The first time I visited St Petersburg I didn’t really know what to expect. I certainly didn’t envisage seeing the ornately decorated building and palaces.
I had this vision that it would all be very stark and not inviting at all but I was pleasantly mistaken.
If you don’t want all the red tape of getting an independent Visa then travelling by sea is definitely the best option as the beauty of cruising to a Russian Port is that if you elect to take part in one of the ship’s excursions then you will normally be covered on the ‘ship’s visa’ so no complicated forms and money to hand over before you travel.
Upon arrival – the Russian Authorities are not known for speed so it may take a while for the ship, and you to clear customs but don’t let this put you off as you won’t be disappointed once you are ashore.
However, if you do want to go ashore independently then you will need an individual visa and should consult the Embassy before you travel.
Most cruise lines will spend at least one night in port in St Petersburg and some will even stay for two nights’.
For those of you that don’t like flying from the UK then there is plenty of opportunities to sail on a Baltic cruise from a British port.
Take a Baltic cruise and not only will you see St Petersburg but other wonderful ports, including Kristiansand, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki, Skagen, Stockholm, Hamburg and sail the Kiel Canal. With prices starting from under £1,200.00 per person (two adults sharing an inside cabin) onboard the beautiful Celebrity Silhouette (offer ends soon) or do it on one of the Queens – Elizabeth.
For our friends in the North, sail on Magellan from Newcastle or Dundee or from Tilbury and Southampton in the South.
Depending on your itinerary the majority will visit St Petersburg as this is the highlight of any Baltic cruise.
Other ports of call you may visit include Copenhagen, Warnemunde, Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm and Aalborg. Some will even visit some Norwegian ports too.
So back to St Petersburg. St. Petersburg, Russian Sankt Peterburg, formerly (1914–24) Petrograd and (1924–91) Leningrad, is a city and port in the extreme north west of Russia.
St. Petersburg is a mecca of cultural, historical, and architectural landmarks. Founded by Tsar Peter 1(the Great) as Russia’s “window on Europe,” it bears the unofficial status of Russia’s cultural capital and most European city, a distinction that it strives to retain in its perennial competition with Moscow.
Three distinctive characteristics of St. Petersburg engage attention. The first is the city’s harmonious mix of western European and Russian architecture. Second is St. Petersburg’s lack of an unequivocal city centre, which, in other Russian cities of medieval origin, is defined by a kremlin and its surrounding area. The third characteristic feature of the city is its many waterways. The short but full-flowing tributaries and canals of the Neva River that stretch to the Baltic coast are inseparable from St. Petersburg’s panorama. Many of the city’s most famed architectural sites stretch along the Neva’s historic embankments.
Some of the places to see and visit.
Hermitage Museum (founded in 1764) – depending on your itinerary you may even get the opportunity to take in a Russian Ballet performance (Swan Lake being my favourite).
Peterhof Palace (series of gardens and palaces in Peterhof and one of my personal favourites).
Winter Palace (Former residence of Russian Emperors)
St Isaacs Cathedral
Senate and Synod Ensemble
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Take in a Recital or Ballet Performance
St Catherine’s Palace
There is so much more to see not only in St Petersburg and countries along the Baltic that you will not be disappointed.
What would you recommend? If you have visited please comment.
If you would like to go or would like more information then please contact me on 0333 300 2803 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org