For both history, art and architecture admirers, Saint Petersburg has a lot to offer. Often compared to the Venice of the North, it is one of the most beautiful cities and has been recognized as the Best European destination by the World Travel Awards 2016.
Wide squares, imperial palaces and museums like The Hermitage – all of these are a must see during your stay. But a walk in the city center is also not complete without revealing some of the local gems like Soviet cafés.
St. Petersburg’s exceptional cultural life will make an art lover’s heart beat faster with the stunning operas at Mikhailovsky and ballets at Mariinsky (Kirov) theatre. This city will stay in your heart!
A sincere welcome to the Cultural Capital of Russia,
Marina & Lidia
local business etiquette and customs
Local customs to be observed
Russian culture is traditional male culture. Gentlemen are expected to help ladies open the door, help them with the chair etc. In public places and transport men are expected to let a seat to elderly people and women.
During your business trip you can expect to be invited for a dinner together, which is an appropriate hospitality gesture for business partners. Your host may even invite you for a dinner at his/her house or summer house (if you are traveling with a group, it would be appropriate to join), this way you can get an insight into real Russian way of living.
Saint Petersburg is the most European city in Russia. There are no real restrictions for women, except for religious ones:
- In an Orthodox church a woman is expected to keep her head covered (there are shawls by the entrance of a church you can borrow for your visit if you don’t have one).
- It is best that you wear a skirt instead of pants to a Church, but this becomes less and less strict.
Russians like to dress up. This is not a stereotype; indeed, you are first judged by your look.
For a business meeting it is appropriate to wear a business costume with rather high heels, but a standard European dress code is also acceptable. For an evening out, or visiting a theatre, you would feel appropriate wearing a cocktail dress and a jacket in case it is during chill season.
travel and transport
- Saint Petersburg subway (metro) is worth at least 1 ride during your stay. It is the deepest metro system in the world by its average depth! And most of the stations (especially the ones in the center) are real architectural masterpieces. We can even organize a subway tour if you will be interested to explore it!
- Public transport (buses, trams) is cheap (0.5 euro per ride) and therefore can be more dangerous for foreigners who are an easy gain for pick pockets, so unless you have a local guide with you, it is best to walk in the center or use a taxi.
- If you need a taxi later at night, you can get an Uber or Gett Taxi (Local apps are Yandex Taxi). Or offline taxi services, New Yellow Taxi, www.nyt.ru/en/ +7 (812) 600-8888, Taxi 777 www.777taxi.ru/english.html +7 (812) 777-1777
dining and bars
- Mansarda Restaurant, Pochtamtskaya Street 3-5 – a restaurant with a stunning panoramic view over St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Excellent food and wine choice, combined with pleasant atmosphere and top service. Book a table with a view and enjoy the experience!
- Palkin, Nevskiy prospekt 47 – a place with history, and a classy restaurant, overlooking Nevsky prospect, the main city’s avenue. Definitely a place to experience the high end life of Russian aristocrats at Tzars times. You will enjoy top quality food, service and interior.
- Shtolle – a chain of delicious Russian Pie cafés with a decent choice of other traditional dishes. Try rabbit, chicken pies or the variety of berry pies in a traditional 19th century interior. Better try half portions so that you can try a few!
- Zoom, Gorokhovaya Street 22 – a vivid cozy café, excellent for any meal. You will enjoy the informal atmosphere, when the waiters will sit on your coach to take your order and offer you some pencils or a board game while you are waiting. Excellent to feel the city’s character. Best is to book a table (+7 812 612-13-29), as it can be full at times.
- Market Place – a cozy chain of urban cafeterias with a democratic but nice choice of Russian, Asian and Mediterranean food. Good for a lunch or dinner, if you just want to enjoy simple comfort and food at a good price.
- Pysheznaya, Nevsky avenue, 24 – it is definitely very democratic, but so very traditional. Pyshki is a sort of a donut from an oil fried sweetened dough. Russians normally have at least 2 or 3 (but sometimes more) of them with a black tea with lemon or a soviet decaf coffee. Just try it and you will love its simple charm.
women’s networks and events
International Women’s Club
English speaking club of over 100 ladies residing in St. Petersburg, diverse social and friendly. The IWC has two main activities, Social and Charity. There are many interest groups including Cultural Tours, Day Time & Evening Book Clubs, Baby & Toddler Group, Craft, Cookery, Choir, Languages and many more. The IWC raises money for charity through a variety of activities like donations, special events, the Annual Winter Bazaar and supports orphanages and hospitals, as well as individuals in need. www.iwcstpete.com
Other female-friendly organizations and events
- Rottary Club International Saint-Petersburg – rotaryinter.org
- Internations Business Networking in Saint-Petersburg – (you need to be an Internations Member to join some events) www.internations.org/activity-group/4648/activities?ref=sp_grt_im1
beauty and fitness
In every hotel of an international chain, as well as most higher-class hotels, there is an excellent Spa & Beauty Center. If you are looking for something outside of your hotel, here is what we recommend:
Beauty & Spa
- Grand Palace Beauty, 44 Nevsky Pr. 15 Italyanskaya Ulitsa – here you can wallow in a world of luxury, beauty and perfection in exquisite interiors. Face and body cosmetology, all types of hairdressing services, manicure, pedicure, manual and apparatus massage etc. +7 812 449 9500, www.gpbeauty.ru
- La Maison de Beauté Carita Astoria, Astoria Hotel (ground floor), St. Isaac’s Square, 39 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa – located on the hotel’s ground floor, Astoria offers all the treatments you may need from top to toes in a classy atmosphere. +7 812 494 58 35, www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/hotel-astoria/spa/
Most fitness clubs require a membership, but provide an excellent gym and pools. The nice ones are:
- Planet Fitness
- Alex Fitness
- Sport Life
safety and emergency services
Generally, Saint Petersburg is quite safe, but as in any big city, there is a chance to meet pick pockets or unpleasant stranger late at night. Below you will find a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- It is best not to wander around late in the evening on your own outside of the main busy streets.
- Beware of pick pockets in public transport and busy places. Cameras and purses can be an easy gain for them.
- It is best not to wear expensive jewelry late at night if you are walking in the city, in order not to provoke thieves.
ambassador: Lidia zykova
We are Marina and Lidia, Mom and daughter, good friends and great hosts, according to many international friends and guests we have welcomed to Saint Petersburg.
Marina is an expert in Russian cuisine (willing to teach if you are interested!) and a hospitable host. She has experience living in the US as a wife of diplomatic guest and receiving friends from 30+ countries.
Lidia is a sailor and traveler on one hand, and a young business lady on the other. She is keen on representing true Russian soul and connecting cultures, which she is doing together with Marina via their meaningful travel project www.TravelWithAMeaning.com
Marina is based in Saint Petersburg, while Lidia currently lives in Utrecht, the Netherlands and visits Saint Petersburg quite often.
Our Inspiration to welcome you in Saint Petersburg
We are inspired by Tzar Peter the Great, who was the first Russian ruler to go abroad and learn from the leading cultures of Europe with his “Great Embassy”. We want to revive the idea of international connections and learning the best from other cultures.
We offer our guests an opportunity to be invited to a real Russian home. And on the other hand become Impact-makers or even Ambassadors of their culture towards a younger generation. We believe that an international mindset and friendship will bring us to a brighter future (learn more at www.TravelWithAMeaning.com ).
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org