Generally, Russia is not among the most wheelchair accessible countries. However, such large cities as Saint Petersburg and Moscow have necessary ramps and elevators in some of their sights and locations. Speaking of Petersburg, its main reason for having just some limited equipment arrangements relates to the fact that most of the cathedrals and museums are over 200-300 years old. The attractions are usually considered the National Heritage of Russia and, thereby, can not be reconstructed.
However, still some of them are accessible for travelers with disabilities. Keep reading to learn more and feel free to contact me directly if you are planning a trip to Saint Petersburg and have some questions or want to book a guided tour or, e.g. visa free shore excursion.
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Designed in a traditional Russian style, this monument architectural monument represents romantic nationalism that dates back to the end of the 19th century. The church was established on the site where the Emperor Alexander II was fatally wounded on March 1st, 1861.
The cathedral is wheelchair accessible and has ramps at the entrance and exit. One thing is that its doors are heavy, so you should ask security personnel or administrators for help in case you are travelling solo.
Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral
That’s a real birthplace of Saint Petersburg that one who visit when travelling to the Northern capital of Russia. This popular and important historical attraction is situated on the Hare island.
The area of the Fortress is covered with cobblestones, but otherwise it is flat. The Cathedral has a ramp at the entrance, so you can view it inside with no problem. Unfortunately, other exhibitions are not wheelchair accessible. There are stairs, curbs and pavements.
It is a modern museum opened in 2013 organized in restored Shuvalov Palace that has a beautiful exhibition of the Imperial Easter Eggs. The museum also has a wide collection of Russian icons, silverware, interior and cultural elements, various jewels by Faberge.
Faberge museum is wheelchair friendly and has an elevator. In case you face any problem, do not hesitate to ask staff members for assistance.
Fountains and parks of Peterhof are very interesting to visit, especially in the summer time. Although some attractions of the sight are not accessible, still it is worth visiting. You can freely access Lower Park with fountains, Upper Garden, Tsarina’s Pavilion and Olga’s Pavilion, Alexandria Park, Gothic Capella, Church Wing building. Grand Palace is partially wheelchair accessible, and there is free wheelchair rental available.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the worldwide known masterpiece of architecture, monumental painting, mosaic and sculpture. It is open for everyone and has all necessary equipment for people with limited abilities. There is a special entrance with ramps and an elevator that can bring up a visitor on a wheelchair to the panorama viewpoint of 37 m high (on the photo below).
In order to take full advantage of the provided services, it is advised to address the cathedral staff and ask for assistance. You would also need to have a Russian-speaking friend, at least that’s what some of reviews say.
State Hermitage Museum
That’s probably among top 3 places to visit in Saint Petersburg, and thus, I’d like to assure you that the Hermitage is wheelchair friendly.
It has 3 accessible elevators as well as electrically-operated ramps on the entrance to the museum as well as in some halls of the museum. Make sure contacting staff before accessing the sight, as you won’t be able to use electric ramps without their help.
Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo
The palace is situated in a beautiful and cozy suburban area in Saint Petersburg named after Alexander Pushkin – Tsarskoe Selo or Pushkin. Catherine palace is particularly known for the Amber room. Fortunately, there is an elevator and free wheelchair rental service (in the wardrobe).
Although it is one of the must-see places of St Petersburg, I should notify you that due to crowded tours along the halls, it might be difficult to move around and get much of the excursion.
If you want to enjoy theatre performances during your stay in Saint Petersburg, visit Mariinsky or Mikhailovsky theatres. Unfortunately, Aleksandrinky theatre is not properly equipped for disabled visitors. However, the new stage of the Alexandrinsky Theatre has a specially fitted entrance, an elevator and all modern facilities.
In any way, it is advantageous to contact any theatre in advance and make preliminary booking. Also plan your trip in advance to feel yourself maximum comfortably and welcome in all of the sights of Saint Petersburg.