You can’t really go wrong with giving a book as a gift, so a massive bookshop can be an excellent place to start searching for souvenirs. There is a wide selection of books in different languages that can be be both useful guides for travellers as well as informative reads for friends and family back home. The Dom Knigi (‘House of Books’) also has many typical souvenirs, such as postcards, magnets, T-shirts and many other basics that may be necessary. Although they do tend to be at a slightly elevated price – but not extortionate.
Dom Knigi, 28 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia
Despite its name, the Museum of Chocolate bears very little resemblance to a museum. There certainly is something to look at, but everything on display is up for sale and everything is made of chocolate. Do not be discouraged by the commercial sound of this place. Edible souvenirs can be very pleasing, and there is a lot of choice in the shop, ranging from small bars of chocolate to full sculptures, which may be difficult to travel with (but a pleasure to look at).
Museum of Chocolate, 62 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia
Street markets with souvenirs are common during the summer season. Retailers strategically set up camp in front of popular tourist destinations. Some of the most popular markets of in front of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and the General Staff Building. Here you can get your typical souvenirs but with a choice of sellers. Since retailers are their own bosses, haggling is completely acceptable and moreover encouraged since the prices will be significantly increased. Note of warning: Pickpockets love targeting such markets, as well as many other touristy places, so be weary of belongings, especially when taking money out.
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, 2 Griboedov Channel Embankment, St. Petersburg, Russia
For more exquisite gifts and souvenirs native to St Petersburg, the right stop would be the Imperial Porcelain Factory. This porcelain factory has existed for almost as long as the city and emerged during a growing interest for Chinese porcelain. The Russian court commissioned a formula for ‘white gold’ to be developed, and scientists eventually succeeded to make their own. Times have now changed, and the porcelain once made only to members of the royal family is now available to all. Shops around the city have different items on display, and a catalogue can be browsed online.
Imperial Porcelain Factory Shop, 60 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia
Gostiny Dvor was once the main shopping centre for the city. It is basically an array of little shops all organised together in long galleries. Now the space is mostly occupied by less popular brands, usually in the higher price range. Still, some shops are dedicated to souvenirs and wouldn’t significantly vary from most souvenir stalls that you wander into on the street, but shopping like they did in the 19th century can be worth doing during your visit.
Gostiny Dvor, 35 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia
A relatively recent addition to the souvenir scene, the Eliseyev Emporium has been restored to its former glory of a shop to buy all sorts of delicacies. Not to be confused with a supermarket, the Eliseyev Emporium has a fine collection of the best Russian produce. Your eyes will water at the beautifully decorated interior inside with its plethora of choices: chocolate, vodkas, cheeses and desserts. Most items inside the shop can be bought cheaper elsewhere but are likely to be of lower quality and not accompanied with the special experience.
Eliseyev Emporium, 56 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia
If you require just a few simple souvenirs, such as magnets and cards, kill two birds with one stone by visiting the nearest post office. They will always have a selection of small souvenirs on hand and will be able to post them on the spot. Don’t expect to be spoiled for choice, but the simplest souvenir shopping can be handled here, avoiding tourist crowds and upmarket prices.