I have traveled to Saint Petersburg on many occasions, so in this article I am going to make a selection of the best areas and hotels in which I recommend staying, whether you are traveling as a couple, with friends, as a family or with children, or if you are simply looking for economic accommodation close to the center. If you can afford it, I also recommend some famous accommodations located in historic buildings.
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1. ACCOMMODATION IN SAINT PETERSBURG
Whenever I have traveled to Saint Petersburg for short stays (from 1 to 5 days) I have booked accommodation in a centric area of the city, around the Palace Square, the Hermitage or Nevsky Avenue. This is the area where most of the city’s tourist attractions are located and are easily accessible by foot or by metro.
For longer stays I prefer to choose a district a little further from the center.
In this article, I will give you my opinion on what I consider the best areas to book accommodation in Saint Petersburg, whether they are hotels, hostels or apartments. I will also talk about some of the most famous hotels in St. Petersburg, located in historical buildings.
- Hotels of the big international and Russian chains: Radisson, Novotel, Ibis, Holiday Inn, Marriot, etc.
- Smaller and family hotels, if you are looking for more privacy.
- Tourist apartments, if you are travelling as a family or if your stay is long.
- Hostels, for younger people who are looking for something economic.
Prices usually range from more than $150 per double room in luxury hotels, between $50 and $150 for 3-4 star hotels and apartments, and between $30 and $50 for hostels.
Although the prices also depend on the time of year, as during the White Nights season or during the summer the prices tend to be higher than during Fall and Winter.
Below, you can see a map with Booking’s accommodation offer in the center of Saint Petersburg, where you can see the approximate prices per night and double room:
If in Moscow, the city center is located on Red Square, in Saint Petersburg the most centric area is in the Tsentralny district on Palace Square, where the Hermitage is located. This square, along with the section of Nevsky Avenue that runs down to the Fontanka River, is the most centric area of the city.
On this map, you have the center of the city. Most of the tourist attractions are located in the pink area, except Peterhof Gardens and Catherine´s Palace, which are located on the outskirts of the city:
2. WHICH NEIGHBORHOOD TO CHOOSE TO STAY IN SAINT PETERSBURG
If the choice of which neighborhood to choose to stay in Moscow can take more time, choosing an area to stay in Saint Petersburg, as you will see, is easier.
St. Petersburg is a safe city, so any neighborhood in the city is safe. The city is very extensive and has 18 districts, which you can see in the following map:
Then, I will focus on the neighborhoods of the central district in which I recommend to stay and that are marked in bold in the list above.
2.1. The city center: the Tsentralny and Admiralteysky neighborhoods
The two most central neighborhoods, in which the majority of tourist attractions are found, are Tsentralny (which means city center) and Admiralteysky (where the Admiralty is located). They are the neighborhoods with the best public transport connections, though if you stay in the center you can walk to many tourist attractions.
For short stays, these are the best choice. In addition, here you will find the largest offer of hotels and apartments in the city.
The Tsentralny district is the most central district of Saint Petersburg, where the Hermitage, Palace Square, Nevsky Avenue, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, the State Russian Museum, the Fabergé Museum or the Kazan Cathedral are located.
The Admiralteysky neighborhood is located next to the Tsentralny district and in it you will find the Admiralty, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Mariinsky Theater, New Holland Island or the Yusupov Palace.
I recommend not booking a hotel on the Nevsky Avenue due to the heavy car traffic and the noise it generates, unless the hotel is well soundproofed. It is preferable to book in quieter nearby streets.
According to the budget of each one, my recommendations would be the following:
If money is not a problem for you, I recommend one of these hotels:
- Albora Boutique Hotel (5 stars). In my opinion, the best hotel in St. Petersburg. The Mariinsky Theater is 700 meters away, and all rooms are decorated in a theater theme.
- Rocco Forte Astoria Hotel (5 stars). Located opposite the beautiful St. Isaac’s Cathedral, a 10-minute walk from Nevsky Prospekt, Palace Square and the Hermitage.
- Kempinski Hotel Moika 22. Offers views of Palace Square and the State Hermitage Museum. Excellent restaurant.
- Belmond Grand Hotel Europa. Located at 36 Nevsky Avenue. Opened in 1875, replacing a previous hotel establishment. In the 1910s, its art nouveau style took shape. It has attracted important personalities since the 19th Century, such as the composers Tchaikovsky, Debussy or Stravinsky; Gustaf V of Sweden, Elton John or Jacques Chirac, former president of the French Republic.
- Lotte Hotel St. Petersburg. Located in a historic building on St. Isaac’s Square, in the city center.
- Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Peterburg. Guarded by two marble lions at the entrance, this hotel is housed in a historic 19th century palace, next to the Admiralty.
4 star Hotels and apartments
If you are looking for a good hotel that offers good value for money, I recommend one of the following:
- Pushka INN hotel. Excellent hotel located in an 18th century mansion, very close to Palace Square.
- Galunov Hotel. Excellent hotel located a bit further from the center and 450 meters from Moskovsky train station.
- Garden Street Hotel. Another highly recommended and very centric hotel, 600 meters from the State Russian Museum.
- Rossi Boutique Hotel. Nice boutique hotel with a classic 19th century design, located by the Fontanka River, 400 meters from Nevsky Avenue.
- Demetra Art Hotel. Each of its rooms represents a different historical period of Saint Petersburg.
If what you are looking for is an apartment, I recommend you one of these two:
- SaintHouse on Konnogvardeysky. Excellent apartment located 400 meters from Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and 600 meters from the Admiralty.
- Roomburg Apartments. Another great apartment close to downtown.
3 star hotels and apartments
If you are looking for a good hotel, but at a more economic price, any of the following hotels is an excellent choice:
- Silver Sphere Inn. Fantastic 3-star hotel just 400 meters from St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
- Tuchkov Hotel at the Palace Square. In the heart of the city, just a 3-minute walk from the Hermitage Museum.
There are other excellent hotels that I know, which are well located and at a good price:
If you are looking for something very economic and close to the center, I recommend one of the following hostels:
2.2. Other neighborhoods near the center: Petrogradsky and Vasileostrovsky
Two other neighborhoods near the city center are Petrogradsky and Vasileostrovsky. Both are well connected to the center by Metro, but to go to the city center on foot, you have to cross the Neva river through its bridges.
Of course, these are neighborhoods with more economic accommodation than those located in the center.
Petrogradsky is the district in which the Peter and Paul Fortress of Saint Petersburg is located, the place where Saint Petersburg was born and the second most frequented tourist attraction in the city.
This is a quiet neighborhood where you can find economic accommodation, though to visit most of the city’s tourist attractions you will have to cross the Neva River, through one of its famous drawbridges.
At Petrogradsky I recommend booking accommodation as close as possible to the Peter and Paul Fortress.
In this neighborhood, there is a great supply of apartments, but there are also some good hotels. I recommend the following:
- Tradition Hotel (4 stars). A nice hotel located near the Peter and Paul Fortress, and 1 km from the Palace Bridge and the Hermitage Museum.
- Seven Bridges Hotel (2 stars). Cheapest hotel located 650 meters from the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Another district that is close to the center is Vasileostrovsky. It is a less touristy district and perhaps more recommended for longer stays.
It is advisable to stay as close as possible to the Palace Bridge or the Annunciation Bridge that join this neighborhood with the city center.
The best hotel in this area is probably the Trezzini Palace Boutique Hotel (5 stars).
In the Vasileostrovsky neighborhood, though it´s further from the center, you will also the Marine Façade cruise terminal in Saint Petersburg. Therefore, if you arrive in Saint Petersburg by cruise, it is best to stay on your cruise ship and take public transport or taxi to go to the city center.
2.3. Neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city: Petrodvortsovy, Pushkinsky and Moskovsky
Finally, it is worth noting other neighborhoods in which there are important tourist attractions.
The first is the Petrodvortsovy neighborhood, a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city where the Peterhof gardens and palaces are located.
It is not worth staying in this neighborhood, because it is too far from the center to visit the rest of the tourist attractions.
The same goes for the Pushkinsky neighborhood, located on the outskirts of the city, and in which Catherine´s Palace is located.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the Moskovsky district, a more economical and very extensive neighborhood, in which the Pulkovo airport is located. It is a different neighborhood from the rest of the city where you will find many buildings from the communist era, large squares or Stalin monuments. If your stay is long and you are looking for something economic, or if you are looking for accommodation near the airport because you have a flight stopover, this neighborhood is a good option.
Answering the question that heads this article, this would be the summary:
- Where do I stay in Saint Petersburg to be close to the main tourist attractions? In any of the neighborhoods in the city center (Tsentralny or Admiralteysky), preferably near the Hermitage and the Palace Square.
- Where can I find economic accommodation in St. Petersburg? In neighborhoods around the city, but at the same time that are close to the center, such as Petrogradsky or Vasileostrovsky. You also have the option of staying in hostels in the center of Saint Petersburg.
- Where do I stay in Saint Petersburg if I am traveling as a couple, or friends looking to enjoy the nightlife? Near Nevsky Avenue.
- Where do I stay in Saint Petersburg if we´re travelling as a family and with children? In some area of the center of Saint Petersburg, preferably in a spacious apartment.
- Where do I stay in St. Petersburg for one night? If you are only going to spend one night in Saint Petersburg and you want to make the most of your time, it is best to stay in the most centric part of the city, near the Hermitage.
- Where do I stay in Saint Petersburg if I arrive by cruise ship? If you arrive by cruise ship to Saint Petersburg, it is best to stay on your cruise ship, at the Marine Façade passenger port.