The best tours of St. Petersburg are those done by boat. The smaller boats that cruise the canals give a closer view of the city's insides than the ferries that go up and down the Neva River. The ferries and hydrofoils are the ideal mode of transport to visit out-of-town sights such as Peterhof and Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo. Water cruises are of course available only when the city's waterways aren't iced over, roughly May through October. You can pick up a canal tour on Griboyedov Canal just north of Nevsky Prospekt, and on the Fontanka River just north of Nevsky Prospekt; prices run 100 to 200 rubles for a 1-hour tour. River cruises to Peterhof and along the Neva and Finnish Gulf start from the embankment in front of the Winter Palace. The Vodokhod company (Dvortsovaya Naberezhnaya; tel. 812/740-5858) is cheaper, but Russian Cruises (Nevsky Prospekt 51; tel. 812/325-3341; offers more enthusiastic service and English-speaking staff. Most companies offer a special White Nights tour in late evening during June and July.

English-language tours of museums or other city sights are often organized by the hotels. Companies to seek out for individual or group tours are Davranov Travel, which runs bus trips to the key sights out of town and offers several museum tours (17 Italianskaya Ulitsa; tel. 812/314-2344;; Russian Holiday (44 Ligovsky Prospekt tel. 812/303-1041;; and Eclectica, offering tours of the city and outskirts (44 Nevsky Prospekt; tel. 812/279-2410).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.