Hermitage Museum in San Petersburg: 8 tips if you are going for the first time
If you are a fan of museums then you must add a visit to Hermitage Museum in San Petersburg if by any chance you are in Russia. The museum was founded in 1764 and it's the second largest museum in the world, the first one is of course Louvre in Paris.
The museum is a complex of six buildings in the main museum complex: Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and Hermitage Theatre - open to the public. Let's start with the most important: the tickets. The entrance ticket for foreign tourists costs more than the fee paid by citizens of Russia and Belarus. However, entrance is free of charge the first Thursday of every month for all visitors, and free daily for students and children. Don't matter which country you are a student, all students are accept! The museum is closed on Mondays. The entrance for individual visitors is located in the Winter Palace, accessible from the Courtyard.
It's quite hard to figure out where is the entrance as it has no guards or people working there to help, so believe it can be a struggle. And let's talk about the lines, which it can take up to 2 hours depending what time and day you are planing to go. If you buy your ticket online (it's more expensive than buy there at the Ticket Office) but the good part it's you will skip all the lines and it's very worth it! Anyhow if you are under 18 or student there is no way to get your ticket online, you will have to queue.
Here it's a list of things important to keep in mind before you visit and I wish I knew it before I go there:
1. If you are not so interested in see the whole complex the best time to go it's around the closing time, when people are going home and the museum it's not so full and lines are not so big, I would say around 15:30-16:00.
2. If you are a museum fan then you should have a guide, so you will learn about which room and special arts. There is guide available in almost every language (german, portuguese, english, spanish, japanese, russian - of course!)
3. Bring some snacks - you will get hungry at some point and if you have something easy to eat, then you will enjoy more the experience. I got really hungry after a time and I just wanted to go eat.
4. Drinks are not allowed tho, but you can buy it at their coffee shop.
5. Get a map just in the beginner, so you know where to go. You can also download the museum app, they have maps and audio guides.
6. Some people spend a day or two walking there, but if you are not the type who want to see everything I would say you can do it in around 3 hours and be satisfied with the experience.
7. There is lockers available downstairs by the toilets, so if you have a jacket or backpack I would recommend to leave it there, then you are free to enjoy it. When I went there it was raining and I was carrying on rain jackets the whole museum.
8. I heard you can make your own map, to plan what you want to see if you don't have that much time available. I found it very confusing but you can try by yourself here.
In the museum official website you can also find all the informations in english, regarding open times, etc.
I hope you enjoy your visit to San Petersburg and get to see the Hermitage Museum, it's really a must see.