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St Petersburg Boat Tour

Picturesque canalways

$117 — 3 hours
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Boat tour st petersburg

We’ve picked St Petersburg’s 7 best river boat tours along the Neva river and the city’s picturesque canalways, each revealing a particular aspect of the city’s history and architecture.

When Peter the Great founded his new capital back in 1703, he tried to get all the citizens of St. Petersburg to travel round the city by boat. You surely wouldn’t like to break a good old tradition, would you?

St. Petersburg was built on 42 islands and is surrounded by a complex web of rivers, canals and channels that seem to bind the city together, while also marking the borders of its diverse districts and neighborhoods. St. Petersburg’s low-rise classical architecture means that great city views are often visible from the water, and therefore an essential part of the exploration of the city is to get on a boat and cruise the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg.

River cruises run from April to November.

*** The tours are run in spring, summer and autumn. 

1. The Golden Ring of the Northern Venice

This is the most popular itinerary of city boat tours in St Petersburg.

Start time: any day, any time

Duration: 3 hours

Tour Highlights:

  • Find out why St. Petersburg is often called the “Venice of the North”;
  • Travel through the urban landscape of the aristocratic 18th and 19th centuries;
  • See  the most beautiful palaces ( Shuvalov, Sheremetev,Yusupov Palaces);
  • See plenty of stunning bridges, and the most impressive panoramas and classic vistas, such as the Strelka of Vasilyevsky Island (The Spit of Basil’s Island).

Tour Landmarks:

  • St. Nicholas Cathedral  
  • Mariinsky Theatre
  • Moika River Embankment
  • New Holland island
  • Stroganov and Mariinsky Palaces
  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral
  • General Staff Building 
  • The widest bridge in the city – Blue Bridge (97.3m wide)
  • Vasilyevsky and Aptekarsky Islands
  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Summer Garden

2. Drawbridges Boat Tour at night

There are many things you can not see during the day – an amazing illumination of the Palace Square, the night lights of the Admiralty, but most importantly – an unforgettable spectacular opening of drawbridges of St Petersburg.

Start time: any day, 12.00 am

Duration: 3 hours

Tour Highlights:

  • Visit the embankments of the Neva river at magic night time;
  • Watch the raising bridges – the nice old tradition of St Peterburg;
  • See the city in the brilliant lights;
  • Be a part of the fascinating caravan of ships in the night with hundreds of people taking pictures of the ships from the embankments;
  • See all seven of St Petersburg’s major drawbridges;
  • Most tours are accompanied with live music.

Tour Landmarks:

  • Palace Bridge
  • Troitsky Bridge
  • Liteyny Bridge
  • Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge
  • Alexander Nevsky Bridge
  • Sampsonievsky Bridge
  • Blagoveschensky Bridge

3. Jazz evenings on the Neva River

The treasure of St Petersburg – beautiful cathedrals, magnificent monuments, unique fortifications, picturesque landscapes of the coastline – all add up to your authentic river cruise experience.

For complete stylistic authenticity the hall of the ship was decorated with carved oak elements. Everything here breathes with a noble antiquity: comfy sofas, a bar, covered with ornate carvings, wrought iron lamps, pictures of talented jazz bands of the past. The interior is complemented by the natural scenery of the old St. Petersburg, with its beautiful architecture and picturesque landscapes.

Start time: any day except Monday, 6-7 pm

Duration: 3 hours

Tour Highlights:

  • Surround yourself with wonderful decorations of embankments of the Neva River;
  • Discover St Petersburg on board of «City Blues» boat & restaurant, stylized as a steamer of the early 20th century;
  • Indulge in the exquisite jazz improvisations of the best jazz musicians in the romantic atmosphere of the evening;
  • Be delighted with tasty meal cooked during the trip;
  • Candles, starched tablecloths, fine cuisine and impeccable service;
  • Extensive sightseeing deck with fantastic panorama.

Tour Landmarks:

  • Hermitage Museum
  • Summer Garden
  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Winter Palace
  • Rostral Columns 
  • Old Stock Exchange on Vasilyevsky Island
  • Bronze Horseman
  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral
  • Admiralty

4. A visit to the night fortress

St Petersburg boat tour of the parade and the historic center of St. Petersburg, the canals and the fortress.

Start time: 11.00 pm, any day

Duration: 3 hours

Tour Landmarks:

  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Arrow Vasilevsky Island
  • Winter Palace
  • Marble Palace
  • Cruiser Aurora
  • Summer Garden
  • Summer Palace of Peter 1
  • Mikhailovsky Castle
  • Sheremetyevo Palace
  • Anichkov Bridge
  • Anichkov Palace
  • Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace
  • Lomonosov Bridge
  • St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Arch of New Holland island
  • Potseluev (Kissing bridge)
  • Yusupov Palace
  • Blue Bridge – the widest bridge of the city
  • St. Isaac’s Cathedral
  • Mariinsky Palace
  • Stroganov Palace
  • Palace Square
  • Winter Canal – the shortest canal of the city
  • Rostral columns
  • Kunstkamera

5. Return to Old Petersburg

Explore the Old City on this sightseeing boat trip across small rivers and canals of St Petersburg.

Griboyedov Canal is a great place for admiring the intricate architecture of the city, including the magnificent Church of the Resurrection.

Start time: any time, any day

Duration: 3 hours

Tour Landmarks:

  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  • Strelka on Vasilevsky Island  (The Spit of Basil’s Island).
  • Winter Palace
  • Marble Palace
  • New Admiralty Canal
  • Summer Garden
  • Summer Palace of Peter 1
  • Mikhailovsky Castle
  • Sheremetyevo Palace
  • Anichkov Bridge
  • Anichkov Palace
  • Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace
  • Lomonosov Bridge
  • St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Bank Bridge
  • Kazan Cathedral
  • Kazan bridge
  • Savior on Spilled Blood Cathedral
  • Alexander Pushkin Apartment Museum
  • Winter Canal – the shortest canal of the city
  • Rostral columns
  • Kunstkamera
  • 6. Disco Party on the Neva River

    Night party on the Neva River. Famous world disco hits, tasty cocktails and all-night long dancing: all components to have fun!

    Start time: 11.00 pm, any day

    Duration: 7 hours (Drawbridge trip from 1.00 till 3.00)

    Restaurant on board.

  • 7. Hop on Hop off River Cruise

    If you are looking for more active tour with stops to hop on and hop off for more intense exploration, this is a unique water route for you with stops at the popular sights of St. Petersburg, such as:

  • Palace Square
  • Summer Garden
  • Peter and Paul Fortress
  •  
  • Nevsky Prospekt
  • Spit of Vasilyevsky Island
  • Isaac Cathedral
  •  
  •  
  • Departure: daily every hour from 11:00 to 20:00.

    Free umbrellas and wi-fi on board.

  • Original audio guide offers 10 languages and ​​can tell you about the city’s history, its myths and legends. The languages available: Russian, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Swedish and Finnish.

Info

Extra costs (per person):

Possible entrance fees (if you want to drop in somewhere)

Lunch/Dinner

Your tour: Fun facts, iconic places, local experience, traditional food, friendly guide
Your guide: Bright and energetic local, young, enthusiastic, and fun! Your guide is your local friend.
Activity Level: Light
Maximum travelers: 4
Pick up & Drop off: Lobby of your hotel or any place you wish
Start time: 9am - 6pm
Extra hours: If you are having a good time and want your St Petersburg tour last a little bit longer, you are welcome to do that. Please note: You will be charged 20 USD per an extra hour.
Tipping suggestions: If you feel like you had a good experience, your guide would appreciate a tip. It's not mandatory. It's your decision whether you want to give your guide a tip.

What you get:

  • + Meet a local and make a new friend in Saint Petersburg.
  • + Exciting fun communication with a local, not just boring history lessons.
  • + Ask your guide questions about any subject, get genuinely connected with your guide.
  • + Private Saint Petersburg tour, customized itinerary, personalized experience.
  • + Flexibility during the tour: changes can be made at any time to suit your individual preferences.
  • + Your personal tour guide focuses solely on you and makes sure you get the most out of your experience.
  • + Your personal travel consultant is at your service any time via email, facebook, skype or whatsapp. You will not feel alone with Friendly Local Guides.
  • + Must do + off the beaten path of the city.
  • + An authentic experience of local life.
  • + Local cosy cafes and restaurants with traditional cuisine and interior.
  • + Lunch specials on weekdays (Mon-Fri).
  • + Best coffee shops in the city.
  • + A photo session amongst spectacular Saint Petersburg scenery that can be treasured for a lifetime.
  • + Special offers for taxi and hotels with good location and price.
  • + Expert local advice on what to do, where to go, and how to make the most of your time in St Petersburg.

*This tour can be modified to meet your preferences

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Boat tour st petersburg

$117 — 3 hours

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Reviews

Video reviews

  • Delightful and knowledgeable guide, very good organization, fantastic views at night and wonderful weather… Loved my experience!

    Marisabel, Berlin, Jul 26, 2016

  • If you are going to St Petersburg, book this River Boat tour and choose Maria as your local guide. It’s romantic, it’s exciting, stunning, breathtaking…I guess all those words can’t really describe what you feel when you experience it in real. The nights in St Petersburg are really special and the view is spectacular. I highly recommend this tour and Maria as a guide.

    John Ickowitz, USA, Apr 20, 2016

  • The tour was excellent, Valery was excellent. Really, the best you can experience in the city of White Nights. I had a marvelous time and I will recommend this tour to everyone.

    Michael Edwards, USA, Apr 20, 2016

  • If I ever had to choose between riding the Venetian gondola and Russian boat in St Petersburg, I’d definitely choose the second. It was like taking a new perspective at the city. Our guide Sasha was an amazing storyteller and kept us interested until the very end of the “River Boat trip”. We definitely recommend Sasha and this tour as a Must-to-do thing while visiting the “Venice of the North”.

    Tony Freifeld, Australia, Apr 20, 2016

  • The tour was excellent. It was like being in a gondola Russian style. The city is really beautiful when you explore it from the boat. Sasha entertained our kids so that we could take pictures. She was very professional and we loved having her as our guide. Thanks for the great memories.

    Jessica Thompson, UK, Apr 20, 2016

  • We had a great tour in St Petersburg with our private guide. There was no way we could have found all those sights on our own in just one day. Our guide was friendly and very helpful with advice and recommendations on what to do, where to go, where to eat etc on our free day

    Nataly, norway, Oct 10, 2015