St Petersburg Travel Guide

St Petersburg Travel Guide

Russia's second largest city is a melting pot of culture, history and architectural styles. It boasts a wide array of beautiful buildings, a riverfront perfect for walking along and plenty of museums, gardens and churches to wander around. All in all, it's the perfect city break destination - but don't forget to wrap up warm when visiting outside of the peak summer season.

Location

Western Russia, by the Baltic Sea

Climate

June, July and August are the best - but busiest - months in which to visit St Petersberg for those not keen on going sightseeing in the cold. Summer temperatures can reach 20 degrees C, while minimum winter temperatures are capable of dipping to -15 degrees C.

Currency

Russian rouble

Time Difference

GMT +3

Transfer Time

Travellers heading to St Petersburg fly into Pulkovo Airport, which is located some 17 km south of the city centre. Terminal 2 handles international flights, while Terminal 1 is for internal travel. You can get bus number 13 runs from Terminal 2 to Moskovskaya Metro station, while a taxi into the city centre will cost around R600 (about £12).

Hotels

Affordable hotels in St Petersburg include Hotel California - which is actually a hostel - as well as a Holiday Inn and the Nord Hostel. Elsewhere, the Hotel Neva is full of historic character and reasonably priced, while the Rachmaninoff Art Hotel and the Fifth Corner Hotel offer a mix of old and new decor. In terms of luxury lodgings, the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, the Kempinski Hotel and the Grand Hotel Europe are among the best.

Attractions

As the former capital of the Russian Empire, St Petersburg has much to offer fans of historic attractions. The most popular sight by far is the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace, which displays some of the world's most priceless works of art. There are also numerous cathedrals to gaze at, as well as other museums such as the Russian Museum and the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. You could also take in some opera at the Mariinski Theatre or take a boat tour of the city's canals.

Shopping

Gostiny Dvor is the biggest and oldest shopping centre in St Petersburg, selling all types of goods. If you just want to get a few souvenirs for friends back home you can pick up some bargains at the market behind the Church of the Saviour. However, if you're really splashing the cash it's worth checking out the Nevsky Prospekt, a street crammed with luxury stores and boutiques, or the Passazh department store.

Excursions

If you can't get enough of St Petersburg's museums and churches, more can be found in nearby Novgorod. Elsewhere, take a peek at the Catherine Palace in Pushkin to the south, or take the train to Peterhof and wander around its numerous parks and gardens.

Family

Take the kids to the circus or on a sailing trip up the river, or perhaps visit the Peter and Paul Fortress. You could also just relax in the beautiful Summer Garden with a picnic.

Getting Around

You can take the metro to most areas within the city, or take the bus or tram. The roads aren't of the best quality, but taxis are plentiful - make sure you agree on a fare before setting off, though.