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8 days for Moscow and St. Petersburg--division of days

8 days for Moscow and St. Petersburg--division of days

Old Sep 9th, 2002, 11:49 AM
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8 days for Moscow and St. Petersburg--division of days

Please help me with this trip that I'm planning for New Year's 2003.

I'll be in Russia from December 28th (Saturday) leaving January 5th (SUnday).

1. How should I divide the days...I was thinking Moscow from the 28th at leaving January 1st on the overnight train to st. Petersburg. Then Thursday, Friday, Saturday in St. Peterburg, leaving Sunday the 5th.

2. New Years Eve: Moscow or St. Petersburg..any recommendations?

3. Overnight train from M to StP: how long?

4. Independant vs. Organized: I know, I know..I've read all the posts, and I know this is very subjective. I HATE organized tours, but I want to make sure I get a good overview of everything...can anyone recommend a good personal tour guide they've used in the past?

Many, many thanks...I can't wait!!

Old Sep 9th, 2002, 02:17 PM
Marc David Miller
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There will be balls in both cities--a spectacular one will be at Yussopov Palace in St. Petersburg (although pricey). There is also the Arts Square Festival in St. Petersburg from 27 December to 7 January.

The overnight train usually boards 11-12 midnight and gets into its destination at 7-8 AM.
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 02:27 PM
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Also in St Petersburg the Nikolayevsky Palace has something at New Years, see
and go to bottom of page. Also very expensive!!
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 03:16 PM
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Marc and Gary,

Thanks for your thoughful replies...2 follow-up questions:

1. Should we allot more time for Moscow or St. Petersburg?

2. HOtels: can you recommend centrally located hotels in both cities? In Moscow, I think I've narrowed it down to Ukraina or Moskva..any experience in either. And, any reco for St. Petersburg would be great.

Old Sep 9th, 2002, 03:41 PM
Marc David Miller
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It's a toss-up as to how many days each. Either city has more than enough sights to keep you busy for a week (although most visitors prefer St. Petersburg).

As for hotels, the Ukraina is an interesting building but not a very convenient location. The Moskva is very central, just off Red Square (although in both the service is spotty). A bit of trivia--the building on the Stolichnaya Bottle is---the Hotel Moskva!

As for hotels in St. Petersburg, the lower priced ones in ok locations are the Moskva and Octoberskaya.
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 06:25 PM
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Remember that some of the major sights are not open daily, the Kremlin is closed on Thursdays and Hermitage is closed on Mondays.


Daily afternoon train #24 ("Yunost" - "Youth Express") (recommended)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 12.16] - St. Petersburg Moskovski [same day 20.20].

Fast evening train #160 (Aurora Express)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 17.20] - St Petersburg Moskovski [same day 23.09].

Fast evening train #166
Moscow Leningradski [Wed, Sat 18.30] - St Petersburg Moskovski [same day 23.36].

Fast evening train #164 Moscow Leningradski [Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 18.30] - St. Petersburg Moskovski

Daily night train #30
Moscow Leningradski [daily 20.26] - St. Petersburg Moskovski [next day 4.15].

Daily night train #28
Moscow Leningradski [daily 21.30] - St.Petersburg Moskovsky [next day 6:01].

Daily night train #20
Moscow Leningradski [daily 22.48] - St Petersburg Moskovski [6.11].

Daily night train #26 (Smena Express)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 23.00] - St Petersburg Moskovski [6.40].

Daily night train#6 (Nikolay's Express)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 23.10] - St Petersburg Moskovski [7.05].

Daily night train #2 (Red Arrow)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 23.55] - St Petersburg Moskovski [7.55].

Daily night train #4 (Express)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 23.59] - St Petersburg Moskovski [8.00].

Daily night train #38 (Afanasy Nikitin Express)
Moscow Leningradski [daily 0.09] - St Petersburg Moskovski [8.26].

The ST. PETERSBURG - MOSCOW trains run on almost the same schedule as MOSCOW - ST PETERSBURG

For more inforrmation and tickets see:

I have use there services on a number of occasions for air and train tickets. Tickets can be purchased up to 45 days in advance.
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 06:43 PM
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ok...last questions (I promise!!)

1. Have you (Gary or Marc) used personal tour guides in these cities, and if so, is there anyone you recommend in particular?

2. December & January is when I'm planning on going...I just read in my Fodors guide book that these months are the worst to go...is it really THAT BAD?

Thanks again for answering my many questions...NONE of my acquantances have been to Russia, and while I've been doing research, checking out sites, etc...nothing is better than a first-hand reco.

Old Sep 10th, 2002, 05:02 AM
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Let me disagree with Marc David Miller. The building on the Stolichnaya Bottle is not the Hotel Moskva, but hotel Leningradskaya.
Old Sep 10th, 2002, 06:03 AM
Marc David Miller
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Sorry, the Leningradskaya is too tall to be the buildng on the bottle--and look at the asymetrical sides.
Old Sep 10th, 2002, 05:54 PM
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Dee, I will put in my two cents. I stayed at Hotel Moskva this summer and the rooms where very nice and the service was acceptable. Just be sure to request a renovated room, I am not sure all of them were as new as mine. It is two subway stops from the Grand Hotel Europe and about 1/3 the price.

In Moscow I stayed at the Hotel Budapest and highly recommend it, centrally located and very nice boutique hotel type feel.

I can't imagine why you are going in December and January but I guess that is up to you. Moscow is supposed to be much colder than St. Pete. Personally I preferred Moscow greatly over St. Petersburg but I believe I am in the minority.

Good luck.
Old Sep 10th, 2002, 06:02 PM
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Dee, one thing I forgot to answer-I went independently but used Marc's Olga when I first arrived to give me the lay of the land. after that I was comfortable going on my own.
Old Sep 11th, 2002, 10:54 AM
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Deb, I just thought it would be a cool place to spend New Year's....BUT, if it's an awful idea, then I can just change my plans....

Old Sep 11th, 2002, 11:14 AM
Marc David Miller
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It's not an awful idea, but it is cold--on the level of Minneapolis or Montreal. There will be music and art festivals, though, that will keep you quite occupied, and that few foreigners attend. The only day to worry about is January 1, as most cultural attractions will be closed.
Old Sep 19th, 2002, 11:36 AM
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Moscow/Leningrad in the Winter?? What do you know that Napoleon and the Wehrmacht didn't find out?
Old Sep 26th, 2002, 06:22 AM
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I am also going to Moscow for the New Year. Yes, it will be cold, but it is also very unique and real. As far as hotels go, I am staying with the friends, but I would probably stay at Hotel Rossiya - right on the Red Square, and very inexpensive, about $60 per night (see www.tourintel.ru). It is huge and in the best location for the price. Ukraine is too far from subway, although taxis are very cheap (I am a native Russian speaker, so communication is not a problem). I went to Moscow and St. Pete last summer after ten years in the USA and I loved it. Both cities are very different, have different energy, attractions and people and it would be impossible to choose. I am going to break down my trip as follows: arrive in Moscow on Dec 26th and stay there until the afternoon of Jan 1st, then take a day train to St. Pete, return on the overnight train on Jan 4th and leave from Moscow SVO. I've used overnight trains last summer and it does save you two nights of accomodation and is very convenient timewise (you are not loosing time commuting, as you are asleep), but the toilets are certainly exotic. I am sure there will be plenty to do and many ways to celebrate the New Year - from the crowd on the Red Square, to a cozy/wild night of food and drinks with friends or at restaurant. This is the biggest night of the year for Russians, so they take it very seriously and plan ahead. Most restaurants and clubs will have a all-night long gatherings with food, music and crowds of people. Obviously, expensive, but you don't do it every New Year. I am sure you'll enjoy it. Make some friends, because this is the main charm of the trip - having some cold vodka (plenty of it) with good food at the table with nice people. Good luck!

P.S. Stoli label does look exactly like Hotel Moskva, which I've heard may be demolished, along with the Intourist on Tverskaya
Old Sep 26th, 2002, 07:02 AM
Marc David Miller
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The Intourist is being torn apart as we speak; I suspect the Moskva will just be extensively renovated, eventually. Structurally it is a sound building, and much can be done to upgrade the facilities.
Old Sep 26th, 2002, 07:27 AM
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I was born in Ukraine and visited Moskow and St. Petersburg a number of times. What is wrong with you guys? Who goes to Russia, especially to St. Petersburg in winter. Last time I’ve got frost bites on my face. It’s not a cheep trip and you will not be able to see any palaces around St. Petersburg, or enjoy walks in the ’Summer’ garden. In simple words its VERY cold and there is a lot of SNOW. If you really have to go stay in chain hotels like Intercontinental, at least its safe. If you want to go away for New Year go to London.
Old Sep 26th, 2002, 09:31 AM
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I am also from former USSR, I would spent 3 days in Moscow and 5 in St. Petersburg, don’t forget all attractions will be closed on Jan 1 and probably afternoon of Dec 31 (make sure you to plan your meals for 31 and 1, it could be different now, but almost everything use to be closed for the New Year). So you have only 6,5 days out of you 8. Try to get ballet/opera tickets if you enjoy that; I would also go to circuses in Moscow.

As Julia mentioned it would be cooled, make sure you are ready.

St. Petersburg is my very favorite even after seeing Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London and many more, but I never went there during the winter, try White Nights in June next time.
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