This post lists the best free walking tours you can take in St. Petersburg, including self-guided tours and small group tours.
WHAT ARE FREE WALKING TOURS?
These companies run their walking tours on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means there is no upfront cost to attend a tour of the city you're in. You are simply asked to pay what you think the experience was worth at the end.
The free walks are mostly general overviews of the St. Petersburg city centre. You'll walk past the most prominent cathedrals, military monuments, and town squares. After each walk, you should also have a great idea of which streets and attractions you want to return to for more exploration!
This means these tours are very affordable, popular, and attract large crowds. While free tours are often led by entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides, the tour group is almost always quite large.
So, for travelers who want to take tours with smaller groups of people, we recommend paid small group tours.
TIP: An easy and popular way to get around St. Petersburg, instead of walking, is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour through the city. You'll also get an audio guide as you go past attractions!
FREE TOURS WITH THE ST. PETERSBURG CITYPASS
If you're considering buying an attraction discount pass, keep in mind that the St. Petersburg CityPass already includes access to a free walking tour of the city as well as river cruises and bus tours!
You can purchase the pass for 2, 3, or 5 days and can go to as many of the 28 available attractions and tours as you can during the active time period.
WALKING TOURS IN ST. PETERSBURG
Here is a list of companies that provide pay-what-you-like walking tours in the city.
Petersburg Free Tour
The free, 3-hour introduction of St. Petersburg will take you around the most impressive and popular sights of the city center.
You'll see the Winter Palace, Alexander Column, Hermitage, Admiralty, and St. Isaak's Cathedral, among other impressive pieces of architecture and art.
It runs every day at 10:45 am, and they do ask that you make a reservation.
Smart Free Tour
This pay-what-you-like tour runs every Monday at 19:00 (7:00 pm) from June 1 through August 31.
The guide will take you on a 2-hour walk to see the most popular highlights of St. Petersburg, from the Palace Square and main cathedrals to Alexander's garden and Nevsky Prospect.
They do request that you book your spot before arriving.
AngloTourismo offers a number of interesting tours in and around St. Petersburg. Their free 3-hour tour runs every day at 10:30 am, no matter the weather. It covers the usual points of attraction, plus an overview of some WWII and October Revolution history facts.
Keep in mind that while there is no fee for this tour, reserving your spot in advance is required.
AngloTourismo also offers paid tours that focus on specific topics such as in-depth explorations of more residential neighborhoods, Dostoevsky, and Soviet Avantguard tours.
SELF-GUIDED WALKING TOURS
Self-guided walking tours are perfect for when you cannot fit a formal, guided tour into your schedule. Or, maybe you prefer going at your own pace.
Either way, here are some written guides to St. Petersburg that will allow you to be your own guide.
This organization's goal is to educate visitors and locals alike about the city of St. Petersburg and everything you can find there. They have a list of several free, self-guided walking tours you can look at and use for yourself! The tours include museum walks, architectural tours, and historically-focused walks.
Frommer's St. Petersburg Tour
Frommer's has a written guide to St. Petersburg that should take approximately 2 hours to complete if you don't make too many stops along the way. You'll start at Palace Square and end at Gostiny Dvor. They recommend you do this on a Sunday for fewer crowds, but the beauty of a self-guided tour is going out whenever you feel like it!
My Itchy Travel Feet
This blog has a thoroughly-written guide to discovering St. Petersburg and goes into detail about various castles, museum exhibits, and other cultural points of interest. It even includes areas where you can find entertaining street performances.