Planning a trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia with children? Let the experiences of this real family guide you as you see what they and their 6 children liked, didn’t like or loved. Find an unexpected stop or two and help plan a day in this beautiful city that allows your family to take full advantage of what it has to offer.
The type of vacation we typically choose is luxury. For our activities, we like luxury and often stay at the finest hotels, but we are also adventurous and love off the beaten path types of experiences and always seek them out. We aren’t bothered by very “local” experiences anywhere and think these are very important to our vacation. We love adventure. We also like a mixture of regular, touristic and organized places. We enjoy hiking and outdoorsy activities. We enjoy museums, markets and other activities geared towards children. We like to maximize each day by seeing as much as possible.
Our children at the time of this itinerary: 6 children- Boy age 15, Girl age 15, Girl age 15, Girl age 11, Boy age 8 and Girl age 3.
A Special Note: In order to maximize time, get the most out of each location and facilitate easier travel in a new city which we had a limited time to enjoy, we made use of a guide. We highly recommend this approach if it is within reason for your family.
In addition, a travel visa is required, though a guide can arrange this for you.
Our guide was named Alex and he was patient and interested in teaching our kids about everything we saw and the history of Russia. Our kids really liked him.
Description: A driving tour allows your family to at least take in the landscape and get some exposure to items that simply won’t fit on your itinerary. The morning is a great time to do this as you’ll both avoid some of the heavier traffic, as well as get the lay of the land as you set about a new day of activities. Some suggested highlights for this drive include St. Isaac’s Cathedral, The Russian Museum, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Mariinsky Theater, and the Yusupov Palace; the site of Rasputin’s Murder. This last locale is the stuff of fables and legend hiding beneath it’s pleasant facade a story of conspiracy, assassination and espionage.
Our Experience: While it did give us a general overview of the city, to be honest it was only mildly interesting to both the children and adults. We could have easily done something else with this time.
Address: Nab. Reki Fontanki 21
Phone: +7 921 989 47 22
Hours: From May 5 to September 30 they run six tours (one tour every 1 ½ hours) at 11, 12:30, 2, 3:30, 5:00, and 6:30. Three night tours at 8:00 , 9:30 and a special one at 12:20AM will be available daily from June 1 to August 31.
Admission: The standard tour runs 650 rubles for an adult, 550 for a student (Approx $19 and $16 as of the date of this publication) children under 5 years old are free. Note that there are cheaper tours to be had, but this is the only guided tour in English at the time of this publication.
Description: Time to enjoy the same beautiful city from a different perspective! With so much of Saint Petersburg lying along the banks of the Neva River and the city’s canals. English speaking tour guides can explain much about the locations you’ll be passing by as well as more general history of the city. While this listing includes the information for the publicly available tours, private ones can be negotiated by contacting the company directly. Some important things to note are that as a boat tour, rides may be re-routed or cancelled based on the weather. Also they do not sell tickets in advance of the day. If you are concerned about availability the ticket window opens at 10AM.
Our Experience: Both kids and adults really enjoyed this. It was a great way to get a different view of the city and to see its beautiful bridges and architecture from a unique perspective. This was our preferred way to get an overview of where we were and what we wanted to do. We would definitely recommend this.
Address: 2 Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboyedova, St. Petersburg 190000, Russia
Phone: +7 812 315-16-36
Hours: 10:30AM – 5PM Every Day but Wednesday. They have extended summer hours from May 1 – September 30 until 10:30 PM.
Admission: Basic Admission 250 rubles for adults, 50 for children 7-18 (Approx $7 and $1.50 as of the date of this publication) and free to children under 7. Various tours and complementary services listed on website.
Description: This architectural, religious and cultural landmark is among the most popular and sought out destinations in all of Saint Petersburg.It was built as a monument to Alexander II the Liberator. Boasting over 7,000 square meters of mosaics it is one of the most lavishly decorated churches in the world; constructed in the Russian Old-Style with gold draped domes and parapets of the style classically associated with Russian architecture. Allow a couple hours if you want to take a tour or are very interested in taking in all the art as it does get very crowded. An hour will be enough for families who simply want to get a feel for this beautiful site.
Our Experience: We did not take the tour here, but merely took in this monumental landmark from the outside. We were all impressed by the building and would definitely recommend taking a brief stop here to observe it as we did, though we cannot speak to the tour. A beautiful sight.
Address: Dvortsovaya Square, 2, St. Petersburg 190000 , Russia
Phone: +7 (812) 710-90-79
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday from 10:30AM – 6PM, Wednesday from 10:30AM – 9PM, closed Mondays.
Admission: 400 Rubles (Approx $12 as of the date of this publication) for adults, children are free. Additional charge for some exhibits. Contact for tour information and prices.
Description: One of the most famous palaces in the world, The Winter Palace, houses one of the largest and most famous art museums in the world, the Hermitage Museum. Four hours blocked out may seem like a lot but it will barely be enough to scratch the surface of a museum with over 2.7 million exhibits. To spend a minute in front of each piece of art would take 8 years. Russian art and historical pieces meet with famous paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Picasso, and Monet just to name a few. Be aware of the size and the fact that it does get very crowded. Consider contacting them about a tour or booking through one of many private companies that bring tours in as we did.
Our Experience: This was simply an amazing place. Kids and Adults loved it here. We were all in awe of both the beauty of the palace and some of the great works of art within. We spent close to 2 hours and hardly scratched the surface here, though it was quite enough for the kids, especially the younger ones. Plan your visit based around your own family and their stamina for things like this.
Description: One way to get a local’s angle on the city is to visit one of their markets. Bustling centers of local industry, Russian markets will find you in the midst of a busy floor, with vendors shouting and waving their stock at you to try and entice purchases. Sample a few things and grab an authentic bite to eat before maybe making off with a gift or two for loved ones back home.
Our Experience: We were disappointed by our visit to a local food and meat market. We went to one of the most popular ones, and it fell short of expectations. It was nothing like we have seen in other cities. There was not much food, no real energy, vibe or friendliness to it. Really it had little appealing to look at or to draw us in. We could have easily skipped this.
Description: While the drive is the most efficient way back to Saint Petersburg proper, a short visit to a subway station and a ride is worth doing. The major arm of the Saint Petersburg Metro is the city’s oldest and connects four out of the five major stations. The oldest and biggest of these being Avtovo and Narvskaya which are beautifully appointed and sights to be seen in their own right. Colored Glass and Marble adorn Avtovo with an intricate mosaic of the Leningrad Blockade at the end of the platform. Narvskaya features a neoclassical dome as well as features in marble, bronze and red stone unlike anything you’ll see in a domestic subway station. To further add to the old world feel these trains still use tokens, and a single ride can be purchased for about the equivalent of $1.
Our Experience: Believe it or not, this was absolutely worth doing. You rarely think of a ride on a local subway as a priority to include on a tour of a city, but this was really something.
The stations (some, but not all) are quite grand and worth seeing if only for 1 stop. This can be a very quick experience if you want it to be, but adds a lot to the trip.
Address: Petropavlovskaya Fortress, 3, St. Petersburg 197046, Russia
Phone: +7 (812) 230-64-31
Hours: 10AM – 7PM Monday – Friday, Sunday. 10AM – 6:45PM Saturday.
Admission: 350 rubles Adults, 180 students, 130 seniors (Approx $10, $5 and $4 as of the date of this publication) for general admission, extra charges for certain exhibits, see website for details. Public tours included in cost of admission, eave every ½ hour. Call or go online to book. Private tours can be negotiated by contacting them or booking with an outside service.
Description: Built in 1703 by Peter the Great this was the first construction site in the city. It was originally built as a fortress but was used as a prison for political dissidents under the tsars. Eventually it would become the burial vault of Romanov family, the City History Museum, the Mint and the Peter and Paul Cathedral. It is worth noting that the grounds are free, with the admission being charged for the various museums on site. The grounds also provide home to a host of cafes and souvenir stands for the family that needs a break from the heavier art and historical material.
Our Experience: We found this to be mildly interesting at best. There was a nice cathedral in the area that was a pleasure to see. Our kids liked the tanks in the back area. They played on them and took lots of photos there. It wasn’t a bad experience at all, but not an essential stop.