Private and Guided Bike tours in St Petersburg
It may surprise many that St. Petersburg is fast becoming a biking city with more and more of the local population taking up cycling. With its flat terrain, quiet streets and wide embankments and plenty of new cycle lanes appearing every year, now has never been such a good time to start biking around St Petersburg. Get-Locals offer several bicycle tours of St Petersburg and being a nearly totally flat city you can be assured of a nice leisurely bike ride around the city.
Places of interest that you can expect to see on a Bike tour of St Petersburg
1. St Isaac’s square and Cathedral Visit one of the largest Cathedrals in Europe.
2. Senate Square & Bronze Horseman
3. Trinity Bridge and the views from it. Get some great views across the river Neva.
4. Peter and Paul Fortress one of the oldest buildings in the city originally built to keep the Swedes out.
5. Fields of Mars and surrounding areas, one of the most popular recreational parks for the locals
6. Church of the Spilled Blood and the area around it. One of the major attractions of St petersburg.
7. New Holland Island and surrounding area.
8. Petrogradsky island and its many hidden wonders.
Popular Sites To Visit On A Bike Tour Of St Petersburg Russia
Best Bike tours in St Petersburg
St Petersburg bike tours with a local guide
St Petersburg bicycle tours with a local guide
Best Private Bike tour St Petersburg Russia
Places To Visit On A Guided St Petersburg Bike Tour
Palace Square and Winter palace Bike Tour
The most important and central square in Moscow is Red Square, its equivalent in St. Petersburg is Palace Square, a meeting place for the city’s residents and the starting point of many sightseeing tours. Palace Square really is a magnificent place to visit even more so if you are on a bicycle.
The whole Square is a pedestrian-only square with a huge esplanade of about 5.5 hectares and its architectural complex dates back to the second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th there are some really outstanding buildings here, so a great part of the city to take some really good photos.
Palace Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains important historical and cultural Russian monuments: the Winter Palace (headquarters of the Hermitage Museum), the Guards Corps Headquarters, the General Staff Building with its impressive Triumphal Arch and the Alexander Column which must not be missed at any cost..
Palace Square links Nevsky Avenue with the Palace Bridge and has been the site of events of global importance such as Bloody Sunday of 1905 or the October Revolution of 1917. In modern days the Square is used for many International events including music festivals. One of the major points in the square is the Alexander Column which was built in the square in honor of the victory of the Russian armies over Napoleon. Weighing 600 tons and being 47.5 meters high, it is crowned with the statue of an angel defeating a snake with a cross which is the symbol of the good defeating the bad.
The square has been called Palace Square since 1766, as it is home to the Winter Palace, whose southern façade overlooks the square. Between 1918 and 1944 the square was renamed Uritsky Square in honor of Moisei Uritsky, one of the organizers of the attack on the Winter Palace in 1917. He was assassinated on August 30, 1918 at the entrance to the General Staff Building.
The oldest and most famous building in this square is the Winter Palace of the Czars (1754-1762) from which the square gets its name. You cannot fail to see this impressive building the very minute you enter the Square. The building is home to one of the most famous museums in the world, The Hermitage Museum.
Construction of the Winter Palace, in the Elizabethan Baroque style, began in 1754 and was the work of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, a Russian architect of Italian origin.
From 1762 to 1904 it was the official winter residence of the Russian czars. In 1904 Nicholas II moved his permanent residence to the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), 25 km southeast of St. Petersburg.
Peter and Paul Fortress and area cycle Tour
St. Petersburg was the capital City of the Russian Empire until 1918 at the same time St Petersburg was founded the building of the Peter and Paul Fortress on May 27, 1703 on the Banks of the Neva River began on a very swampy part of the city with a huge population of Hares hence the name Zayachy Island came about being (or The Island of Hares). Today it is still referred to as the Island of hares.A very important military and religious site, the Peter and Paul Fortress is one of the most well-known symbols of St. Petersburg. Its cathedral, whose spire is a St. Petersburg landmark, contains the sepulchers of the Romanov Czars and their families. The Fortress is an essential visit for anyone who wishes to know St. Petersburg and Russia, the fortress is also a great area to visit by bicycle as part of any St Petersburg bike tour.
The Fortress was designed by Swiss architect, Domenico Trezzini, It was built with the idea of protecting the area should the swedish decide to try to conquer this part of Russia. Before this time, Russia had been fighting in the Great Northern War against Sweden, and in 1703 managed to re-conquer the lands along the Neva River and certainly had no intention of giving them up again to the Swedes. Conceived as a military installation to protect St. Petersburg against Swedish invaders, the Peter and Paul Fortress forms an elongated hexagon. However, it quickly became a prison, and many famous political opponents were imprisoned there. Any visit to the Fortress must include the old prison and Cathedral. The main Fortress on the Island was built between 1712 and 1733, however there are many other buildings and museums within the fortress that were built between the 18th and 19th centuries The most prominent point in the fortress is the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where the czars of Imperial Russia are buried, starting with Peter the Great himself, and including Nicholas II and his family if you are visiting the Island this is a must on your list to visit places. You will also find the famous SS and many other interesting attractions inside and outside the fortress you should probably plan to spend 2/3 hours visiting the fortress, if you are doing a bike tour of Peter and Paul Fortress you will plenty of secure bike parking areas to park up whilst looking around.
The great news about the Fortress is it is easy to access and look around on a bicycle so if you’re thinking of doing any bicycle tours in St Petersburg then visiting the fortress is definitely a must do. There are plenty of exhibitions or places to visit, among which are included for example, the Cathedral, the Museum of Space Exploration or a former prison, the whole area has been under the State Museum of History of St Petersburg’s control for many years. you are on a bicycle the fortress can usually all be visited within a couple of hours though much depends on your personal interests in the area, it is very easy to spend the whole day on the Island. It should be noted that during the summer months when the island can become very busy with tourists it is advisable to do any bike tours of Peter and Paul fortress early in the morning before to many visitors arrive.
Exploring the Peter and Paul Fortress is an essential visit for any trip to Russia!Petrogradskaya Embankment Bicycle Ride
Petrogradskaya Embankment Bike Tour
A very popular area for cycling is the Petrogradskaya Embankment which is located in the Petrograd District at the Bolshaya Neva River and along its left bank – from the Neva River to Grenadersky Bridge. Petrogradskaya area of St Petersburg is one of the historical areas of the city with some great architecture and great for cycling with new bike lanes following the road along the river bank in the summer it is probably one of the best parts of the city to take your bike and take a leisurely bicycle ride long the embankment.One of St Petersburg’s major attractions is the battleship Aurora which is anchored up on the embankment if you are visiting the area by bicycle you will be happy to know there is a bicycle lane running right along side the ship. The ship is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship which is open to the general public most of the year around.
At the same time Aurora stands today as the oldest commissioned ship of the Russian Navy. This is one of the best places of interest to stop whilst cycling along the embankment and a great place to make a few photos if you have some time on your hands then a visit on board is a definite “Must do” From 2014 to 2016 the cruiser Aurora left its place of eternal moorage and was sent to Kronstadt shipyard for repairs and a major overhaul. Its return to Petrogradskaya embankment on the night from July 15 to 16, 2016 has become one of the main finales and made a huge tourist event in St. Petersburg that year shown nationally on just about every Russian TV channel.
If you are visiting St Petersburg the Petrogradskaya Embankment is a must see part of the city, and a great area to fit in a few bicycle tours in St Petersburg.
Vosstaniya area Bike Tour
A great place to start any bicycle ride is at Vosstaniya Square close to Moscow train station. In the early 19th century this area was considered the remote outskirts of the city up until the construction of the Moskovsky Railway Station in 1851. In those days a train ride to Moscow would take you about 19 hours on one of the old coal burners, on today’s modern high speed train the journey can be completed in less than 4 hours on one of the new high speed trains.
Our next stop along the route will be a square that used to contain Smolny Dvor, an old yard where huge steaming pots of tar were once upon a time stored. Today the square is marked by the buildings of the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls, the first female educational establishment in the Russian Empire. This school was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. This place has so much history about it you really should try to get a few good pics of the area.
This establishment has seen much changes over the years, some good and some bad. In 1917 it was used to house the Bolsheviks’ and served as their main headquarters in the city and served as the residence of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin for four months as you can imagine the building really has so many stories to tell. The last twenty years the building has been occupied by the official governer of St Petersburg.
You cannot help notice the impressive building next door Smolny Cathedral, created by the famous Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the building is presently under restoration, but another great place to cycle around for a few good pictures on your camera.
Next you can cycle along toSmolnogo Street to get to a large wide embankment once here take to the left. From here you can look across the river to see how St Petersburg loos with factories and modern new buildings.
Another great stop is not far away, continue cycling until you reach 14 Voskresenskaya Embankment where you can take a 5 minute rest to admire the sphinxes created by Mikhail Shemyakin, a famous modern sculptor and artist. These sphinxes were built especially as a memorial to the victims of political repressions, which explains why the side facing the notorious Kresty Prison where none of us would like to do a prison term, most of this area is pretty easy to bike ride and is flat so you can take your time without getting to tired.
Stpetersburgadventures.com offers several bike tour options including a White nights bike tour which has become one of the most popular options.
300 Anniversary Park
This sprawling, historic park is a beautiful place to go for a ride but if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can also ride across the bridge to the nearby Kirov Central Park, complete with picturesque ponds and canals. This entire area offers the best of both worlds: the escape from the traffic as well as views of some of the city’s most modern architecture.
One of the newer parks, the 300 Anniversary Park is a waterfront space blends the beach, trails and panoramic views of the city, including the Lakhta Center skyscraper. Cross the Yakhtenny Bridge, the longest pedestrian bridge in St. Petersburg, and find yourself next to the new Gazprom stadium.
The Good The Bad & The Ugly Biking Tours Around St Petersburg
So let us get down to the good and bad points of biking tours around St Petersburg. Here we go!
Good! Flat Terrain No Hills No Stress
St. Petersburg is pretty well totally flat due to the fact it was built on a swamp by Peter the Great in 1703 which makes it great for cyclists. The only elevations challenging cyclists are the city’s historical bridges over the Neva River, but the views make that little extra work to cycle over these bridges more than worth it, the views are outstanding and definitely worth taking some photos.
Bad! beware of the strong winds
Saint Petersburg is located in Northern Europe on the Baltic Sea which means there is a regular wind blowing through the city. While wind blowing in the same direction makes it easier to bike, cycling against the wind can be even more unpleasant than biking uphill. Some parts of the city
Good! Fantastic city that is just like a big open air museum
Saint Petersburg is often referred to as a big open air museum and it is very easy to see why with so many historical places of interest mostly situated in the centre. Many of the streets have recently added dedicated cycling lanes meaning you can cycle at your pleasure and take some truly exceptional photos of this fabulous city. Be sure to have a good camera as many iconic sites of interest in the city are truly fantastic. You just cannot return home without some good photos. There are many parks in St Petersburg which are perfect for an easy cycle ride, relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Wherever you bike ride in St Petersburg you can be assured of seeing some fantastic architecture in this truly historic city.
Bad! Very Narrow Sidewalks
One of the biggest problems with cycling in St Petersburg away from the dedicated cycle lanes is the very narrow sidewalks along these historic canals can be very narrow , with many made of uneven pavement and old cobblestones. As a result, cyclists are often forced to bike on the street instead of the sidewalk. Though some of these sidewalks are very interesting and take some great trips along the canals most of the time you will have to push your bike along these sidewalks ,which is not so bad but not everyone’s cup of tea.
Good! Super Wide Streets You Could Even call A Motorway
While the sidewalks in St Petersburg may be narrow, the city’s main roads are relatively wide this goes back to the old Soviet Union days in fact some roads are as wide as any European motorway though they are perfectly safe to cycle along you should always take great care as Russia is well known for its mad drivers, just because a traffic light shows red for the traffic it doesn’t mean cars are all stopping in Russia green still means “go” for car drivers as far as they are concerned. St Petersburg has come a long way over the last few years when it comes to bicycle riding and is probably catching up with many Western European cities very fast. In recent years St Petersburg has built more and more dedicated bike lanes .
Ugly ! Those Crazy Crazy Russian Drivers
Yes you guessed it, Russia has some of the most crazy drivers in Europe and when cycling in St Petersburg one should always take extra care when out and about on your bicycle. Many streets can be compared to major highways with drivers routinely ignoring speed restrictions or red lights. Always keep your eyes and ears open and be observant if you are not cycling in one of St Petersburg’s dedicated cycle lanes and have a need to cycle on one of the main roads, accidents are rare however you should always be careful.
To Sum It Up
Saint Petersburg is a fantastic city and undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities that is comparable to any other European city, each year the city has over 9 million tourists which is growing year after year. Whilst only a few years back there were no bike lanes in the city things have changed very fast over the last few years with new bike lanes springing up just about everywhere. Recent years have also seen a huge popularity in bicycle riding. Often the streets can be cram packed with cyclists young and old all enjoying the outdoors. Now has never been such a good time to see this great city by bicycle. I am sure you will have a fantastic time with some great memories.
Cycling tips and recommendations for St Petersburg