It’s one of the best experiences you can have in St. Petersburg. The city offers a few kinds of boat excursions along its canals and rivers varying in price and duration, but the result is always the same: quite different view of Saint Petersburg, which you cannot get from ground. We defined seven different kinds of river excursions.
One Hour Trip Along Rivers And Canals
That’s the most widespread water excursion in the city. You get onboard a ship like this in the photo below (there are different types of the ship, but they don’t vary much) and travel through the city center accompanied by a guide (in Russian, but there are also special excursions in English).
How to find and book them. You just walk along the Nevsky avenue and find ships at any corner of any junction of the avenue with the Moika and Fontanka rivers and the Griboedov canal.
Other stops are near the Mikhailovsky castle, the Peter and Paul fortress and the Universitetskaya embankment.
No any booking in advance is required. The ships start daily from the morning and go till late evening every 30-40 minutes. Bad weather conditions don’t usually prevent companies from operating.
There are a lot of route options, but passengers tend not to pay any attention to it as a route doesn’t influence the quality. Almost all routes include sailing in the Neva river at the spot from where you can see the Hermitage, the Spit of the Vasilievsky island with the Rostral columns and the Peter and Paul fortress. The spot is in the photo below.
All the prices indicated below are for 1 adult for the high season 2019.
Price: 800- 850 rubles
Duration: about 1 hour
St. Petersburg Travel guide tips: if you are limited by time or budget, choose this trip of all the boat excursions.
Hop On – Hop Off Water Cruise With Six Stops
The concept is the same as of the bus routes. With a day ticket you can enter or exit a boat (with unlimited hoping ons/offs) at any of the stops:
• the Admiralty embankment near the Hermitage;
• the Peter and Paul fortress;
• the Summer Garden;
• Cruiser Aurora;
• the Faberge museum;
• the Kunstkamera museum.
Price: 1200 rubles for a day ticket
Duration: about 2 hours without taking off
Schedule: first hourly departure is at 11.00, the last at 20.00
Boat Trips Along The Neva River And The Gulf Of Finnish
Such excursions are held on double-deck ships and last usually 1.5 hour, guidance is also included (in Russian and English). You will like it if you want to see panoramic views of rivers and the gulf and not much interested in observing St. Petersburg’s gorgeous buildings standing along the embankments of the rivers and canals.
During the trip you will see the Peter and Paul fortress, the Spit of the Vasilievsky island, the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Hermitage, the Admiralty, the Krestovsky stadium, Cruiser Aurora, facilities of a shipyard, harbor’s cranes and a few islands. It’s best experienced from the upper deck with supper or just a glass of wine.
Double-deck ships depart from the Admiralteyskaya (Admiralty) and Dvortsovaya (Palace) embankments, which are opposite the Admiralty and the Hermitage correspondingly. Finding it is simple: the berths are on both sides of the junction of the Dvortsovy (Palace) bridge and the Neva river.
No booking in advance is required, but keeping the schedule in mind makes sense.
Price: from 1200 rubles.
Duration: 1.5 hour
Time of operating: daily from 12.00 to 18.00 (last departure) every two hours.
Night Boat Tours Under Raised Bridges In St. Petersburg
This is one of the most popular experiences visitors want to get in St. Petersburg, especially after having watched the bridges raising from embankments and seeing a lot of happy and inspired tourists on ships in the Neva’s aquatorium.
There are a few options here.
You can take a one-deck boat, the one that operates on day routes. You will find them at the junctions of the Nevsky avenue with Griboedov canals and Fontanka and Moika rivers (see One Hour Trip Along Rivers And Canals chapter above).
Duration: 1.5 — 2 hours
Price: from 1000 rubles
Some companies also provide night boat excursions under the bridges on double-deck ships. For example, one option is a mixture of a tour on the Peter and Paul fortress with further sailing in the Neva river’s aquatorium and seeing spectacular bridges’ show.
There is a also a two-hour excursion along the Neva river with extended route stretching beyond the historic center.
How to find them: double-deck ships depart on their night tours from Dvortsovaya embankment and Senatskaya embankments starting usually from 01.00 a. m.
Duration: 1.5 — 2 hours
Price: a typical fare for a night river excursion in St. Petersburg on a double-deck ship is from 900 rubles
Important: booking in advance is strongly advisable especially during the high season from the end of May till September. Buying a ticket online will save you about 10%.
Important: choose the date properly. If you are going to go on a tour from May 15 to May 16, then the proper date of your tour is May 16.
Enjoying oneself with spectacular panoramic views and live music will surely be a nice thing to remember. Seeing iconic attractions of St. Petersburg is being accompanied by piano and restaurant food with glass of wine or champagne. Food is not included in the price. Menu is a la carte with fish, meat dishes, salads and everything what a good restaurant has to offer.
Duration: 2 hours
How to find it: 2, Admiralteyskaya (Admiralty) embankment
Schedule: departures daily at 20.00
Price: from 1200 rubles
Forts Of Kronstadt
This is what a lover of unusual architecture and military history dreams of.
The forts near a town of Kronstadt (a suburb of St. Petersburg which used to be a naval base with limited access and forbidden access for foreigners) are fortifications designed to protect St. Petersburg from naval attacks. During the World War II, long-shooting artillery was located here.
Plague fort near Kronstadt
You get onboard a retro ship in Kronstadt. Getting there requires additional time, and we recommend you to arrive two hours before the excursion to have time for a walk around the town and observing its naval monuments.
Duration. It depends from where you start. You can get picked up in the center of St. Petersburg by a tour mini-bus and listen to an excursion during a trip there (in Russian) and return back by the same transfer. It will take you five hours. You can also arrive to Kronstadt on your own and buy the boat trip there at the berth. The tour, we mean its boat part, lasts 1.5 – 2 hours depending on number of forts where you get off the ship.
Schedule and how to find it. The retro ship departs from the Winter pier in Kronstadt (1, Arsenalny alleyway) daily at 12.30, 13.30, 14.30, 16.30 and 17.30.
Price is from 550 rubles for a 1.5 trip with a tour around five picturesque forts and disembark at the Konstantin fort for a 30-minute walk there. Excursion is in Russian.
An extended version of this tour includes a visit to two forts – Konstantin and Alexander I. The excursion lasts about two hours and is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 17.30. It costs 1100 rubles.
You can purchase a ticket at the Winter pier (without any guaranteed seats available as the ship may be sold out) or online (thus securing a seat on the ship). No bookings by phone is available, only purchase online or at the pier.
In 2019, boat excursions around the forts of Kronstadt start in early May.
Also read our post about getting to Kronstadt by hydrofoil.
One of the most enchanting boat trips around St. Petersburg is a two hour tour accompanied by live jazz music. The concept is simple: while you’re relaxing and enjoying yourself with panoramic views through panoramic windows and a glass of good wine and sitting in a retro-style luxury interior, a jazz orchestra is performing jazz music created by prominent composers. Part of a double-deck ship is an open space which adds some romanticism to your experience.
Duration: 2 hours
How to find it: 2, Admiralteyskaya embankment
Price: from 1200 rubles
Schedule: daily at 19.00. Booking in advance is highly recommended
If you have any specific questions or want to get more detailed information, drop us a line in the comment section below or write us a message via the feedback form.
P. S. Warm clothes are a must even on sunny days.
You can easily book excursions online through an international aggregator which secures your payment in your currency and a seat and ensures a safe deal: