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Private tour guide in Moscow and St. Petersburg???

Private tour guide in Moscow and St. Petersburg???

Old Jul 15th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Private tour guide in Moscow and St. Petersburg???

My husband and I will be traveling to Moscow and St. Peterburg (4 days in each) in Sept. Can anyone recommend private guides while we are there?
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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We used a private guide in St. Petersburg I found recommended here on Fodor's. She was outstanding!

http://www.tourservice.sp.ru/
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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In St Petersburg, we used Allah Tours for a two day tour instead of using our cruise ship tour. We were more than satisfied. We thought it was excellent. We had about 10 persons in a van. She will tailor the tour to just what you want. I have recommended her to several people, and never heard any negative feedback.
http://www.alla-tour.com/
Red October also has good reviews from people I have spoken with.
http://www.redoctober.us/
Have not been to Moscow, so can't comment.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:06 PM
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We had a party of 4 and used Red October in St. Petersburg. The guide and driver were great. The customized the tour to suit our interests and even modified it on the fly if we wanted.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Thanks all. I'm going to check them all out. But I would love to have a student who comes recommended who I would hope would be cheaper and enthusiastic.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 08:16 PM
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Our guide with Allah Tours was a College professor who was a guide during the summer. Quite enthusiastic, young and vibrant. Of course she made much more as a guide than as a college professor. Sad, but true. Probably the same here in USA.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 10:04 PM
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>

Olga would fit that description. Though, she was a graduate student when we were with her, and she may have graduated by now. She is fully licensed and for all of the venues.
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 12:41 AM
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I can understand the necessity of a tour company for cruise ship excursions where time is limited. However the tours offered by Alla could be done independently. The Moscow tours are the usual offerings of the Kremlin, a ride on the metro, Novodevichy, the Arbat and an art gallery.

If you go to the Kremlin or Novodevichy, there are official guides waiting outside that you could hire on the spot. Or if you want a bit more independence you could hire a car + driver to take you to the places outside the cities.

Same with St Petersburg which is an easy city to walk around with most sights within walking distance of Nevsky Prospect.
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Old Jul 25th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Not sure if you are going independently to Russia with your own visa or on a cruise. The main advantage of organising tours of St. Petersburg (and Moscow) from a cruise ship is that you do not need a visa. if you are already booked with e.g. Alla Tours etc. then you are covered by their ticket. f you do not have a ticket it is my recent experience (15th - 16th July 2010) that you will not be allowed out of the cruise terminal without a visa. Also the costs are in the region of $200 cheaper for 2 people on a Complete 2 day St. Petersburg tour than those offered by the cruise companies. The tours are very comprehensive and the guides are very knowledgeable with excellent English.
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Old Jul 25th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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My wife and I recently returned from one week in St. Petersburg as part on a three week trip to the Baltic. We basically adopted Bob and Carol's Fodor Forum advice and couldn't have been more satisfied in making arrangements with Alex Lyubim (email: [email protected]). Alex speaks and thinks in English, he has a great sense of humor and proved marvelously adaptable and patient. He has a modern, clean, comfortable car with A/C (desperately required in the current heat wave). Having spent his whole life in St. Petersburg Alex knows the city extremely well. Frankly, to make best use of your time we think that having a personal guide is mandatory both for making your way to the great Tsarist era sights in the city and outside, such as the amazing Peterhof. You may also want to visit some offbeat not so touristy sites such as the Grand Choral Synagogue and the huge Farmer's Market. Alex met us at the airport, facilitated a room upgrade (at the same price) at our hotel when we checked in, purchased hard to get tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet, train tickets to Finland that had to be bought more than 48 hours in advance of our travel, and helped us to circumvent the oppressive queues at Catherine's Palace. We spent three days on our own at the Hermitage and Russian museums, and for the remaining time we used Alex every day until he returned us to our hotel before dinner. Finally, Alex arrived early in the morning to take us from our hotel to an early morning "Repin" express train to Finland. We felt that Alex was very reasonable with his rates and was fastidious in keeping track of his time. Incidentally, a word of wisdom if you intend to visit the Hermitage (their impressionist collection is crushing!). You can purchase one or two day vouchers on-line and bypass extensive waiting in line. Have a ball!
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Old Aug 1st, 2010, 07:42 PM
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TourDeForce is headquartered in St. Petersburg and offers tours of both St Petersburg and Moscow. My daughter and I just completed the "Reflections of Russia" tour which included both cities for timeframes similar to those you are contemplating.

I could not have been more pleased with our TourDeForce guides in both cities. They were knowledgable and very flexible to work with.

They also responded quickly to requests (for instance, while in Moscow, we asked about tickets to the Bolshoi, and were able to attend the performance of "Spartacus" the following evening. In St Petersburg, we had some minor problems with the hotel. After one conversation with TourDeForce, the issues were resolved immediately. I highly recommend this tour group based on their customer orientation and their professionalism.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2010, 02:58 AM
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I can agree whole heartedly with normtennis. We used Alex when we were there in April this year and he was fantastic. His car is clean, he arrives on time and we actually missed our flight and arrived 7 hours late and he waited for us with no additional charge. Alex knows his history, and the best way to make the most of your time...and if you are like me he also knows the best places to shop. His rate is very reasonable at 12 Euro an hour, and after pricing group tours he is so much cheaper per hour and you get a great insight into life in St Petersburg from someone who has lived their through both communist and capitalism times. Alex is very proud of his city and helps you see the best there is to in the time you have.
Have a fantastic trip, it is a most beautiful city. If you have any questions regarding Alex or St Petersburg, feel free to contact me here.
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Old Aug 18th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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Thank you all. I just applied for my visa and have found a guide for St. Petersburg, but still need someone for Moscow.
Any suggestions?
Also has anyone taken the fast train from Moscow to St. Petersburg and back? Should I buy tickets before I go?
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Old Aug 19th, 2010, 12:46 AM
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> It certainly is not - for some it might be but it is not mandatory. As any Russian will tell you, you cannot see Russia from a tour bus (or more upscale version- the inside of a clean comfortable car with a/c and an english thinking guide.) It's a sterilised view. St Petersburg residents are famously proud of their city.

Anyhow, if you cannot get a recommendation for a guide in Moscow, there are several official guides who stand outside main sites eg Kremlin that you can hire on the spot.

I've taken many trains between St Petersburg and Moscow and I have either purchased them from the station or ordered them before arriving in Russia. You can try to order online if you know Russian, it seems quite straighforward

http://www.poezda.net/en/index

If it's weekend or public holiday travel I would purchase in advance as the trains often get full, otherwise might be OK to get on arrival.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2010, 12:06 PM
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I can fully recommend Tatiana from Russian Adventure for a private St. Petersburg tour.

http://www.russianadventure.com

I found her service invaluable.

Personally I feel a private guide does help make "best use of your time". Especially for anyone who doesn't speak Russian, or doesn't want to stand in line for ages waiting to get into museums.

In my opinion St. Petersburg is not quite as tourist friendly as many other European cities.

I didn't have a guide in Moscow and still remember the fight to get a ticket to the Kremlin. It was first thing in the morning and the ticket office was crammed with people - Russians mostly. I was only allowed a ticket on condition that I took an audio guide (actually turned out to be very good) - passport had to be left as a deposit. When I came to return it (and collect my passport) the ticket office was even more crowded. I wish I'd hired a private guide for that excursion.
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Old Oct 24th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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I can recommend Alisa from http://petersburgtrip.com , she is a licenced guide and runs a blog dedicated to St Petersburg. She offers very reasonable rates and you can save on private car rent if you don't need it. We went everywhere, including suburbs, by public transport or on foot. I can say that we got a deeper impression of real life in St Petersburg as you can not really get familiar with the city if you are looking at it through a tourist bus window. She is very nice and knowledgable person, and we are glad we used her services
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Old Nov 3rd, 2015, 02:42 AM
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Couldn't resist not to share my experience:
we are a belgian young couple, always went independently on our trips. But with all this strange routine for visas, registration and whatever else, decided to take a tour this time. Come on ruble is so cheap now! And for the first time we got so much information, interesting facts and hacks during the private tour. We are both interested in architecture and i don't like military stuff, so we told it to Svetlana from guideforyou-russia.com and had no problems, only nice SAFE places of our interest. I definitely recommend- one of the lifetime experiences!
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 09:05 AM
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TOP companies via TripAdvisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio..._District.html
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