walking tour for us, we started with a taxi ride to St Isaac’s Cathedral early, using the ticket machines, got tickets for the walk up the Colonnade, we were the first up, great views, but it was windy and rather chilly. Then we popped into The Astoria for morning tea – a little bit of indulgence and again glad we did it.

Then we walked to the General Staff Museum (tickets were free, not sure why) and visited just one floor that contained the most impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. We spent 2.5 hours here! After a quick lunch in their café we caught a bus all the way down Nevsky Pospect (lots of great help from the conductor) to find the Artic & Antarctic Museum – my husband’s choice. Not sure if I would recommend this museum, but he did walk around for a bit while I rested my exhausted feet.

We then walked – again! – to the Faberge Museum (said it was my favourite) and had afternoon tea in their lovely café and then boarded an sunset canal cruise – wonderful but very cold outside. Then we walked to Gostiny Dvor to catch the #181 bus back to our hotel – it stops at St Nicholas Cathedral.

We found St Petersburg to be extremely clean, organised and easy to get around by public transport and walking. Yes, we did two days on our own and found it easy, but really appreciated the input from our guide Alisa who told us lots about the city’s history, Russian customs and introduced us to some lovely Russian and Georgian food. Alisa was also a great help moving us through the Hermitage (Putin was visiting while we were there) and showing us how to use public transport.

We absolutely loved St Petersburg it was the best destination we visited on our trip and we are still raving about it to our family and friends today.

Thanks again St Petersburg Trip Advisor forum members for all your input.

14 replies to this topic
1 post
1. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

I also visited St. Petersburg recently. I spent 9 night in the city and absolutely loved it. I enjoy walking so I did not use public transport unless with a friend I met who lives there. I found the city to be clean, easy to get around and the locals to be very friendly and helpful. I will be returning for many more visits and finding new things to do as the seasons change.

Winnipeg Canada
Destination Expert
for Winnipeg
Level Contributor
4,756 posts
525 reviews
2. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

Great report - thanks

New York
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4,294 posts
40 reviews
3. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

I know someone who went to SPB on a business trip and 2 weeks later she came back as a tourist she wanted more.

And she is based in Vienna which is pretty impressive in its own right.

Canberra
Level Contributor
685 posts
177 reviews
4. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

SPB just blew us out of the water. Cannot believe how beautiful it was and the food was amazing. Could have spent hours at the Hermitage but also the General Staff Building - but my husband is an art teacher so we love art galleries. In fact SPB had amazing art everywhere including the Faberge Museum, all the different palaces etc.

Wish we had more time for The Russian Museum. Let's not talk about the Churches. We visited Rome at the end of the holiday and I must say I was a bit disappointed after being to SPB.

UK
Level Contributor
614 posts
24 reviews
5. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

I was just deciding between st Petersburg and another destination for our 20th wedding anniversary next year and your trip report has just made my decision for me!

Vilnius, Lithuania
Destination Expert
for Lithuania, Vilnius
Level Contributor
3,639 posts
299 reviews
6. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

EXcellent trip report! Thank you for taking your time to post it, i made bunch of notes for my upcoming trip in May.

Dubai, United Arab...
Level Contributor
258 posts
2 reviews
7. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

Hi!

I have PMd you for the contact details of the guide please?

Thanks

Denton, Texas
Level Contributor
107 posts
1,094 reviews
8. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

>decided to stay just a bit out of the city centre and I must say it was the best decision we made.

Would you please share more about the reasoning behind your decision and where you stayed (I don’t know where to look for your separate review).

Wife and I will be there in May and I booked a city center hotel (Big Marine).

Thanks,

Canberra
Level Contributor
685 posts
177 reviews
9. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

We stayed at Alexander House Boutique Hotel. They get raving reviews and they are all true. Boutique style rooms and a fantastic restaurant in house. For us, we do not go out at night roaming the streets, so finding a hotel with a great room (big with space for a sitting area) and a good restaurant really fitted our requirements. The main reviews we were interested in was the level of service and assistance given to their guests - again all true.

It was close to the Mariinsky Theatre (I and II), 10 minute walk.

Bus #181 into town made it easy for us to come back home. We started the day with a taxi to our first destination and then walked around and took a bus home. We found taxis quite affordable. We don't travel with mobile data! Also we had an amazing guide for 3 days who took us to Catherine's Palace, Peterhof and also around some of the city sights.

We are walkers, and actually from town the hotel was about 20-30 minutes' walk depending on where you were located so not really far. There was an ATM and a supermarket near by - very local area. I did notice that there was a new Holiday Inn Express very close also.

It was a very relaxing location and hotel, and after all day touring around, we found it restful. Free Wi Fi too.

Denton, Texas
Level Contributor
107 posts
1,094 reviews
10. Re: Trip Report - St Petersburg - What a wonderful city.

Sound great! We will check it out.

Thanks very much for sharing!!

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