Moscow or St Petersburg?

Aug 9th, 2001, 03:37 AM
  #1  
Clare
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Moscow or St Petersburg?

I was thinking of going to Moscow or St Petersburg for a weekend sidetrip when I visit Germany next month. Does anyone have any suggestions as to whether I should visit Moscow or St Petersburg? Also any safety travel tips you can offer would be highly appreciated.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 05:32 AM
  #2  
snorkelman
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Easy answer - st. pete. It is a much nicer city, more interesting, and cheaper than moscow. Moscow is a pretty expensive place and has all of those big city features that you would not expect in russia. If you can only go to one of the two cities, choose st. pete.

Go to the hermatage and if you are up there in teh summer, you can celebrate white nights (they raise the bridges all over town) - it is right by the actic circle.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 05:54 AM
  #3  
Marc David Miller
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If you do go make your visa and accomodation arrangements in advance as it is not something easily (or quickly) obtained once you are in Europe.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 06:51 AM
  #4  
Kris
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I haven't been to Moscow in years but I recall liking St. Pete better than Moscow on our first trip. St. Pete is more of a European style capital city, with fabulous palaces and churches. I believe Peter the Great styled Peterhof after Versailles and I think it's just as magnificent.

We were just in St. Pete in July for a couple of days and really enjoyed seeing it again.

If you can afford it, stay at one of the nicer hotels on Nevsky Prospect. I think we saw a Radisson and a Sheraton that were really nicely located. We stayed at the Pribaltiskya (sp?) many years ago and found that it was rather remote.

Marc is right about the visas. Contact the Russian consulate (webpage www.ruscon.com) for visa requirements. There was some talk of loosening the restrictions for shorter visits for cruise passengers and also at the airport in Moscow, but I'm not sure about St. Pete. This measure hadn't passed yet when we were there last month so you will probably still need one.

I didn't find St. Pete unsafe at all but I'll offer the following cautions that we observed. Don't drink the tap water or eat anything that is raw and may have been washed with water (sort of the same rules I follow when I go to Mexico). We used the ATM with no problem but made sure it was one at a bank. Do not cross in the middle of the street and if you cross at a light make sure all of the traffic has gone through. We had a couple of near misses. The vendors at the street markets will usually take US$. Make sure if you are bringing in cash that the currency is newer currency in good condition. In addition to cabs, private drivers also stop to pick up passengers. Negotiate a fare before you get in and don't get in a car if there is any one else in there besides the driver.
 
Aug 9th, 2001, 08:39 AM
  #5  
Andrea
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Wow - I had to speak out in favor of Moscow. I would absolutely, positively reccomend Moscow over St. Pete, anyday. Well, unless you are a major, major art fan and the Hermitage would mean a lot to you (which would be a very logical reason, but the only one I would "accept" as a reason for choosing St. Pete over Moscow). As a city - particularly a RUSSIAN city, Moscow wins, IMO.

The above poster has it right when they say: "St. Pete is more of a Eurpoean capital type of city." Exactly. It's like a run down version of an anywhere-in-Europe capital. But Moscow is *RUSSIA*. You just can't beat the Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Kremlin for Russian flavour.

Felt perfectly safe in both cities, as well, including on the train in between.
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 05:05 AM
  #6  
Clare
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. Now I've had your feedback I'm wanting to build in two weekends, one in each city in beween cities in Germany! Any recommendations on accomodation in Moscow?

Does anyone have any further info about the white nights in St Pete?

Also Mark mentioned about the visa, does anyone know whether I can get one visa to cover the 2 cities within a month but exiting the country in between?
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 06:17 AM
  #7  
Kris
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Go to www.ruscon.com for visa information. There is something listed called a double entry visa which I assume allows you to enter twice. With regular processing it is $120, $50 more than a single entry visa. I believe you need an invitation to get a visa. I got mine from the cruise line, some people use visa services to obtain the invitation, at a higher cost of course. Maybe someone who's obtained a visa for independent travel can help you with a better way. www.russianembassy.org has links to some visa services if you need to use one.

The White nights festival is at the end of June.

A couple of other tips-bring some kleenex or toilet paper with you if you're going to be out for the whole day. The bathroom in the Hermitage didn't have any. Most museums charge camera fees (and also higher prices for foreigners). If you bring a smaller camera that fits in your pocket you won't have to pay to use it. Most museums/palaces require you to leave bags when you visit so make sure you can take your valuables out and carry them with you. McDonalds's in St. Pete had clean free bathrooms.
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 06:19 AM
  #8  
Katie
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The White nights are all throughout the month of June and are called such as it only gets dark for maybe an hour or so a day. The people all come out at 2:00 am to see the raising of the city's drawbridges and celebrate and party on the river banks. The bridges close back at about 5:00 am. There are special music and dance performances everywhere. Foreigners may attend, but prices (as with all attractions and accommodations) are significantly higher for foreigners than nationals. The visas can be arranged more quickly through one of the travel agencies listed on the russian consulate site mentioned above. We had no problems.
Please do not miss Peterhof - the fountains are magnificant. Take the htdrofoil from the river Neva near the Hermitage for a faster, more interesting trip out there. And remember the "Moscow rule of shopping" - Buy it when you see it, it may not be there when you go back for it. (and you probably won't find one better, cheaper, etc. anyhow) Have fun!!
 
Aug 10th, 2001, 06:55 AM
  #9  
Marc David Miller
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Kris is correct regarding the Dual-Entry visa. Most often the "invitation" that is required is obtained from your hotel as part of their reservation service (note that the RESERVATION is not what the Russian Consulate requires when giving a visa, but the INVITATION).
 
Aug 14th, 2001, 02:33 PM
  #10  
Fred
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I visited both cities last year and would choose Moscow. There is nothing like standing in the middle of Red Square looking at the Kremlin and at St. Basil's Church! Moscow is a city on the rise, very vibrant. Saint Petersburg, unfortunately, has suffered from 10 years of laid off defense workers and the city shows it. Also, Most buildings are dirty from pollution. The Hermitage is great, but all-in-all I would travel to Moscow.
 
Aug 14th, 2001, 03:17 PM
  #11  
Rich
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Bottom line is that the two cities are different enough that some like one versus the other. I lived in Moscow and still think it is the better city to get a feel for Russia. However, several friends who traveled to both have told me they enjoyed St. Pete much more than Moscow.

St. Pete has a different history than Moscow and it shows. It is more "European" because Peter wanted it that way. Moscow to me is more the essence of Russia. If you can work it to see them both, you will have a much better experience.

Enjoy . . Rich
 
Mar 13th, 2002, 09:44 AM
  #12  
Marc David Miller
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If you are going to take photos in a museum pay the photography fee. Sneaking a small camera into museums to bypass fees is boorish behavior. The money from these fees from westerners is used for the upkeep of wonderful institutions that are in great need of funds. If you pay $10 in admission/photo fees to a Russian museum it has the same impact of donating $75-300 to an American museum--a small price to pay. How would you feel about someone earning 10-100x your wages sneaking into a movie theater without paying, or walking out on a dinner bill?
 

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