Solo Travel Destination: St. Petersburg, Russia

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post, this time from Janice. Usually these are submitted by readers and members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.  Do you have a solo travel destination to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: Russian, English is found but, in my experience, not common

Part of a very grand entrance to The Hermitage

Reasons to go:

One reason to go is that St. Petersburg is an easy entry to Russia which can be a challenging country to a westerner.  But there is way more.

St. Petersburg is gorgeous. It is a magnificent planned city built in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Baroque and Neoclassical styles. It is rich with elaborate architecture and arguably owns the greatest art collection in the world. If Russians don’t have the resources to go to Europe, they go to St. Petersburg. The reason? St. Petersburg is very, very European. There are canals like those in Venice and Amsterdam, buildings like those found in Paris and art from all over the world.

Main things to do:

  • Visit The Hermitage. Even if you’re not interested in art you must go there for the ambiance
  • Walk Nevsky Prospekt for the shopping and people watching
  • Go to the Peter and Paul Fortress which was the original St. Petersburg
  • Visit the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. This is one of the few examples of Russian Orthodox style that you’ll see in the heart of St. Petersburg. See it for its history and the mosaic work inside.
  • Take the fast ferry to the Psterhof which was modeled conceptually on Versaille but has its own kind of richness.
  • Go to the Mariinsky Theatre but make sure you will be attending a performance in the main theatre as they do use others.
  • Explore the metro system when it’s not rush hour. Take the “red line.” It’s the oldest and deepest metro line in St. Petersburg and stop to take a look at each station. They are unique.

There are plenty of hotels, including western chains, in St. Petersburg. I chose a more local experience. I stayed in an apartment rental thanks to which put me in a community not a tourist zone.

Other posts on St. Petersburg:

The Hermitage ranks as one of the greatest museums of the world. Through photos and video, I’ve tried to take you there.

Getting inside the local culture is one of the great joys of travel. Here’s one way that works.

It was with a little trepidation that I went to Russia but taking these great day tours in each city made it easy.

The Peterhoff summer residence.

On one of the many canals in St. Petersburg.

Church of the Bleeding Heart.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 3 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)

  • Kristine Berzins

    Strangely St. Petersburg and Russia was the best from whole Euroope! At first I was skeptical, but now I’ve changed my mind. We went trough Travel all Russia so didn’t have any issues regarding visa, because I heard that sometimes it can take longer than a month.

    But I’m having mixed feelings again, I kinda wanna go visit Russia, but I’ve heard that St. Petersburg and Moscow is the best cities and others are facing harsh financial issues and thus the crime rate has increased… But I guess Im gonna give Russia a try once again:)

  • Carmen B

    Nice article!
    I visited St. Petersburg over Christmas and loved it… it can be done as an intense day trip form Moscow. Check out my blog for some more inspiration and tips:

  • Panam

    Never explored the Petersburg, Russia, but heard a little about that place from some of my friends, They explored they place a few months ago just after coming back from there niagara falls tours from nyc, They loved the place, and I’m also curious about that.

  • faith

    I visited St. Petersburg in May of this year and loved it! I would return in a heartbeat.u

  • Swetha Reddy

    Bargain Online for the best hotels at
    For more please watch the video..

  • jessica philip76

    me and my travel mate went to Catedral
    de San Isaac , Like everywhere in Saint
    Petersburg this big stony jewel laid in a beautiful garden.Before entering to
    this amazing church with a special beauty ,thane your picture from the building
    or the surrounding as far as possible or bring a wide lens camera with your
    self.View of Saint Petersburg from the dome of the cathedral is also worth a
    visit. We spent a very nice together and I hope we can do it again J

  • Ed

    It has been twenty years since my first first visit and I agree with you, the evenings are beautiful too. It was a trip I will never forget.

    If anyone is going to Russia, St. Petersburg is a must see.

  • Ele Pranaityte

    How would you rate this city in terms of money? How much would one be spending a day? I want to see this city but I’ve heard it’s really expensive.

  • Kristine Huttinger-Woodcock

    I was in St. Petersburg back in the 90’s and it was so beautiful. The Hermitage and the Summer Palace were incredible. I went in the late summer and also enjoyed going to the Baltic sea to where we could see the sun still shining down on us after midnight. Awesome!

  • Lee-Anne Smith

    I was recently in St Petersburg and Moscow as a solo traveller and I loved the place. I hired a private guide in St Petersburg because I had heard mixed stories, it was wonderful having a Russian speaker with me for 2 days. It also means you ‘jump’themassive queues at the Heritage, Peterhof and Catherine Palace. For$125US per day it was money well spent. Get a hotel that has English speakers and they can assist you if needed. I really didn’t have too many problems at all with the language. Moscow is a little different. I found the language and the attitude a little harder, but don’t let that put you off. Russia offers travellers far mo than I ever imagined and was the jewel in my 3.5 months traveling Europe.

  • Of Wit & Will

    I haven’t really considered a destination in Russia before, but this post makes me re-think. The architecture seems really elaborate and has a lot of historical significance.

  • Susan G

    I found St Petersburg to be one of the nicest places in Russia, having spent 5 weeks in the country this summer travelling by train. I loved everything about it. Even though the people might not have spoken a lot of English, they were so friendly and helpful. I would go back in a heartbeat!