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3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Hamilton...
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3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Hi,

I just found this forum as I am researching for an upcoming trip to Moscow and St Petersburg(February 2014). I will unfortunately only have 3 days in St Petersburg, so I am trying to optimize my time there. I'm wondering if there are sites more recommended for winter travel (I would love to see Peterhof and Pushkin, but with the Gardens and Fountains off am I better suited seeing other sites?). I plan on 1 day at the Hermitage (I'm sure I could spend all 3 there easily) and am hoping to get some advice on how the rest of my time is spent.

Thanks!

Amanda

Moscow, Russia
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1. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Probably not Peterhof. Pushkin has an impressive palace - might be lees crowded than in summer - surely worth a visit. Saviour on the Blood - with superb mosaics is also something not to miss.

Enjoy!

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2. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

For authentic winter fun try a troyka ride in Pavlovsk: tripadvisor.ca/…53634728

Manchester
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3. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Go to Pushkin!! You will have never seen anything as magical as the Catherine Palace in the snow! There is also the Alexandra Palace just a 10 minute walk away. The town of Pushkin itself is lovely and appears to be sort of an affluent suburb of St Petersburg with pretty pastel coloured wooden houses and a huge onion dome church in the centre. There's no point doing Peterhof as the fountains will be turned off and the gardens closed due to ice. I also thought Yusupov Palace in SPB was amazing!

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4. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

February visit can be very pleasant for the person who likes museums and palaces and doesn't mind some cold and snow.

Aside of the Hermitage where you will enjoy the grand reception halls and masterpieces of European art try not to miss the State Russian museum on the Arts Square. It is the world-best collection of the Russian art from 12-14 century icons to Soviet realism and avant-garde. It is a great museum pleasant to be visited, well-organized. Spend some good 2-3 hours with audio-guide there. It is very close to the Spilled Blood church.

St.Isaak's cathedral is always on the list.

Peter and Paul Fortress might be too cold and windy because it is located on the island. It all depends on the wind.

An evening in Mariinsky Theater is a winter must not only for visitors but for locals as well.

Outskirts - definetely go to Pushkin town, enjoy lack of people there and visit both Catherine's and Aleander's palaces, walk in the park as long as you manage, have hot lunch and continue your day with the visit to Pavlovsk palace and park where you can take a short Troika ride (open carriage with one or three horses).

So, I would say - one day in the Hermitage (come in the morning and get a ticket to the Gold or Diamond room as well), one day for the city sightseeing in the morning when it's light, then Russian museum and some of the evening city, one day in the outskirts.

Hamilton...
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5. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Thank you so much for you detailed post! I am very excited to see St Petersburg. Could someone let me know if the following looks like a good (if not a bit rushed) itinerary? I hope to see a ballet one of the evenings- I understand the Malenitsa festival is coinciding with my trip and Mariinsky does a show? This is also why I only have 3 days in St Petersburg- I would like to walk around the festival in Moscow as well on 26/27 February.

I am planning on an early Sapsan train on Sunday Feb 21. I know the Hermitage is closed on Mondays, so I was planning to visit on the Sunday. Do you know if it has shortened hours on Sundays? I have seen conflicting times on websites.

On Monday I planned to tour around St Petersburg, visiting the Church on Spilled Blood, Perer and Pauls Fortress and generally anything else that catches my attention.

Are Tuesdays good days to travel to Pushkin? I have looked at so many websites at this point I am forgetting which palaces are closed on which days... I can flip my Sunday and Tuesday itineraries.

I am planning an evening Sapsan back to Moscow on the Tuesday, but I could change to an overnight if getting to the station for 1900 would be too difficult.

St. Petersburg...
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6. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Here's what the official ermitage website says: www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/02/hm2_0.html

Catherine Palace is closed Tuesdays, so plan it for some other day.

Edited: 18 November 2013, 19:46
Hamilton...
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7. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Thank you! It looks like my option to go to Catherine Palace will be the Sunday I arrive in St Petersburg as the Monday is the last Monday of the month. Hopefully I can check into my hotel and get there with plenty of time to see it! I can move my Hermitage visit to Tuesday with no problems.

It looks as though there are lockers in the cloakroom, so it may be possible for me to get there directly from the rail station.

NE Victoria...
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8. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Have you seen these trip reports about visits to St Petersburg in icy weather? They're great reads!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298507-i707-k2573…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298507-i707-k5496…

Hamilton...
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9. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

Thank you for those trip reports! Wonderful reads, and I picked up some of the books mentioned in them as well. I decided to hire a private guide with a car for Catherine's Palace- I don't doubt that I could get there myself, but as I have to go the day I arrive, and before check in will be available at my hotel I felt like a private guide will maximize my time seeing the Palace and going to Pushkin (as well as keeping my luggage out of the way).

After that I will be exploring the city on my own. I don't want to miss the interior of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood- It looks like I can see this without a guide, is that correct?

By the time I am wrapping up my time in St Petersburg I will probably be happy sitting in cafe's and relaxing after a month of working out of hotels. Are there any cafe's/restaurants that I should make a point of visiting?

Thank you!

-Amanda

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10. Re: 3 days in St Petersburg in February- What not to miss?

>>interior of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood- It looks like I can see this without a guide, is that correct?

absolutely unless you're really-really into religious-art. The last time I was there with a tour (in Russian) the guide gave us SO much detailed info that it was too much for an "ordinary" visitor. Besides, if you have a good guide book I'm sure it would mention all the major points to look at.

>>Are there any cafe's/restaurants that I should make a point of visiting?

right around a corner to the Our Saviour on Spilled Blood there is a wonderful Stolle cafe http://www.stolle.ru/en/spb/menu.html (it's a chain, all addresses are here http://www.stolle.ru/en/spb/adress.html, the one at the Spilled Blood is Konyushenny 1/6. And if you like it, there're few in Moscow, too http://msk.stolle.ru :) )

For more restaurant recommendations tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g298507-St_Peter…