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How long a stay?

United Kingdom
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How long a stay?

We're planning a trip to St. Petersburg in late January, early February. I'm wondering - how long a stay is required to do this city justice?

The primary reason for our trip is to experience some winter (you just don't get winter on the south coast of England!) and, for me, to visit the Hermitage Collection.

Cheers

St Petersburg Russia
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1. Re: How long a stay?

Hi SilverCamel

How long to stay is determined by how long usually you stay in museums and your pace of taking in the activities and sights. Cruise ship passengers get a Reader's Digest intensive tour in only 2 days but that is under special conditions that would be almost impossible to duplicate with a do-it-yourself- tour. To cover the same by foot and tour book would be 5 days I would estimate. If you are a real museum hound like I am you will barely cover the block surrounding the Winter Palace/Hermitage in 5 days. The typical visitor spends 2-3 hours in the Hermitage. That seems to satisfy their curiosity but a real exploration of it would take much longer, say, 10 years. I've been there over 100 times and still have not seen it all.

Usually it is cold in Jan-Feb but if this current winter weather holds up you will be shedding your coat and making do with a long sleeved shirt or sweater. Most of the last 40 days has been over 8 degrees Cel. and some recent days set records for 12+. Some sadness can be detected in locals when they think of New Years with dry street, sun shine and +6 degrees.

All the museums will be open and the full cultural season is underway so finding things to do will be more of a matter of trying to choose between so many options.

Just for safety, bring winter clothing, including wool scarf, good boots, a hat and gloves. Wool mittens if you are sensitive to frozen fingers or leather gloves if you care more about being stylish.

Have a great visit!

London
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2. Re: How long a stay?

As stanj, says, it all depends - and there's so much to see apart from the Hermitage (we went twice but still only scratched the surface). If it's any help, we stayed for 6 nights in Feb/March this year (we wanted a winter experience too). With 5 1/2 days (4 1/2 spent in town, 1 mostly out of town/well away from the centre), we left feeling we had done the city justice - but we do like to give ourselves quite a busy programme. We went (almost) everywhere we'd intended to go, plus the usual spontaneous detours/distractions, but there were still plenty of things we missed out and several museums/galleries we had to leave early because they were closing. If we'd gone for less than 6 nights, I think we'd have regretted that decision (not least because it can take a little while to find your feet) (and not just because of the winter ice!) - but it would still have been a great time in a great city.

St.Petersburg
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3. Re: How long a stay?

My suggetion is 6-7 days. Then you have enough time to see all important sights in St.Pete and its outskirts and spend one day visiting Novgorod. Only 2.5 hours by coach and you are in absolutely different world.

for ex. 1st day - city tour - squares, cathedrals, monuments....

2nd day - Hermitage

3rd day Russian museum, may be Museum of the Applied art or art galleries

4th day - outskirt palaces

5 th day walking, taking pictures, may be visit of the Treasure Gallery in the Hermitage, may be other places of the special interest like Ice-breaker Krasin, prison "crosses", Armoury and so on...

6th day Novgorod

7th day farewell)))

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4. Re: How long a stay?

Much appreciated - thank you all, and Eugenia for the hint about Novgorod. I shall look that up.

I'm happy to visit museums &, weather permitting, do lots of walking, so my immediate thoughts were 5 days. Besides, anything longer than that starts to become problematic with the dogs & requires more planning.

I've been saying for 20 years that I would see The Hermitage Collection one day - anything else on this journey would simply be a bonus as far as I'm concerned. But I'm sure I'll change my tune when I get there. I didn't realise that St. Petersburg was such a large city! To my shame I only really knew about The Winter Palace & The Hermitage Collection.

St Petersburg Russia
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5. Re: How long a stay?

SilverCamel wrote " I didn't realise that St. Petersburg was such a large city! To my shame I only really knew about The Winter Palace & The Hermitage Collection."

You are not alone, even the city of St Petersburg does not know just how extensive the museum and monument list is. I have probably been to more points of interest than just about any foreigner and wondered about the city's list that numbered 120 museums. I figured I had been to more than that so I started compiling a list for a web site I was creating for visitors and stopped counting when I hit 255 museums. That includes everything from apartment museums for composers, poets and writers along with the major museums featured in the guide books.

Along with museums I counted 54 theaters for serious music, opera, and ballet.

If a person can not find some specialty museum dedicated to his particular interest he is not really trying.

Any way you look at it, St Petersburg is a member of a exclusive club limited to world cities known for their cultural depth and intensity. I live in the center and walk, on my way to work, past many of the featured destinations and historic buildings listed in the guide books. Next to or around the corner, or in an apartment marked only by a cast bronze placard on the exterior wall, there are many additional spots of interest. Some of the museum curators would be pleased if a foreigner showed an interest and visited. One of my interest is early radio development, for example of little known specialty museums, there are 3 museums for Popov, the academic who developed the first practical radio communications system predating Marconi in both date of demonstration and technical sophistication. Few westerners have ever heard of him unless a student of science history. One of the museums is in the recently restored building of the Communications museum that has one of the worlds largest collections of rare stamps.

Let us know you special interests and we can probably come up with a little known museum that is dedicated to that topic.

Boston...
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6. Re: How long a stay?

3 days is a must, I would say 5 days. A week would be too much.

USA & Altai Kray...
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7. Re: How long a stay?

We stayed 5 days in St. Petersburg, and it wasn't nearly long enough for us A week would have been better and 10 days or longer would have been even better! There is so much to do and see and it's best to gauge your stay on how much it will take to fulfill our own enjoyment. We're thinking our next trip there will probably be at least 10 days to two weeks, especially since one of our two Russian family college kids hasn't been there yet with us.

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8. Re: How long a stay?

Thank you all for your responses. Plans have now changed. We're putting off St. Petersburg for the time & have decided to join some friends on a Nile River cruise instead.

9. Re: How long a stay?

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