St. Petersburg is beautiful from any angle, but the most grandiose views of its classical architecture open from the water. We have prepared a small guide to the popular water routes of St. Petersburg. Take note, because this is a great way to learn about the city without tedious walks!
ST. PETERSBURG IS THE CAPITAL OF WATER TOURISM
Navigation along the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg usually opens in mid-April and lasts until early November. The best time for a boat trip around the city is, of course, summer. Not only because it is warmer, brighter and more comfortable: in the summer season, there is more choice of offers for boat trips, which means that you can explore different routes and see more.
St. Petersburg is the capital of water tourism. There are many water routes here: along the Bolshaya and Malaya Neva, to the northern islands of the Neva Delta, with access to the Gulf of Finland, along Fontanka, Moika, Kryukov Canal and Griboyedov Canal. A full weekend is not enough to explore all the routes.
View from the Neva River to the Admiralty and the Winter Palace. Photo: ATOR
Large double–decked motor ships run along the Neva and the Gulf of Finland, and nimble river trams and boats run along Fontanka, Moika, Griboyedov Canal and Kryukov Canal. Usually a boat trip lasts from 1 to 2 hours.
By the way, Peter the Great’s idea to create water navigation in St. Petersburg partially came true. It is embodied in the Hop-on Hop-off format – an urban water route with stops along the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg. With one ticket valid during the day, you can go in at one stop, get off at the next, walk around the local area, and then come back on board and go on. Stops on the route are planned at the main attractions: at the Bronze Horseman, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the cruiser Aurora and in New Holland.
Cruiser Aurora. Photo: website of the tour operator “Dolphin”
In the 2023 season, a new water excursion route has been opened between Vasilyevsky Island and the cruiser Aurora. The tour to Aurora is also part of the Hop-on Hop-off water routes: six departures are made daily on this line and the motor ships Moskva and Ryapushka run, each of them is designed for more than 70 passengers.
There are several large companies in St. Petersburg that offer regular boat trips along the Neva River, the Gulf of Finland, rivers and canals, as well as sightseeing cruises to Peterhof and Kronstadt, themed cruises in the evening and at night.
Boat on the Moika River. Photo: ATOR
All the necessary information is published on the websites of the official operators of river trips: the schedule of water cruises, berths, routes, stops, excursion programs. You can not only choose a suitable cruise, but also a specific departure location, as well as purchase tickets online. As a rule, when booking tickets on the website, special prices apply, which are slightly lower than offline fares at the city’s berths. Tickets for river cruises can also be purchased at the information centers of the City Tourist Information Bureau.
CLASSICS OF THE GENRE – SIGHTSEEING CRUISES IN THE CITY CENTER
The classic route is a sightseeing sightseeing cruise along the central rivers and canals of St. Petersburg.
It passes along the Fontanka, Moika and Kryukov Canal past the most recognizable sights of the city, such as the Hermitage, the Summer Garden, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Arrow of Vasilievsky Island, the Anichkov Bridge, the Summer Palace of Peter I, Chizhik Pyzhik, the Engineering Castle, the Sheremetyevo Palace, the Field of Mars, the Savior on Blood.
In just 1.5-2 hours, you can see 15 bridges and all the main “postcard” views of St. Petersburg!
Griboyedov Channel. Photo: ATOR
“So many beautiful buildings, embankments, fantastic bridges! An excursion cruise through the center of St. Petersburg is a great opportunity to feel the history of the city, see its beauty, ideal architectural lines and main attractions. And how many cool photos we took!” the tourists write in the reviews.
THE LOWEST BRIDGE IN THE CITY, SUNSET CRUISE AND THE NORTHERN ISLANDS
For those who are not in St. Petersburg for the first time, or just want to see more, we recommend the new route “Golden Triangle”, which runs along Griboyedov Canal.
It will be a wow walk: the boat will pass under 35 bridges, including the Kazan Bridge, the lowest bridge in the city, which is almost 100 meters wide! Experts say that on this route there are architectural monuments andsights are found literally every two hundred meters!
Griboyedov Canal, Bank Bridge. Photo: ATOR
By the way, this year the Nikolsky Rows pier has been launched on the Griboyedov Canal, the stop at which is just included in the Golden Triangle route. So now you can combine a walking tour of the historical Kolomna district with an exciting boat trip to the heart of St. Petersburg.
You can see both historical buildings and new objects that form the architectural appearance of modern St. Petersburg and its tourist geography on a cruise along the Northern Islands of the Neva Delta and the Gulf of Finland. The urban water area of Krestovsky Island, classic views of St. Petersburg, the islands and a walk on a modern ship with a large open deck are the ideal way to immerse yourself in the urban kaleidoscope of different eras.
The water route “Cruise “City – Port”, which connects two popular public spaces of the city: “Sevkabel Port” and New Holland, will help you feel like a Petersburger. There will be a lot of interesting things on the way: port waters, the central water area of the Neva River, objects of palace and industrial architecture, and, of course, seascapes.
View from the Neva River to the University Embankment. Photo: ATOR
There is also a romantic offer for all lovers in St. Petersburg. This is an evening boat trip with a sunset meeting in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. The ship departs from the Sevkabel Port pier, so that in the rays of the setting sun you can see and photograph the industrial silhouettes of the former factory, the tower of the Marine Station and the fantastically beautiful cable-stayed bridge over the Ship’s Fairway.
“We saw historical, modern, maritime, romantic and charismatic St. Petersburg on this evening cruise. We felt the city to the very tips of our fingers,” the guests of the Northern Capital say on the Internet about a water walk at sunset.
BY METEORS FROM THE CENTER OF St. PETERSBURG TO THE CITY OF NAVAL GLORY – KRONSTADT
From the center of St. Petersburg in just one hour by water on a high-speed Meteor you can get to Kronstadt. A traditional route by car or tour bus, especially on a weekend, may take twice as long.
Kronstadt is worth visiting from the water. The fact that it is 100% a maritime city is felt in everything: in the names, in the monuments, in the general atmosphere. St. Nicholas Cathedral, Anchor Square, Petrovsky Park, Petrovsky Dock.
Kronstadt. Photo: ATOR
There is another good reason to come to Kronstadt this summer – it is 320 years since the founding of the Baltic Fleet. Russian Russian Navy In May 1703, under the command of Peter the Great, the first naval victory of the nascent Russian fleet in the Baltic was achieved: the Russian boat crew of the Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky regiments attacked Swedish ships at the mouth of the Neva River.
This and other events in the naval history of Russia are reflected in the exposition of the Museum of Naval Glory, which will open in the Kronstadt tourist and recreational cluster “Island of Forts” on the upcoming Navy Day – July 30, 2023.
BRIDGE BUILDING IS A MAGNET FOR TOURISTS
You can describe a boat trip through St. Petersburg at night as much as you like, but it’s better to see once than hear and read a hundred times. During the night voyage, you can see the breeding of two beautiful bridges – the Palace and the Trinity. There is a belief that a wish made under a raised bridge will definitely come true!
Palace Bridge. Photo: website of the tour operator “Dolphin”
The evening illumination of the city will add romance and charm, and photos and selfies taken against the background of St. Petersburg at night will add to the collection of memories of a wonderful trip to a beautiful and hospitable city.
“Bridges are not just a symbol of tourist St. Petersburg. This is the soul of our city, romance, grandeur and beauty, this is what it is impossible to imagine the Northern capital without. As a natural phenomenon, there are white nights in many of our latitudes, and in regions beyond the Arctic Circle there is generally a polar day. But it was here, in St. Petersburg, that the brilliant image of white nights with bridges soaring over the Neva River was born – a magnet for travelers, a mandatory item in the program of visiting our city. People come to us specifically to see this, and come back to join this miracle again,” emphasizes the chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of St. Petersburg‑St. Petersburg Sergey Korneev.
Even more information about St. Petersburg – sights, routes, events – can be found on the official St. Petersburg city tourism portal Visit-Petersburg.Ru, as well as in his social media accounts: https://vk.com/visitpetersburg and https://t.me/visit_petersburg .