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Russia Cruise- spend more time Moscow or St. Petersburg’s

Russia Cruise- spend more time Moscow or St. Petersburg’s

Oct 17th, 2018, 10:52 AM
  #1  
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Russia Cruise- spend more time Moscow or St. Petersburg’s

Going on a Viking River Cruise which starts in St. Petersburg and ends in Moscow. We stay 3 days in each location. Is that enough time? If you were going to extend it, which place would you spend more time in?
milliebest is offline  
Oct 17th, 2018, 04:51 PM
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Depends on your interest

St Petersburg is very beautiful, more European , easy to navigate , “ only “ 300 years old, Hermitage

Moscow feels more Russian , has a long history, a huge city with some beautiful areas, Kremlin

A hard choice. Personally I found Moscow more interesting.
danon is offline  
Oct 17th, 2018, 04:59 PM
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I'd agree with danon. I lived in Moscow for a while and visited St. Petersburg several times a year. I found Moscow to be more interesting as well. Even living there, I felt that was more that I did not see.
Rich is offline  
Oct 17th, 2018, 05:26 PM
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kja
 
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I agree -- they are vastly different. I would add that Moscow has much more traditional Russian architecture, and that St. Petersburg, built much later, bears the mark of the Baroque and later European architectural styles.

I had about 6 days in each city and felt hard-pressed to see what I wanted in so little time. You trip, your call.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2018, 10:19 PM
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Perhaps a late reply.... I am Russian, now living in US, and have been multiple times in both Moscow and St Petersburg in the past.

Actually, I am planning a trip to Russia for my husband and myself, so my husband can see where I am from.

In my opinion - St Petersburg deserves all your time and attention hands down. Modern Moscow has some good attractions, but has no soul.
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Nov 5th, 2018, 09:48 PM
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Mary, quite contrary

Originally Posted by helen63 View Post
tPetersburg deserves all your time and attention hands down. Modern Moscow has some good attractions, but has no soul.
Perhaps predictably, I respectfully disagree

A 3/3d split sounds about right to me for a rather exhausting but by no means exhaustive tour.

Last edited by napoxoguk; Nov 5th, 2018 at 09:51 PM.
napoxoguk is offline  
Nov 5th, 2018, 09:54 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by helen63 View Post
Modern Moscow has some good attractions, but has no soul.
Eye of the beholder? In any case, OLD Moscow holds some unique treasures IMO.
kja is offline  
Nov 6th, 2018, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich View Post
I'd agree with danon. I lived in Moscow for a while and visited St. Petersburg several times a year. I found Moscow to be more interesting as well. Even living there, I felt that was more that I did not see.
Couldn't agree more. I also lived & worked in Russia for over a year (100km from Moscow) and spent almost every weekend in Moscow, plus have been many other times on vacation and still feel I haven't had enough time to see it all. Moscow has the feeling of a great capital city and has many interesting buildings and areas, the metro stations are beautiful, if you like the onion dome churches, Moscow has more of them. Have visited St Petersburg many times, it is very beautiful in the city centre, you can't go wrong with either city, but I disagree that Moscow has no soul.
Odin is offline  
Nov 16th, 2018, 02:36 AM
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That really depends on your interests. If you like modern architecture, shopping and nightlife, you will love Moscow. If you are more into art and culture, St Petersburg is the place to be. Personally, I found it more beautiful and interesting. There is just too much to see and do, so I would definitely spend more time there. St Petersburg is full of museums and palaces, and they are all so gorgeous that I couldn't help walking about with my mouth constantly open! I'll come back for sure!
Also, if you decide to see museums and palaces in St Petersburg, you would probably want to hire a private guide. It always makes a huge difference if you know the story behind the things you are looking at.
Enjoy your cruise!
asgard is offline  
Nov 16th, 2018, 05:31 AM
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I am another vote for Moscow. Of course, it doesn't help St. Petersburg that I am no fan of baroque, and St. Petersburg is resolutely baroque. Moscow is much more varied, and probably more so since I was there in 2004. You might also consider visiting the Golden Ring towns if a trip there is not included with the cruise. A car and driver would probably be a good idea for that but you don't need a guide for St. Petersburg or Moscow, despite the probably self-serving post from asgard.
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Nov 16th, 2018, 05:35 PM
  #11  
kja
 
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I certainly did not feel the need for a guide in either city, although many people prefer working with a guide.
kja is offline  
Nov 16th, 2018, 06:10 PM
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I spent a week (well 7 nights/6 days) in each city and I'd want to split it evenly. They are really totally different but both are well worth the short time you have.
janisj is offline  
Nov 18th, 2018, 02:25 AM
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I was just speaking from my own experience. I enjoyed my guided tour, it was interesting and fun, and I would never find all that in Google. But I understand it is all very personal, and not everyone gets so involved. Guided or independent, traveling must be fun!
asgard is offline  
Nov 19th, 2018, 12:23 AM
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Guided tours can be great esp if you have not been to Russia before or are short of time. First two times I went (pre 1991), tourists were not allowed to go around by themselves so had a tour guide, it was great and the only real way to have anything to do with a Russian person, last 20+ trips, not needed anymore. Using guides like Fodors that have itineraries for walking tours is a great way to see either city independently.
Odin is offline  
Nov 19th, 2018, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Odin View Post
Guided tours can be great esp if you have not been to Russia before or are short of time. First two times I went (pre 1991), tourists were not allowed to go around by themselves so had a tour guide, it was great and the only real way to have anything to do with a Russian person, last 20+ trips, not needed anymore. Using guides like Fodors that have itineraries for walking tours is a great way to see either city independently.
As far as I know, ocean cruise passengers still have to be guided if they don't have a visa. River cruise passengers probably have visas.
I agree that it is a good idea to have a guide if you are visiting for the first time. You get oriented at a place, and later you can come and explore independently.
sleepycat is offline  
Nov 19th, 2018, 02:25 AM
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We are fairly independent travelers and felt that 2 days/3 nights in Moscow and 3 days/4 nights in Saint Petersburg was about sufficient to sample the cities proper without a guide, and at a fairly active pace. But I will caveat this by adding that we visited each destination in October: both had snowy days, and at that time of year our interest in venturing further afield was zero. If we were repeating these trips in pleasant weather I would want one or two more days additional for each.

In the end, you would do well to research both cities for your interests and plan your time accordingly. This said, if I were fortunate enough to return to either, Saint Petersburg would get the nod over Moscow for the cuisine; the elegance; and the canals for their dreamy, snap-worthy wanderings.
fourfortravel is offline  
Nov 20th, 2018, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
If we were repeating these trips in pleasant weather I would want one or two more days additional for each.
That's right, the weather makes a huge difference. I read dissapointed reviews on St Petersburg just because people happened to be there on a rainy day. Moscow is thought to be more stable when it comes to the weather.
We were lucky to have sunshine at all time we were in St Petersburg, but I would probably love it even without such luxury.
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Nov 20th, 2018, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
We are fairly independent travelers and felt that 2 days/3 nights in Moscow ... was sufficient
​​​​​​Just wondering - what can one possibly manage to see in Moscow over the course of two days (even in dreary weather), other than the Kremlin plus surrounding area, a (limited) metro tour and perhaps a boat ride, and a couple of museums (say, both Tretyakov collections and the impressionists at Pushkin)?
Yes, I do agree that Moscow's parks and estates (Gorky park, VDNH, Sokolniki, Ostankino, Kolomenskoe, Kuskovo, etc, etc...) are best enjoyed in decent weather - but there is quite a bit more to the city
napoxoguk is offline  
Nov 20th, 2018, 04:12 PM
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I agree with napoxoguk -- Moscow holds a wealth of places worthy of a visit!
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Nov 21st, 2018, 12:35 AM
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napoxoguk and kja, I appreciate your comments. There are those who exclaim that a minimum of six days is necessary for a given destination (I would like to see an example of such an itinerary); and there are those of us who have to make do with the three days (apologies, I misremembered) they are afforded, and so prioritize their highlights of interest.

But since you asked, napoxoguk, I looked back on my notes and through my photos for Moscow; in our three full days we toured the Kremlin (and the Armoury and Diamond Fund); St. Basil's; GUM (teenage daughter); Maxim Gorky Museum; the Pushkin Literary Museum and the Pushkin Art Museum. In between we visited Metro stations whenever possible; and walked around the city to view the architecture; and we also observed a changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Naturally most of the palaces and grand estates fell by the wayside; however, with all humility we have the privilege of living in the midst of grand palaces and estates and generally rank them lower on the "must-see" list.

We missed, and wished we had had an additional day for the Transit, Chess, and Mayakovsky Museums (again, our interests); the monasteries on the city outskirts; the (higher-end) dining experiences; and more local shopping. We passed on the overpriced international retailers we can find in Vienna, but did enjoy the beauty and design of the malls and passages.
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