View of Palace Bridge during a night boat tour

Boat Tour Around St. Petersburg – My Farewell to the City

Published: June 14, 2018

As the spring semester was winding down in St. Petersburg, my fellow classmates and I all wanted to have one last stroll around the city. Luckily for us, SRAS had another idea in mind: a boat tour! Our local coordinator informed us that we’d have an hour tour that would take us around the canals of St. Petersburg and allow us to see the city from the water. Obviously, we were all very excited, and it ended up far exceeding our expectations.

Since St. Petersburg is so far north, the summers are known for their white nights. Unfortunately, most of the spring SRAS students will be leaving before getting to witness a proper white night (when the sun never sets); however, even now, the sun doesn’t go down completely until around 10:30-11 pm. Because of this, our boat tour was scheduled for 9 pm, which put us on the water at the best time to see the sunset across the Neva River.

The tour guide offered us key dates and interesting facts about the various buildings around the city, some of which we already knew and some that were completely new to us. For example, I didn’t realize that the Blue Bridge in St. Petersburg is the widest in the city until we were going under it. Some locals also say that this bridge is in fact the widest in the world; however, the Guinness Book of Records doesn’t support this claim. Nevertheless, getting to both walk across the bridge earlier in the semester and then boat under it as well was a memorable experience.

Guests are encouraged to bring food and drinks on the boat with them, so we had a few snacks with us. Our entire group took up the back half of the boat and we all got a chance to hang out one last time before everyone started departing for home. Our local coordinators joined us, as well, so it truly was a farewell get-together.

Our farewell boat tour of St. Petersburg

The tour ended with a short ride along the Neva River, which is, in my opinion, the best part of St. Petersburg. The Palace Bridge, the main bridge across the Neva, opens up almost every night during the spring/summer seasons to allow commercial ships to pass through. The gates don’t open until well after midnight, but the opening Palace Bridge is an iconic image of St. Petersburg. While our group wasn’t out late enough to see the drawing of the bridge, my fellow classmate took a midnight boat tour and got to see the beautiful night lights of the city. A midnight boat tour can range from 600-800 RUB (~$10-$13), depending on the company and the size of the boat.

Overall, the boat tour was a perfect way for my fellow classmates and me to say goodbye to the gorgeous city of St. Petersburg. Having walked across the frozen Neva River when I first arrived, being able to float across it right before my departure was all in all a bitter sweet way to end my spring semester.

Boat Tour Around St. Petersburg 
Spring 2018
Excursion included in the Society, Business and the Arts Program

About the author

Charlie Bacsik

Charlie Bacsik is a third-year International Relations and Global Studies major at the University of Texas at Austin. She is minoring in Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, with a focus on international security and energy development. Charlie will be spending two semesters with SRAS in Kiev, Ukraine and St. Petersburg, Russia. Following graduation, she intends on attending graduate school for a Masters in International Relations.

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