St Petersburg Shore Excursions
When Your Cruise Ship Makes a Port of Call Visit!

Our St Petersburg shore excursions are designed for travelers who plan to visit Russia's Northern Capital while on a cruise. Are you one of them? Looking for a 1, 2 or 3 day shore tour? If so, read on...

Nowadays traveling to St Petersburg on a cruise ship is a popular and alternative travel option, but it has both positives and negatives.

The positive side is that being a cruise passenger you don't need to organize a Russian visa, regardless of what country you come from. A new Russian law states that you can stay visa free in the Russian territory for three days if you meet a few simple criteria.

The negative side is that the time available to you to explore our brilliant city, the former Capital of the Russian Empire, will be very short. This is a pity because in just a few days you will only scratch the surface of the city.

However, to enjoy your short trip to St Petersburg without a visa, you have two options: you can buy a traditional shore tour with the cruise liner (not always convenient) or contact a licensed local tour company before you come (your best choice).

Depending on which excursion you choose, your shore tour will be different as will the price, the route and the service. Between the two options, many visitors prefer to deal with a local tour company because they are aware that their private shore tour will be less expensive, more entertaining and fully customizable compared to an expensive and  crowded ship sponsored tour.

The final choice is, of course, up to you; but remember, ship companies are not certified to do any St Petersburg shore excursions; they just resell others' excursions and make money from it.

So are you ready to plan your private shore tour in St Petersburg?

If so, start checking out our tours below, read our tips and then feel free to contact us for more information. After all, we are here to help you!

ST PETERSBURG SHORE EXCURSIONS IN ONE CLICK

Note: All of the samples for our St Petersburg shore excursions offered below can be personalized to satisfy your wishes and interests, just ask. After all, we're here to help! And we would be happy to give you and your family a unique and diverse sightseeing experience.

ONE DAY CITY SHORE EXCURSION


If you have only one day at your disposal take this essential Action Packed Shore Tour and get a quick overview of the city. Visit one of the largest and oldest museums in the world together with the most beautiful tsar summer residences of the city and, immerse yourself into the history, culture and art treasures of the Northern Capital with an expert local guide.

A large group of tourists pictured inside the Church on the Blood in St Petersburg, Russia.

TOUR ITINERARY:

- Day One -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship as soon as it is cleared and bring you to the vehicle parked just outside the port terminal.

  • You will start your day tour with a great City Sightseeing Tour covering the major sights and photo stops of the city along with a visit to the Hermitage Museum.
  • For lunch we'll stop at a local Russian restaurant, so you can taste traditional Russian food.
  • After lunch we'll drive to Peterhof to visit the Grand Palace and parks with its unique array of fountains.
  • Once back in St Petersburg, we'll take a walk along Nevsky Prospekt to experience a bit of everyday Russian life and do some shopping. If we still have time, you'll visit the Church on the Spilled Blood too.
  • At the end of the tour we will bring you back to the ship one hour before the ship is set to depart.

Note: If you wish, you can choose to go back from Peterhof to St Petersburg by hydrofoil to enjoy a view of the Gulf of Finland and the Neva River embankments.

TOUR DETAILS:

Pick up: At the Port Terminal Marine Facade (where your ship will dock)

Drop Off: To the Port Terminal Marine Facade (where your ship is dock)

Departure Time: 9:00 am (Variable)

Returning Time: 18:00 pm (Variable)

Group Size: Up to 4 People; Up to 6 People; Up to 20 People.

Languages Available: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Chinese, Bulgarian, Russian.

Inclusions:

  • Pick up and Drop off Service;
  • Professional Local Guide;
  • Transportation by a modern Car, Minivan or Minibus;
  • All Port Fees for one day and all local taxes;
  • Tour Voucher (Blanket Visa);
  • Entrance Tickets to the museums shown on the itinerary.

Exclusions: Food and Drinks; Headphones for groups larger than 10; Tips to the tour guide and driver.

Options: You can combine this tour with a visit to one of the following places: the St Isaac's Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Russian Museum; the Yusupov Palace; the St. Nicholas Cathedral; Summer Garden; local Food Market and the Metro. 

Ideal for: Cruise Passengers (families with kids, couples, friends, small or large groups who want to tour individually).

Price: Ask

Reservation Request: From 14 to 90 days in advance

INTERESTED? If so, Send a Tour Request Today!

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TWO DAY CITY SHORE EXCURSION


If you're coming to St Petersburg by ship and you have only two days, no worries! This comprehensive two days Action Packed Shore Tour will give you a great introduction to the city and let you see the most sought after sights. You will enjoy the company of an expert local guide who will tell you everything you want to know, taste traditional Russian food, buy Russian souvenirs and much more.

The Grand Palace of Peterhof and the Great Cascade in St Petersburg, Russia.

TOUR ITINERARY:

- Day One -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship as soon as it is cleared and bring you to the vehicle located just outside the port terminal.

  • You will start your first day with a great City Sightseeing Tour covering the major sights and photo stops of the city from the comfort of a modern car, minivan or minibus.
  • After the city tour, you will visit the Hermitage State Museum following a stop at a local Russian cafe, so you can taste some traditional Russian food.
  • After the lunch you'll visit the St Isaac's Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress including the cathedral and the Saviour on the Spilt Blood Church.
  • Before to returning to your ship we will take a walk on Nevsky Prospekt to experience a bit of everyday Russian life and do some shopping.
  • At the end of the tour we will bring you back to the ship.

- Day Two -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship as soon as it is  cleared and bring you to the vehicle located just outside the port terminal.
  • You will start your second day with a visit to the small town of Pushkin, known also as Tsarskoye Selo, where you will be guided through the famous Catherine Palace and the park complex. Then you'll visit another tsar residence in Pavlovsk.
  • On the way back to St Petersburg we will stop for lunch at a local Russian restaurant, so you can taste traditional Russian food.
  • Once back in the city you'll take a Boat Tour and cruise along the River Neva as well as other rivers and canals.
  • At the end of the tour we will bring you back to the ship one hour before the ship is set to depart.

TOUR DETAILS:

Pick up: At the Port Terminal Marine Facade (where your ship will dock)

Drop Off: To the Port Terminal Marine Facade (where your ship is dock)

Departure Time: 9:00 am (Variable)

Returning Time: 18:00 pm (Variable)

Group Size: Up to 4 People; Up to 6 People; Up to 20 People.

Languages Available: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Chinese, Bulgarian, Russian.

Inclusions:

  • Pick up and Drop off Service;
  • Professional Local Guide;
  • Transportation by a modern Car, Minivan or Minibus;
  • All Port Fees for two days and all local taxes;
  • Tour Voucher (Blanket Visa);
  • Entrance Tickets to the museums shown on the itinerary.

Exclusions: Food and Drinks; Headphones for groups larger than 10; Tips to the tour guide and driver.

Options: You can combine this tour with a visit to one of the following places: the Russian Museum; the Yusupov Palace; the St Nicholas Cathedral; the Field of Mars; Summer Garden; local Food Market and the Metro.

Ideal for: Cruise Passengers (families with kids, couples, friends, small or large groups who want to tour individually).

Price: Ask

Reservation Request: From 14 to 90 days in advance

INTERESTED? If so, Send a Tour Request Today!

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THREE DAY CITY SHORE EXCURSION


Let us introduce you to Russia's Northern Capital and its most important historical sights with this three day complete Action Packed Shore Tour. Take in as much as possible of the city's history, culture and secrets with an expert local guide and have fun. See all the best St Petersburg attractions in a very short time and experience a bit of local life by visiting a local market or by taking the metro.

Tourists buying Russian souvenirs from a street market in St Petersburg, Russia.

TOUR ITINERARY:

- Day One -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship terminal (Marine Facade Port) as soon as it is cleared and bring you to the vehicle located just outside the port terminal.

  • Your first day will start with a great City Sightseeing Tour covering the major sights and photo stops of the city with a walk on Nevsky Prospekt.
  • For lunch we will stop at a local Russian restaurant along Nevsky Prospect, so you can taste traditional Russian food.
  • After lunch you will visit the Church on the Spilled Blood, the Peter and Paul Fortress, including the cathedral and the Russian museum if we still have time.
  • At the end of the tour we will bring you back to the ship.

- Day Two -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship terminal and bring you to the vehicle located just outside the port terminal.
  • You will start your second day with a Boat Tour along the Neva River and other city's rivers and canals and a visit to the Hermitage Museum.
  • For lunch we will stop at a local Russian cafe.
  • After lunch we will go to Peterhof by hydrofoil to visit the Grand Palace and the Lower Fountain Park as well as the Upper Park.
  • At the end of the tour we will drive back to  the ship.

- Day Three -

  • One of our professional guides will meet with you at the ship terminal and bring you to the vehicle located just outside the port terminal.
  • You will start your third day with a visit to the small town of Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo) to see the Catherine Palace, its sparkling Amber Room and the park complex.
  • For lunch we will stop at a local Russian restaurant.
  • After visiting the Catherine Palace and the surrounding area we will drive to Pavlovsk, another beautiful tsar residence, and then return to St Petersburg.
  • Back in St Petersburg you'll visit St Isaac's Cathedral and a local Food Market.
  • At the end of the tour we will bring you back to the ship one hour before the ship is set to depart.

TOUR DETAILS:

Pick up: At the Port Terminal Marine Facade (Where your ship will dock)

Drop Off: To the Port Terminal Marine Facade (Where your ship is dock)

Departure Time: 09:00 am (Variable)

Returning Time: 18:00 pm (Variable)

Group Size: Up to 4 People; Up to 6 People; Up to 20 People.

Languages Available: English, Italian, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Chinese, Bulgarian, Russian.

Inclusions:

  • Pick up and Drop off Service;
  • Professional Local Guide;
  • Transportation by a modern Car, Minivan or Minibus;
  • All Port Fees for three days and all local taxes;
  • Tour Voucher (Blanket Visa);
  • Entrance Tickets to the museums shown on the itinerary.

Exclusions: Food and Drinks; Headphones for groups larger than 10; Tips to the tour guide and driver.

Options: You can combine this tour with a visit to one of the following places: the Yusupov Palace; the St. Nicholas Cathedral; the Field of Mars; Summer Garden; Dostoevsky Museum; anything you like.

Ideal for: Cruise Passengers (families with kids, couples, friends, small or large groups who wants to tour individually).

Price: Ask

Reservation Request: From 14 to 90 days in advance

INTERESTED? If so, Send a Tour Request Today!

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THE TRUTH ABOUT SHIP SPONSORED EXCURSIONS


Thinking of taking a ship sponsored excursion? If so, think twice!

If you are thinking about taking a ship sponsored tour, that's fine as long as this is your choice and not the choice of the cruise operator or any travel agent.

What do we mean?

Many cruise lines or agents will desperately try to sell you their St Petersburg shore excursions because they make big profit from them.

Photo of a sponsored ship tour guide with a group of cruise passengers near the Griboyed Canal in St Petersburg, Russia.

To achieve their goals, they will try to make you believe that if you are not on an excursion purchased through their cruise line you must have a Russian tourist visa from a consulate in order to go ashore.

To persuade you they may also tell you that you cannot leave their ship until you have done an excursion with the cruise line first or that you cannot disembark as early as the passengers taking these cruise line shore excursions.

Well... All of this is not true!

For your information, you can choose to tour St Petersburg with a ship sponsored excursion or with a licensed local tour company, as we've already said above. And, according to the Russian law, a cruise ship cannot hold passengers on board against their will as long as they have the proper documents.

This means that you are free to exit the ship as soon as other passengers start to disembark. But in order to do that, you need to hold a valid tour voucher which is your Blanket visa.

Wondering what proper documents you need?

If you want to leave the ship and clear immigration at customs to tour individually for no more than 3 days, you will need the following documents:

  • Your passport;
  • Photocopy of the picture page of your passport;
  • A copy of your tour tickets bought from a local tour guide or a tour company of your choice before you arrive.

So don't let them mislead you. Now you can choose!

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A REMINDER ABOUT VISA FREE EXCURSIONS


If you don't know yet, we would like to remind you that visitors no longer need a Russian visa when arriving on a cruise liner as since 2012, if you stay for no more than 72 hours and you come with a ship and you are a part of a tour, organized and operated by a local company approved by the Russian Immigration Service, you can travel to Russia, but only in St Petersburg.

Again, a Russian tour company chosen by you will provide you with a Visa Free Shore Excursion, which is nothing but a confirmation of your Tour Voucher.

With this document and your passport in your hands you can go ashore, clear Russian customs and visit the imperial city, but only if you're accompanied by a qualified tour guide for the whole time of your stay.

BOOK YOUR SHORE TOUR WITH US


Don't want to buy the tour on the ship? Looking for alternative St Petersburg shore excursions? We can help!

If you're looking for an alternative to the cruise line tour and a more personal shore tour, stop worrying and searching, you are now in the right place with the right people!

We, Davide and Anastasia, can help you to organize a great customizable shore tour or relaxed sightseeing tour for one, two or three days at a reasonable price before you come.

With us you can enjoy the convenience of being picked up at the port, having all the documents for disembarking the ship arranged and, best of all, you'll explore the city with a friendly and knowledgeable local guide that will make your short sightseeing experience unforgettable.

To learn more, get in touch with us today.

TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS


  • Remember, cruise ships do not give tours, they contract with local specialty tour companies to sponsor and supervise their passengers who sign up for ship-sold shore excursions.
  • Plan your shore tour in St Petersburg a few months ahead, so you can find a good local guide and customize your tour as you wish.
  • Make sure you return to the ship on time or earlier. Usually there is a long line at customs, both when leaving the ship and when getting on.

  • When taking a tour that is not organized by the ship, remember that your cruise line may not wait for you if you get back to the ship late. By law, they are not required to wait for you unless you buy a tour with them.
  • The Hermitage Museum, like other important historical places, is usually very crowded, so don't lose your guide or your group because you may never find them again.
  • If you have only one day, go for a panoramic tour. If you have two days, spend the first day touring around the city and the second day visiting the imperial summer residences on the outskirts. If you have got three days, try to see as much as you can and do something different like visiting a local market or the metro.
  • You can find a number of good private tour companies that offer St Petersburg shore excursions for visitors who prefer not to choose the large and overpriced ship-sold tours (that's why we say above that they are not always convenient, though at the end the final choice is up to you).
  • Keep in mind that you need to book your shore tour in advance because the tour company needs to provide passenger information for each tour member they are escorting to passport control before allowing you visa free entry into Russia.
  • Don't pay attention to any hostile attitude you may feel when you are going through the Russian immigration office. Outside, the atmosphere will be much better.
  • If you want to tour individually and design your itinerary according to your interests and time, our St Petersburg shore excursions are definitely your best choice.

Written by Davide C.

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