Bike tours in St Petersburg
St. Petersburg is fast becoming a biking city 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.
If you do take a bike tour of St Petersburg this is what you can expect to see:
- St Isaac’s square and Cathedral
- Senate square and Bronze Horseman
- New Holland
- Riverfront views from Vasilievsky Island
- Historical quarters around Vasilievsky Island
- Petrogradsky Island (the Petrograd Side) and its many hidden wonders
- Peter-and-Paul Fortress
- Trinity Bridge and the views from it
- Field of Mars
- The area around Church on the Spilled Blood
Stuck for ideas where to start your bike tour of St Petersburg?
One of the only downsides of biking in the city centre is the lack of bicycle lanes though this is slowly changing with many more bike lanes planned for the centre of the city. The suburbs are well equipped for the keen cyclist with new cycling lanes just about everywhere. St Petersburg bike tours have become very popular with to visitors to the city.
Another recent development is the emergence of bicycle hire firms just about everywhere, making it possible for just about everyone to at least give cycling a try. St Petersburg is definitely becoming the city for any bike enthusiasts looking for:
Bike tours in St Petersburg
St Petersburg bike tours
St Petersburg bicycle tours
Bike tour St Petersburg Russia
Places To Visit On A St Petersburg Bike Tour
Palace Square Bike Tour
Palace Square in Saint Petersburg is one of the most loved places in the city to just sit down, relax and enjoy the atmosphere. It is one of the most beautiful architectural ensembles in Russia . It is created by the best Russian architects and named after the Winter Palace on it, the latter being built under the project of F.B. Rastrelli in the middle of XVIII century the square really is a magnificent place with more history that you could probably ever imagine. The great news is that the whole area is flat and perfect for a few hours as part of your bike tour of St Petersburg.
In 1819 by the Emperor’s commitment architect K.I. Rossi carried out the design of the single architectural ensemble glorifying the Russian victory in the Patriotic War of 1812. The architect’s conception was combining the existing original interiors and new constructions. The whole square is easily accessible from many points and being totally flat is an ideal place to spend an hour or even two on a bike admiring the glory.
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. It was built under the project of Auguste de Montferrand in 1834. The column was named after Emperor Alexander I. 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 angel’s head is bent to the ground so his face is seen from below. It is very easy to cycle right up to the column to admire this fantastic column.
One of the main attractions in the square is the State Hermitage museum, one of the most famous museums in the world and a truly beautiful building.
Peter and Paul Fortress Bicycle Tour
St. Petersburg was the capital 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).
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.
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.
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 bike 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.
If 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. After the Hermitage the fortress is the second most visited attraction in St Petersburg and one of the best bicycle tours of St Petersburg.
Petrogradskaya Embankment Bike Ride
Petrogradskaya Embankment is located in the Petrograd District at the Bolshaya Neva River and along its left bank – from the Neva River to Grenadersky Bridge.
This area of St Petersburg is great for biking 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 ride long the embankment.
One of the most prominent features of the embankment is the battleship Aurora.The ship is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship. 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.
From 2014 to 2016 the cruiser Aurora left its place of eternal moorage and was being repaired at Kronstadt shipyard. Its return to Petrogradskaya embankment on the night from July 15 to 16, 2016 has become one of the main historical, cultural and tourist events in St. Petersburg that year.
The embankment in the area from the Neva River to Sampsonievsky bridge is under the state protection. as there are many historical bridges and walls.
Vosstaniya 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.
The Pro’s & Con’s Of Biking Tours Around St Petersburg
So let us get down to the pro’s and con’s of biking around St petersburg. Here we go!
Pro! Flat Terrain No Hills
St. Petersburg was built on a swamp by Peter the Great in 1703 which makes it great for cyclists as it is totally flat. The only elevations challenging cyclists are the city’s historical bridges over the Neva River, but the views make the little bit of work well worth it and you really can get some amazing photos from all of the bridges.
Con! Gusty Winds
Saint Petersburg is located 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. You may find some streets are easier to cycle in than others depending on the wind, though dont worry its not exactly a hurricane.
Pro! Fantastic scenery In the Venice of the North
Saint Petersburg is often referred to as the “Venice of the North ” and it is very easy to see why. Many of the streets have recently added dedicated cycling lanes meaning you can cycle at your please and take some truly exceptional photos of this fabulous city. 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 yo can be assured of seeing some fantastic architecture in this truly historic city.
Con! Narrow Sidewalks
The sidewalks along these historic canals can be very narrow and in bad shape, 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, where there is a greater risk of being hit by a car.
While the sidewalks may be narrow, the city’s actual roads are relatively wide and go 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 crazy drivers, just because a traffic light shows red for the traffic it doesn’t mean cars are all stopping. St Petersburg has come a long way over the last few years when it comes to bicycle riding in St Petersburg with more and more dedicated bike lanes being added every year.
Con ! Those Crazy Russian Drivers
Russia is well known for its crazy drivers and when cycling in St Petersburg one should always take extra care when out and about on your bike. Many streets can be compared to major highways with drivers routinely ignoring speed restrictions. Always keep your ears open and be observant if you are not cycling in one of St Petersburg’s dedicated cycle lanes.
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 6 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 has also seen a huge popularity in bicycle riding often the streets can be cram packed with cyclists young and old all enjoying the outdoors.
Information and links to bicycle riding and bike tours in St Petersburg.