A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Saint Petersburg vs. Istanbul for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Saint Petersburg or Istanbul?

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a beautiful city that sits on the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea. Its historical city center is threaded with canals and architecturally impressive buildings, leaving little doubt as to why this city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the second largest city in Russia, but perhaps a favorite among travelers. The metropolitan area has a population of over 5 million as well as an impressive culture with fascinating museums, restaurants, and architecture. The city has no shortage of sights and attractions, and many days can be passed while you wander its intricate streets.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

Which city is cheaper, Istanbul or Saint Petersburg?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Saint Petersburg is $76, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $65. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Saint Petersburg and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Saint Petersburg $43
    Istanbul $37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Saint Petersburg $86
    Istanbul $74
Compare Hotels in Saint Petersburg and Istanbul

Looking for a hotel in Saint Petersburg or Istanbul? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Saint Petersburg


Hotels in Istanbul


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Istanbul Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Saint Petersburg $8.79
    Istanbul $4.45
Typical Local Transportation prices in Saint Petersburg

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Saint Petersburg:


  • Metro Passes
    $1.62

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Saint Petersburg

Also for Saint Petersburg, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Airport Transfer: from St Petersburg to Pulkovo Airport (LED): $28
  • St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport (LED) to hotel - Arrival Private Transfer: $36
  • St. Petersburg to St.Petersburg Pulkovo Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $36
  • Private Transfer from Peterhof Palace to St. Petersburg City Center: $36
  • Private Transfer from St. Petersburg City Center to Peterhof Palace: $37
  • Departure Private Transfer St Petersburg City to Pulkovo Airport LED - LuxuryVan: $39
  • Departure Private Transfer St. Petersburg to Pulkovo Airport LED by Business Car: $61
  • St Petersburg Airport Transfers : St Petersburg to Airport LED by Business Car: $63
  • St Petersburg Transfer from city hotels or Cruise port to Pulkovo Airport (LED): $68
  • Departure Private Transfer St Petersburg City to Pulkovo Airport LED - LuxuryCar: $80
  • St Petersburg Departure Private Transfers from St Petersburg City to Airport LED: $84
  • St Petersburg Airport Transfers : St Petersburg to Airport LED in Luxury Van: $89

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.14
  • Local Bus
    $0.15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • ─░stanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • ─░stanbul Airport Transfer: $45
  • istanbul airport transfer-sabiha gokcen airport transfer-vip transfer: $28
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • istanbul airport & sabiha gokcen airport transfer by private car: $30
  • VIP Transfer Services for Airports, Hotels or Other Location: $80
  • VIP Airport Transfer and Shuttle: $62
  • VIP Airport Transfer: $56
  • Turkish Bath in Istanbul with transfer: $199
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Istanbul Airport: $51
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Saint Petersburg or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Saint Petersburg change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Saint Petersburg $22
    Istanbul $20
Typical Food prices in Saint Petersburg

For Saint Petersburg, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch for Two
    $5.56

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Saint Petersburg

For Saint Petersburg, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Enjoy Russian Delicacies in St Petersburg: Cooking Demo and Meal with a Local: $80
  • Private Dining: Russian dinner in a traditional St. Petersburg apartment: $91
  • Cooking Class and a Dinner with a Local Family (8 people max): $92
  • Off-the-tourist Path Food Tour: $103
  • Local Market Tour and Cooking Demo with a Homemade Russian Meal in St Petersburg: $107
  • Borscht and cabbage pie cooking class and dinner for small private groups: $109
  • FOOD TOUR. St.Petersburg: $150
  • Private Cooking Class: Learn the secrets of Borsch and Beef Stroganoff: $166
  • Private Cooking Class: Russian Blini with Red Caviar and Shchi soup: $179
  • Private Cooking Class: Russian Shchi soup and Blini with Red Caviar: $187
  • Private Cooking Class: Hands-on Siberian Pelmeni Making Workshop: $188
  • Private Cooking Class: Siberian Pelmeni, Stolichny salad and Borsch: $212

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.10
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.03
  • Dessert
    $0.43
  • Pastries
    $0.08

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Saint Petersburg $22
    Istanbul $22

Tours and Activities in Saint Petersburg

For Saint Petersburg, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2-Day Small-Group Visa-Free Tour - Top Highlights of St Petersburg: $20
  • 1.5-Hours Saint Petersburg's Metro Tour Hidden Treasures: $25
  • Mini-Group 2-Day Shore Excursion of St Petersburg Must-Sees and Boat Cruise: $25
  • Saint Petersburg Drawbridges Tour: $41
  • Half Day Walking Tour Well Courtyards Tour in Saint Petersburg: $44
  • Guided Tour Peter and Paul Fortress, Cathedral and Prison: $56
  • Private Tours: $64
  • Half Day Bike City Tour in Saint Petersburg: $75
  • Private Tour of "Erarta" Galleries: $76
  • St Petersburg Communist walking tour + Museum of Russian political history: $77
  • Evening River and Canal Cruise Visas Included: $86
  • Revolutionary Petersburg City Tour: $86

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.02
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.02
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.51
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $1.53

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • 1 Day - Istanbul Tour: $315
  • 1 Day Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour From Istanbul: $300
  • 1 Day Istanbul & Ephesus Tour By Plane - YK230: $419
  • 1 Day Regular Cappadocia Tour by Plane - YK0011: $384
  • 1 Day Tour - Sapanca: $300
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $496
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Travel from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $509
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $513
  • 1 Night 1 Day Trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $490
  • 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $521
  • 1 Night 2 Days Ephesus, Kusadasi, Hierapolis & Pamukkale Tour from/to Istanbul: $372
  • 1 Night Cappadocia Trip with Hot Air Balloon Tour: $525

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Saint Petersburg $12
    Istanbul $5.26

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Saint Petersburg and Istanbul, we can see that Saint Petersburg is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Saint Petersburg would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Saint Petersburg than you might in Istanbul.


When is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Saint Petersburg as well as Istanbul. Also, many visitors come to Istanbul in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Saint Petersburg is generally cooler than Istanbul. Temperatures in Saint Petersburg average around 18°C (64°F), and Istanbul stays around 24°C (74°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Istanbul. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Saint Petersburg this time of the year. In the summer, Saint Petersburg often gets less sunshine than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 267 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 333 hours of full sun.

Saint Petersburg usually gets more rain in July than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 77 mm (3 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Saint Petersburg 18°C (64°F) 
    Istanbul 24°C (74°F)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul in the Autumn?

Both Istanbul and Saint Petersburg are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, most visitors come to Istanbul for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Saint Petersburg is much colder than Istanbul in the autumn. The temperature in Saint Petersburg is usually 6°C (42°F) in October, and Istanbul stays around 16°C (61°F).

Saint Petersburg usually receives less sunshine than Istanbul during autumn. Saint Petersburg gets 70 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 169 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Saint Petersburg usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 65 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Saint Petersburg 6°C (42°F) 
    Istanbul 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul in the Winter?

Both Istanbul and Saint Petersburg during the winter are popular places to visit. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Istanbul because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Saint Petersburg can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Saint Petersburg is much colder than Istanbul. Typically, the winter temperatures in Saint Petersburg in January are around -8°C (18°F), and Istanbul is about 6°C (43°F).

In the winter, Saint Petersburg often gets less sunshine than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 22 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 75 hours of full sun.

Saint Petersburg usually gets less rain in January than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 99 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Saint Petersburg -8°C (18°F) 
    Istanbul 6°C (43°F)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Istanbul in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Saint Petersburg and Istanbul. Furthermore, the activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Istanbul this time of year.

The weather in Saint Petersburg can be very cold. In April, Saint Petersburg is generally much colder than Istanbul. Temperatures in Saint Petersburg average around 4°C (40°F), and Istanbul stays around 13°C (55°F).

Saint Petersburg usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Istanbul during spring. Saint Petersburg gets 180 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 180 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Saint Petersburg usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Saint Petersburg gets 33 mm (1.3 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Saint Petersburg 4°C (40°F) 
    Istanbul 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Istanbul and Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Istanbul
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -8°C (18°F) 38 mm (1.5 in) 6°C (43°F) 99 mm (3.9 in)
Feb -7°C (20°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 6°C (44°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Mar -2°C (28°F) 34 mm (1.3 in) 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 4°C (40°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
May 11°C (52°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 17°C (63°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 16°C (60°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 21°C (71°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
Jul 18°C (64°F) 77 mm (3 in) 24°C (74°F) 19 mm (0.7 in)
Aug 16°C (62°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 24°C (74°F) 26 mm (1 in)
Sep 11°C (52°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 20°C (69°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 6°C (42°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 16°C (61°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 0°C (32°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Dec -5°C (24°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 9°C (47°F) 122 mm (4.8 in)


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Saint Petersburg vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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