A few months ago my wife Nastya and I discovered a great way to get to see as many museums as we like in Moscow and Saint Petersburg and even enjoy free coffee and cappuccinos as a bonus! After a few months of using PassCity I am ready to recommend it to you without hesitation.
Full disclosure: this blog is not sponsored and I get no money or discount for recommending you what I think is worth recommending.
PassCity (not to be confused with the similar sounding City Pass) is a very neat and effecting tool to visit all the museums and exhibitions you want in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg for a fixed, low price. On the PassCity website (in English as well as in Russian) you can find a great many options to choose from, depending on how long you are staying in Russia and wether you are visiting Moscow, Saint Petersburg or both.
If you are spending more than a week in Russia, the best deal by far is to get the Culture of Two Capitals package. First of all, it lasts a whole year and costs only twice as much as a 5-day package intended for tourists. There IS a small limitation, but I believe it is not, by a long shot, a deal breaker: with the year package you can visit a maximum of one museum per day.
When we bought our package in early spring it was actually almost 1/3 less expensive than now, but I think you still get a fantastic deal. At the time of writing the Culture of Two Capitals package for a full year costs just shy of 6.000 Rubles per person (less than 85 Euros or about 100 USD). This gives you access to a whopping 150 museums and galleries (91 in Moscow and 59 in Saint Petersburg). You can actually visit each one of them as many times as you like (keeping in mind that you can visit only one museum per day). This way you never have to ponder wether a certain museum is worth the entrance price or not for you: you just walk in with your PassCity and for you it is effectively free. Considering that major museums (like the Moscow Kremlin or Saint Petersburg Hermitage or Peterhof) are all included in PassCity and would otherwise cost you 700 Rubles each for the entrance, it is easy to see how quickly you “break even” with your investment. There is even a very, very important (at least for me!) bonus: every day you visit a museum with PassCity you can then go and enjoy free coffee or cappuccino at any “Double b” coffe shop. Considering that without PassCity a large cappuccino alone would set you back 300 Rubles, that is just great! And finally, you don’t even have to pay full price to get the package: while the promo lasts, if you give PassCity your e-mail to receive further infos, you also get a coupon to buy their product with a 5% discount. We did so and after a few months I can confirm that PassCity does NOT spam you with constant e-mails.
We received an e-mail from PassCity saying that starting from September 1st the Pass will be 50% more expensive! (It was, apparently, really too good a deal!) and the coffe chain where you get free coffe after your museum visits will be “Shokoladnitsa“. So my suggestion is to hurry and get this deal right away (again, I don’t get a single cent for saying that!) while you still can, ’till the end of august!
How does it work? This is one of the best features of PassCity. You choose your package on the website and proceed to buy it. Then they deliver your PassCity to you (to the hotel where you are staying, for example) and this service is included in the price. From that moment on your PassCity card works pretty much like a credit card (that’s why I blurred out the number in the picture). You can even put money on it and use it for your expenses, as it works based on the MasterCard circuit. Or you can NOT put any money on it and use it just to “pay” for your museum entrances and coffees. The beauty of it is that the people at the ticket office and in the coffee shops don’t even have to know that there is an agreement between their establishment and PassCity. You ask for your ticket(s) – you can buy a PassCity for one to four people and get the corresponding number of free entrance tickets using a single card – and then proceed to “pay” with your PassCity credit card and pin number using a standard credit card terminal. Of course I always put “pay” in brackets because no money is taken from: it is all already paid for by you when you buy the package.
There are even extra bonuses with PassCity: you get free audio guides to download on your mobile phone and even discounts on certain taxi services.
Would you like to discover Russia with an English (and Italian, French, Spanish) speaking guide (me) helping you to get the very best deals and discover the best the country has to offer? If so, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to create an unforgettable, tailor-made experience for you!