Welcome to the The Tsar’s Guide to a St Petersburg Tour – Part Two, which discusses where to stay, what to eat, and what souvenirs or worth purchasing during your visit to the “Cultural Capital of Russia.”
Where to Stay
If you are not arriving by cruise ship you will need a Tsar’s residence to live in during your stay. A boutique hotel such as Hotel Vera is the optimal place to feel the cultural side of the city and not spend a king’s ransom for lodging. The hotel itself is a cultural masterpiece and is part of the St. Petersburg Registry of Architectural Treasures. The hallways are decorated with artwork and live piano music is often heard enchanting visitors from the lobby area. It is also one of the few hotels in St Petersburg that is wheelchair accessible, thus offering all guests the chance to feel like a Tsar.
What to Eat
Russian cuisine is full of delicious delicacies which will tempt your taste buds. One of the main dishes that appeals to visiting tourists is Russian pancakes, or “bliniy.” It is similar to a French crepe and includes various toppings such as meats, jams, and vegetables. Try pancakes with red caviar to make your dish more extravagant and worthy of a Tsar’s meal. Wash down your pancake with honey beer (Medovukha), which is an alcoholic beverage which is similar to mead which has the sweet taste of honey to quench your thirst.
No grand tour of St. Petersburg is complete without taking home treasures fit for a Tsar. Here are some of the most popular souvenirs which you should consider adding to your treasure trove:
- Matryoshka Doll – These dolls are often referred to as Russian nesting dolls and is usually painted of a Russian woman in traditional Russian clothes. But these days you can find Matryoshka dolls with everything from President Putin to American football teams.
- Amber Jewelry – Amber is actually fossilized tree resin which has been valued since antiquity as a gemstone. About 90% of the world’s amber comes from Kaliningrad, the western enclave of Russia on the Baltic Sea. Amber jewelry is something very unique to Russia that you can take home with you and cherish forever.
- Russian Vodka – As cliche as it may sound, visitors from around the world don’t leave Russia without taking a bottle of the Russian national drink with them. There are countless varieties although for the purposes of this article we recommend Tsarskaya Vodka Gold complete with an image of Peter the Great on the bottle and filtered through gold membranes. This vodka is truly fitting for your Tsar tour of St Petersburg.
To make your Tsar’s Tour of St Petersburg complete, great service is essential. Should you have any problems, questions, or requests, you can call the free concierge and information service hotline with English language available – +7-812-300-3333
About the Author – Brian Schweitzer is the Co-Founder of Travel Guru – The smart travel expert, a website dedicated to smart travel information and connecting travelers. He has traveled to over 16 countries and counting, while living more than 14 years in St Petersburg, Russia. Brian is also a marketing and business development consultant who works with companies around the world to improve their businesses by maximizing the potential of the Internet & Information Age. He is currently traveling the world with his wife Alexandra and their son Dominick, with the goal leaving each place better than when they found it.
Read Part One: Click here!