Europe & Britain | Travel Tips & News

Russia's new e-visa makes it easy to visit St Petersburg

Recently updated on October 4th, 2022 at 11:13 am

Always wanted to visit St Petersburg but been putting it off because of the long visa application process? We have good news. The Russian government recently approved a list of 53 countries whose citizens can now enter St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, on the basis of simple single-entry business, tourist and humanitarian e-visas. Among them are all of the EU countries (the UK excluded), as well as India, Indonesia, Iran, Qatar, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, Japan and many others.

visit St Petersburg - Trafalgar - saviour on the spilled blood church
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The electronic visa is valid for 30 days from the date of issue with an authorized stay of no more than 8 days. And the best part about it – you don’t need to pay a consular fee for the application!

The full list of foreign countries, whose nationals can enter Russia via St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region on the basis of electronic visas, is available here. You can fill in your application on the official website of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. 

Please note that the e-visa only applies to St Petersburg region only, so depending on your nationality you may need to apply for a standard Russian tourist visa to enter other parts of Russia, like Moscow or any other cities. 

Trafalgar - opening of the bridges
Opening of the Bridges by the Peter and Paul Fortress during the White Nights

I grew up in St Petersburg and am very proud of my hometown, so gathered a few reasons why ‘visit St Petersburg’ should be high up on your to-do list.

Spend an evening at the ballet

Despite emerging during the Italian Renaissance and having roots in the French language, Russia is the motherland of authentic ballet. I grew up dancing and attending strict ballet classes, and so did many of my friends. It is deeply rooted in our culture and we are very, VERY proud of it. So it goes without saying that a visit to the ballet is a St Petersburg must, and where better to watch this moving, graceful art, than at the regal Mariinsky Theatre.

Trafalgar - Mariinsky Theatre
Inside the Mariinsky Theatre

See the magnificent art collection at the Hermitage

Possessing the largest collection of paintings in the world (3 million works of art in total), the State Hermitage Museum is one of the greatest Russian monuments with immeasurable significance. Founded in 1764 for Catherine the Great, it was formerly Tsarina’s palace, often referred to as the Winter Palace. The palace is so grand and vast that in her lifetime, Catherine herself was unable to visit every room, but I really recommend you give it a try.

RELATED CONTENT: Five Reasons You Should Visit Russia in Winter

visit St Petersburg - Hermitage Museum
Winter Palace, St Petersburg, Russia

Try all the best authentic foods, plus a shot of Russian vodka

Russia is definitely an underrated culinary destination. Now living in London, I miss Russian food every single day and, believe me, this should be one of the main reasons to visit St Petersburg. Our famous blini (large thin pancakes) are often confused with French crepes, however, the garnishes differ a lot. Try them with caviar, raw salmon, cream cheese or, if you have a sweet tooth like me, with condensed milk or homemade jam.

For lunch, I recommend you try pelmeni – delicious dumplings with minced meat inside the unleavened dough. Other delicacies include beetroot soup, or borscht, with sour cream and boiled eggs (yes, we eat soup almost every day!), Olivier salad (served on every table across the country for New Year’s eve), Beef Stroganoff, kotleti and more. Try it all, and thank me later!

Trafalgar - Russian food
Vinegret, lunch meats, pelmeni with sour cream and pickled vegetables

Visit the nearby town of Petergof (Petrodvorets)

There is truly nothing quite as stunning as Petergof. The world capital of fountains is located just half an hours drive from St Petersburg, on the south bank of the Golf of Finland. In 1715, Emperor Peter The Great decided to create a ceremonial imperial residence capable of surpassing the famous Versailles. First built as a summer residence for Russian tsars and tsarinas, it later formed into a magnificent palace and park ensemble in the XVIII – early XX century. The most famous ensemble of fountains is the Grand Cascade, with 64 different fountains and over 200 bronze statues and bas-reliefs. Visit St Petersburg and Petergof in the summer and prepare to be astonished by the range and diversity of fountains and other decorations.

visit St Petersburg - Trafalgar - Petrodvorets
The Grand Cascade fountain in front of the Peterhof Grand Palace

Stroll down the Nevsky Prospekt

Nevsky Prospect is the main and the longest street in the city centre. It stretches over 4.5 kilometres from the bank of the Neva river, all the way to the other side of the centre at Alexander Nevsky Lavra. From historic mosaic-covered cathedrals to new-age high-end boutique shopping, this street perfectly encapsulates the many layers of Russia. Make sure to stop at the beautiful House of Books for stunning views and antique book shopping, and at Anichkov Bridge to admire the palaces on the Fontanka River.

Trafalgar - Fontanka river
Fontanka River with reflection at dawn, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Keen to visit St Petersburg for yourself? Book Wonders of St Petersburg and Moscow with Trafalgar to discover all that the city has to offer.

NB: The e-visa only applies to St Petersburg region only, so depending on your nationality you may need to apply for a standard Russian tourist visa to enter. Please check this well in advance of your trip departure date or talk to your Trafalgar Travel Specialist

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