St. Petersburg: City Center Walking Tour with Lunch
- Duration: 7 hours
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Anna picked me up from my hotel, I was the only one in attendance so it was a private tour. She drove me to Peterhof in her car, pointing out Stalinist architecture along the way and chatting to me about imperial and Soviet history. We toured both the palace interior and gardens, except it was winter, so we spent less time in the gardens. The ability to "skip the queue" was very helpful as we bypassed several large tour groups and it was cold outside. Anna was very knowledgeable and engaging when it came to touring the palace staterooms. I asked her for recommendations for Georgian cuisine, and she dropped me off at a restaurant close to the city centre on the way back. The tour was 4-5 hours in total, including travel time, and I think it would have taken me much longer had I decided to visit Peterhof by myself (and would have been less informative - audioguides are great, but a poor replacement for a real, live guide). Would recommend. Pro-tip: message the guide to confirm meeting
Visiting in February we didn't really need the skip-the-line part of this tour as there were no queues, but we did get the benefit of a private tour, as there were just two of us on the tour and the expertise and knowledge of our tour guide. We'd met our guide, Olga, the previous day during our visit to the Hermitage and were looking forward to the tour of Catherine's Palace with her. The Palace is beautiful, breath-taking and stunning. Again Olga's love and passion for art came across during the tour. Olga also pointed out buildings of interest on our journeys, both too and from the Palace. The journey takes about 40 minutes by car, longer by public transport. I booked a transfer as I didn't feel confident in travelling by public transport. After travelling around the centre of St. Petersburg by bus I would consider making my own way there if I were to visit again.
This was a private family tour of Catherine the Great's Summer Palace, the Hermitage and the Winter palace with hotel pickup and drop off in a clean late model minivan The tour was efficiently run with punctual pickup and drop off at the various locations. There was a seperate driver and tour guide. The guide gave an oustanding background to the Romanov family which resembled the detail of a Russian novel. This was as well as information specific to various exhibits. We had teenage children and our guide initially sanitised parts of the story but we indicated we were happy to tell it as it was and she happily complied. Our children were not upset.
Ease of organisation, communication and in-depth knowledge all helped to make this one of the most enjoyable experiences during our stay in St Pete's. Thank you to Ksenia for being punctual, pleasant and patient with all our questions.
Tour Guide has explained nicely. As it was raining and Cold, It was a little drowzy, Anyhow we had a nice time. All the best to the Tour Guide in his future endeavour.