Exploring St. Petersburg’s wonderful winter on a budget
Visiting St. Petersburg in winter is a magical experience. You don’t have to have pockets full of cash to make the most of your stay in this beautiful city, as we found a local to share some great tips.
Anna Avdeyeva is one of the co-owners of Best-Guides St. Petersburg and has been working as a tour guide for 21 years. We asked her to share her top tips for experiencing the city while on a budget. After speaking with her, we found you don’t need pockets full of spending money to have a great time and explore the “Venice of the North”.
“St. Petersburg is the most beautiful city in the world. It has wonderful architecture, history and atmosphere, and the citizens are hospitable and the tourism infrastructure is in place. It is also a center of culture and education where you can find almost anything you like,” Anna says.
Wonderful in winter
Winter is a great time to visit St. Petersburg, just remember to dress for the occasion. With temperatures ranging from -10 to -15 degrees Celsius proper clothing is needed. Warm clothes and enclosed, slip free footwear will make sure you can properly enjoy the city.
“Keep in mind that it gets dark early, so plan your outdoor activities between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. Around Christmas time the city has wonderful light decorations illuminating the main streets and squares so make sure to take a walk in the evening as well,” she explains.
St. Petersburg offers countless cultural activities and venues to visit. From the museum of Tsar photographer Karl Bulla and cafés with live rock and jazz music to Ice Statue Festivals. Winter is a perfect time to visit the many iconic museums.
Several companies offer free walking tours around the city and in winter there are usually no lines to enter museums.
“This means you can do them on your own using the audio guide. But if you want a tour, the tour companies are not as busy in winter as they are in summer and will usually provide discounts,” Anna says.
Getting around in the city is easy with public transport, especially the metro. The Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky St. Petersburg Hotel is a prime base for adventures in the city, located in the city center and with a metro station close by. A perfect example of a day trip is a visit to the Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk, but if you’re heading out into the suburbs Anna recommends taking a taxi or using a car service.
“There are no signs in English and very few, if any, speak English at the ticket offices for public transport. Additionally it will take you twice as long to get there. So spend some money on a taxi or car service. Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk are only 10 minutes apart by car,” Anna explains.
“A walk through Pavlovsk or Pushkin Park is beautiful in winter, with snow sparkling on the ground around you. Some milled wine will warm you and add some pleasure to the tour as well,” she adds.
If you’re visiting between December 31 and January 8, the Russian Christmas school holidays, Anna recommends going with a guided tour or booking tickets online to avoid standing in line.
Tasty and cheap eats
Every adventurer needs fuel for their travels. Luckily good and cheap eats are not hard to come by in St. Petersburg. Surrounding the main streets are many self-service bistros and small cafés, where Anna says you can grab a light meal for a nice price.
“An alternative would be the MarketPlace chain, you’ll find one of them opposite to the Kazan Cathedral in the Nevsky Prospekt. The Brinza restaurants is also a nice spot. Their specialty is Chebureki, which resembles a dumpling wrapped in thin dough and fried,” Anna says.
“Inside the chebureki you’ll usually find minced meat or cheese but they have many different versions, so you’re sure to find something you enjoy,” she adds.
Wherever your adventures in St. Petersburg may take you, enjoying the company of a local guide who truly loves their city is worth its weight in gold.
“A good local guide, with an approach like ours, will always make your tour lively by choosing the best sights, exhibits and sharing our personal experiences. We’ll also be happy to help with some nice tips for further exploration,” Anna says.
If you’re looking for an introductory tour package to the city then check out Best-Guides St. Petersburg’s White Days winter package. They’ll take you to the best spots in the city for your first two or three days. You’re in for a trip of a lifetime.