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Hermitage- taking own lunch? Bathrooms?

I read in Rick's book that the food in the Hermitage is not very good and that you should bring your own. But, how do you access the food? Are you allowed to go to your locker and then back into the museum?

Also, I read on Tripadvisor that there are few bathrooms in the Hermitage. Does anyone know if this is true? I have a very active bladder and certainly can't go many hours without a bathroom. Looking at the size of the collection I sure I'll want to visit for many hours. Thank you!

Posted by
338 posts

I was in St. Petersburg in 2010 so my recollection is not 100%. I believe the bathrooms in the Hermitage museum are located on the first floor only. We did not bring our own food but ate in the museum cafe -- appetizer-type snacks and pastries. I believe you are required to check bags and are not allowed to bring drinks with you.

Posted by
14899 posts

I only remember (2009) a small cafe, with few choices and none very good. They only took cash (rubles). No credit cards, no dollars. It was near the entrance. On the other hand, there were gift shops throughout the museum. I don't remember any problems we had finding toilets. We did have some trouble finding some of the galleries after we got lost, but we saw some wonderful things along the way. Except for the European paintings, very little is labeled in English, just Russian. We never did get to the gallery with the da Vincis.

We stood in line for nearly an hour to get in, then toured the galleries for about 2.5 hours. After an hour's break, we had another go at it, barely managed another hour and a bit and then we were just too tired for more. I don't remember any places to sit in the galleries.

Posted by
1068 posts

I was in the Hermitage in July. There were bathrooms available with no problem. I don't remember the food situation as we didn't eat there. The full collection is pretty amazing...... but you couldn't even see a fraction in 8 pick what you want to see carefully. Also, there are often very, very large crowds in there which makes it a tad difficult to get into the museum, move quickly, or see popular items.

Posted by
353 posts


The below information if from a local guide in St. Petersburg:

-toilets are located on the ground floor, at each of the publicly available staircases. About a dozen of them. Russian word for toilet (if you need to ask someone) is essentially the same word, but it is pronounced as in French language: twa-leet.
-drinks of any kind will not be permitted to take into the museum. Small packages of food (a well packed sandwich, or an apple for example) can be taken in. You can sit down at the cafeteria and eat the food you brought with you.
-there is a cafeteria area in the ground floor not far from the main entrance. While this is not a proper restaurant, you can get a coffee or a soft drink, and a snack there. At the moment the section of it that serves hot food is undergoing renovation but it should be open shortly.
- it is not possible to re-enter the Hermitage if you've walked out (e. g. to access your bag or jacket at the cloakroom) - you will have to pay admission one more time. Take everything you may need inside with you in a small shoulder bag or purse.

Posted by
12040 posts

I recall buying a decent salmon sandwich at the Hermitage that wasn't half bad. No better or worse than the food you typically find at museum cafés. But this was back in 2006, so perhaps either the service has changed or my memory has.

I think the bathroom issue might be because the complex is so huge and it isn't easy to quickly move from one end to another.

Posted by
14 posts

If you’re going to be in St Petersburg for a few days I highly recommend seeing the Hermitage Storeage Facility at Staraya Derevnya, located nearby to the metro station of the same name. It is a large modern facility where the artwork and other items that are not on display in the museum proper are stored. Also some large items like the coaches of the Tsars are on display here too.