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Help on (possible) Russian Trip

My husband and I are thinking of taking our next European trip to Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg specifically. I know that Rick Steves doesn't have too much info on the subject (he says that the books don't sell well). I wanted to get feedback and possibly referals for visiting these two places. Also, we will have 2 weeks and would like to fit in another place outside of Russia if possible. Our likes are culture, history, and architecture if that helps.

Posted by
1358 posts

I waited a long him to go to Russia. Once I went I was glad because there's so much history there and unusual architecture as well.

My suggestion is that you spend at least three days in St. Petersburg and four days in Moscow. You will find the two cities remarkably different. There are many examples of unusual architecture and much history in each city.

The best way to absorb the culture is to stay with a Russian family. We stayed with families in both cities. If you're interested I can give you information on arranging home stays.

Don't limit your research to Rick Steve's books. Visit your local library and browse through the travel guidebooks.

Or if you prefer to research on Google search for 'Moscow attractions' or 'sights' and 'St. Petersburg attractions'. You will find much more there than you have time to visit.

Posted by
12040 posts

Lonely Planet publishes a pretty good guidebook on Russia.

I can tell you that St. Petersburg is an incredible city, well worth the time and effort to visit.

The only specific information I'll offer without a specific question is this: consider using a travel agency that specializes in Russia to book your visit (you can find some recommended in Lonely Planet). The reason is because unlike the rest of Europe, there is a significant amount of red-tape to navigate, and it can quickly become confusing. It may be easier if you visit with a tour group, but with a little effort and experienced assistance, its feasible to visit unescorted as well.

Posted by
12040 posts

Let me echo Carl's choice of a homestay- GREAT option, I did this in St. Petersburg as well. A great money-saver (particularly given the high cost of hotels in the city) and a great way to get more connected to this fascinating culture.

Posted by
79 posts

I've spent a total of 6 full days in St. Petersburg and that was barely enough time! As I did 3 Baltic Cruises.

We used the DK books. St. Petersburg Top 10 is great. Also, Lonely Planet.

If you would like you can see one of our 2 day itineraries utilzing a private tour company called Red October on our personal travel journal website.

Just go to, then into Photos, scroll to St. Petersburg for a few photos and of course the itinerary I mentioned!

If you have an questions just let me know!

Posted by
2 posts

My husband and I live in Moscow. We have and use both the Lonely Planet and the Rough Guides to Moscow. The Rough Guide is definitely the better of the two. Also, I highly recommend the "In Your Pocket Guides" for both Moscow and St. Petersburg. You can obtain these free from the In Your Pocket website. Since they are published monthly, they are more up to date than the guidebooks.

As far as budgeting your time in Moscow, you cannot miss Red Square and the Kremlin and these deserve the better part of a day. If you book a guided tour of the Kremlin grounds and the armory museum, you can bank on 3 1/2 hours. You can tour the grounds of the Kremlin unescorted, but it's difficult to visit the armory museum without a tour guide.

After the Red Square sights, I'd recommend the Novadevichy Convent and Cemetery. If time is short, just see the cemetery. The Christ the Savior Cathedral is impressive and worth your time. The most popular place to purchase souvenirs is the Izmalovo market, but the selection is poor on weekdays. Moscow also has a wealth of museums of all types if you have the time and interest.

If you need the name of a good local guide, I can give you a referral for someone who works with small groups of 2-6 people.

Good luck with your trip plans!

Posted by
632 posts


We loved St. Pete....found Lonely Planet to be way outdated (some of the restaurants listed had been closed for several years even though it was the current edition). I strongly suggest at least one walking tour of St Pete...we did an all day tour with Peterswalking tour (Alina was our guide, and coincidentally she guided Rick when he was in St. Petersburg)