Planning the Trip

Visas and Invitations

Airline and Accomodations

Our Arrival and the Apartment



  St. Petersburg - Museums  
St. Petersburg
(Courtesy of David Lucs)

Many thanks to Tell The Truth Traveler Bob93_2 for this write-up of his trip!

We have wanted to go to St. Petersburg, Russia for many years, especially to see the Hermitage, and now we have managed to visit.  The following is a description of the process we went through before the trip and the actual trip.  Please, do not take this as gospel or the only way to do a trip.  I am relating our experience and others may find a totally different experience.

I'll start with what we saw and ate, then go into how we planned the trip and got visas.

Specific museums we visited (this is certainly not a complete list of the museums in St. Petersburg!):

Picture of The Hermitage The Hermitage is the aces of museums.  It is huge and it still only has a small fraction of its entire works on display.

Before we left home I ordered a two-day ticket by the internet for a cost of $24 per person which included video and camera use (you must use the ticket 2 consecutive days the museum is open).  If you buy your ticket at the Hermitage you will have to wait in line.  With our advance purchase we walked through the group entrance, avoiding all lines, and went to the desk in the vestibule and picked up our tickets.  This all took about 3 minutes.

If you buy your tickets at the museum it is 300 roubles (approximately $10) per day plus 100 roubles ($3) for cameras and 250 roubles ($8) for videos per day.  You also rent audio guides that give a description of some of the rooms and art work.  We used the audio guides the first day but found they were not really that useful in that they stated the obvious and only covered a very small potion of the museum.

Picture of The Russian Museum The Russian Museum contains a huge amount of art work.  It is second, only after the Hermitage.  This will take many hours to go through properly.  I saw more than one tour group rushing from room to room having one or two pieces of art explained to those in the front of the group (the ones in the rear couldn’t hear the guide) and off they tore to another room.  Take your time, enjoy the art.

Picture of The Yusupov Palace The Yusupov Palace is a beautiful example of how the super rich lived.  It is very nice indeed.  This is where Rasputin was poisoned but to see that chamber you must buy a separate ticket.  Audio guides are available for free!

Picture of The Marble Palace The Marble Palace is the home of a lover of Catherine the Great. She took care of her man.  This belongs to the Russian Museum and contains (get tired of saying this) a great deal of art (paintings and sculptures).

Picture of The Sheremetev Palace We were surprised by the Sheremetev Palace on the Fontanka Canal. It had a more ‘homey’ feel than the other fine homes but still had an unmistakable richness about it. There is a small music museum on the ground floor that was interesting.

General Information:  Museums are all normally open on Saturdays and Sundays but close 1 day during the week.  Check a guide book or call the museum directly or check their website (if they have one) to find the day they are closed.  The Hermitage is closed on Mondays.

  Be warned.  We went to 2 different museums (Marble Palace and Yusopov Palace) on days that they were supposed to be open but they were closed because private parties had booked them!  So if you are making a special trip to them, call ahead of time.  If the person who answers the phone does not speak English, they will normally try to find someone there that does.

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • Most of the museums we visited had the works labeled in Russian and English.
  • Some have charges for cameras/videos, some don’t have charges, and some do not allow them.
  • If you buy museum tickets through a hotel or agency they will be more than at the museum.  I checked at the Sheraton Nevsky Palace Hotel and they wanted 15 euros (510 roubles) for a ticket that costs 250 roubles at the museum, over a 100% markup – this was just for the ticket, no transportation and no guide.