Free things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia – St. Petersburg on a budget

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In this post, let’s talk about the best free things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia. Doesn’t matter, if you’re backpacking in St. Petersburg or you’re just trying to stay on a budget, in this post, you will find the best free attractions in Saint Petersburg.

Russia is not an expensive place to travel around (if you’re curious about prices in Russia, you can read my post about prices for travelling around Russia). However, if you’re on a strict budget and looking for the best free things in St. Petersburg, Russia, I’ve got you covered. Without further ado, let’s get started!

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Have you already booked a place to stay in St. Petersburg? These hotels are great, pretty affordable and include breakfast: Le Diaghilev Boutique Hotel, Tuchkov Hotel at the Palace Square and Kaleidoscope on Rubinshteina. Otherwise, check my post about the best areas to stay in Saint Petersburg >>>

Best free things to do in St. Petersburg

Amazing & free things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia

Free walking tour

One of the best free things to do in St Petersburg Russia is, of course, taking the famous free walking tour. The concept of a free walking tour is present pretty much everywhere around the world. Just arrive at a time and place listed on their official website and wait for the group to gather. The tour is completely free however at the end of it or you can leave the tip for the tour guide. If you’re wondering how much to how much money to leave I’ve heard that anything from 5 to €20 is an appropriate amount, but it’s just up to you if you’re low on cash just leave something like three or five euros.

guide to transport in St. Petersburg

Peter & Paul Fortress

One of the best free attractions in St Petersburg is the Peter and Paul fortress. So the entrance to the fortress is completely free and you can wander around the territory of the fortress it’s located on a small island and the photos are pretty big so you can walk around for about an hour and maybe an hour and a half. However, the entry to specific attractions of the theme the fortress is usually paid.

Also, try to arrive at the Peter and Paul fortress before 12. Every noon, a cannon fires from the fortress. It’s quite an attraction itself so many people gather around and just wait for it to fire.

Read my post about the best things to do in St. Petersburg in winter >>>

amazing free things to do in Saint Petersburg
Amazing photo by Lyudmila Kot

New Holland Island 

New Holland is a creative and art space located in the refurbished former timber storage and military port. The island was close to the public for pretty much forever. Into thousand and 10, it was bought by an investor and refurbished. And that’s where a creative and art space was established. Some of the buildings on the islands are protected by UNESCO, so it’s a unique place to visit. In summer you can find a lot of places chilling on the grass eating street food from some street food stalls and visiting different workshops and concerts and art exhibitions. 

I visited New Holland when it just opened. Sorry for the quality, the photo was taken with iPhone 4S.

Kazan Cathedral 

The entrance to all the functioning cathedrals of St Petersburg is free, and the most impressive cathedral in St Petersburg, in my opinion, is the Kazan cathedral. It’s located on the Nevsky prospect, right next to the Nevsky prospect Metro Station. and it’s a very impressive cathedral. 

Free things to do in Saint Petersburg Russia

Summer garden 

The summer garden is a beautiful park located just next to the Church of the Savior on Blood. The entrance to the garden is free and it’s open every single month apart from April when it’s closed for refurbishment. It’s a historical park, where you can find a lot of beautiful sculptures and statues and wonderful views over some of the most famous landmarks of Saint Petersburg. It’s beautiful during any time of the year however, it’s very impressive in the middle of October during the Autumn foliage.

Planning to visit Peterhof as well? Read my post about how to get to Peterhof using public transport >>>

Dom Knigi

I featured Dom Knigi in plenty of my other posts about Saint Petersburg. It’s a huge multi-storey historical bookshop, where are you can hide from the cold weather in winter. and you can also buy books and souvenirs.

Read my blog post about locals’ favourite bars in St. Petersburg >>>

Watch the bridges open

An activity that is free and available to anyone is the opening of the bridges at night in St Petersburg. The bridges open from April to November to let the ships pass along the Neva River. Between November and April, the river is usually frozen so there is no point to open the bridges. The opening is especially beautiful and impressive during the white nights when it barely gets dark in St Petersburg. You can check out the schedule of the opening of certain bridges because every single bridge has a different opening time on this website.

best things to do in St. Petersburg drawbridges

Head to Etazhi for the panoramic view of the city

If you want to see the beautiful panorama of St Petersburg are you don’t want to pay the entrance ticket to Isaac’s cathedral, head to the space called Loft-Project Etazhi. Etazhi is a museum, art space, shopping centre and a cafe in one. You can head to the last floor and see the entire city centre from there.

Read my post about the best dishes to try in Russia >>>

Take a self-guided tour around the best metro stations

The tours around Saint Petersburg Metro are usually not expensive, however, if you want to keep it proper cheap, take a self-guided tour around the best metro stations in St Petersburg. All you need to do is to enter the Metro and head to the stations from the list. 

Read my blog post about the most beautiful Metro stations in St. Petersburg so you can have it easier. If you’re not sure how to use transport in St. Petersburg read my guide to transport in St. Petersburg where I tell you how to use metro, buses, trams and trains in Saint Petersburg.

Most beautiful metro stations in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Avtovo metro station

 Visit the Nabokov Museum

One of the free museums in St Petersburg is the Nabokov Museum. It’s a former flat of the famous Russian writer Vladimir Nabokov, who wrote Lolita and many other famous novels.

Read my blog post about the best desserts to try and Russia >>>

Read my post about the best Russian restaurants in St Petersburg >>>

Sampsonievsky Cathedral or Saint Sampson’s Cathedral

Another free attraction in St Petersburg is Sampsonievsky Cathedral or Saint Sampson’s Cathedral. It’s the oldest church in Saint Peterburg and it’s located outside the city centre, next to the Vyborgskaya metro station. From there, you can walk to the Petrogradskaya district.

So that was it with the free things to do in Saint Petersburg, but I do you have a bonus for you. Some of the paid museums in St. Petersburg become free on certain dates of the year are and also free for some groups of people (always). 

For instance, The State Hermitage Museum is free for all the students regardless of nationality if you have a valid student ID. Just show it to the ticket office assistant and get your free ticket. Please note that it needs to have an expiry date or your expected graduation date. And IESEC card would also work.

The Hermitage Museum - best things to do in Russia in winter
The Hermitage Museum

The Russian Museum is free for all the people who are less than 18 years old. 

The majority of museums in Saint Petersburg are not free for students, however, if you show your student ID you will get a substantial discount. 

Best things to do in Saint Petersburg in January

When the most important museums in St Petersburg become free:

Hermitage – Third Thursday of every month, 7th of December, 18th of May & free for International students with an ID 

Russian Museum – every year on the 18th of May 

best Russian restaurants in Saint Petersburg. Best cafes in St Petersburg. Moskva

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the best free things to do in St. Petersburg Russia. Make sure to check out my Russia blog posts category to find a lot of useful content about Russia and St. Petersburg. Don’t forget to check out my ultimate guide to St. Petersburg here >>>

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