St. Petersburg Itinerary: Day 1
On the first day, what you should have in mind is that, St. Petersburg is a very popular city swayed by tourists all day. So, the transportation here is very easy. If you are freaking out, just tell yourself that, there are two city tourist information offices in Sadovaya and there is one in Palace square.
It seems perfect that you start your first day by visiting the Hermitage museum. The museum is not open on Mondays. All the other days its up and functioning. The tickets would cost you around 700 rubles. By the sheer size of the building, you eventually realize that you are going to spend 3+ hours in there.
Founded in 1762 when Catherin the great acquired an extensive collection of art work by Ernst Gotzkowsky. The art work is spread across 6 buildings which stretch beyond 700,000 square feet (phew!).
The Hermitage boasts almost 3 million items. From the art work by greatest of artists to the ancient Greek statues, the hermitage is in itself a masterpiece. Coming second to the Louvre by the size, Hermitage in St. Petersburg is a perfect travel destination in Russia.
Your whole day is spent in the hermitage which comprises of 6 sections namely: Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, General Staff Building and Hermitage Theatre. Once you get out of there enlightened with the true meaning of life, I recommend grabbing something to eat at the local shops. The nearest pie shop is worth all your time and energy. Now, go to pay a visit to the St. Petersburg metro station.
The metro station in here looks like a Royal palace. You have to pay once to enter the metro and after that, you can spend as much time as you want and change as many trains and stations without additional pay. Which means you can see all the most breath taking metro stations in one go just for RUB45/US$0.7. A must see place in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg Itinerary: Day 2
On day two, the goal is to explore the city. Take a walking route; you will cover most of the places. The walking route and the places you will see is mentioned in order from start to finish. (in order from start to finish): Nevsky Prospect – Kazansky cathedral – Singer House – Stroganov palace – State Capella – Hermitage, Palace Square – Admiralty building – St.Isaac cathedral – Bronze Horseman – Dvortsovy (Palace) bridge – Vasilevsky island, Strelka – Kunstkamera – Stock Exchange – Birzhevoy bridge – Peter and Paul fortress – Troitsky bridge – Marble palace – Field of Mars – Summer Garden – Mikhailovsky castle – Mikhailovsky Garden – Church of the Savior on Blood – Russian museum – Mikhailovsky theatre.
You can grab coffee near any of these places and lunch too!
If you are in St. Petersburg during the festival of ‘White Nights’, that takes place during the summer from June 12 to July 2, just head to the Peterhof suburb. There you will be welcomed with the world’s largest carnival. It is a festival that marks the coming of light after the city is submerged in cold and dark during the winter. The canals in the city overlooking these spectacular lights makes St. Petersburg a fairy tale vacation destination.
St. Petersburg Itinerary: Day 3
A very short distance from St. Petersburg is the Peterhof grand palace and the Catherin’s palace. You can easily get a bus from your current location. The Catherine Palace is located in the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin). The palace was once the summer residence of the many Russian Tsars.
Now it has been turned into a museum, displaying over 300-years of history and elegantly decorated Rococo-style architecture, is one the stunning palaces in Russia. The palace is famous for its Baroque style and neoclassical interior that showcase the Russian wealth and lavishness.
On the other hand, the Peterhof grand palace lies 36.8kms from the Catherin palace. You can choose to see any one of them if you are short of time. I recommend, Peterhof Palace. You can reach there by bus. Take a window seat for different views of the city and the monuments.
Depending on the attraction you wish to see at the Peterhof Grand Palace you will be required to pay with an associated fee. The most popular ones are listed below
Lower Park is open 9am to 8pm, extended on Saturdays to 9pm and entrance fee will be 750 rubles.
Upper Garden is open 9am to 5.30pm, extended on Saturdays to 9.30pm and the entrance is free.
Grand Palace is open daily except on Mondays and the last Tuesdays of each month. The entrance fee will be 700 rubles.
How to go to St. Petersburg?
There are around 120 direct flights from India to Russia. Most of them are to and fro to Moscow. There are direct flights to St. Petersburg as well.
Pulkovo is the airport in St Petersburg and is split into two terminals. Pulkovo-2 is a hot spot to most of the international traffic. Pulkovo-1 is mostly a domestic airport. Pulkovo doesn’t have a metro station nearby and bus is the only transport option.
You have the option of Aeroport Express, Marshrutka minibus shuttle services or one of the city buses N39 or N13.
Marshrutka – It is a commercial minibus almost repeats public bus routes, but it is faster. Prices are between RUB40-100/US$0.6-1.6, depending on the distance.
Do I need a visa to go to St. Petersburg?
Yes. You need a visa unless you are on a cruise or boat or your country is listed as a ‘visa free regime’. In that case, your St. Petersburg trip is free of visa coast for 72 hours.
When should I visit St. Petersburg?
The best season to visit St. Peterburg will be in summer that is June, July and august. With an average temperature fluctuating between 15°C – 25°C, it is a very convincing weather for long walks and boat rides in the city.
I recommend the time in this extravagant city in its peak during mid-June (night from 21st to 22nd is the shortest night) that’s when this city doesn’t sleep! During the ‘white nights’ festival is taking place.
Apparently it feels like you can sleep a couple of hours and you are ok with it! The striking city of St. Petersburg remains as the best tourist vacation destination of all times.