Contents of the article
- 2018 World Cup games in St. Petersburg
- How to get to St. Petersburg?
- Where to stay in St. Petersburg during World Cup?
- Saint-Petersburg Stadium – the World Cup venue
- World Cup fan fest in St. Petersburg
- Where to eat in the city center?
- 5 cool bars/pubs to go for a drink
- Things to do and see in Saint Petersburg
Privet friends, greetings all the way from Russia!
Before in one of my World Cup posts, I wrote a Moscow travel guide where you can find useful information on getting around, accommodation, places to eat, drink and hang out before or after the games.
Here, I’ll do something similar for St. Petersburg, which is another popular city hosting the World Cup. Next to follow will be a Sochi travel guide so make sure to check it out as well.
2018 World Cup games in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg will host a total of 7 matches including one of the semifinals and the third-place game.
1) June 15 at 18:00 – Morocco vs Iran;
2) June 19 at 21:00 – Russia vs Egypt;
3) June 22 at 15:00 – Brazil vs Costa Rica;
4) June 26 at 21:00 – Nigeria vs Argentina;
5) July 3 at 17:00 – Round of 16 between 1F vs 2E;
6) July 10 at 21:00 – 1st Semifinal;
7) July 14 at 17:00 – 3rd place match.
Even if you are not going to attend any games in Saint Petersburg, I still highly recommend you to visit this city as it is the most beautiful city in Russia. It’s very European like and in the past St. Pete was a capital of the Russian Empire. There are a lot of gorgeous historic places and buildings and overall there are so much more things to do in St. Petersburg in comparison to Moscow.
How to get to St. Petersburg?
As you probably know, the World Cup fans who have the game tickets and a Fan-ID could get a free transportation by train between host cities. Here is the website where you can look at the schedule and book free trains: https://tickets.transport2018.com/free-train/schedule.
If you are for some reason unable to get one of the free trains, I’ll provide an information on how to get to St. Petersburg on your own.
From Moscow to St. Petersburg you can either fly or take a train. Flight is the fastest way of getting to Saint Petersburg but keep in mind time you’ll spend getting to the airport in Moscow, waiting at the airport, getting to the city center from the airport in St. Petersburg and etc. Flights are also more expensive than trains.
The second option which I recommend is getting a ticket to fast-speed Sapsan train (it takes about 4 hours). To buy a ticket to Sapsan train, proceed to RZD website: https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en. As a departure click on “Moskva” and “St-Petersburg” in an arrival box.
You can also take a regular train from Moscow to St. Petersburg but the travel time will be longer – 7-10 hours. On the positive side, it will cost you less than Sapsan and you can take a train overnight and save some money on the hotel as well.
There are over 10 Sapsan trains scheduled daily with the first one leaving Moscow at 05:45 AM and arriving in St. Petersburg at 09:15 AM. Price of the tickets depends on the time of departure and availability.
For example, the cheapest Economy class tickets with departure at 05:45 AM could cost 4585 Rubles. On the same day Sapsan leaving Moscow at 09:40 AM is more expensive – 8584 Rubles for the cheapest Economy class tickets. The cheapest Sapsan tickets are usually for the last train late in the evening – it departs Moscow at 21:00 and arrives in St. Petersburg at 00:40 at night.
If you rather take a flight than a train, there is actually some cheap flights available at the time of the World Cup. I’ve found a bunch of flights Moscow – St. Petersburg in June and July in the range of $50-$80. Check out Skyscanner for the cheapest deals on flights.
Where to stay in St. Petersburg during World Cup?
Saint Petersburg is a popular tourist destination so the city has a lot of accommodation options from luxurious 5-star hotels to cheap hostels with sharing rooms.
In general, I recommend you to stay in the city center as there is a lot to do around. The closer you are to subway station – the better, as it is the best way to get around St. Petersburg.
At the moment as of the beginning of May, there is still plenty of decently priced hotels available for booking for the World Cup dates. Not many very cheap options left for under $50 a night but you can definitely find a place in the $100-$150 range which is not too bad (you probably know by now that going to the World Cup can get pretty expensive).
You can find your place to stay in St. Petersburg by using the search form below. Booking.com is the best place to book accommodation in Russia as it has the most options available compared to any other website.
Saint-Petersburg Stadium – the World Cup venue
If you got tickets to any of the St. Petersburg games, you’ll be headed to the Saint-Petersburg stadium which has a capacity of 67,000.
This is a brand new venue which was opened prior to the last year’s Confederations Cup. It is located in the western part of Krestovsky island not far from the city center of St. Petersburg.
The best way to get to Saint-Petersburg Stadium by public transportation is to take a subway to “Krestovsky Ostrov” station (take a purple line – Frunzensko-Primorskaya). The stadium is a little bit over a mile away from the station which is under 30-minute walk. It’s a nice walk through the park – Primorsky Park Pobedy.
Another option is to take one of the shuttle buses which are free for the World Cup fans (they’ll be working only on match days, you’ll be required to show your Fan-ID and a match ticket to enter).
- Shuttle S2 – from Moskovsky railway station to the area nearby St. Petersburg stadium;
- Shuttle S3 – from Petrogradskaya subway station to nearby St. Petersburg stadium;
- Shuttle S4 – from Vyborgskaya subway station to nearby St. Petersburg stadium;
- Shuttle S6 – from Chkalovskaya subway station to nearby St. Petersburg stadium;
- Shuttle S10 – from Pulkovo airport to nearby St. Petersburg stadium.
- Shuttle S1 – from Pulkovo airport to Moskovsky railway station.
If you are wondering what they sell and how much is food and drinks at the stadium, check out this post: “Food, beverage, souvenir prices at 2018 World Cup“.
World Cup fan fest in St. Petersburg
A fan zone is a perfect place to hang out before the game, meet fans from all over the world or even watch a game on the big screen if you weren’t able to get match tickets.
In Saint Petersburg, a fan fest is located in the heart of the city at the Konyushennaya Square next to the iconic Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. An entry to the fan zone is free of charge at all times, working hours are 11 AM – 11 PM.
Make sure to check it out, I’ve been at the fan fest in St. Petersburg during the Confederations Cup and it was a lot of fun. They also had a food court and live music/performances. The only thing is that they do not sell alcohol so if you want a cold one you would have to go to one of the bars or restaurants nearby.
Where to eat in the city center?
Here you’ll find a few budget restaurants (not fast food) in the city center of St. Petersburg. You can have a meal at the places below for under 300-350 Rubles (about $5-$6).
Pirogi restaurant is located nearby Alexandrinsky Theater on Fontanka river embankment. It’s a perfect place to have a breakfast, lunch or dinner as it’s open 24 hours! Their menu includes a variety of the Russian dishes such as soups, salads, dumplings, and pies. Besides food, at “Pirogi” you can also get a beer, wine or an alcoholic cocktail. They got it all!
- “Stolovaya No. 1” on Nevsky Ave.
“Stolovaya No. 1” is a typical Soviet-style buffet restaurant which is extremely popular among the locals. In my opinion, it’s a great place to have a quick breakfast or lunch. The stuff usually doesn’t speak English so you just point at what you want to eat and they’ll put it on a plate for you. Portions are small but very cheap.
- “Cafe Na Parah”
This restaurant is interesting because they only have steamed food on the menu and they also got a lot of vegetarian options. At the same time, it’s not expensive and delicious. “Cafe Na Parah” is a must-visit restaurant for healthy eaters.
- “Prekrasnaya Zelonaya Vegetarian Cafe”
This is a perfect place to eat for vegetarians as it is one of the most affordable and best vegetarian restaurants in St. Petersburg. An average meal at “Prekrasnaya Zelonaya” will cost you about 300 Rubles ($5).
- “Caffe Italia”
“Caffe Italia” is not exactly a cheap place to eat (compared to the other restaurants mentioned in this article) but I had to mention it as it is one of the local’s favorite Italian restaurants in St. Petersburg. If you want to have an authentic Italian pizza or pasta this is the place you would want to go. Prices at “Caffe Italia” are not very expensive, salads priced at 350-400 Rubles, pizza’s – 350-500 Rubles, pasta dishes – 250-450 Rubles.
- “Schelkunchik” on Ligovsky Ave.
“Schelkunchik” is yet another cheap eatery in St. Petersburg, Russia. They have a lot of dishes to choose from as well as they have an alcohol bar. By the way, at “Schelkunchik” they brew their own beer called “Goffman” which I highly recommend (150 Rubles for a beer on tap).
5 cool bars/pubs to go for a drink
- “Ryumochnaya” on Pushkinskaya St.
Would you like to experience drinking like Russians do? Then you have to visit “Ryumochnaya” cafe on Pushkinskaya St. This place has an atmosphere of older days Soviet bar. Order a 100 grams of vodka, a soup called “Solyanka” and something to bite. Welcome to Russia, my friends! 🙂
P.S. drinks and food at this place are dirt cheap!
- “Stirka 40°”
Have you ever done laundry at the bar while having a nice alcoholic beverage? Then I welcome you to the bar-laundromat “Stirka 40 Degrees”. I bet doing laundry has never been as fun as at this unique bar in St. Petersburg!
- “Laboratoriya 31”
“Laboratoriya 31” is a one of a kind bar-nightclub with a very interesting design. This bar is like a chemical laboratory where they serve cocktails and shots in the tubes. This place is not cheap but reasonably priced in comparison to some other bars in the city.
“O’Hooligans” is considered to be one of the best Irish bars in town. There are some other pubs you might want to check out like “Mollie’s Pub”, “Rugby House Pub”, “Radio Irlandiya” or “Shamrock Irish Bar”.
- “El Copitas”
This is a very special Mexican bar which is not like any other place you’ve been to before. It’s one of the “secret” bars of St. Petersburg – they don’t have any signs outside and to get inside you have to make a reservation. And by the way, they are only open three days a week Thursday to Saturday from 7 PM.
Bartenders at the bar are also its owners which makes this place very personal. They have the best tequila and make the best margarita’s in St. Petersburg as well as you can get some authentic Mexican food.
Things to do and see in Saint Petersburg
There are literally so many touristy places and things to check out in St. Petersburg and I bet you won’t have time to see it all. That’s why here I’ll give you a shorter list of 5 places and things to do which I highly recommend you to visit during your World Cup trip to Russia’s northern capital. You can visit these places even if you’ll be in town for a short amount of time.
- 1. The Hermitage Museum.
I recommend visiting the Hermitage even if you are not into museums. I am personally not a fan of going to museums and I’m not at all into art but I did appreciate the Hermitage. First of all, the main building of the museum called “Winter Palace” was an official residence of the Russian monarchs for over 150 years and it has so much history behind its walls.
Second, the Hermitage is the second largest museum in the world and there is a lot of non-art related exhibits about the history of St. Petersburg and Imperial Russia. And if you do appreciate art, then you will definitely enjoy the original masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo.
- 2. Watch the sunset at the colonnade of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
The St. Isaac’s Cathedral is very impressive – it’s the largest in the city and the 4th largest cathedral in the world. For a small fee of only 150 Rubles, you can actually get to the top of the cathedral – it’s colonnade. From there is seen some of the best panoramic views of Saint Petersburg. If possible, try to visit this place at sunset time.
- 3. Shop around Nevsky Prospekt.
Nevsky Prospect is the main street in St. Petersburg. There are a lot of shops, restaurants, cafes, and landmarks along the street. You can hang out and shop on Nevsky Prospekt all day long.
- 4. Take a trip to Peterhof and/or Pushkin.
You will need at least half a day to complete the trip to either Peterhof or Pushkin. Both places are located in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg about an hour away.
Peterhof is famous for the Grand Palace, Grand Cascade fountains, and its gardens. Peterhof often being referred to as the “Russian Versailles” – it’s a gorgeous place to visit on a nice sunny day.
Pushkin is mainly popular for the Catherine Palace which back in the day was the summer residence of the Russian imperial family. If you decide to go to the Catherine Palace, it will be a big mistake not to visit the world-famous Amber Room.
- 5. Watch ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the world-class Bolshoi theater in Moscow. Well, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg is almost in equal competition and popularity with Bolshoi.
Russia is very famous for its ballet so if you want to experience it during your World Cup trip, the Mariinsky Theatre is a great place to do so. Keep in mind that tickets to Mariinsky theatre are pretty expensive. You can check the schedule and ticket prices on this page.
That was Russianblogger’s World Cup travel guide to St. Petersburg, Russia. I hope this will help to plan your visit to Saint Petersburg and you found out something new! As always, if you have any other questions about going to St. Petersburg, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section. I’m always trying to do my best to answer questions as soon as possible.
I wish you a fun and successful travel to the World Cup in Russia!