"Hermitage Tips" Hermitage Tip by AnnK.
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg: 279 reviews and 544 photos
Yes, the Hermitage is wonderful . . . read any standard guidebook. Even odd collections like netsuke and Mongolian stuff are just outstanding. (Although the less popular stuff has only Russian signs--and my geography for the Mongolia area is weak--I stood there sounding out place names and muttering.) As all the guidebooks say, pick and choose.
You can buy Hermitage tickets in advance and these are supposed to and do save you from waiting in line. However, it is not that there is a special queue or window. It is that you are supposed to cut to the front of the line to get in the building (this line was about 200 people at opening time when we were there) and then cut to the front of the line for the regular ticket window. I did it, per directions from a Russian, but I didn't like it--and the people in line liked it even less. One minor point: there is a ticket booth block: the windows on the far side of the entrance were less crowded.
If you get the Hermitage 2-day tickets, the second day is written on the back of the ticket. This means you can leave and come back on the second day, because the ticket coupon is taken the first day. Otherwise, re-admission is based on the guard recognizing you.
I talked to 2 guard/ticket collectors. Both were Americans of college age, presumably doing some sort of summer abroad sort of thing.
We only saw significant lines at opening. The buildings crowd up, but the crowds are "lumpy", driven by tour groups and the same factors that make freeway traffic lumpy.
The cafe is priced at western museum prices, and therefore easy to find a seat.
One more travel tip: there are restrooms behind the Council Staircase, ground floor. The tour guides know all about these, but, because that area is somewhat isolated, and the signs very inconspicuous, they are quite uncrowded between tour groups.
Phone: +7 (812) 710-90-79
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