I would like to go to Russia but I'm hesitating between Moscow and St Petersburg. Any advise? Also which period would be the best for you?
I'd say why choose? Travel between the cities is easy and quick (50min flight/4hr train). You are better off visiting during the summer months (may-September really).
The cities could not be more different - Moscow is a delightful is of the more traditional Russian town of old with a very pronounced soviet influence and a modern district a la la Defense. Where as St.Pete is a Russian take on a European city c.1800s with a great museum.
Spend the day at the Kremlin (The Moscow Kremlin (sorry for not being original but it's huge and well worth the 6-8hrs you'll need to fully cover it). Get a drink at the O2 bar atop the near by the Ritz-Carlton (The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow)hotel for a great view of the Kremlin and red square. Walk along Stoleshnikov pereulok (Stoleshnikov Ln) for some street food and some of the sights of the old Moscow centre (Kuznetskiy Most). Rent the city bikes and cycle from the Gorki Park (Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure) to the university (Vorobyevskaya naberezhnaya) and back. Enjoy and waterfront lunch there too (Lebedinoye ozero). And of course don't forget the obligatory visits to the bolshoi (Bolshoi Theatre), tertiakov gallery (The State Tretyakov Gallery) and vinzavod (Vinzavod Tsentr Sovremennogo Iskusstva) - the Roman Abramovich-sponsored modern art space. For all your evening entertainment needs head out to the Strelka Island (Art-strelka) where bars and clubs have taken over the old chocolate factory. I would recommend rolling stone (Rolling Stounand Strelka Bar (Bar Strelka). Also try and go down to the metro (Ploshchad' Revolyutsii if i had to pick just the 1 stop) to see the Stalin-built "people's palaces underground". Also make sure to take advantage of being in the x-svoiet state an enjoy the Uzbek food, like the traditional (Uzbekistan).
enjoy and i am sure someone will be able to help with the St. Pete places too.
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As a St.Petersburg native, I would say (duh) that of course you want to see the Moscow Hermitage Garden, the St. Isaac's Cathedral and the canals. The original city was built by French and Italian architects, and looks like a mix of Venice and Paris. So no-brainer there. BUT. You HAVE to see the new Moscow, Moscow City, Red Square, shopping, business feel etc. so try to do both.
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I would like to comment on the choice between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Omit the differences in the mood, culture, mentality. I want to focus on next.
In Moscow, there are places and attractions that can be visited. But as "something here, something there." In St. Petersburg, old town mostly retained its integrity.
Therefore, if you go to Moscow, the plan would be: first look at this landmark, then we move and look this. There are whole areas with their spirit, but they are very compact. In St. Petersburg you can went out in the morning and wander, wander, wander all day long on your feet.
I think the only way of travel to Russia is to do it in summer. If you're not looking for Russian winter of course :).
Choosing betweenn Moscow and Saint Petersburg (Russia) is a tough question as they have different atmosphere. Moscow is a Huge city with 16 million people living it it. So there's definitely much to see and to do. However Petersburg was built much later and it's architecturally more solid. Petersburg is more for hipsters, you can find more classic bars there, and as for me restaurants are better in Petersburg.
But mostly the decision where to go depends on what are you planning to do?
There is a lot more to see in St. Petersburg. There are a lot of museums and places to see in town and a few locations in the suburbs. Best period to go to St. Petersburg is June when there are the White nights - very short nights due to the north positioning of the city. Also there is the holiday called The Red Sails. The main museum you just have to go to is State Hermitage Museum and on Wednesday is the only day it works past 18.00 and at 7PM you can watch the clock with the moving golden animal figures. To see the most attractions in St. Petersburg you will need at least 10 days and a very tight schedule or better go for 2 weeks and enjoy your stay there.
During fall or winter -- neither. it's freaking cold in Moscow. thought i'd lost my fingers frozen in the middle on my way to work. Saint Petersburg (Russia)'s even more nasty. go anywhere but not here. sun, waves, sand and palms. Dude! Forget about Russia. till spring:)
Both are equally worth a visit... well I'm a bit biased as I've lived in St. Petersburg and only visited Moscow, so if I had to choose I'd go for the first - especially in the period May-July to experience the white nights (mid-June is the peak time). The city has its charm, with the canals and architecture in the centre and then you can see the real communist style architecture and standard of living just a few bust/metro stops from the centre. Also, you can easily get to the nearby locations - Pavlovsk, Pushkin - to see the tsarists palaces, or Shlisselburg to see the fortress and take a ferry ride on the Ladoga lake.
Both St. Pete and Moscow are expensive, but the latter is crazy expensive, if that matters.
Saint Petersburg (Russia) is more around and about water - canals, the see. Hence, more romantic. In a sense it's a version of Venice, Amsterdam and Stockholm. Yet, it lacks the above's tourist infrastructure, is visibly shabby and expect to be disappointed with service as anywhere in Russia, though. But! Some museums, churches and cathedrals can generously make up for those if you are into history and arts. The Russian Museum is an amazing collection of Russian Arts. Plus the canals thing...
Moscow is messier (I live here), richer and a lot less romantic. But. It has the Kremlin, the Subway and a few world class museums you don't want to miss. And it's visibly in a better shape than St. Pete. Be ready to experience lousy service, over-priced hotels and restaurants. However, if you know what you want from the place, have planned the trip in advance, get a reliable guide both cities with give you a lot! And, I think, it's a good Idea to see both on one trip. There is a high-speed train running a few times between.
All the best!
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