When in Saint Petersburg...

Saint Petersburg, or the Venice of the North, the heart and soul of the Russian culture, is one of those cities that leaves you standing in the middle of the street, with your mouth wide open and your eyes hopelessly darting around, attempting to take all of this beauty in and not quite succeeding. Because the magnificence of this city, born amidst the bog and built on the bones of those who brought it to life, is extremely hard to describe. That is exactly why I knew that I had to take my British-American-Russian family there. They had to see it with their own eyes.

After an amazing, sunny and warm day in Moscow (my blog post on how to have fun in Moscow even if you have just one day there can be found here), we jumped on board the Russian high-speed train, Sapsan, and headed over to Saint Petersburg, or, as it is often referred to in Russia, the Northern Capital.

The ride was a breeze, and the train was super clean and modern. In about 3.5 hours of reading, peeking through the window and enjoying the plush-green of the Russian countryside in the summer and playing iPad games with our boys, we have arrived at the Moscow Railway Station in Saint Petersburg.

By the way, I would highly recommend flying into Moscow, relaxing a little and then taking the Sapsan train to Saint Petersburg. Flying directly in Saint Petersburg will be considerably more expensive (I am talking thousands of dollars more expensive) than traveling via Moscow. Besides, you will also get a chance to check out Moscow, and it’s always a plus. You can find the schedules for Sapsan trains here.

We had done quite a research before booking our accommodation in Saint Petersburg. We were meeting my parents there, which would mean that we were looking for a place suitable for four adults and two children. Hotels proved to be extremely expensive (around 1,300 USD for 3 nights (!!!) – and that’s for one room) and charged per person. Considering the fact that we were traveling during tourist high season (June-July – the “White Night” season), we were looking at saying a bitter “ciao” to quite a lot of moolah. So, once the hotel option was out, we turned our attention to apartments. There is a plethora of companies that offer apartments for rent, some are better than others. We finally went with Peter the Great apartments on Nevsky and did not regret it (we booked it via Booking.com).

Our home away from home was modern, stylish, comfortable, located right on the Nevsky Prospect (which is the main artery of Saint Petersburg), and cost us 857 US dollars – for all six of us for 3 nights. Considering we were traveling to Saint Petersburg in peak season, it was a bargain. Plus, if you ever traveled with little children, you know that checking into busy hotels is always a pain in the hiney, which we managed to luckily avoid in this particular case. We actually walked to our apartment from the Moscow Railway Station (about 10 minutes), and it was extremely convenient. Peter the Great Apartments have a wide array of accommodations at their disposal, but if you would like to stay in this particular one, here is the actual address - Nevsky Prospekt 63, Tsentralny district, Saint Petersburg, 191025.

So, once arrived and settled, what do you actually do in the majestic Northern capital of Russia?

1. Walk N