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Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

Washington, DC
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280 posts
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Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

Will be in SPB for 3 days on a cruise, June 29-July 1. Am thinking about trying to arrange a private tour, late afternoon for maybe 6 hours, on the middle day to be able to be in the city during the "white nights" since our ship doesn't offer anything at night. Would like to have a guide take us around the primary sights and streets, somewhere nice for dinner, then a boat ride. Would probably want to be back on our ship by 10 or 11 because we have to be up early the next day for a long shore excursion. Can anyone recommend a good company who can do a custom tour (including visas?) like that? Will we not be able to really experience the atmosphere of the "white nights" if we aren't out till 3 AM and seeing the bridges going up, will it still be too light at 10 PM and the boat trip will feel like it's 3 in the afternoon? Or would a private tour like this give us a chance to experience the unique atmosphere in the city at that time of year? Thank for any info!

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

> Can anyone recommend a good company who can do a custom tour (including visas?) like that?

Almost any company can do that. Read the reviews in the Things To Do section and pick one. BTW, you don't need a visa if you are on a tour (even a custom one).

> Will we not be able to really experience the atmosphere of the "white nights" if we aren't out till 3 AM and seeing the bridges going up

Of course you will not be able to experience a night (be it black or white) in early evening.

Edited: 26 May 2013, 15:20
Austin, Texas
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2. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

Let me see if I have something straight - if I am on a cruise, and I get a private guided tour (separate from the cruise line tours), I do not need a visa to visit for 3 days St. Pete?

Moscow, Russia
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3. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

Make sure that your local tour company in St Petersburg is a fully licensed tour operator registered with the Federal Tourism Agency and has a valid registration number (so called "MBT number"). It is not necessary to buy tours offered by cruise companies to enjoy visa-free stay. You can also buy a tour from a local company, provided it is fully licenced.

Edited: 26 May 2013, 16:43
Banbury
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4. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

The tour guides have coined the expression "blanket visa" which does lead people to believe that they require a visa, in fact all they do is supply you with a tour ticket with your details on it to allow to take part of a tour not requiring a visa.

What you cannot do is be unsupervised and do your own thing, for that you would need to apply to Russian consulate for a visa and this would require sending your passport to the consulate.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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5. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

I've been in SP for the white nights - there are tons of private boat operators on the banks of the neva that will take you around the river and the canals of the city. To really experience it correctly you should take one tour during the day so you can see all the buildings, architecture etc, and one at night when the bridges are raised and lit up, and everyone is partying. These private boats are cheap and carry around 10-15 people. It will be helpful to you if you speak some russian but it's not strictly necessary. Of course, if you're not feeling adventurous, take one of the official tours for a lot more money and a less authentic experience. Any ?s please ask.

6. Re: Experiencing White Nights on a private tour?

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