Plan a Winter Trip To Saint Petersburg, Russia

We did a short and sweet four day trip to the city in December. Russia in winter, who woulda thunk it? This was our anniversary trip and we fell in love with the historic, vibrant culture.

Culturally, architecturally and historically, this city was everything we had hoped it would be. “The City of Czars” was beyond beautiful and distinctively different compared to a lot of other European cities, especially given how much more cheaper it was to get around.

If you are looking for a unique city that can provide a history lesson and satisfy your wanderlust, look no further than Saint Petersburg.

Itinerary breakdown: Day 1, 2 and 3 - Saint Petersburg

Day 4 - day trip to Peterhof and exploring the underground metros


Best time to visit

We decided to go in the winter because a country famous for it's extreme weather has to be witnessed in all it's glory.

Flights and Visa

We flew direct with Emirates. Visa - recently the country made it easy for citizens of certain countries to apply for a e-visa to the city. It was a very simple process, efficient. Got the visa in 24 hours.

You can apply for the visa here.

Language

Russian is the official language - and despite being such a tourist hot spot, not many people spoke English. It is actually extremely frustrating especially when trying to order vegan/vegetarian food or trying to make your way through the metro but oh well.


Travel and Medical Insurance, Currency

Travel Insurance is always recommended. Russian Ruble is the official currency, carry cash if you plan to buy trinkets. If not, just use your card.


Where we stayed

Solo Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky in old Saint Peterburg. It was conveniently located next to a metro (short walk of 10 minutes). Plenty of grocery and vegan/veggie friendly restaurants as well.


Cost and getting around

I was surprised by how affordable and well-connected the metro was (in sharp contract to somewhere like Japan, where the metro was connected by also expensive). It is the best way to get around the city, if you are not a walker.


We only took the metro twice - once to head to Peterhof and the other time was a joy ride because of the fascinating, world-famous stations in the city. More on that later.

Safety

We didn't venture out to the unsafe areas. Overall felt safe. As soon as stepped out of the flight, we like we were in Russia - people don't smile at you, they don't greet you or small talk. It is truly a way of life.

Food

As always, I did my research and used happy cow to find the best vegan joints around town. These are my top-picks: Market Place (like a food court), Hood (right next to the Savior Church serving totally LIT vegan burgers), Ukrup.

What to pack

Pack layers - thermal inner-wear, thick winter fleece socks, gloves, scarves, beanies, snow boots. Trust me, you're going to need this.

Day 1 - exploring Saint Petersburg

Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, this city is now the cultural capital of the Russian Empire. We woke up to a snowy Saint Petersburg and this stunning view was just a few minutes away from our hotel.

First names Saint Petersburg in honor of the Apostle Peter, the city on the Neva changed its name three times in the XX century.