St Petersburg, Russia
Note: Unless you are on a ship organised excursion, visitors planning to explore independently must have a Russian Visa, which must be organised weeks in advance of your cruise. Passports must be carried with you at all times as you will pass through immigration to and from the ship.
St Petersburg is a city in Russia, located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea.
The Hermitage is the world’s second largest art museum. The four buildings that make up the museum include the opulent Winter Palace, which was built by Peter the Great’s daughter Elizabeth (closed Mondays).
St Isaac’s Cathedral, the biggest in St Petersburg was built in the mid 19th century and features mosaic murals, granite pillars and marble floors. Its huge gold dome can be seen for miles around (closed on Wednesdays and the last Monday in the month).
The Church of the Resurrection of the Christ was modelled after St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Inside, there are 7,500 square metres of mosaics as well as a shrine to the departed tsar (closed Wednesdays).
For Russian culture, head to the Russian Museum, which is housed in the former Mikhailovsky Palace. The adjacent Mikhailovsky Gardens is a nice spot to rest (closed Tuesdays).
The Peter and Paul Fortress was built in 1703, initially was a defence but subsequently used until 1917 as a prison (closed Wednesdays and last Tuesday of each month).
There are many palaces outside of St Petersburg including Catherine Palace in Pushkin and Peter the Great’s Peterhof.
The city is a magnet for Russian musicians, composers and dancers and theatre performances are very popular with both residents and visitors alike.
Take a boat ride along the canals. Boats leave from Anichkov Bridge (the Fontanka River) just off Nevsky Prospekt.
The disabled cruiser visiting St Petersburg
Where You’re Docked
Most cruise ships dock at the Sea Facade Terminal in St Petersburg, which is built on Vasilyevsky Island at the mouth of the Neva River. There are 3 cruise terminals with vending machines, souvenir shops, ATMs, tourist information center, café, duty-free shop, Wi-Fi and a taxi desk. The city centre is around a 15 minute drive away.
There is no metro station at near the port, but several buses and marshrutka minibuses run from the first stop on Bolshoy Prospekt (the road starting diagonally across the square from the terminal building) to Vasileostrovskaya Metro Station (two or three stops). On the green line, Vasileostrovskaya is only one stop west from Gostiny Dvor, in the very center of the city.
Good to Know
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The official currency is the Ruble.
The official language in St Petersburg
St Petersburg’s shops offer a variety of goods from hand-made arts, crafts and souvenirs to fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop along the city’s main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt for the best variety of stores in the city. Bolshoi Prospekt on Vasilyevsky Island also has a good selection of stores. Good buys include nesting dolls, lacquer boxes, amber jewellery, porcelain and icons.
Many stores accept credit cards, and all stores accept only rubles that you can buy at a number of conveniently located currency exchange points (obmenni punkti) throughout the city. Bring your passport as without it, you cannot change money.
Russian dishes include beef stroganov, caviar, ‘coulibiac’ (fish loaf with rice and eggs) and ‘kalduny’ (stuffed dumplings).
Points of Interest
- St Petersburg – a seven-
St Petersburg Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
St Petersburg Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible