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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a beautiful city; it has an eclectic mix of old and new. The historic center has many stunning buildings and palaces that will take you back in time. There's plenty to see and do during your visit. I stayed for almost a week and found it still too short.


If you're planning to visit Saint Petersburg, read on.
Places of Interest

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood






This church looks like Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, it is also one of the most recognizable buildings in the city. Its interior is just as beautiful as its exterior. The inside contains restored religious mosaics.

Entrance Fee: RUB250

Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace









The Hermitage Museum is probably the most famous attraction in the city. Simply put, it is one big art gallery containing artworks from the old European masters and several others.

Link to post: Hermitage Museum

Entrance Fee: RUB700

*The Hermitage is one of the biggest art galleries not just in Russia, but in the world. It is possible to go on your own, but if you want to learn more about the art you'll see, you can get this Hermitage Museum guided tour. The guide will provide insights and information about the palace and the art pieces you'll see in the museum.

Kazan Cathedral



You'll see many influences from various designers while exploring the city. The Kazan Cathedral isn't the typical Russian church, it looks different with its columns, sculptures and dome. You can go inside but taking picture's isn't allowed. The architect of this beautiful structure is Andrey Voronikhin.

Entrance Fee: Free

St. Isaac's Cathedral








This church was built as a dedication to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, Peter the Great's patron saint. In the early 1930s, the Soviet government at the time turned the cathedral into a museum. It has remained so ever since. Go up the colonnade to get overlooking views of the city.

Entrance Fee: RUB150 (for the colonnade)

Peter and Paul Fortress



This fortress was the original citadel established by Peter the Great in the early 1700s.

Entrance Fee: RUB450 to enter the cathedral and free to walk around

Smolny Cathedral




The Italian architect Rastrelli left a permanent mark on Saint Petersburg's cityscape. One of the most beautiful buildings you'll see is the Smolny Cathedral. It has a blue and white distinct blue and white facade.

Entrance Fee: Free





Lakhta Center



This skyscraper measures at 462m making it the tallest building not just in Russia but in Europe. It began construction in 2012 and finished in 2018.

Entrance Fee: The observation deck is free

Stroganov Palace






This palace turned museum may not be as impressive as the Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace or Peterhof Palace, but it does has its own charm. It follows Rastrelli's design aesthetic while Andrei Voronikhin remodeled its interiors. The Stroganovs were an influential family in Saint Petersburg during the 1700s.

Entrance Fee: RUB350

Peterhof Palace




This UNESCO World Heritage Site was commissioned by Peter the Great.

Link to post: Peterhof Palace

Entrance Fee: RUB1000

*It is possible to visit this destination on your own, but if you want a hassle-free experience, you can get this Peterhof Palace private tour. The palace is beautiful outside and inside. The stunning exterior will make you stop and stare. The interior will make your jaw drop with its pieces of furniture, elaborate windows and artwork. The private guide will provide information about the history of the Tsars and offer insights.

Catherine Palace




The Catherine Palace complex is 30km outside of the city but is worth the day trip. The Russian Tsars called the estate home during the summer. This displays the affluence of the Russian court during their heyday.

Entrance Fee: RUB1000 during peak season and RUB700 during low season

Pavlovsk Palace




You can visit this palace in combination with the Catherine Palace.

Link to post: Pavlovsk Palace

Entrance Fee: RUB500

Other Palaces, Museums and Random Places


Saint Petersburg has several other palaces, monuments and museums, many of which I have yet to enter. However, I did enjoy walking around the city.













Nevsky Prospekt



This main thoroughfare was named after a 13th century prince, Alexander Nevsky. Here you'll find several beautiful buildings, shops, restaurants and bars. I had an enjoyable time just walking its length in both directions.

These are some of the places you might want to include for your budget and itinerary for Saint Petersburg. The city is affordable, making it a good value destination.

The city is easy to explore on your own, but to reduce the times you have to queue, it's best to get this St. Petersburg city pass. You can get a pass that's valid for two, three or five days. Skip the entrance fee lines for more than 20 attractions around the city.


Suggested Forward Destinations

Moscow



The capital of Russia, you will most likely arrive or depart from here.

Read more here: Guide to Moscow

Kazan



Beautiful city with plenty to do.

Read more here: Guide to Kazan

Veliky Novgorod


Also known as the Birthplace of Russia.

Read more here: Guide to Veliky Novgorod

Where to Stay

Saint Petersburg was not as expensive as I thought it would be. However, visiting attractions will add to your expenses. A bed in a dorm was quite cheap, I stayed in Hostel Rus near Kazan Cathedral and AB Hostel somewhere along Nevsky Prospekt. Dorms are affordable in both places and were within walking distance to shops, restaurants and metro stations. I stayed primarily near the historic center so I'm relatively near the palaces, museums and places of interest.

Here are suggestions for your budget for Saint Petersburg.

Hostels in the city
Hotels for those with a bigger budget
Hotels near the airport





Getting Around

Saint Petersburg is a big city with many types of transportation available to locals and tourists alike. You can take the metro, the buses or just walk. The metro stations are quite beautiful as well, but not like the ones in Moscow (just my opinion). I recommend buying the stored value ticket for the metro to make paying convenient and less time spent queuing, and to reduce expenses for your budget for St. Petersburg.

Long Walks


I spent hours just walking to and from places during my stay in Saint Petersburg. The city has an old world charm with a touch of modern developments. I walked in the early morning, mid-day and at night when things get a bit livelier and some buildings are lit up. I liked walking from Nevsky Prospekt to Gostiny Dvor and sometimes all the way to the train station. Beautiful buildings around this area, and some palaces as well. I would walk to Ploshchad Vosstaniya and some other places. Sometimes I randomly walk into the alleys and walk along the river. I also crossed the bridge all the way to the Saint Peter and Paul Fortress on foot. This is a money saving activity when you plan your budget and itinerary for Saint Petersburg.


You'll get views like this in some places



One of Carlo Rossi's designs


Night walks are different as well. There are times I saw and listened to musicians playing somewhere in Palace Square in front of the Hermitage Museum. Locals gather and sing along sometimes with a beer in hand.



Blue hour until sunset is also a good time to explore the city.

How to Go

Saint Petersburg is an accessible city whether by air or land. The main airport is Pulkovo Airport. Moskovskaya Metro Station has a train that can take you to the airport. There are regular flights from Moscow, and bullet and regular trains as well. I took the overnight train. You can  book train tickets via https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en.




Expenses

*Everything is in Rubles unless otherwise stated for your budget and itinerary for Saint Petersburg.

3182 - Food and drinks
85 - Miscellaneous
481 - Transportation
1723 - 4 nights Hostel Rus (RUB200 for registration)
400 - 1 night AB Hostel
140 - Bus to Peterhof Palace round way from Saint Petersburg
1000 - Peterhof Palace entrance fee
40 - Bus to Pushkin
32 - Bus to Pavlovsk Palace from Pushkin
100 - Pavlovsk Park entrance fee
500 -Pavlovsk Palace entrance fee
40 - Bus to Kupchino from Pavlovsk
150 - Entrance to St. Isaac's Cathedral colonnade
250 - Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood entrance fee
700 - Hermitage Museum entrance fee
350 - Stroganov Palace entrance fee
200 -Bag storage fee
1210 - Train to Yaroslavl                                                             
10583 - Total

I wanted to stay longer, but wanted to see more of the country as well. Saint Petersburg is a city I will definitely return to there's so much to see and do as day trips and within the city. The budget for Saint Petersburg is affordable so it's easy to stay for a week or even longer.



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