Russia's most European city and cultural capital have definitely not lost its imperial historic glamor. Exquisite Tsarist palaces and architecture of the old Soviet Union - as well as rich and poor living side by side in this country filled with contrasts. At KILROY you can find cheap flights to St Petersburg.
St Petersburg was the former capital of Russia and ranks today as the country's second largest city with almost 5 million people. The city is filled with stunning architecture as a result of the fact that it was built by tsars.
Adventures in St Petersburg
As Russia's cultural capital St Petersburg offers many exciting and entertaining activities. The city's main attraction is undoubtedly The Hermitage Museum, which contains more than three million works of art.
On top of the Peter & Paul Fortress you can see St Petersburg's guarding angel. The fort's interior is a cathedral where all the tsars after Peter the Great is buried. The Cathedral is the most impressive part of the fort and you have to pay an additional entry if you want to take it a closer look. Should you happen to feel out of luck you only need to touch the little finger of Peter the Great's statue - this will bring your luck back to you.
Music fans should definitely pay a visit to the world's largest museum of musical instruments! Here you can see and hear the most unique instruments ever made. Do not forget to take a walk along the bridges of the body, The Neva. During the summer months it is great to rent a rowboat and paddle on the river.
Besides museums St Petersburg can offer plenty of theater experiences, especially the Mariinsky Theatre have some wonderful opera performances. You can even go to a show with English subtitles.
Shopping in St Petersburg
Nevsky Prospekt is the name of the St Petersburg's main shopping street. Here you will find all the famous brands from the world's leading fashion houses. This is definitely not the place to look for budget shopping and bargains. But no matter whether you shop or not - this street is worth a visit!
Find cheaper shopping at the Yunona market. Here you can find almost anything you can imagine - just note that most of it is second hand. We recommend that you visit on a Saturday when there is a large flea market. To get to Yunona take catch a ride on the metro to Avtovo and then moves forward with a marshrutka (shared taxi).
The local Russian markets are great for food lovers. Here you can purchase tasty pickled vegetables such as cabbage or cucumber, lots of fresh fruit and delicious cheeses. The sales ladies here are very active and might even fight for your attention. We recommend the market hall located next to the metro station Dostojevskij.
St Petersburg by night
If you want to party in Russia, St Petersburg is the absolute right place to be! No matter what style of partying you prefer, you will find it here - from insane rave parties to sophisticated jazz clubs. After dark you should avoid dark small alleys and parks, taxis (especially right outside bars and clubs) and take care when the bridges rise.
Public transport in St Petersburg
The metro system in St Petersburg is the easiest, most effective and cheapest way to get around. Although trains run very often the metro will be packed during rush hour, so keep that in mind. Having to break through crowds of people to get out of the stroller is completely normal. Just make sure you watch out for pickpockets - as always when you are in a crowded area.
Trams has in recent years has been cut down as a result of traffic problems, but you can still get a good look of St Petersburg from them. Just be prepared that this may take some time because delays occur often.
A popular and quick way to travel around is by the marshrutka (shared taxis). These mini buses have no specific stops, so you must tell the driver where you want to get off. Just wave your hand if you want to stop such a taxi on the street. You will recognize them by the letter K and a number. If you want to get even closer to the locals - try to get a ride with a passing car. This is definitely not one of the safest ways to travel, but this is the way many Russians transport themselves. Just remember to take care and to never travel alone. At night it is harder to get around the city as the metro is not running at this time of day and the bridges that cross the river Neva is suspended. Taxis run however, but have much higher rates at night.
Travel to St Petersburg
The easiest and fastest way to travel to St Petersburg is by plane. If you're adventurous and not in a hurry then go to Helsinki and hop on a train destined for Russia and St Petersburg. There are many international bus routes from various destinations in neighboring countries such as Estonia and Finland. If you are arriving to St Petersburg from other destinations in Russia we recommend that you buy a train ticket. It's cheaper, safer and more reliable than the domestic airlines. It is also easier to travel by train than bus, especially if you don't speak Russian.
St Petersburg can be visited all year. In winter, it is often very cold as the wind blows over the city, but on the other hand, there are far fewer tourists here and the prices are much lower than during the summer. In the summer St Petersburg is filled with tourists from all over the world - in addition to hordes of mosquitoes! This can be very annoying, especially if you use low-budget accommodation. The average temperature in summer is about 20 degrees.
The last ten days of June you can join the annual White Night festival. See lots fireworks and cultural performances and join the locals in celebrating the beginning of summer. We recommend that you book accommodation early as there are visitors to St Petersburg during this festival!
If you have some extra time available, we recommend that you take a day trip to some of the nearby towns. Novogrod and Vyborg both have historic sites from the Middle Ages and shows a less polished - and more real - side of Russia. Both cities are located about 150 km from St Petersburg and can easily be reached by local bus.
Try to learn the basics of the Cyrillic alphabet before traveling to Russia. It will make your daily activities a lot easier.
Education and study tours to St Petersburg
Did you know that KILROY can also help organise your study tour to St Petersburg? Read on to learn more about how we can plan your study trip with the right academic content and interesting study visits in the city of your choice.