Private Best of St. Petersburg Two Day Program
Day one of your private St. Petersburg tour begins immediately after your ship has been cleared by the St. Petersburg Port Authority and Immigration.
On the first day the excursion returns back to the ship at approximately 5:30 PM. On the second day you return one hour before your ship is scheduled to sail. All the sites and destinations listed below will be visited inside, be seen during an exterior photo stop, or seen in passing. Due to museums, palaces or other sites being closed on alternate days throughout the week, the order in which they are visited is not given. Each departure is arranged around these closings so that all sites mentioned are seen as described. You will have the same guide for all days of your St Petersburg tour.
You will enjoy interior visits at:
Catherine's PalaceThe grand Baroque style palace was built for the wife of Peter The Great in the village of Pushkin. It exceeds all the other palaces with its gigantic size, the stunning facade of the palace extends for almost 1000 feet, and its unique decorations. You will have a tour of all the rooms open to the public, including the stunning lost Amber Room, and the Great Hall. You will also view a few selected parts of the more than 1,500 acres of park and gardens that surround the palace.
Peter and Paul Fortress Built in 1703, by Peter the Great to protect his new capital, it never saw battle and became a prison for politically harmful people. You will visit the Peter and Paul Cathedral, the traditional, ornate church that houses 18th century paintings, icons and the tombs of many of the Romanov Dynasty Tsars and Tsarinas, including Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and the last Tsar, Nikolai II and his family members.
Peterhof Palace You will enjoy an interior visit at Peterhof Palace and also see some of the enormous fountains and gardens. Built to rival Versailles in France, the palace design was drafted by Peter the Great who supervised the design of the palace fountains. After your interior visit, you will look down upon the Grand Cascade, the most famous fountain group, stroll through the lower parks and view and experience some of Peter's surprise creations.
HermitageThe former residential Winter Palace of the Romanov rulers, today houses one of the world's most prestigious museums where the rooms rival the art within them. Your guided tour includes both the Winter Palace and the Hermitage display rooms, which house some of the museums more than three million art works, including works by DaVinci, Rafael, Rembrandt - to name a few. If nothing else, this is the must see place in St. Petersburg.
Church of the Savior on the Spilled BloodBuilt on the site of the 1881 assassination (spilled blood) of Tsar Alexander II. It sports a fantastic ornate "Russian-style" exterior of traditional colorful onion domes, ceramic tiles and colored glazed bricks. Inside you will view large works of colorful mosaic of different religious themes.
St. Isaac's Cathedral The cathedral's massive central gold dome, one of the largest in the world, is covered with 220 pounds of pure gold and dominates the city skyline. The Cathedral was commissioned in 1818 and took more than three decades to complete. After the October Revolution of 1917 the cathedral was turned into a museum.
Photo stops will be made at the following sites:
The Palace Square between the Winter Palace, the General Headquarters.
Rostral Columns One of the most photographed locations in St. Petersburg.
Lunches: The first day features a traditional Russian lunch, served in one of the better restaurants and the second day lunch will be in a restaurant specializing in international cuisine. Both lunches will consist of three course meals.
Shopping: In addition to local vendors at most of the stops during your excursion, a stop at one of St. Petersburg's souvenir shops will be made where you can barter for traditional Russian goods as china and porcelain, nesting dolls, jewelry, lacquered boxes, pins, handicrafts, military memorabilia of the Soviet Union, Russian coffee table books, and much more.
Reviewer: Sandy Travel Agent McCutcheon
Private tour for 7 was fantastic. Christina, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable. She got my father a wheelchair at the Hermitage - very nice. We had trouble hearing her the first day - the microphone on van made her speech difficult to hear. Possibly speak slower and louder. Second day was great - better microphone. Saw all the important sites. Wonderful.
Reviewer: Andrea Snitchler
Our guide was friendly & very knowledgeable. Private van dropped us off close to sights. She got us to the front of the lines and avoided the LONG waits that the tour bus crowds were stuck in. Tour seemed a bit too structured. We had asked to see a couple of off the beaten path sights & were told that it wouldn't fit with our itinerary. We spent too long ( half a day) in the Hermitage. FOOD- Peterhof rest. had POOR quality and fixed menu (salad, chicken with cream sauce & rice, ice cream). Day 2 charming restaurant in mini log cabin with great atmosphere. Fixed menu again - borscht, same chicken/rice dish, with ice cream. GREAT quality but SAME dish. PRIVATE TOUR AGAIN? = PROBABLY. St. P's sights = super crowded w/ bus tourists. Should communicate to demand some flexibility with the itinerary (if desired) as a condition for booking, and specify meals with local flavor&choice. Saw and learned a ton about St. P's major sights, but longed for a more authentic feel.
This 2-day excursion featured several of the best sites of St. Petersburg. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about each of the places we visited. Meeting was easy after we got through customs. What was very helpful was that we had a driver so the tour guide was free to talk to us about St. Petersburg history and buildings as we drove from place to place. We would absolutely do this again and would recommend this tour to anybody who wants to go to St. Petersburg for the first time.
We were met at the dock exactly as described. Irina took us to see everything and mostly accommodated our requests. There were a few places we wanted to examine the souvenirs but she hustled us out! Of course, she took us to her recommended places, but we expected that as part of the way things work. She was knowledgeable and entertaining. We were very grateful for the skip the line access. I would definitely recommend this with one exception: the lunches provided were not so good.