There are several local tour groups congregated on St. Petersburg's Nevsky prospekt, and although they operate out of somewhat flea-bitten kiosks, they are good enough to get you to where you want to go in the suburbs. Usually, it's enough simply to step up and buy a ticket, the price of which includes coach seating and a guided tour in English, but you can also book in advance by visiting or phoning the tour-company offices.
Two of the most reliable excursion companies are Mir and Davranov-Travel. Mir, which specializes in serving foreign tourists, offers excursions to the whole list of St. Petersburg suburbs. For groups of less than six people Mir organizes a minivan (for more than six people, a microbus) that will take you to a suburb you choose. For instance, a minivan trip to Peterhof, which includes excursions to the palace and park, costs 2,870R per person; an excursion to Lomonosov, 2,065R; Kronshtadt, 2,275R; Gatchina, 1,855R; Pushkin, 2,170R; and Pavlovsk, 2,100R. You can also make a deal if ordering a combined trip to Pushkin and Pavlovsk for 3,010R. The company can also take you to Valaam and even to the old Russian town of Novgorod, known for its fascinating kremlin, and located 200 km (124 mi) from St. Petersburg (for 4,585R). Everything can be organized by phone. Davranov-Travel also offers excursions to all suburbs. You can buy tickets to their travel bus at their kiosk at the corner of Nevsky prospekt and ulitsa Sadovaya (it's outside Gostinni Dvor metro station). Usually they take you on the bus with Russian tourists but provide you with a guide who speaks English. It's less expensive if you're not alone. An excursion to Peterhof for an individual tourist costs 3,450R, but less for more people. Tickets to other suburbs cost approximately the same. Buses of Davranov-Travel leave four times a day to each suburb from 10 am through 2 pm. There are no buses to Pushkin on Tuesday, to Peterhof and Gatchina on Monday, and to Pavlovsk on Friday because the museums are closed these days.
Mir. Office 1, 11 Nevsky prospekt, City Center. 812/325-7122 or 812/380-6867. www.mirtc.ru.
Davranov-Travel. 17 Italianskaya ul., City Center. 812/571-8694 or 812/312-4662.
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