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Tigrest Travel Blog

This is a blog about destinations, food and travel tips

Tag: St. Petersburg

st. petersburg

Things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

Russia has changed a lot since my last visit! It’s been 13 years, and now I finally got myself together to travel there again. Just like last time, we went to Saint Petersburg – the most “European” Russian city. The weather was great for beginning of May – warm and sunny, with highest at about +20C. It was lovely!

The city has changed quite a bit! It’s safe to say it’s a modern city with modern people. It’s very busy too – the main street (Nevsky Prospekt) was crowded at almost any time of the day. it was Russian Eastern weekend, so a lot of people visited the city for the long weekend. Here is our list of top things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days.




Where to stay in St Petersburg Russia?

In general, there are two types of accommodation in Saint Petersburg: cheap motels and high class hotels. As we had limited budget, our choice was obvious. We picked a good looking hostel called “Inn 15 Komnat“. The price was great (4-bed room for 3 nights for just 80EUR) and the location was not too bad either – near the Moscow Train Station (Moskowsky Vokzal). This newly renovated property has interesting layout of the rooms –  most of them are duplex, which makes it perfect for groups of friends traveling together.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

The rooms are spacious and the area is quiet – perfect for a quick night rest before going off exploring the city!

Hostel Wings

Our second hostel was called “Wings” (“Krylja”). This property is located right on the main street (Address: Nevskiy Prospekt 45), in the middle of all the action! The best thing about this hostel is that you can walk everywhere – the location is just perfect! The hostel doesn’t offer breakfast, but there is a fully equipped kitchen with fridge, coffee machine, dishes etc. 24-hour grocery shops can be found everywhere, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants.





There are not too many rooms, so it feels like coming home. Once you enter the massive wooden doors, there is a friendly receptionist at the desk to greet you. You take off your shoes and walk to your room. The interior is newly renovated, everything is clean and cozy. Guests can watch TV at the hall, relax at the kitchen area, make new friends. There are no drinking, partying youngsters, just curious travelers like yourself.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia 46270377 59767021 60289372

The rooms are a bit small, but still very comfortable. There is no bathroom in the room, 3 renovated bathrooms with showers can be found on the floor. During peak times they may be crowded. Typical for old buildings – wide, marble window sills are perfect to sit on and enjoy the view of the evening Nevskiy or read a book, taking advantage of daylight. Or just daydream. Whatever you feel like!





where to stay in St Petersburg Russia - hostel wings

Things to do in St Petersburg Russia for two days: Canal boat tour

Everything is nearby, if you are staying at Nevskiy. There are several canals with boat tours (highly recommended!). It costs just 700 Rubles (~10EUR) to take a 1 hour guided tour. The city is stunning when seen from the water! No wonder they call it The Venice of the North! Numerous castles, mansions, political buildings – the 300-year history of the city will open right before your eyes! For some great pictures make sure to start during sunset.

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

City walks

There is just so much to see in Saint Petersburg, few days are just not enough! If you are limited in time, enjoy the streets and atmosphere. Take long walks and don’t be afraid to turn into smaller streets – they usually hide some true gems! There are little boutiques, wine stores, souvenir shops. You might come across some really beautiful gardens and parks. Visit palace square –  Winter Palace is majestic at both day and night time! If you are into arts – go for Hermitage museum, but just make sure to arrive there early, as it gets quite crowded.

For the best view of the city climb the stairs of Isaac’s Cathedral – for just 150 Rubles you will get a stunning view and great photos! Don’t forget a Selfie Stick ! 🙂
🙂

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

where to stay in St Petersburg Russia where to stay in St Petersburg Russia

Scams

Of course, just like any big city with a lot of travelers, Saint Petersburg is no different – there are scammers that should be avoided! The one we came across was dressed like Peter the Great (Peter I) – famous founder of the city. He offers you to take a picture with him and he will pose for you. The price he asks first is 250 Rubles, but be careful not to take more than one picture. Every next position will cost you another 250, and he will go on posing on and on – with you, then with your friends. In the end you will end up with a hefty amount. Make sure to only take one photo (if you really want one), and otherwise just ignore him.

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How to prepare for the trip?

  • Bring warm, waterproof clothes – the weather in St.Petersburg is unpredictable! Comfortable shoes are recommended, as distances are quite long. You can use the metro too, but getting down and then up again takes too much time, mostly it is easier and faster to walk. There are also buses/trams.
  • Currency exchange rates are better in the city, rather than in your country. When we traveled, the rate was 72 Rubles / 1 Euro. On Nevsky exchange offices, it was 74. So bring some cash and change the rest once in Russia. Also, it is possible to pay with credit cards almost everywhere (except some museums, street food/souvenirs etc.).
  • Learn a few phrases in Russian and have a dictionary ready (e.g. Google translate).
  • There is free Wifi in most cafes and hotels.  Get yourself a city map, just in case. Once you figure out where to stay in St Petersburg Russia, check if your hotel has free WiFi.
  • People are very friendly and open minded! Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
  • Taxi fares are reasonable, if you need cheap taxi, ask for one at your hotel. They will probably have some good options.

Food

After hearing a lot of horror stories regarding Russian food I was tempted to find out – is there anything good about the cosine after all? Are the rumors true? Well, of course they are NOT!

Don’t be afraid to try local food, don’t stick to international fast food chains (there are plenty of those!). I recommend trying local Russian fast food chain called “Teremok“. They offer many different flavors of traditional Russian pancakes, soups, dumplings. The prices are great! Food quality is awesome!

Another one we really liked is called Brynza – they offer wide range of Chebureks (pies with fillings).

brynza

Also, why not try something completely different? On our first night we found a small Georgian place (Hinkali). The food was amazing! The wine was great too! The hosts were very warm and welcoming!

The place is located at Borovaya st. 8.

hinkali

Final thoughts

I recommend visiting Saint Petersburg to anyone, really. It has something to offer for everyone – young couple will find it romantic, senior folks will have a ton of museums to go to, even for kids it would be an adventure! The city is changing and developing, it’s not a typical poor Russian town that we are used to seeing on the TV! The people who live here make it better, help to develop it into a great tourist destination.  And if you get bored (hardly), there are still suburbs with even more castles to admire! I hope this guide was helpful in regards to things to do and where to stay in St Petersburg Russia for two days.

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booking.com

How Booking.com saved my trip

The story began in late December 2015, when I decided to spend few spring days in Russian Venice – Saint Petersburg. Having visited the city before, I had a clear plan of how this trip should look like: centrally located hotel, a lot of walking and museums, some shopping. There were three of us coming, so we needed a larger room or apartment. I always book my hotels on Booking.com, because I love their rating and feedback feature, attractive rates and wide choice of hotels.



apartment

Risky room

Once I knew the dates, it was perfect time to start looking for hotels. The choice was truly big at the time – there were bunks in 10-bedroom dorm rooms, private rooms in the same hostels, small hotel rooms, private apartments – you name it! I was pleasantly surprised by the prices – compared to Europe and US, Russian hotel rates were nice and low. My first choice was a 2-bedroom apartment, but that option didn’t work out for us due to an email received from the apartment owner asking for a full payment. What made the request strange was a Lithuanian bank account details, where the owner wanted the money to be transferred. It seemed risky and so we cancelled that one right away.

Perfect room

Our perfect room was with a common free cancellation option, very close to the center and had a nice design of the rooms – perfect for 3-4 people who don’t necessarily want to snore in each other’s ear. The price was great, too. We booked it and forgot about the booking for the next 4 months. Meanwhile, we bought the tickets to and from the destination, made the visas and insurance. Everything was ready for the trip! Or was it..?




Surprise!

sorry

A friend of mine who happens to live in Russia decided to check on our booking about a month before our visit. To my (and their) surprise, the hotel had no idea of our reservation! Moreover, they had no rooms available, either. Oh my! It’s merely 4 weeks until our trip and we have nowhere to stay! When initial shock had passed, we started checking other options for the dates. Sadly, there were hardly any good options left and all of them were much more expensive now. Apparently it’s holiday time and most of the hotels are already overbooked. Our situation wasn’t very optimistic.

Looking for help

We decided to turn for help and wrote to Booking.com customer support. It didn’t take long for our hotel of choice to contact us again – with apologies. And a promise of free room (which is nice of them, but didn’t solve our problem. Well, not entirely). We did use the free room though, so nothing bad to say about the hotel, they did their best to help and compensate us. Now the Booking.com team was even more helpful. After reviewing our request for couple of days, they came back with good news – we got offered a nice alternative hotel option and a promise to refund the difference. Happy end!

happy

Final thoughts

This is not the  first time I hear about good service of Booking.com and their customer service. They really reach out to their customers and make sure everything is well and everyone is happy. Normally, a hotel would just inform you that no rooms are available. This can happen even few days before the check-in. And there is nothing you could do about that. Booking though these guys gives you guarantee that you won’t be left on the street – they will take care of you! Similar situation happened to my mother, when she arrived in Tenerife hotel and found out there is no rooms booked (it was a privately owned room). She had to book another room for much higher rate and got refunded the difference.


This is not meant as an advertisement – this is a real story that happened to me. I have booked with Booking.com more than 20 times now and can say that the reviews are mostly accurate and so are the photos. Of course, there may be bad properties (and bad experiences) but the site has no power over them. As for the customer support and taking care of the client – they are the best!

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