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The New York Times

Tours in St. Petersburg, Russia

By FLORENCE STICKNEY
Published: July 10, 2005

My mother wants to go to St. Petersburg, Russia, this summer to see the palaces, Hermitage, etc. The tours I've found seem to include just three days there. Any suggestions of tours of the city for a week? - C. Q., Arlington, Va.

There is much to see in the fascinating city of Peter the Great - with more than 500 palaces and the vast Hermitage museum among the draws - but most tour companies combine St. Petersburg with Moscow, devoting just three or four days to each in the usual itinerary. The exception is during the White Nights Festival in June, when some tour companies offer trips exclusively for that event, too late for your mother this year.

However you go, with a scheduled or custom trip, you can find a knowledgeable guide once you arrive. For example, you might look into one of the guided tours given by Peter's Walking Tours, based in St. Petersburg, with a team of eight English-speaking guides. Morning tours leave every day from the International Hostel. Special tours include a Rasputin Walk, a Dostoyevsky Walk and Peter's Food Tour; a Siege of Leningrad tour is offered every Saturday.
Peter Kozyrev, founder of the nine-year-old company, says the walks emphasize not just the main attractions but also the city itself, its history, culture and everyday life as seen in its markets, back streets, public transport and the like. Most tours are three to five hours and cost $14.25, at 29 Russian rubles to $1; group size is an average of 10 to 12 people. Tours can be customized (with less walking, for example). Information: http://www.peterswalk.com

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