Saint Petersburg for first-timers. Do’s and Don’ts.

 

Do get tickets beforehand

This may seem strange, but in fact it is important especially if you are planning to visit Saint Petersburg during the high season – May – September. What happens is that more than five million tourists come to the city in summer and many suburban palaces cannot house everybody. Grand Peterhof palace, Catherine’s palace, Yusupov palace are usually unavailable for regular tourists who didn’t book their visit at least a month before the visit, even if you turn to a travel agency – so the sooner the better.

Do try Russian food

Russian cuisine is diverse and delicious. So that is not only vodka and caviar, although these are must try things. Soups are essential – do try borsch (beetroot soup hot or cold), shchi ( cabbage soup), solyanka (with pickled cucumbers). Speaking about main dishes – beef stroganoff, dumplings, chicken kiev, pike perch in Polish style. Desserts are great as well. Have you heard of Napoleon? Oh, not that one, but a cake – that’s really yummi. Vareniki ( dumpling with cherries) are my favourites, but hardly ever people know about them. Anna Pavlova - a merengue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina. Soft drinks are usually represented by mors ( berry juice and most often cranberry juice) and kvas ( rye bread drink that resembles beer )

Do dress up for a night out

Saint Petersburgers like dressing up. High heels, evening dresses are usual for posh restaurants and theatres. That’s part of our culture, so if you don’t want to catch surprised glances full of indignation don’t wear jeans in Mariinsky theatre.

Don’t be disrespectful in a church

Churches are quiet places and you are welcome to enter any but usually it is prohibited to take pictures, laugh and speak loudly. Moreover, they will not let you in if you are wearing shorts or very short skirts for women. Ladies usually wear a scarf over their head; men always take off their caps or hats.

Don’t catch a taxi on the street

ЯкорьSaint Petersburg is one of the biggest European cities and one of top travel destinations, which means that we have not only great art galleries but also fraudsters specializing in tourists. Watch out for pickpockets and do not get in a taxi unless you know the price you have to pay to get to your destination and you like it. We do not have meters. Transportation within city center is about 10 UDS. There were a number of cases on TV last year when taxi drivers forced people to pay them about 500 USD for a 10 min travel. So better use taxi applications or ask the hotel receptionist for help

Don’t worry if you’re stopped by police

That is their job to stop people and check the documents. Please make sure that you have a copy of your passport, your visa and your registration card with you.