As of July 25, 2019, the Tsarskoe Selo museum, which is home to the Catherine Palace with its world-famous Amber Room, introduced a new scheme to purchase online tickets to the palace, which makes it possible for you to buy the tickets in advance (up to 14 days prior to your visit) and guarantee a queue-free access to the museum. We explain important details and give a step-by-step instruction how to do it.
What’s New About Purchasing Tickets To The Catherine Palace
How it was: every night, at 00:00 msk, the Tsarskoe Selo would put for online sale 100 e-tickets for the day which would come in a fortnight. For example, on June 1 they put the tickets for June 15.
In just 15 seconds, all the tickets had usually gone, the museum’s representative complained in an interview to local media. The buyers were a few travel agencies which would buy the tickets to resell them to tourists for hugely inflated prices. It had been a very profitable business as the owners of the electronic tickets have a right to enter the palace without standing in a queue to the palace and the tickets both online and offline have been in great demand for the whole high season.
Why is it a problem to wait in the queue? Because you can spend there … five (5) hours. That’s not a joke, neither an exaggeration. Look at the video below we shot on July 22, 2019.
You see it took us four (!) minutes to just come from the queue’s start to its end. What’s not seen in the video: we passed by a sign reading «waiting times over 4 hours», which means that people who were standing near this sign would be able to see the Amber Room no earlier than in four hours. This sign was somewhere in the middle of the queue.
And to be honest, we didn’t understand what these people were counting on as the video was shot afternoon, and the museum was going to close in less than four hours they were set to wait.
So, the Tsarskoe Selo museum decided to step up the fight against these resellers and designed new rules for purchasing e-tickets.
How electronic tickets to the Catherine Palace are sold now. Every night, at 00:00 msk, the museum puts online 100 e-tickets for the day which comes in a fortnight. You can buy them:
a) only with your identity document, for example, passport;
b) up to four tickets in one booking;
в) there are other nuances we talk about down the post.
Online Tickets To See The Amber Room: Important Details You Should Know
— an e-ticket entitles you to a separate entrance, not the one all these people in the queue featured in our video use, so you will not have to stand in it and loose a few hours.
— e-tickets are sold only with ID. For each ticket in your booking you must provide an ID’s data;
— you take all the IDs with you. Personal data in the IDs must be the same as in e-tickets, so fill in very carefully. No ID – no entrance; no match of data – no entrance, just like with air or rail tickets;
— up to four tickets in one booking;
— you can buy only once for the same ID for 30 days;
— an e-ticket is NOT an entrance ticket. You exchange your e-ticket for an entrance ticket;
— you may not get your e-ticket printed out, just tell its number at a ticket office (though you’d better have it printed);
— in 2019, an e-ticket costs 1500 rubles per person. The price also includes entrance to the Catherine park;
— an e-ticket is understandably more expensive than an offline one as it provides a fast-track access;
— an e-ticket is refundable;
— an e-ticket is sold only for the Tour 1 (the museum has three tours). The Tour 1 includes the Amber Room;
— your best chances are to buy an e-ticket at 00:00 msk and if your visit date is in two weeks;
— e-tickets are sold only to individual visitors, not groups.
How To Buy Online Ticket To The Catherine Palace. Instruction
— fill in a form at the museum’s website and book e-tickets for your date. During a high season it’s highly likely there will be tickets for 14th day only;
— receive a check code via your email, put it in to finish your booking;
— after booking you will have an hour to pay;
— after payment you will get two e-mails: payment confirmation and e-tickets;
— print the tickets out or write down their numbers;
— on a visit day, exchange your e-tickets for entry tickets at a ticket office of the Church Gate (it’s near the main entrance, but you’d better ask a waiter there so that he points out where it is) if you visit in the period between May and September or at the ticket office №4 near the Main (Parade) Entrance;
— you must exchange your tickets no later than 10 minutes than time indicated in your ticket and no later than one hour before the museum’s closing. In any case, arrive in advance to find your entrance.
Don’t also forget to read our post on how to get to Pushkin.
What if you failed to book online tickets for your date and don’t want to stay in a very long queue facing not only the necessity to lose a few hours, but also the absence of guarantee that you will eventually enter the museum?
You can try another online option – book a guide or a tour to the palace. It turns out to be more expensive, but if the guide manages to find you a ticket (there is a quota allocated to travel agencies), you will not have to worry about anything.
The option is here: