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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 22 February 2013
St Petersburg is one of the world's great historical cities and as such there is no shortage of things to see and do. In fact, there is so much to see and do, and the scale of the city is so vast, that without a decent guidebook to help you plan your trip you're likely to find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of historically important sights demanding to be seen. It also feels like a very 'foreign' city where few people speak English and anyone who doesn't speak Russian and/or read the Cyrillic alphabet can feel quite isolated. If you're not visiting St Petersburg on an organised tour then you will need this book.

This is the first Lonely Planet guidebook I've used in a long time and I found it extremely useful both before and during my visit. In addition to all the usual information on sights, hotels, restaurants and nightlife it is packed with handy little tips that can make your trip go more smoothly. For example, I was staying on Vasilievsky Island and the "Top Tip" for that area was that when you are returning to Vasileostrovskaya Metro station from the city centre "you should make sure you get on the very last carriage of the train as this is closest to the escalator when you arrive at the station. The platform at this very busy station is always swamped with people and you'll have to wait for minutes before being able to get on the escalator unless you use this sneaky trick". A great tip which saved me a lot of time - especially when one of the escalators was out of order! Another great timesaving tip in the guide is to buy your tickets for the Hermitage on-line from the museum's website before you leave the UK. This will save you waiting in the enormous queues which form at the ticket desks especially at weekends.

I also found the Survival Guide to be particularly useful especially the instructions on how to flag down a car for a lift [St Petersburg has very few official taxis and the few that exist are unmetered; most people just wave down a passing car] and I thought having an illustration of the type of plug used in Russia - so you can actually see which one of the many adapters you own is the one you need to take with you to charge your phone - was a great idea.

Finally, one tip from me that isn't in this guide but it's one I'd like to suggest the publishers include in the next edition. If you're going to be visiting St Petersburg in the Winter and you plan to walk around sightseeing then I'd recommend you buy yourself a pair of clip-on ice-grippers for your shoes. The ice-covered pavements are downright dangerous. Believe me, it'll be the best ten quid you've ever spent.
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on 19 August 2012
This book very much does what it says, and gives a good guide to the main sights. It is an up to date guide to the city that does, as always with Lonely Planet, give a useful historical background and linguistic assistance.

The only slight complaint I have is that the maps just cover the city core, and it would be helpful to have them cover a bit more, and it was not always clear how the various districts join up.

Just wish I hadn't left it on the Electruska...
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on 25 July 2013
St. Petersburg is larger than you can ever imagine and a guide is essential. It is not like, say, Paris, where you can just go to the hotel and rely on what the receptionist suggests.

The city if vast and scary (in a good way), so you’ll find yourself needing the maps. Also, queues for places of interest in the city are huge, so leave yourself plenty of time.

Don’t believe all of the facts in it though. Rasputin’s pride of joy is not on display in the Erotic museum. It is only an ‘alleged model’. I didn’t personally visit it (dismembered genitals are not my thing), but I asked my guide about the story. It is only a myth, so don’t believe the Boney M song.
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on 7 August 2012
This book provided the basic information on which one can make choices during a visit. I regarded it as an essential aid when visiting St Petersburg for the first time.
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on 21 April 2014
This concerns the 6th edition, published in March 2012 (see price tag on the back). On the edition which was published before the one I am reviewing here, it says " 5th Revised Edition (April 2008)", and one wonders whether this 6th edition (2012) has been revised at all since 2008.

For the main attractions, I would recommend this guide. However, I would highly recommend you to check opening hours of museums, theatres, and the like online before you go, as the information in this guide is sometimes rather outdated.

Hopelessly outdated is much of the information concerning night-life, bars, and restaurants. For example, the second half of the information about "Nightlife in St Petersburg" (p. 28) is useless: Dumskaya ulitsa ist not at all "St Petersburg's unofficial drinking street" anymore. In fact, apart from a couple of cafés, there are no bars/pubs left at all. Instead, I would highly recommend nearby Rubinshteyna ulitsa where you now find interesting places. Also, the bars and clubs on the recommended Lomonosova ulitsa are at best 'morally doubtful', if you know what I mean - maybe suitable for a gang of young lads. Many highly recommended places are entirely gone (e.g. "Tinkoff", to name just one of many) or are in fact boring now (there was not a single customer in "Dom Beat" at 11pm), or the opening days/hours have changed ("Loft Project Etagi", "Ligovski", "Pushkinskaya 10, "Barakobamabar" and many, many others), so I urge you to ALWAYS check online whether a restaurant, club, or pub actually still exists, and what the opening hours are.

The area maps in this guide are very useful and you don't need any other map(s) really - especially because the guide book comes with a very useful pull-out map in addition. What I did not like about the area maps though, is this: You look at the map and see (for example) the symbol for a restaurant or bar. You then have to look at the page before or after, so that you find out the name of it. To know what kind of bar/restaurant it actually is, you then have to find its description - which is somewhere else in the guide. Good luck finding it! My suggestion would be to put page numbers in brackets.

So all in all not a bad guide at all - but with lots of room for improvement.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2014
We took three guides to St Petersburg last week (Nov 2014) and this was one of them. The other two were the St Petersburg Map Guide and the Everyman St Petersburg guide. The problem with all of them is they are a bit old, so some of the items about shopping and craft fairs are out of date and the shops and fairs aren't there any more.

This is the newest guide but even this one must have been researched in 2011. Its a useful guide though. Solid helpful information on many museums and other sites - we were really grateful at the Decorative Arts museum, which is in an Academy and you have to go past security and then without the guide we would never have found the museum. We like Lonely Planet and have found their Top Choices for restaurants to be pretty good in other countries - it also true of St Petersburg and we had some very nice meals.
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on 24 May 2012
Our first visit to Russia and we chose St Petersburg. The guide was very useful with regard to tips on eating places, catering in the Hermitage and other must places to see.
Try to learn a little Russian though as hardly anyone speaks English but those that do speak it very well. These guides are a must have where ever you go abroad.
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on 14 April 2013
Contains everything I needed to know to plan my trip. I love how you can follow links to more detailed information
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on 18 March 2016
A good introductory guide to the city but don't believe all that you read in it. You will not be stopped by the police and your passport checked because I never saw a policeman whilst I was there. Also the cafe in the Hermitage is not over priced and dreadful. It is a run of the mill museum cafe selling the usual range of snack food and drinks. Avoid the Hermitage first thing in the morning as the crowds are horrendous and make sure that you buy your tickets in advance to avoid the very long queues. Lastly avoid the tourist tat along the canal behind the church on the Spilled Blood. They are a rip off and be careful of trays of items on display which the unsuspecting can easy knock over and then be asked to pay for so called breakages.
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on 17 May 2014
This book covers everything we needed to know on our trip to St Petersburg. It was invaluable for districts, museum info, practical details, good tips and ideas. The book is easy to navigate and the map a good clear one.
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