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St. Petersburg off-the-beaten-path tour is a good opportunity to see the real city, which is hidden from the view of million tourists behind the magnificent facades. We have drawn up a perfect program that includes a maximum of unusual places that you will never visit on your own. At the same time, you can easily change it and adjust it for you because St. Petersburg is full of hidden treasures. You just need to know the correct routes and secret codes.

stained glass windows in the front building of a former apartment building in St. Petersburg
Original stained glass windows in the former apartment house.

For a one-day 7-hour excursion we will visit the most impressive informal sights, including:

  • the local farming products market and the tasting honey and caviar
  • closed entrance staircases of former apartment houses
  • luxurious metro stations with interiors made in the style of the Stalin Empire
  • burnt, but working Lutheran church with catacombs (see photo)
  • Smolny Cathedral with climbing the bell tower

St. Petersburg off-the-bitten-path tour is for someone who is seeking for something different from the popular attractions. If you are looking for a more local experience and want to discover another side of the city, join our tour through the hidden gems of St. Petersburg.

metro station avtovo view inside
Inside the Avtovo metro station

You will see the city in the bird’s-eye view then go down to the subway and see the unique interiors of metro stations, take a look at the entrances of revenue houses of the 19th century and walk along cosy streets decorated with street art. Carve out a unique experience on your next trip by visiting some of the weird, unusual, and offbeat things to see in St. Petersburg.

metro station narva view inside (2)
Inside the Kirovsky Zavod metro station.

Here is the standard tour schedule, which we can adapt to your wishes:

  • 10:00 Meeting with the guide at the hotel and departure to the Kuznechny market on foot or by taxi
  • 10:20 – 10:45 a visit to the market with the tasting of farm honey and caviar.
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Safe St. Petersburg rooftop tour, offering a beautiful view of the famous Heavenly Line of the city. All buildings are on the same level and only the magnificent domes and spires of cathedrals break the architectural ensemble of residential buildings.
  • You will also see the local air defence tower and learn how they were used during the Siege of Leningrad and why Nicholas II was the first roofer of the Russian Empire.
  • 12:15 -12:30 Excursion to the former apartment house of Architect Nikonov which is known as the Gingerbread house. Initially, the house was intended for 9 apartments of 400 sqm each, but in 1917 as a result of the response to a housing crisis in urban areas. It was inhabited by many families like other apartment houses. It thus established the communal apartments. You will see the consequences of this era – behind one of the century-old doors on the same floor there are a three-star hotel and the door with 8 doorbells, where many families still live in a communal paradise.
  • During St.Petersburg off-the-beaten-path tour, you will find out the real purpose of old stained glass windows and see the remains of the former luxury of the former apartment buildings.
  • 12:40 -13:40 a visit to 3-4 stations of the red line of the St. Petersburg Metro. Each of them, according to the architect’s idea, is a station-museum dedicated to a specific theme.
  • 13:40 – 14:15 Snack at the bakery or a full meal at the restaurant with the author’s cuisine for reasonable prices of your choice.
  • 14:15 -14:30 a visit to the Buck apartment building, famous for its air gallery. You will learn how does “Russian” monument of world significance restoration look like and how residents are struggling with the arbitrariness of public utilities and where the hundred-year-old wooden entrance portal to the front door has disappeared.
  • 14:30 -15:00 A visit to the impressive Annekirche which burnt more than twenty years ago, but it was restored only outside. You will find out if this fire was accidental, see the catacombs under the oldest Lutheran church in St. Petersburg and take pictures against the background of a glowing cross and a burnt wooden staircase.
  • 15:00 – 15:45 Visit to the Smolny Cathedral. We will walk along the walls of the convent where the first women’s university in Russia used to be. You will learn the amazing love story of an elderly rector to his young student, what the colours of the cathedral which are atypical for Russian architecture mean, and why its construction was delayed for 87 years.
  • It will be possible to climb the bell tower bypassing 277 steps, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of St. Petersburg, the Neva and drawbridges. The cost of 150 rubles per person is not included in the total cost of the tour and is paid on the spot.
  • 16:00 -17:00 Visiting the unique front doors of former apartment buildings that have survived to the present days in varying degrees of preservation. You will learn what the luxurious facades of buildings hide and who are living in former palaces now. Using the history of the Dekhterinsky apartments as an example, we will learn how difficult it was to build such kind of houses. We will see the difference between buildings which were created for owners and renting houses for earning money. The guide will tell you why more than 90% of buildings in St. Petersburg are former apartment buildings and why all residents of the first house with an elevator paid extra for it, even those who could not use it.

By default, the tour ends in the city centre, but if you want to change this moment – just write to us about it.

Annenkirche graffiti on the wall of a Schengen restaurant 2
Annenkirche graffiti on the wall of a Schengen restaurant
Annenkirche graffiti on the wall of a Schengen restaurant 3

This tour will show you St. Petersburg through the eyes of the locals, you will see sights that most tourists will never even know.

For whom this excursion is suitable?

The tour is perfect, both for the first visit to St. Petersburg, in order to better understand the history and culture of our country, and for those who have already been here or have already taken a sightseeing tour in order to visit the most popular attractions of the city.

Can you remove the rooftop tour or make other changes?

Yes, the tour can be customized to your wishes without any additional costs.

Can I expect that having booked a tour any day, I will see everything that is indicated in it?

Not exactly. Annekirche does not work on Monday and Tuesday, so it’s best to book this tour on other days of the week. But on Monday and Tuesday, we can hold the tour without visiting this church.

metro station narva view inside
St Petersburg Metro is one of the most attractive and elegant metros in the world.

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St. Petersburg Off the Beaten Path Track
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St. Petersburg – off the beaten paths

9:00 - meeting at the hotel

10:00 - 11:00 – departure for the rooftops tour.

11:00 – 13:00 – walking tour with a visit to the Transfiguration Cathedral, through the yards with street-art and unusual architecture. Visit to the entrances of historic houses that have retained such decorating as caryatids, marble steps and forged railings.

13:00 -13:30 - Visit to the burned-down Annenkirche with Lutheran parish with a very unusual atmosphere. Different concerts and exhibitions are held here.

13:30-14:00 - coffee break

14:00 – 15:00 - Visit to the entrances of old revenue houses around the Chernyshevskaya metro station

15:00 – 16:00 - St Petersburg Metro tour: the most beautiful metro stations of the first line, founded in 1955. They were built in the style of Stalin's Empire. Each of them is dedicated to a specific theme and looks like some kind of a museum.

16:00 – 16:30 - Visit to the local farmer's market Kuznechny: honey and red caviar degustation. Walking through the entrances of beautiful historic revenue houses.

✔ Rooftops – 27*2 = 54 $

TOTAL: 54 $

Our guide will help you to book a restaurant for dinner, accompany you there or order a taxi after the tour.

You can book for the evening a visit to the Speakeasy bar Cabinet (after 8 p.m) at will, which would be the icing on the cake of your holiday in St Petersburg.

The bar is open from Thursday to Sunday from 8 p.m to 3 a.m.

Annenkirche is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

  • Personal English-speaking guide
  • Metro fare
  • Tickets to the Rooftop tour
  • Taxi

Review Date
Reviewed Item
St. Petersburg Off the Beaten Path Track
Author Rating
  • Meal
  • Private car
  • Tickets to the Bell tower of the Smolny Cathedral
  • Tips for guide

Review Date
Reviewed Item
St. Petersburg Off the Beaten Path Track
Author Rating

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