The City
What's on?
Site Map
What to visit?

Off the beaten track
Prime walks around the city
Bus tours
River rides and tours
Helicopter tours


Many visitors to St Petersburg say that the central part of the city is best seen on foot. That is correct as long as you have enough time for sightseeing in St Petersburg and like walking. Downtown St Petersburg is a nice place to walk (weather permitting). Just pray for good weather, put on sensible shoes and beware of busy traffic, especially during week-days. It's a large city after all!

Let us take the liberty to suggest several walk routes for you.

Click here for safety tips for walking around the city.


If you come to St Petersburg on a package tour you are unlikely to escape a sightseeing tour of the city. It can be quite a treat, if you are lucky to have both a good guide and good weather. Such a tour will be a perfect introduction to this magnificent city, your "St Petersburg 101". Seeing all the major sights in just two hours might be a little tiring, but it is a perfect start to exploring a place as large and multi-faceted as St Petersburg. And it saves you time to return to the places you liked the most.

You don't have to be with a group to enjoy a sightseeing tour. Most decent hotels will be more than pleased to arrange a tour for you. Click here to see a list of hotels that definitely arrange tours through their service desks.

If your Russian is very good, you might choose to join one of the tours that are designed for the Russian-speaking visitors to St Petersburg. These tours leave from several locations:

  • the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and Kanal Griboyedova, next to Kazan Cathedral
  • two little booths at Palace Square, not far from the Admiralty (these offer a variety of tours and schedules are displayed)
  • a booth at Dumskaya Ulitsa, just off Nevsky Prospekt and near the Gostiny Dvor department store


In this "Venice of the North" one might expect to see many riverside sights. And indeed, after you step on board a boat, you will the city in a different way. St Petersburg was designed to have the mighty Neva river as its "main street", so many beautiful buildings and squares face the river and some riverside views are truly breathtaking.

Neva River tours.

The tour called 'The City on the Neva River' leaves from the Hermitage pier at Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya (Embankment). The tour, which lasts about 1 hour, lets one understand why Peter the Great wanted the Neva River to be "the main street" of his beloved city. A comfortable two-deck boat will take you down the river to St Isaac's Cathedral, the "Bronze Horseman", the Menshikov Palace and the University. Then you will make a sharp U-turn and sail up the river passing by the Strelka of Vasilyevsky Island, the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress en route. Upon reaching the spectacular Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge you will return to the Hermitage.

The boats leave according to a schedule. Tickets can be purchased at the Hermitage pier (opposite the Hermitage Museum) - the time of the next tour is displayed in the booking office window.

Foreign visitors will pay a full fare of 40,000 rubles / $6.96 per person.

Russian citizens are entitled to a discount and will pay only 25,000 rubles / $4.35.

N.B. On a sunny day the open top deck is a great place for having fun and taking pictures.

The Rivers and Canals tour also includes the mighty Neva River

Hydrofoil rides to Peterhof

Hydrofoil rides to Peterhof and to the island of Kronshtadt start in late May and continue all through the summer and early autumn. Hydrofoils to Peterhof, a magnificent out-of-town royal residence on the Baltic Sea shore, leave about every hour from the Hermitage pier, just opposite the Hermitage Museum. The ride lasts a mere 45 minutes, making it the fastest way to reach Peterhof.

The Hermitage pier is just opposite the Hermitage Museum (Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya 36)

'Rivers and Canals' tour

Boats leave from the Anichkov Bridge pier just off Nevsky Prospekt. This tour is a local classic, remaining largely unchanged for over 20 years. The narration is usually very good, but so far it is only in Russian.

Tours leave every 30 minutes on clear days and at irregular intervals on rainy days. The time of the next tour is displayed in the window of the ticket booth which stands next to the pier. If you come with a large group they are likely to offer you group rate (ask for it!) or even offer you a private boat.

Tickets for 1 hour tour cost 40,000 rubles / $6.96.

Russians are entitled to discounted tickets (Adults - 25,000 rubles / $4.35, children - 15,000 rubles / $2.61).

Private river rides

A large number of private boats are available for hire at several points throughout the historical center of St Petersburg. Normally the boats are waiting for potential customers at:

  • the Moika River (corner of Nevsky Prospekt)
  • the Fontanka River (corner of Nevsky Prospekt) near the Anichkov Bridge
  • the Neva River near the Zimniaya Kanavka canal (opposite the Hermitage Theater)
  • the Kanal Griboyedova (off Nevsky Prospekt) opposite Tchaika Restaurant

Boat captains offer custom tours or suggest routes of their own. Prices are negotiable. All payments are accepted in cash, per hour, but not per person. Thus, hiring a boat is much cheaper per person if you come with a group.


Helicopter tours are very new to St Petersburg. The first tours were given only in Summer 1996. Most locals have not yet flown above the city. Now everyone has an opportunity to fly above one of the world's most beautiful cities.

The flights take place throughout the day every weekend. Choppers take off from a green lawn just outside the Peter and Paul Fortress. They fly up the Neva River to the Smolny Cathedral, then down the river to the Winter Palace/ Hermitage, St Isaac's Cathedral and the Stock Exchange and back to the Peter and Paul Fortress.

The tour will cost you $ 30 per person. Your Russian friends will get special discounted tickets for 80,000 rubles ($ 14).

How to get there?

  • From the Peter and Paul Cathedral exit the fortress via the North Gate and board the helicopter or wait for the next ride.
  • From the Gorkovskaya metro station walk South through the park, cross the bridge to the fortress, turn right before entering the gate and walk 200 yards along a narrow canal.

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