How far can your USD10 take you? In this series of blog posts, I’ve challenged some of the travel bloggers based in different corners of the globe to tell me what’s the best way to maximize USD10 as a tourist from where they currently are. Today, I’m featuring Saint Petersburg, Russia submitted by Kendal of Getaway Girl.
Studying abroad can be costly, but for my four months abroad I lived in a unique country, lived unique experiences, and traveled to faraway places — all while staying under budget! How many college students can say that? (Hint: Not many)
Many travelers disregard visiting Russia once they see the admittedly hefty visa prices and complicated visa application process. Traveling within Russia with the conversion strength of a Western currency is shockingly satisfying. Visiting the Venice of Russia is breath-taking and fascinating. You certainly don’t want to miss out.
But how far can $10 (565 RUB) in Saint Petersburg go?
Very far, as you will soon learn.
Be sure to eat a filling breakfast at your accommodation because it will be a long day!
Start your morning off right with a stroll across one of Saint Petersburg’s main bridges, walking from the Hermitage towards the Petrograd side. Walking across one of these beautiful bridges introduces you to the bustle of the city and offers splendid city views — for free.
After crossing the bridge, make your way to the Museum of Political History (150 RUB). Located in the Ksheniskaya Palace, you are about to experience one of the city’s best museums. Here you can learn about Russian politics, especially the Bolshevik Revolution and Communist era. This palace-museum was home to Russia’s prima-ballerina Mathilda Kshesinskaya and briefly Bolshevik headquarters. Lenin himself gave several speeches from the palace’s balcony!
Once you have had your history fill for the day, walk to the nearby Peter & Paul Fortress. Today you will not enter the fortress because walking the circumference of it is free and enjoyable for all. In the sunny summer months you may opt to lay on a towel in the sand and people-watch.
Grab a bite to eat for lunch at Solovaya No 1 Kopeika, located on Nevsky Prospekt near the Hermitage. Lunch is offered for only 99 RUB! Mingle with locals at this self-serve canteen. I recommend trying Borsch, the traditional Russian red cabbage soup.
Now visit the Church on the Spilled Blood (250RUB), the most elaborate church in Saint Petersburg. You can not miss the splendor of this five-domed Orthodox Church! The official name is Church of the Resurrection of Christ, however it was given the common name in reference to Tsar Alexander II’s assassination located at the church in 1881. Over 7,000 square meters of mosaics and icons grace the walls.
Wander through the souvenir markets and massive shop outside of the Church of Spilled Blood. Everything from scarves, nesting dolls, and paintings are here.
If you are ready for a snack, try a classic Russian dessert for dinner. Pischki are most comparable to donut-shaped funnel cakes covered in powdered sugar. Ignore the lack of nutritional value as you smile from tasty goodness! My favorite pischki cafe is April 12th, named after the day Russian astronaut and national hero Yuri Garagin flew to space. The cafe is space and 50s/60s themed. Many locals argue April 12th makes the best pischki in Saint Petersburg, and they are only 20 RUB each! With that price, you must get three.
By now you have reached your $10/565RUB budget. No worries — the best is yet to come! Now it is time to explore the surroundings of the Hermitage, wander through the Summer Garden, watch the sunset over the Neva River, watch the bridges open, and photograph the Hermitage at dusk.
The consensus? Russia is the place to go for history, art, culture, food…and budgets! Heck, you even have 6 roubles to spare!
All photos are submitted by Kendal. If you’re a blogger and would like to submit a guest post in this series, drop me an email at pinayflyinghigh(@)gmail(.)com