St. Petersburg

Sail down the beautiful rivers

Overview

Overview

Exeter International have expertly been planning custom programs to St. Petersburg since 1992. Greg Tepper, Founder of Exeter International has been recognized as the expert in deluxe travel to Russia by Conde Nast TravelerTravel + Leisure and is a Wendy Perrin Wow Trusted Travel Expert. Let our team plan your trip to Russia and make it extraordinary.

Peter the Great dreamed about a city that would be as unlike Moscow as possible, a modern city that would be designed to a plan. He realized his dream with the building of St. Petersburg. The first stone was laid in 1703, and Peter invited architects, masons, artists and craftsmen from all over Europe to create his new capital. After Peter, a succession of empresses and emperors added to the beauty of the city, each one of them giving to it a new style – Baroque, Rococo, Classical, Russian Revival.

Elegance and luxury are the words that come to mind when we speak of St. Petersburg. Art Nouveau, Baroque and Rococo lay an exquisite trail that weaves in and out of St. Petersburg’s canals in perfect symmetry.

A world capital for culture, St. Petersburg unarguably has one of the richest traditions of art, architecture, music and theater in the world and we invite you to immerse yourself in it with us.

It’s not enough to simply know the life of the Tsars. We invite you to experience it yourself with our intrinsic understanding of the city, our network on the ground, and behind-the-scenes access with our Exeter International Extraordinary Experiences.

Open the door to the off-site storage rooms of the Hermitage. Take an inside peek into the restoration workshops of the priceless Amber Room at Catherine Palace. Enjoy the finest seats at the Mariinsky during the White Nights Festival. Exeter International’s custom-designed programs are designed to eke out the essence of St. Petersburg’s palaces, museums and theaters to make it most meaningful for you.

For custom luxury travel and tours to St. Petersburg, please contact one of our travel experts, or read on below for more information about where to go and when, along with our Insider's Guide.

Itineraries

Peter & Paul Fortress - St. Petersburg, Russia
Exeter’s Perfect Week in Russia
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Exeter’s Perfect Week in Russia

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Red Square - Moscow, Russia
Essential Russia for Families
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Essential Russia for Families

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Peter & Paul Fortress Winter
Russia’s Winter Wonderland
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Russia’s Winter Wonderland

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Volga Dream - Russia
Volga Dream Gold Tour
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Volga Dream Gold Tour

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Volga Dream - Russia
Volga Dream Platinum Tour
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Volga Dream Platinum Tour

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Volga Dream, Russia
Volga Dream Imperial Tour
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Volga Dream Imperial Tour

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St. Isaac's Cathedral - St. Petersburg, Russia
Essential St. Petersburg
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Essential St. Petersburg

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Red Square - Moscow, Russia
Shore Excursion – St. Petersburg & Moscow (3-Day)
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Shore Excursion – St. Petersburg & Moscow (3-Day)

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Russia Founder’s Tour with Greg Tepper
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Russia Founder’s Tour with Greg Tepper

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Grand Kremlin Palace Moscow
Essential Russia (8 Days)
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Essential Russia (8 Days)

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General Staff Building - St. Petersburg, Russia
Essential Russia with Golden Ring (12 Days)
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Essential Russia with Golden Ring (12 Days)

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Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg
Simply St. Petersburg
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Simply St. Petersburg

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Bronze Horseman St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg (2-Day) – Shore Excursion
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St. Petersburg (2-Day) – Shore Excursion

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Amber Room Workshops St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg (3-Day) – Shore Excursion
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St. Petersburg (3-Day) – Shore Excursion

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Russian Church in Winter
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian – Arctic Explorer
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Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian – Arctic Explorer

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Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian – Land of the Midnight Sun
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Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian – Land of the Midnight Sun

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Best time To Go

If your images of St. Petersburg are those of snow covered frozen rivers, drinking vodka and wearing fur, winter is the perfect time to visit. You will have the added bonus of almost having the museums to yourself and the top hotels offer the best value at this time of year. New Year is a particularly good time to visit as it is the most celebrated holiday on the Russian calendar. The climate is very variable during winter and temperatures can fluctuate from 30 degrees Fahrenheit to -4. 

April is a perfect month to visit, the start of Spring, and prior to the start of the cruise ship season that lasts from May to September. 

May to the middle of July is peak season for hotels and cruise ship arrivals.

The end of June and the beginning of July is the famed period of  very long days known as the White Nights, when the sun barely sets. This is not to be confused with the Mariinsky White Nights Opera, Symphony and Ballet Festival that runs from the end of May to the middle of July.  

The cultural scene of ballet and opera takes a break from the middle of July, sometime right up to the very end of September when the leading arts companies go on tour, so if your dream is to see Swan Lake on the stage of the Mariinsky, this is not the time to go. The weather in July and August can occasionally get very hot with temperatures in the 80’s. 

Late September to early November is a quieter time to visit, with cultural life back in full swing. 

Insider's Guide

Where to Travel in Russia?

Our handpicked guides lead you on tours along the inside track of St. Petersburg. Our behind-the-scenes, closed-door Exeter International Extraordinary Experiences take you a step beyond the ordinary, creating the ultimate luxury Russian vacation. Enjoy and after hours visit to the Hermitage, allowing you to see the art without the crowds. Get an insider sneak peek into the Amber Room workshops at Catherine Palace and the Grottos of Peterhof.

Travel to the ancient fairy-tale towns of the Golden Ring, the name given to the necklace of towns and villages that circle Moscow and were created between the 11th and 15th centuries.  These towns are some of the most important centers of Russian Orthodoxy, from a time when the number of monasteries and churches told you how prosperous a town was. Many of these churches served as a template for the Moscow Kremlin cathedrals built many years later.

How to Travel to St. Petersburg

Customized Travel

Our team of travel experts can customize a unique program for you, based on our Essential Russia itinerary. Or, if St. Petersburg is your focus, see our Essential St. Petersburg.

We suggest you allow a minimum of three nights in Moscow and four nights in St. Petersburg. If you wish to include the Golden Ring, we suggest that you travel there after your initial stay in Moscow, and before you travel to St. Petersburg.

Private Shore Excursion

If you are on a Baltic cruise, and in port in St. Petersburg, we can arrange a private shore excursion with your own Exeter hand-picked private guide. Our private shore excursions ensure that you’ll receive, not only the best experience possible, but personalized service throughout, allowing you to maximize your time in port.

Russian River Cruise

On the Volga Dream, you can explore the waterways between Moscow and St. Petersburg including the stunning wooden village on Kizhi Island and the Golden Ring town of Yaroslavl, with its ancient churches. In Moscow and St. Petersburg you will stay in central hotels in the heart of each city before embarking on your cruise between the two capitals.

Just as exciting is the southern route from Moscow to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea on the Lower Volga, a sailing that takes you into the heart of the real Russia. Reliving the history of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and seeing the perfectly preserved fortress of Nizhny Novgorod is something most travelers never have the chance to experience.

Luxury Golden Eagle Train

The most epic rail journey in the world  – the renowned Trans-Siberian Express! Travel 6,500 miles on the luxurious Golden Eagle, your luxury hotel on wheels. During the two week journey, you will see some of the most unique places in the world, Lake Baikal, Ulaan Baatar, Vladivostok –  almost inaccessible by any other route and certainly not in the same level of comfort or luxury.

If you have longer, extend your stay and continue on to the Baltic States or Scandinavia.  It is easy to get from St Petersburg to Helsinki, via a high-speed direct train.

Inside Track

Read Greg Tepper’s Insider Guide to St. Petersburg, and get in touch with us to help you plan your trip.  

Unmissable 

One place that is not on everyone’s radar is the magnificent new General Staff Building of the Hermitage Museum. Located across Palace Square, this incredible curved building has been completely remodeled inside to create state of the art temporary exhibition halls, and to house the permanent collection of French impressionists and Western & European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Four floors and hundreds of galleries, this part of the Hermitage needs to be savored and not rushed, so we recommend you do this on a separate day to the main Hermitage complex. 

Dine with the Locals

St. Petersburg has a world-class restaurant scene. One of our favorite restaurants is located close to the Peter & Paul Fortress and is called Korushka. There is a simply stunning view across the Neva River to the Hermitage and a menu that crosses many of the countries of the former Russian and Soviet Empires – Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The majority of customers are Russian and this is a wonderful place to enjoy excellent food, a superlative view and people watch, all at the same time.

Ultimate Souvenir  

No, it isn’t a traditional Matryoshka (stacking doll)! After a private tour of the Amber Workshops  at Catherine Palace, where you will learn about the painstaking reconstruction of this famous part of the palace, you may want to visit the store close to the palace that is the only one that sells amber products made by master craftsmen. Quality products with a guaranteed provenance. 

Meet a ballerina in St Petersburg
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