The trip by meteor (hydrofoil) from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt, free time in the town and the way back to St. Petersburg takes approximately six hours, of which you spend almost two and a half hours on board. To visit the sea fortress and its forts will be especially interesting for those fond of Navy and the art of fortification. Kronstadt is one of the key towns in the history of not only Russia, but also Europe. In addition, it is also the birthplace of the radio.
Kronstadt is a small town in the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg. It is an administrative part of the city, but is a separate settlement. Founded in 1704 as a naval fortress, whose main task was to protect St. Petersburg by preventing enemy warships from entering the waters of the Neva river, it became the main naval base of Russia. Hence, Russian squadrons were sent to participate in all of the important naval battles of the XIX and XX centuries, in which the Navy of the Russian Empire was involved.
In memory of the Tsushima battle
Kronstadt is located on the island of Kotlin.
Forts were built in the Gulf of Finland opposite Kronstadt — fortresses with long-range guns, standing on an artificial foundations. You will find photos of them down the post.
Until 1917, Kronstadt was governed by a military governor — the chief commander of the port of Kronstadt.
Until 1996, the town of Kronstadt was closed to foreigners. Citizens of the USSR and then, after 1991, Russian were allowed into the town only with special permission.
Until 1984, there was no land access to Kronstadt. Currently, it is possible to reach the town by water and land.
The Naval Cathedral is the dominant of Kronstadt
Today, Kronstadt is home to the Leningrad naval base of the Baltic Navy (the headquarters of the fleet is located in the Kaliningrad region).
Kronstadt has been visited by all Russian rulers and Soviet leaders, beginning with Peter I, in addition to Vladimir Lenin. This emphasizes its importance in the country’s defense.
Hydrofoil To Kronstadt: Where, How To Book, What’s Onboard
Hydrofoils go to Kronstadt only by Charter commercial flights. In other words, they have no steady schedule, as, for example, long-distance buses do. They leave from the bus station as they are not public transport, but only for tourists. Companies that control the courts are usually determined by the schedule for high season, from May to October, and then posted on their websites. The Meteor to Kronstadt leaves the University quay (berth «Cabinet of curiosities», opposite to the house №3) at 12.30 PM every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets can be purchased three ways: on the website of the Agency, through site aggregator or directly on the dock before departure. The most convenient way to do this is through an aggregator, such as one below:
We recommend the aggregator for the following reasons:
— you are protected against unexpected hikes in fares which sometimes happen during high season;
— without the aggregator the purchase of tickets is risky: there may not be any left;
— in order to purchase tickets from a travel company’s website you will need to know the company’s name and it will not necessarily be translated into English.
There are three types of accommodation in the meteor:
— a VIP option located in the nose compartment saloon with panoramic windows. It’s a bit more expensive than the options 2 and 3;
— these 2 and 3 are the second compartment and third compartment, they are alike and of the same price. We tried the different options and will let you decide based on the pictures below.
Here is the bow cabin. It is cozy and you can see the movement of the meteor. For extra fee you can have a window seat, although it is gorgeous either way.
the bow cabin
But the second and third compartments are not too bad either. They are also comfortable and spacious.
the second compartment
the third compartment
Passengers from any salon can go to a small deck on either side of the hydrofoil and enjoy not only the view but also a nice breeze (if you’re lucky).
a small deck
The transition from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt lasts about one and a half hours. The hydrofoil sails out of the Neva river, passing the Arrow of Vasilievsky island, picking up speed and at the same time taking you past the majestic embankments. The meteor’s path runs past the shipyards and the Gazprom Arena stadium on the Krestovsky island. At the invisible border between the Neva and the Gulf of Finland is the Lakhta Center, the tallest building in Europe. While sailing, you can see cargo ships leaving and arriving in the Big Port of St. Petersburg.
the Gazprom Arena stadium on the Krestovsky island
About 10-15 minutes after departure, drinks are served. In the VIP cabin (bow compartment) some of them — tea, coffee, water and juices are included in the price. In the other compartments they are not included, but can be purchased separately. The prices of these drinks are the same as in a nice café in the city: cappuccino 100 ml — 150 rubles, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta — 120 rubles per 0.5 liter, croissant — 80 rubles.
At a bar onboard you can have drinks and snacks. It is not allowed to carry drinks and food on board, but hardly anyone will mind if you grab a sandwich (don’t tell the crew that we told you that 🤫 ).
Kronstadt Forts And Warships
Forty minutes after the «take off», the meteor comes to Kronstadt and begins maneuvering around the famous Kronstadt forts built right on the bay with fortifications, which were designed to block the access of enemy fleet into the waters of the Neva. These Forts no longer perform a protective function. One of such forts is the famous Fort of Alexander I, also known as The Plague Fort.
the famous Fort of Alexander I, also known as The Plague Fort
This once menacing armed fortification served as anti-plague laboratory. Now it stands abandoned, but not forgotten. You can get here by water, walk under the brick arches and sit on the beach.
Here are a couple of photos of other forts:
a fort of Kronstadt
An one more fort of Kronstadt
Almost all of these forts were built in the early XVIII century at the same time as St. Petersburg. The forts literally «grow» out of the water from the bottom. They are based on an artificial «islands» and how these «islands» were created is a fascinating story in itself.
By the way, a visit to the forts of Kronstadt is absolutely wonderful. There are both the water and hiking (on ice) tours. We would recommend the first option: to go by water from St. Petersburg and then to the forts.
Return Trip To St. Petersburg From Kronstadt
Hydrofoil will bring you to a marina which is a 10-minute walk from the town’s centre.
the marina of Kronstadt
The return trip on the meteor starts at 16.45, and at 18.00 you will be moored at the Admiralty embankment in St. Petersburg, in the heart of the city, near the Palace (Dvortsovaya) square and the Hermitage.
By the way, you can go to St. Petersburg from Kronstadt by bus or minibus if you need more time for sightseeing.