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“Soooo Russian” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Davranov - Day Tours

Davranov - Day Tours
17 Italianskaya street, St. Petersburg, Russia (Palace Square)
+7(812)571-86-94
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Ranked #165 of 279 Activities in St. Petersburg
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Irvine, California
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Soooo Russian”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

We took a one day tour to Pavlovsk (about an hour away from St. Petersburg) in the middle of October. Our tour was supposed to start at 12:30 pm and we were told that we would be back by 5 - 5:30 pm. That worked for us since we had 7:30 pm dinner reservations. We were on the bus by 12:15 pm waiting. For next 45 minutes we had 3 sales people on the bus trying to sell us tickets to Marinskij ballet, calendars, and DVDs. At this point I got out of the bus and asked if we ever were going to live. I was told by one of the tour guides, Tat'yana Osipovna, that they were on the fall schedule and didn't have to leave on time. Then we were told that they didn't have enough people for Pavlovsk to feel out the bus and that we would have to drop some people of at Pushkin on the way. Finally after an almost hour delay we took off. We got to Pavlovsk between 2:30 & 3 pm. It started to get cold and little dark, so I asked tour guide if we could walk around park first (it is one of the most beautiful parks in St. Petersburg's surroundings) and then see palace. I was told that we couldn't. We spent more then an hour in palace, more then half an hour trying to find half of our small group, and then we were told that we would have to leave no later that 5:30 pm to pick up people from Pushkin. We had to follow our tour guide through the NOT most beautiful parts of the park for less that an hour and then we were told to go back to our bus. When we got to Pushkin, another sales person tried to sell us his staff for another 30-45 minutes. Needless to say, we got back to a city way pass 7 pm and had to cancel our dinner plans. Overall, entire tour took us more then 7 hours, but we spent in Pavlovsk only ~2.5 hours. We were very disappointed.

Visited October 2012
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17 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Bad organization for Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk, decent tour to Novgorod.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2012

We took 2 tours with Davranov, one to Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin) and Pavlovsk, and the other one to Novgorod. We originally wanted to go to these places by ourselves, later decided to take a tour to ease the traveling pain. Both tours were in Russian, which did not matter that much, as we were just using them as a form of transportation including the entrance tickets to the sites.

The tour to Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk was quite disappointing. It was too rushed, there was not enough time in Tsarskoe Selo that we didn’t even visit the fabulous garden. We waited almost an hour on line to get inside the palace even though tour groups had priority to enter the palace before individual ticket holders. Once inside, you had to move quickly from one hall to another as visitors were not allowed to stay longer and wonder around… the tour inside the palace took only about 40 minutes, then we had to take the bus to the next destination Pavlovsk. We had actually a little more time in Pavlovsk, which should have been the reverse, the tour should have spent more time in Tsarskoe Selo than Pavlovsk. Anyways, lesson learned – need a whole day for both Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlovsk. If we were going to choose again, we would only go to Tsarskoe Selo, which is a lot more impressive than Pavlovsk.

The Novgorod tour turned out to be OK, nothing fancy, but the transportation and timing was good. The bus took us to all major sites, saved us trouble finding those places. We visited the Kremlin, monarchy, churches, and museums by ourselves, and met the group at the scheduled time and place. One thing to mention was that the travel time from St Petersburg to Novgorod was about 4 hours, the tour guide, a middle aged Russian woman talked the whole ride, almost no interruption. Without understanding a word, we were just amazed at her “dedication”, how energetic and tireless she was! Hopefully she was giving all interesting facts about Novgorod!

Visited July 2012
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Israel
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
74 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“They have regularly scheduled tours for St. Petersburg and vicinity”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2012

I have participated in 2 trips last July. I did it mainly to avoid waiting too long in queues to enter the sites in Pushkin (Zatskoye Selo) and to optimize my time during the trip to Veliky Novgorod.
I have fully satisfied my requirements: the organization was efficient (by Russian standards at least). The guides where knowledgeable and has utilized the time to let us see as much as posible.

Visited July 2012
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Ohio
Top Contributor
359 reviews 359 reviews
172 attraction reviews
Reviews in 137 cities Reviews in 137 cities
330 helpful votes 330 helpful votes
“Pretty.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2012

I would say the last reviewer was still pretty accurate.

I booked a full-day "Russian" tour to Veliky Novgorod through Davranov Tours from the Gostiny Dvor area in St. Petersburg at a cost of RUB1,200. There was only Russian available on Saturday and Sunday. My husband knows enough Russian to just get by. The tour lady did not know any English. We were able to find a few folks who knew English. I would highly suggest bringing paper and pencil so that the tour guide can write down the time you need to be back on the bus.

We left St. Petersburg at 08:00am from Gostiny Dvor (though the bus didn't actually leave till 8:30) and returned at approximately 8:45pm (although they advertise returning at 10:00pm in case of traffic delays). There’s a short stop on the way to Novgorod at one of the service stations where everyone pretty much pays to pee.

We arrived in Novgorod just after 11:00am. The bus stops for approximately 30-minutes in front of the Kremlin to allow people to have lunch.

After lunch we got back on the bus and went to Yuriev Monestary (women should have something to cover their heads - a jacket works) and the Open Air musueum. You then come back and do the Kremlin.

We left Novgorod at 5:30pm to return to St. Petersburg.

We wished it was in English, but we did our reading beforehand and enjoyed the beauty of a "small town" in Russia.

Visited July 2012
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Melbourne
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Veliky Novgorod is definitely worth the effort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2010

I booked a full-day "Russian" tour to Veliky Novgorod through Davranov Tours from the Gostiny Dvor area in St. Petersburg at a cost of RUB1,100.

Unfortunately, there were no English tours at this time but Davranov offered to organize an English speaking guide on arrival in V.Novgorod for an additional RUB2,500 but I chose not to do this as the tour guide and a lady onboard spoke some English and along with my phrase book I was able to get by. In September 2010 the tours were operating on a Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday only.

We left St. Petersburg at 08:00am from Gostiny Dvor and returned at approximately 8:45pm (although they advertise returning at 10:00pm in case of traffic delays). There’s a short stop on the way to Novgorod at one of the service stations where everyone pretty much grabs a hot dog and coffee.

We arrived in Novgorod just after 11:00am. The bus stops for approximately 30-minutes in front of the Kremlin to allow people to have lunch (unless you like hot dogs I would strongly suggest bringing your own food although there are probably other places to eat nearby but nothing appeared to be open when I was there!) There is an Information Bureau at the carpark which has brochures along with maps on Novgorod in English and other languages which is really helpful.

I know you can go off and do your own thing but I decided to stick with the group and read my brochure on each site that we visited. The tour covered a number of sites but the main ones were; Novgorod Kremlin (Detinets); St. Sophia Cathedral; Yuriev Monastery Cathedral; Our Lady of the Sign; Church of St. Parasceva (marketplace); Monument of the Millennium and the Open-Air Museum of Wooden Architecture “Vitoslavlitsy” which was my absolute favourite! A lovely lady and her husband onboard the bus would also make sure I had plenty of photos taken of me with my camera! I learnt that the Russian women seriously love having their photos taken!

We left Novgorod at 5:30pm to return to St. Petersburg. A couple of Russians left the group at the end of the tour in Novgorod as they were going to take the night train to Moscow. When we arrived in St. Petersburg the bus did allow people to jump off along the way so they could get trains and get home quicker.

The Davranov bus was excellent and very comfortable although I did notice another company also went to Novgorod but they left in a very small mini-bus with people crammed in it who didn’t look very happy about travelling with them!

Make sure you book a few days in advance as the tour books out pretty quickly.

It was an excellent trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is travelling on their own or if there are a couple of you. I’m sure it would have been more informative if I had the English speaking guide but the book I had and the brochure I got from the Information Bureau suited me fine and in the end I was thrilled that I had gone!

One last note is that if you are travelling in September take a really warm jacket etc as it's a lot colder than St. Petersburg!

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