From its grand architecture and historic culture to breath-taking scenery, St. Petersburg is truly one of the world’s greatest cities to visit. However, to do so, tourists usually need to get a visa, which can mean hours of effort and weeks of waiting.
Not anymore. In this post, we’ll explore how you can visit St. Petersburg without a visa.
The draw of St. Petersburg
First of all, what makes St. Petersburg – visa free or otherwise – such a popular destination for tourists across the world? An easier question would probably be – what doesn’t? Russia’s second largest city has everything.
If it’s culture you’re after, St. Petersburg has over 200 museums, 80 theatres, 60 cinemas and 45 galleries – including one of the world’s biggest art museums in the Hermitage. It’s no wonder the city is known as Russia’s culture capital. As for history, St. Petersburg’s heritage stretches way back to the early 18th century, including the imperial era, soviet era and involvement as a “hero city” of the second world war.
With that rich historical journey comes a diverse array of architecture. Visitors can behold a stunning mix of Baroque and neoclassical buildings, which have been relatively well preserved compared to their Moscow counterparts. Visit the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood for iconic Russian architecture, or Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main street, for a never-ending supply of glorious and historically significant buildings.
The Historic Centre, a UNESCO World Heritage, is offset by modern skyscrapers like Leader Tower, Atlantic City and Alexander Nevsky, along with the Lakhta Center, the tallest building in Europe on the outskirts of the city, demonstrating St. Petersburg’s eclectic attraction.
On top of all that, there is sport, sightseeing and so much more. Take a stroll by the River Neva and gaze at the city’s historic skyline – even better by night. Take in a ballet performance in what’s often regarded as the ballet capital of the world. Or visit the Gazprom Arena to see Zenit St. Petersburg in action.
That’s not even mentioning the food. From stroganoff, pelmeni and borsch to pirozhki, pierogi and chicken kiev, St. Petersburg serves up the most delectable Russian dishes to leave your mouth watering and your appetite fully satisfied.
St. Petersburg visa complications
Considering all of the vast attractions above, it’s no wonder so many people want to visit St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, there is one thing standing in your way – namely, a visa.
A Russian Travel Visa, also known as a Tourist Visa, is the most suitable option for most visits as it covers visitors for 30 days. However, as with most visa applications, there are several requirements:
– You will need to know exactly when you will be travelling and which cities you will be visiting for your visa application
– You will also need to have accommodation booked before applying for your visa. By law, you need accommodation for every night spent in the country, other than any spent on overnight trains.
– Your passport will need to have at least six months left on it following your planned departure date.
– Russian visas require an official Tourist Voucher and Tourist Confirmation document to support the application. You’ll need to obtain these documents from your tour provider.
– Most Russian consular departments, in charge of visas, also require health insurance or travel insurance covering the dates of your trip.
– You will also need a recent passport-like photo of yourself to go with your application, which needs to be signed on the back.
Finished the arduous process of gathering documents and filling in your application? There’s more. After waiting up to six weeks for your visa, you will need to then obtain a migration card when entering the country, which is completed at passport control. You’ll then need to register your visa once you’re in Russia with help from your
accommodation provider. Sounds exhausting, right?
Visit St. Petersburg without a visa
The hassle of the options above is enough to make anyone think twice about visiting St. Petersburg. However, there is a better option. Russian law allows tourists to travel to harbour cities by ferry without a visa. That includes Sochi, Kaliningrad, Vladivostok and St.Petersburg. In other words, you can visit St. Petersburg visa free!
All you need to do is book a visa-free St. Petersburg tour from an authorised operator – like Scandi Travel – and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll provide a tour voucher to present with your passport and you will receive an immigration card at the border to cover your stay of up to 72 hours.
Unforgettable visa-free St. Petersburg trips
At Scandi Travel, we provide two equally outstanding St. Petersburg trips with no need for a visa. Our 3-day visa-free St. Petersburg Cruise takes you on round-trip from Helsinki with a full day – 9am to 5pm – in the historic Russian city.
Want a bit longer to explore the sights and sounds of St. Petersburg? Take our 5-day visa-free cruise to St. Petersburg with a full three days and two nights in Russia. With a total of 56 hours in Russia’s culture capital, you’ll have plenty of time to see the top tourist attractions, taste the amazing food and experience the unique
atmosphere St. Petersburg has to offer.
Both trips are complete with return trips on an unforgettable Baltic cruise, where you can breathe in the fresh Baltic air and marvel at truly breath-taking views.