Things to consider before visiting St Petersburg
Here it is! The article about my St Petersburg trip!
Since I am not used to days off, I decided to post this anticipated article that I’ve been talking about on social media since last week!
This trip was planned in May 2016 when the birthday of my boyfriend was approaching. Since I believe memories are more important than material things, I decided to give him as a present a week in St Petersburg. Why there? Well, I knew for a while that he was really passionate about the Russian culture and all the beautiful palaces of St Petersburg so it was a yes for me.
APPLY FOR THE VISA
Firsts thing first. You need to apply for a visa if have a European passport.
It can cost you around £70 the whole process. In some cases, you might have to sign up for a travel insurance and you also need to get a written confirmation from your hotel.
CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE FLYING
I must say, I was a bit concerned about the weather since I booked the trip for December because we are students and that’s when we are off but it turned out to be amazing and I would always prefer to go during the winter there. Perfect to get in the Christmas spirit with all the city decorations, snow and fresh air!
Book your cab always with UBER. It is more convenient and cheaper than the other cabs around in St Petersburg. We called the hotel and booked one that was more expensive than UBER. Once we arrive we understood the currency and realised how cheap everything was. Just to make it clear, a 20 min ride was £2.50. What a laugh, coming from a Londoner perspective!
Anyway, get used to the phrase “Do you speak English” and expect quite often the No answer from most people but hey this is not a problem and people, in general, were very nice.
Regarding the public transport, there are travel cards just like in London and you can get them from the machines where you can change the language since almost everything is in the Russian alphabet. Once you have the travel card (called smart card) you can top it up with either individual trips or with:
1. valid for 7 days – for 10 trips – cost 210 rub (save 40 rub)
2. 15 days – 20 trips – 400 rub (save 100 rub)
3. 15 days – 25 trips – 490 rub (save 135 rub)
4. 30 days – 40 trips – 770 rub (save 230 rub)
5. 30 days – 50 trips – 950 rub (save 300 rub)
For us, the first option worked since we used UBER as well.
MOBILE PHONE AND INTERNET ACCESS
I don’t know if you guys are aware but starting from June 2017, everyone in the EU will be free from roaming, if they’re still a member of EU, of course. Thanks, Brexit voters! British mobile users may not benefit from the end of roaming following UK’s vote to leave the EU.
I am mentioning this because I’ve put my phone in Airplane mode for the whole trip and I was still charged a lot for answering 3 calls.
So make sure when you visit, to turn off the mobile data, don’t answer calls lol and connect to Wifi when you can.
FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
The food is AMAZING! Really similar to the Romanian cuisine but with more variety. We checked restaurants that were recommended on TripAdvisor but since we got lost trying to find the place by map, we went to what seemed acceptable and we weren’t disappointed by a single place in the whole week.
It is kind of tricky to read the bill, so be careful not to be charged more.
We got charged the wrong bill (paid double the price) and thanks to Google translator – camera option- we managed to get a refund. Not sure if they did it on purpose but I know people try to overcharge tourists.
We had an amazing time, from the first hour to the last one. I was deeply impressed by how clean was the city and how beautiful was the underground, all with marble and gold. So classic! I felt like I was living in the communist times from Romania. It reminded me so much of my childhood.
Places that are a must see Winter Palace, Hermitage Museum, Cat republic, Saint Issac Cathedral, Church of the Saviour and Catherine Palace which is a bit outside of the town that we didn’t manage to see but I heard is unbelievable.
As you can see from the images, the palaces and everything else was magnificent and I will definitely be back to explore more!
Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoyed this article