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Where to stay in St Petersburg?

For once I will start an article with a confession. Well, no need to be that excited. I’m not living in St Petersburg and I’ve only been there 3 times (still better than nothing right?). That’s why this article will be shorter than the one on Moscow, and more tourists oriented  than for expats. But I am still writing it so it will be as good as usual. Thing is with St Petersburg, the city is smaller than Moscow, less expensive and absolutely stunning. That is why you can afford living in the very center, where the city is truly active, or in very trendy quarters.

 

Nevsky

Where?

Nevsky is the heart of Petersburg. It’s a big boulevard with lot of shops, restaurants, cafés and historic sites. Nevsky links all the major sites and places of St Petersburg’s city center. You can not do more central.


Why?

Of course for its location. But also because Nevsky combines all the main sites of St Petersburg. This quarter is perfect for both tourists that can find a reasonable and comfortable accomodation in the very heart of the city, and locals that will have all activities, shops, restaurants and cafés in less than 15min walking.


What to do?

St Petersburg main sites such as the Ermitage, Christ the Savior on the Spilled Blood, St Isaac, Our Lady of Kazan cathedral, the Russian Museum…

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg- Cafe Singer

Want to book a tour? Check this out!

 

New Holland

Where?

The New Holland quarter is located in the city center, on the West of Nevsky and St Isaac cathedral.

 

Why?

The New Holland quarter is one of my favorite. It previously was a prison and so not such a good quarter to live in. But the prison closed and the quarter renovated. As a result, it became a trendy quarter with many small restaurants and shops!


What to do?

Visit and eat at the Bottle (Botilka) that is the former prison, transformed in a very nice place with cafés en shops.

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Want to book a tour? Check this out!

 

Vasilievsky Island

Where?

The Vasilievsky Island is on the opposite side of the Neva, right in front of the Admiralty.

Why?

The Vasilievsky Island is a newly renovated quarter not far from Petersburg very heart. As a result it’s a very convenient, comfortable and trendy part of the city. Great to stay there if you plan on discovering the city, but also the current life of Russians living in Petersburg!


What to do?

Despite the proximity of the main touristic sites, you can should visit the spit of the island and the Menshikov Palace.

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Want to book a tour? Check this out!

 

Summer Garden Quarter

Where?

The Summer Garden is located on the east of St Petersburg very heart, on the banks of the Neva.

 

Why?

Although the beauty of the garden itself, this quarter of St Petersburg hosts many historic famous and unknown sites and palaces. Plus, the quarter is also a very trendy one with backstreets hiding delicious restaurants and cafés but also nice shops for hipsters (but like the good ones).


What to do?

In this quarter I highly recommend the famous Summer Garden and Russian Museum of course. But if you want to discover something different, unusual, you must visit the St Ann’s church, a church/theater that burnt some years ago…

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Want to book a tour? Check this out!

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Top 7: Russian palaces

Russia is known for many things, and one of them being its glorious and shiny imperial past. Who wouldn’t be astonished by the luxurious golden palaces, the huge parks and masterpieces exhibited in these imperial residences? But more (because I know why you’re reading this top), who wouldn’t dream of being the Anastasia of the 21st century? (I personally didn’t lose hopes). I already wrote about all the imperialist things we can do in Russia and especially in St Petersburg (here). But I know that most of you would rather focus on the palaces and enter the intimacy of the Russian Tsars (cheeky). So here it is! A top to know which, when and at which price you can visit imperial palaces!

 

  • Peterhof Palace (St Petersburg)

Peterhof Palace is probably the most famous palace in St Petersburg after the Ermitage. And to be honest everyone knows why. The Russian Versailles was the summer residence of Peter the Great. But above all, it has been built as a symbol of the Russian imperial power and as a way for Russia to appear as a European Great Power. That’s why the palace is absolutely stunning on the inside and even more on the outside! A definite must-do!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (6)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday: 10.30-17.45

Saturday: 16.15-19.45

 

How much?

Full price (Grand Palace): 1000 RUB (16 USD)

Full price (Lower Garden): 900 RUB (15 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

  • Pavlovsk Palace (St Petersburg)

As I already explained, Paul Ist isn’t the best nor the most appreciated Russian Tsar. Nevertheless he had a beautiful palace. And especially and huge and awesome park to explore. An estate to discover and admire on the inside as on the outside (in summer of course).

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When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-17.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

Children (from 7yo to 18yo) & Student: 200 (3 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Yusupov Palace (St Petersburg)

When we think palaces and Russian Empire, we often only think about the Romanov. Which to our defence is normal due to the kind of Russian autocratic, hyper-personalised, tradition. But still the Russian Empire has been also dominated by powerful, rich and influential families such as the Yusupov. Enter their main residence on the Moika and discover about them (yesterday and today)…and discover where Rasputin has been killed!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - 2e Palais Youssoupov

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 11.00-17.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Tsarskoye Selo (St Petersburg)

Tsarskoye Selo is the imperial village. Why? Because it hosts two amazing palaces, the Catherine palace and the Alexander palace. If the second is under reconstruction and so close to public access for some years (you know what I mean), the first one is one of the most beautiful palace of St Petersburg. Probably because it hosts the Amber Room (well a copy since the real has been stolen, but still)!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Ensemble

When?

(ticket office)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 12.00-19.45

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12.00-18.45

 

How much?

Full price: 1000 RUB (16 USD)

Students: 350 RUB (6 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Kuskovo Palace (Moscow)

Another powerful family were the Sheremetev. Their country estate in Moscow, Kuskovo, is one of the last remaining imperial palace around the Russian Capital. The palace and the estate are beautiful and you definitely should visit it!

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When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-19.30

 

How much?

Full price: 200 RUB (3 USD)

Student: 50 RUB (0,8 USD)

 

 

  • Tsaritsyno Palace (Moscow)

Tsaritsyno is another palace close to Moscow. To be honest it’s more famous for its park, but the palace worth the visit because of its architectural style and its history!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Tsaritsyno (3)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Weekdays: 11.00-17.30

Saturday: 11.00-19.30

Sunday: 11.00-18.30

 

How much?

Full price: 350 RUB (6 USD)

 

 

  • Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov Palace (Moscow)

Last but not least this wooden-palace is impressive. Far from the huge, goldish and European-style palaces of the Imperial Russia and St Petersburg, the Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov Palace is a true representative of the Russian style. More it explains and shows the beginning of the Romanov accession to power.

Dreamstime © - Kolomenskoe - Palais du tsar Alexis Mikhaïlovitch (4)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-17.30

 

How much?

Full price: 350 RUB (6 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student: Free

 

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 5: Amazing Russian Instagram accounts

Russia is a wide and amazing country full of diversified and outstanding landscapes. However traveling through the whole Federation can be costly and kind of time consuming. For the greatest pleasure of all, Russian photographers are travelling and posting on Instagram marvelous pics. Adding tips, recommendations, they make us travel with them and give us ideas for our next vacations. That’s why I made a short list of my favourites (of course Tsar Visit’s Instagram account is the best, but it wouldn’t be fair to add it here).

 

  • Elena Krizhevskaya

Based in Moscow and taking pics of the Russian Capital, Elena Krizhevskaya is an amazing photographer! Even if I live in Moscow, I always enjoy her posts outstanding pics. I don’t know about you, but it’s my daily shot of muscovite beauty. On the plus side, Elena always gives informations on the places she photographed. You definitely need to follow her!

Her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenakrizhevskaya/?hl=en

Her website: https://moscow-photos.ru/

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  • Alex Mazurov

Alex Mazurov travels Russia and bring with him stunning pics of Russian landscapes and wildlife. Light colors with a recurring dark blue, these pics are my favourites. Alex’s Instagram account is another insight on Russia and its amazing landscapes. Alex Mazurov shows the beauty of Russia, of a natural and preserved Russia. His pics makes you travel instantly!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.mazurov/?hl=en

His website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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  • Andrey Belavin

Another Moscow-based photographer. But Andrey Belavin’s Instagram account mixes perfectly the beauty of the Russian capital city with natural landscapes. Andrey gives to its followers a great view on what is the current Russia. From cities to remote natural areas, from mountains to seasides, Andrey Belavin pictures Russia in all its diversity and wonderfulness!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ted.ns/?hl=en

His website: https://www.filterhero.ru/tedns

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  • Piter Life Style

If Piter Life Style reached about 532k followers on Instagram, it’s definitely thanks to its stunning pics. Focused on the Venise of the North, Piter Life Style gives us informations, tips and advices on the most beautiful corners of St Petersburg. This account is amazing! However don’t look at it too much if you’re not living in St Petersburg…or you would travel there almost every week!

Its Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piter.life.style/?hl=en

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  • Russian Explorers

Russian Explorers is a team of amazing, smart and skilled photographers (and among them Alex Mazurov). All of them with a peculiar style or focus, they make us travel through Russia thanks to wonderful shots. Follow this account and embrace what can be considered as one of the most beautiful Instagram account on Russia!

Their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russianexplorers/?hl=en

Their website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 8: Artists’ houses

Many Russian artists, from writers to dancers, are world-famous. Who never heard of Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, Pushkin? These artists inspired the world and continue nowadays to have a significant impact on our culture. But all of them have also been crucial witnesses of their centuries and of Russia. As most of them were famous while still living, their houses have been preserved by the Russian and later Soviet State. That’s why visiting artists’ houses and apartments in Moscow and St-Petersburg isn’t only about walking where they walked, but is above all diving in specific atmospheres from the past.  

 

  • Tolstoy House-Museum (Moscow)

My favorite is definitely Tolstoy’s house in the city center of Moscow. Not only because Tolstoy is my favorite Russian author, and that I’m dying for his Anna Karenine, but because his house is amazing. Tolstoy’s house is a wooden one that have been protected by the State right after Tolstoy’s death. As a result the house hasn’t been damaged. Enter it, and you instantly dive into the life of the Russian intelligentsia from the late Russian Empire. Amazing and definitely a must do!

Maison-Musée Tolstoï @ Moscou - Maison-Musée Tolstoï (6)

 

  • Dostoievsky House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Other super famous Russian author, Dostoievsky’s apartment in St Petersburg has also been quite well preserved. However, contrary to Tolstoy’s house, Dostoievsky’s apartment became a museum only 1971 due to the Soviet leadership’s unstable view attitude towards the author. Nevertheless the apartment kept the peculiar atmosphere of its time and above all of the vibrant soul that lived in its walls.  

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  • Pushkin House-Museum (St Petersburg)

Probably the most loved and cherished author in Russia, Pushkin died in St Petersburg after a famous (and still painful for most Russians) duel. The apartment in which he lived his last years and died became a memorial treasured by all. As a result the atmosphere remains penetrating. Visiting it also means learning a lot on Pushkin’s life and work so go for it!

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  • Gogol House-Museum (Moscow)

This house being Gogol’s last residence, has been recognised as it only in 2005. Nevertheless the building, both on the outside and inside, is stunning and worth the visit. Enter it and you will travel back in time to discover the living standards of the Muscovite upper classes before the Soviet Union…you may also find some decoration tips for your own house? (I hope not, but who knows?)

Tsar Voyages © - Moscou - Maison-musée Gogol

 

  • Bulgakov House-Museum (Moscow)

If Bulgakov is not the most loved author in Russia, he is not far from it. More, his book The Master and Margarita, is by far the most appreciated and famous book in Russia. That is why Bulgakov’s apartment in Moscow city center is always crowded. This very tiny apartment recall the life of the author but before all smartly mix Bulgakov and Margarita’s lives. Indeed the apartment described in the book is basically Bulgakov’s one. So if you really want to appreciate the tour, read The Master and Margarita before!

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  • Gorky House-Museum (Moscow)

Nowadays, Gorky is a name associated to Moscow’s favored park. But before being a park, Gorky was a Soviet writer. After the revolution, the Soviet leadership seized Ryabushinsky house built in the early 20th century by Fyodor Shekhtel, and Gorky lived in it. To be honest the most important thing about this house isn’t the fact that Gorky lived in it (sorry not sorry). The house worth the visit because it is a mesmerizing and absolutely unusual house, a true eccentric symbol of the Modern Style. Words are not enough to describe it and all the beautifully strange things in it, so just go and open your eyes…but be ready!

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  • Galina Ulanova House-Museum (Moscow)

The Soviet time also knew some prominent and world famous artists and it would be foolish to think the opposite. One of them is Galina Ulanova. A world famous ballet dancer considered by many as the greatest ballerina of the previous century. Born in St Petersburg, and despite being dancing around the world, she mainly lived in Moscow where her apartment has been preserved since her death in 1998. Tiny apartment of a women with skills, ambition and temper, it definitely needs to be visited. You will be transported to the Soviet times and into Galina’s intimacy.

Tips: some secret letters are displayed on Galina’s desk. You should ready them…

Musée-appartement Oulanova @ Moscou - Musée-appartement Oulanova (4)

 

  • Nabokov House-Museum (St Petersburg)

This house saw the birth of the world-famous writer Nabokov in 1899. Nabokov’s family flew from Russia in 1917. As a result of the Bolshevik seizing of power, Nabokov aristocratic roots, and of course because the writer wasn’t famous at that time, the family house of St Petersburg has not been protected by the Soviet Union. It became a museum in 1998 with very few objects and furnitures. But by the years, Nabokov house-museum became more than a significant museum dedicated to the Russian-American writer. Nowadays it has great collection of books and artefacts, and worth a visit!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!