About The St Petersburg Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour:
• Free headphones and tourist map | • Come and go from the buses as often as you like* | • Hop-off at all the famous landmarks and attractions (full list below) | • Sheltered tour buses for colder months | • Open-top decks for summer sightseeing.
With an extensive network of interlacing canals and various historical districts facing out towards the Baltic Sea, there's arguably no more beautiful city in Russia than St Petersburg. The St Petersburg Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is a sightseeing service that was created to give visitors easy access to the city's finest landmarks and attractions, while also teaching them about its fascinating history.
To enjoy the tour in full catch one of the red double-decker buses at Ostrovsky Square and venture through the heart of the city centre, then continue on to the Petrograd Side and Vasilyevsky Island, at which point the tour circles back. Recorded commentary is available in 10 languages, tickets are valid for 24-hours and you get a complimentary city map.
*Tickets should be validated by staff at Ostrovsky Square first.
Ticket Usage Instructions:
Please print off the email voucher you receive from this site and take it to the departure point at Ostrovsky Square. St Petersburg City Tour staff will exchange it for bus tickets which you can use at any hop-on hop-off point during the validity period.
What You'll See On The Bus Tour:
The St Petersburg hop-on hop-off bus tour route was carefully designed to incorporate as many of the city's most iconic attractions and deliver visitors to them quickly and easily. There's a total of 16 stops, most of which are concentrated in the historic city centre. It is in the heart of St Petersburg that you'll encounter famous buildings and institutions such as the Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace and The Russian Museum. Each of these attractions has its own story to tell about Russian history and culture over the past few hundred years and beyond. You'll not only hear about them via the buses on board commentary, but you're free to disembark at any stop and investigate in person. When you're ready to continue the tour simply wait for the next bus and hop back on.
The Hermitage (stop 7) is a renowned arts and culture museum founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Open to the public since 1852 it has accumulated a staggering collection of works and artifacts ranging from Ancient Egyptian antiquities to masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age and Italian Renaissance. In all, the Hermitage complex houses around 3 millions items, not all of which are even on permanent display. To give you a rough idea of how diverse this museum is, a few of the more eclectic exhibitions include: The Art of India of the 1st-19th Centuries, The Culture of the Golden Horde and The Scythian culture of the 7th-2nd centuries B.C. Click here for a full list of their permanent exhibits.
The Hermitage is exciting and modern. You can download their audio guide app to your iphone, and also check out their latest events and programs.
The Winter Palace (stop 7) is likely one of Russia's most recognisable, both for its baroque splendor and as the site of the 1905 Bloody Sunday Massacre. It was constructed by St Petersburg's founder, Tsar Peter I, near the beginning on the 18th century. Today the palace forms part of the State Hermitage and attracts millions of annual visitors. It's one of the best places to immerse yourself in the life and customs of the Romanov dynasty, which ruled Imperial Russia from 1613-1917.
The Russian Museum is an institution dedicated to the showcasing of Russian fine art. It was opened in 1898 by Nicholas II after he purchased Mikhailovskiy Palace and refashioned it as a depository for his late father's extensive collection of Russian masterpieces. Today the museum's collection totals some 400,000 works, a lot of which was confiscated from private owners following the Russian Revolution. You can view a list of the museum's current exhibitions here.
The above are just three highlights you can expect to find in St Petersburg city centre while traveling on the bus tour. Many more sights await such as Saint Isaac's Cathedral (stop 15, 4th largest cathedral in the world), Mikhailovsky Castle (stop 9, home of the royal portrait gallery) and the The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (stop 8).
By crossing Palace Bridge onto the eastern tip of Vasilievsky Island (Strelka) you'll find yourself within easy walking distance three more excellent attractions. The Kunstkamera is the oldest museum in Russia, having been founded by Peter the Great as a purpose-built display space for anthropological and ethnographic artifacts. By paying a visit to the Kunstkamera you can dive into an incredible treasure trove of items and stories from ancient cultures as far flung as North America, the Amazon and Indonesia.
Just along from the Kunstkamera is the Saint Petersburg Zoological Museum. Here you'll find a dizzying menagerie of 500,000 animal species. The vast and varied collection consists of everything from the fossils of giant dinosaurs and Mammoths, to taxidermy displays of contemporary fauna in replicated habitats.
Up from the Zoological Museum is an interesting sight if you're familiar with the Russian author Alexander Pushkin. The Pushkin House is the name given to the building which houses the Institute of Russian Literature.
Finally, don't miss a change to hop-off on the Petrograd Side (stops 10, 11 and 12). Stop 10, Troitskaya Square, places you within easy walking distance of the Peter and Paul Fortress. Listen out for the firing of the Noonday Gun, view the changing of the guard, and visit the numerous museums and structures that comprise the complex.