How to organize a trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia? Practical tips and information (Updated 2019)

Saint Petersburg. When I landed there for the second time I almost cried out of joy. Even though I don’t do it normally, this time I was one of the impatient passengers standing in the plane’s aisle as soon as the seatbelt sign was off. I smiled to the airport’s walls and even gave worn-out marshrutkas an affectionate look. I missed this place. And I was glad I’ll be able to show this beautiful city to Adam – and to you 🙂

Organizing a trip to Saint Petersburg might seem overwhelming. You need to face some challenges indeed and Russia travel tips might be useful – but I’ll show you it’s not rocket science 🙂

Check top things to see in Saint Petersburg and download your free printable guide to the city.

It will make your planning easier, I promise 🙂

How to organize a trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia?

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

1. How many days to I need to visit Saint Petersburg, Russia?

If you can, I recommend you to go to Saint Petersburg for 6 days or more. It’s not the best place for a short, weekend city break – you’d see the main spots in the center then but it wouldn’t be a complete experience worth paying for the visa and plane – unless you plan to see other interesting places in Russia like Moscow, Yekaterinburg or Lake Baikal 🙂 I would say 3 days is a minimum, 6 is optimal.

In 6 days you’ll have time to see the center, visit the Hermitge, Peter and Paul Fortress, main churches, go to Peterhof to see the famous fountains and to Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) to see Catherine Palace and an outstanding park. You’ll have time for a cruise along rivers and channels of the city.

I spent 6 weeks in St. Petersburg volunteering in 2014. This year I came to see my friends, to show the city to Adam and to bring the memories back. I thought 5 full days will be enough. After all, I know the city, I don’t need to waste time for maps, planning, getting lost…

I was wrong.

We weren’t losing time at all, we hardly had time to catch a breath between sightseeing and going out for a drink with my friends! And still we didn’t manage to do to a cruise, trip on the rooftops, to go to Kirov park, for Russian vodka museum, for a ballet in the theatre… we wouldn’t be bored for another week 🙂

8 Russia Travel Tips You Need To Know

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

2. How much does it cost to go to Saint Petersburg, Russia?

It depends whether you’re backpacking in Russia or you plan a luxury trip but you need to keep in mind the following costs while organizing your trip to Saint Petersburg:

2.1 Visa

From October 2019, residents of 53 countries can enter Leningradskaya Oblast’ and Saint Petersburg on a free e-visa (such a great news!!! 🙂 ) You can check the list and apply for e-visa on the website here.

If you can’t use e-visa – or you can but you plan to visit other parts of the country like Moscow or Lake Baikal, check this useful post on how to apply for Russian visa and check the rules applying to citizens of your country.

2.2 Getting there

You can reach Saint Petersburg by plane from most big cities in Europe. As far as I checked the cheapest connections cost below 250 EUR and they’re often served by Latvian airlines airBaltic with a change in Riga. Lufthansa also has convenient connections from some European airports.

For a direct flight with LOT Polish airlines from Warsaw we paid 210 EUR for a ticket with hand luggage only and 250 EUR for a ticket with checked luggage.

If you are in Russia already you can take a sleeper train from Moscow to Saint Petersburg.

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

2.3 Transportation in the city

From here most prices are in Russian roubles. Current EUR/RUB exchange rate is available here and this currency converter will help you calculate what the price in Russian rouble will be in euro or any other currency.

Single metro ride: 45 roubles
Single marshrutka ride: 40 roubles (What is a marshrutka and how to use it?)
Single bus/tram ride: 40 roubles. You can but the tickets for this mean of transportation in the bus/tram.

Ticket for seven days for all means of transportation (excluding marshrutkas): 680 roubles + 60 roubles for the card. To me, this is the best option.

You can check all kinds of tickets and prices here – I recommend you to use Russian version of the site and Google Translate. English version is different from Russian and doesn’t include some options (the best ones, obviously 🙂 )

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

2.4 Tickets prices to the main attractions in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Prices updated for 2019

2.4.1 Churches
  • Saint Isaac Cathedral: 250 roubles for the church and 150 roubles for a viewing platform (worth it! 🙂 )
  • Church of Saviour on Spilled Blood: 350 roubles
  • Peter and Paul Cathedral: 550 roubles
  • Kazan Cathedral: it’s a working church so the entry is free
  • Smolny Cathedral: free entry to the church, 150 roubles for the viewing platform (price from 2017, I couldn’t find current information on it – let me know if you have it 🙂 )

 Complete Guide to Outstanding Churches and Cathedrals of Saint Petersburg

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia
2.4.2 Palaces, parks, museums
  • The Hermitage: 730 roubles
  • The park with fountains in Peterhof: 900 roubles (free in winter time, i.e. till 26th April and from 20th October)
  • Palace in Peterhof: 1000 roubles
  • The park in Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo): 150 roubles  (free in winter time, i.e. till 26th April and from 20th October)
  • Catherine Palace in Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo): 700 roubles
how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

2.5 Eating and drinking out

In Saint Petersburg prices of eating and drinking out differ drastically depending on the place.

You will find the cheapest food in a chain of “milk bars” called Stolovaya No 1 (Столовая No1). Lunch for 2 people costs less than 600 roubles. Example prices from our receipt (August 2017):

  • Fish soup ukha: 65 roubles
  • Borsch: 45 roubles
  • Pork shashlik: 90 roubles
  • Pork schnitzel: 92 roubles
  • Potatoes: 40 roubles
  • Meatballs in sauce: 75 roubles
  • Nevskoye beer: 90 roubles
  • Juice/aloe vera drink: 25 roubles

More expensive but prettier bar is called Marketplace – it’s a popular one right on Nevski Prospect. Lunch for 2 people cost around 1000 roubles there. Example prices from our receipt (August 2017):

  • Couscous salad with tomatoes: 115 roubles
  • Vegetable salad: 139 roubles
  • Garlic sauce for meat: 34 roubles
  • Chicken breast: 161 / 199 roubles (depends on how it’s made :))

In a good restaurant with Russian cuisine in the city center for a dinner with coffee and desserts you will pay over 3000 roubles. Example prices from our receipt from Katyusha restaurant (August 2017):

  • fish soup: 390 roubles (worse in taste than 6 times cheaper one in Stolova… 😉 )
  • cabbage soup shchi / Щи: 390 roubles (damn how good that was!!!)
  • moose cutlet with potatoes: 630 roubles
  • pelmeni with meat: 450 roubles
  • Katyusha beer 0,5l: 320 roubles
  • Cappuccino: 180 roubles
  • Americano: 120 roubles
  • Ice cream: 180 roubles
  • Chocolate cake: 320 roubles
  • Automatically added tip: 10% of your receipt 😉
how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

Price of a beer in a regular bar varies from 140 to 200 roubles. In a craft beer bar prices start from 220 roubles and can go beyond 400 roubles for 0,4l glass of beer.

Coffee in a coffeeshop costs between 120 – 250 roubles.

3. Where to eat in Saint Petersburg, Russia?

As mentioned above, it depends on your budget. Stolovaya No 1 (Столовая No1) is a chain of milk bars – here’s a list of all Stolovayas in St. Petersburg. The decorations are very basic, you can’t pay by card and our food was a bit cold – but it was cheap and tasty. Great price-value relationship 🙂

Marketplace on Nevski Prospect has tasty food, the decorations are much better than in Stolovaya but I don’t feel convinced the quality is as much higher as the price.

We loved the food in Katyusha restaurant and it is cozy and cutely decorated. It’s clear this place is made for tourists – but it was a pleasure to be a tourist there 🙂 If spending over 3000 roubles for dinner doesn’t scare you, go for it!

Our friend invited us also to a Georgian restaurant Khachapuri i vino (Хачапури и вино). The food was tasty and cheap, 1230 roubles for one soup, two main courses and two beers. I recommend the place, however while in Russia it’s better to try some local dishes rather than Georgian ones 🙂

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

4. Where to go for a beer in Saint Petersburg, Russia?

If you want to try local craft beers, check this post about craft beers in Russia. Also below you’ll find the list of places recommended to me by the locals. We checked two first places on the list – nice ones with many beers indeed 🙂

  • Redrum – Nekrasova 26
  • Farsh i Bochka – Bielinskovo 11
  • BeerGeek – Rubinshteyna, 2/45
  • Пивная Диета / Beer Diet – Nevskiy prospekt 130
  • Bakunin – 2-ya Sovetskaya ul. 25А

I also loved Golitsyn Loft (Голицын Лофт)on Fontanka 20 (набережная реки Фонтанки 20). I’ve never seen such place before and I would never discover it if my friend didn’t tell me about it.

You enter a yard and suddenly you’re surrounded with bars of different kinds with beer, food and shisha. We spent most of the time in KoraDuba which I recommend. Good beer, great pizza and entrance through the window… 🙂

how to organize a trip to Saint petersburg, russia

5. Where to look for accommodation in Saint Petersburg, Russia?

The most convenient option is to live in the city center. I found a few great places for you in good locations and different price ranges. I hope they’ll meet your expectations 🙂

Art Avenue – Cute rooms near Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. You can reach more of the best tourist attractions on foot. Affordable 🙂 

Art Avenue: Check availability and prices

Talisman Gorokhovaya – You’ll reach most famous spots in the city on foot from this hotel. You’ll also live close from Sennaya Ploschad metro station.

Talisman Gorokhovaya: Check availability and prices

Mini-Hotel na Nekrasova – Rooms located 10 minutes walk from Ploschad Vosstaniya metro station and train station. The cheapest option on the list but a comfortable one 🙂

Mini-Hotel na Nekrasova: Check availability and prices

Dom Konchielova on Ispolkomskaya 5 – Bigger room for two or three people. 1,3 km from Ploschad Vosstaniya metro station, 600 meters from Aleksander Nevsky Square.

Dom Konchielova: Check availability and prices

Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky – choose this place if you feel like treating yourself with a bit of luxury 🙂 It’s a more expensive place but let me assure you – you will feel like a tsar… 🙂
Check availability and prices:

Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky: Check availability and prices

I hope organizing a trip to Saint Petersburg doesn’t overwhelm you anymore and that soon, just like me, you will one of the impatient passengers in the plane’s aisle waiting to discover the city 🙂

Don’t forget to check top things to see in Saint Petersburg and download your free printable guide to the city.

If you’re interested in other parts of Russia, check also:

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