Subject: Re: St. Petersburg - Visa and tour queries
Hello Ziners and Travellers to Russia and St Petersburg.

Answers to some of your questions and ideas for visit to St Petersburg.

Do you need a guide, or can you get by on your own?

I would say that you do not need a guide, but this is very dependent on how much homework and preparation that you do. Have an idea on what sights you want to visit. Walking is a very good way to see St Petersburg. I would recommend that you at least take a city tour, either walking or by bus. You will find a number of tours leave from Kazan Cathedral on Nevski.

Is it safe to travel without being in a group?

I find that independent travel is safer than being in a group, attention is drawn to a group. In St Petersburg watch out for the groups of gypsies, don't let them get close to you, they are very good at picking pockets, you will see them along Nevski Prospect. Other things to watch for are the drunks.

Bob speaks some Russian, but it is rusty and more academic than street Russian.

A little Russian is better than none at all, try to learn the alphabet.

Any advice with dos and don'ts and must sees will be gratefully appreciated. We will have 6 days in St. Petersburg.

Some Ideas:

day 1 - St. Petersburg city tour including the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Church on the Spilled Blood, and walk along Nevsky Prospekt to see some other notable buildings - note that these places are all open on Monday and since lots of other things are closed on Monday, this is important to keep in mind.

day 2 - full day at the Hermitage including the two Gold Rooms. (There is a cafe/buffet in the museum where you can get a snack. Take is slow and enjoy yourself.)

day 3 - Catherine's Palace in Pushkin and if you want to push, you could also visit the Pavlovsk Palace (this is easily all day and it might be too tiring to do both)

day 4 - Palace of Peter I and fountains in Peterhof, and take the hydrofoil back to Petersburg for a change of pace. (you could also visit the Chinese Pavilion in Lomonosov but this would make for another long day)

day 5 - Yusupov Palace and the Menshikov Palace which focus on two different periods of Petersburg history. Yusopov Palace is where Rasputin was murdered in 1914 and the Menshikov Palace was the home of Peter the Great's side kick two hundred years earlier.)

One evening take a night time boat ride through the canals. Be sure to bring along a jacket and a blanket as it does get chilly on the water.

For another evening check out if there is anything playing at the Mariinsky Theater.

Check out the walking tours offered by Peter of Peter's walks

The State Hermitage Museum,

Nevski Prospect

The State Russian Museum

news and cultural information The St. Petersburg Times

Peterhof City Vision Exploring St. Petersburg

Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo)

St Petersburg Map

More information:

Good Luck, hope that this is of some help.

Gary Victoria BC