Looking for inspiration for your own St Petersburg, Russia trip? Read our tips below on the things to do in St. Petersburg, plus a sample weekend itinerary, where to stay, how to get around, and best restaurants to try!
Jonathan and I were able to visit St Petersburg last August and spent 3 days there using the 72 hour visa-free access thru a cruise ship. There are more places to visit near St Petersburg and hope we can come back again, now that it’s easier to go to Russia with the new Russian evisa policy.
St. Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest city. It is considered as the Cultural Capital of the country because why not? From Historical Heritage, Imperial Palaces, Cathedrals, Monuments, Museums, surely this place will take you back to ancient times!
Being the largest city after Moscow, with over 5 million inhabitants, this dream destination is generally safe for tourists and relatively cheaper than the latter.
The exquisite canals, phenomenal architectures, and delectable foods will give you butterflies in your stomach! Let me walk you through the romantic city of St Petersburg.
15 Things that you should do and visit in St. Petersburg, Russia
1. Go on a tour inside the State Hermitage Museum
This is the second-largest art museum containing the largest collection of paintings in the world. Entrance ticket is pricier for foreigners but free of charge every 3rd Thursday of the month, but the museum is closed on Mondays.
Jonathan and I went on a tour that we booked thru Tinggly Experiences. You can see more of our photos inside the Hermitage museum on Facebook.
2. Visit the Peterhof Palace
This majestic series of palaces is a must-see attraction. It is covered in gold and surrounded by water fountains and blooming gardens. You can also see different golf statues around it.
3. Go to Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This Church is one of St. Petersburg’s most memorable landmarks. It was built to honor Tsar Alexander II of Russia, who was assassinated at the same place, hence the name “spilled blood”.The church was built at the end of the nineteenth century. It was constructed in a classical Russian style decorated with colorful domes and glazed tiles.
4. The Mariinsky Theatre
5. Go sailing and watch the Opening Bridges
After midnight, bridges in St. Petersburg were opened to allow large cargo ships to pass the Neva River to the Gulf of Finland and in the opposite direction. Aside from its practical purpose, people were simply amazed by the purely technological procedure that makes this such an unmissable experience.
6. Walk to the Bronze Horseman
This is the most famous public monument of St. Petersburg – like the Statue of Liberty in New York or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The statue of Peter the Great over its pedestal “ Thunder Stone” from a local legend that thunder split a piece of the stone and considered as the largest stone ever moved by humans.
7. Start the Walking Tour at Alexander Column
This monument is the focal point of Palace Square. It was raised after the Russian victory in the war with Napoleon’s France. Crowning the column is a statue of an angel, holding a cross. this magnificent column is a must-see!
8. Go on a Canal cruise in Griboedov Canal
Due to the lengthy and complex network of canals that cut through the city, St. Petersburg is often referred to as the Venice of the North. The most prominent of all is the Griboedov Canal. The romantic vibes while walking over its bridges will be mesmerizing plus a glimpse of Church of Savior on Spilled Blood.
9. Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square)
One of the most beautiful and harmonious ensembles of architecture in the world, Palace Square remains the main public space of St. Petersburg after nearly three centuries. Like Red Square in Moscow, Palace Square in St. Petersburg has been the setting of many major events in Russian history.
10. Stop at Peter and Paul Cathedral
The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is the first and oldest landmark in the city and also one of the finest baroque buildings. The cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower.
11. Cruiser Aurora
Climb aboard this huge training ship which belonged to the Baltic Fleet and played a big role in the start of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. As a museum ship, the cruiser Aurora became one of the many tourist attractions that has prominent attribute in Russian history.
12. Smolny Cathedral
The Smolny Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in St. Petersburg.This 18th-century Baroque cathedral offering audio tours & a belfry observation platform with city views.
13. Go shopping along Nevsky Prospect
The Nevsky Prospect is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg. This 4.5-kilometer-long route offers a lot of shops, tourist attractions, hotels, and churches. Just walking along its road will make your heart full. This is where our hotel was located during our visit. I suggest to book a hotel on this street.
14. Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
A cathedral that currently functions as a museum in Saint Petersburg. People can climb up the 300 or more steps at the base of the cathedral’s dome and enjoy the stunning views over the city.
15. Gostiny Dvor
This is a large department store and had its reputation for being one of the world’s first shopping malls and it occupies a huge portion of Nevsky Prospekt.
Suggested Weekend Itinerary to St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg is indeed a magical city full of history. It’s palaces, monuments, cathedrals, and museums all have a story to tell and it will be very interesting to discover them. The best time to go is during the “white nights” of summer when the day is long and will help you extend your limited time. Tours walk and boat rides won’t be as such an annoyance with the average temperature of 15-25 degrees celsius during those times.
Nevsky Prospekt – This famous avenue is a hub for nightlife, shopping, and entertainment. The picturesque view of historical buildings will make you take out your camera.
Palace Square – It’s the heterogeneity of architecture and open spaces are what makes up the character of this extraordinary plaza.
State Hermitage Museum – One of the most famous art museums in the world and home to the world’s greatest art collections that impossibly to look at for only 1 day.
Suggested tour: Hermitage Skip-the-Line Admission with a Host
Savior on the Spilled Blood -The beautiful gold-draped onion-domed church was built to memorialize Alexander II following his assassination in 1881.
State Russian Museum – Inside this art museum are historically significant masterpieces of paintings from the 12th-20th century.
Peter and Paul Fortress -This fortress was built by Peter the Great in 1703. This unbelievable prison-turned-museum has extravagant interior of Peter and Paul Cathedral where Peter the Great himself was buried.
Suggested tour: Church of the Savior on Blood Ticket
Peterhof Grand Palace -A simple two-story building that was once the formal garden of Peter the Great and still has more than 80 of its original marble statues and sculptures.
State Academical Mariinsky Theatre -This theater is famous for being a world-class stage for renowned classical performers and Kirov Ballet.
Catherine Palace and Park -This palace is home to 18th-century paintings and ornate rooms with its white and gold exterior. It is surrounded by a 1400-acre park with fountains, bridges, the Agate Pavilion bathhouse and the Great Pond.
Suggested tour: Saint Isaac’s Cathedral Ticket
Where to Stay in St Petersburg, Russia
Where to Stay in St Petersburg, Russia if you’re a Backpacker?
(Prices are subject to change depending on the dates that you preferred. These prices are available on Sept. 21-22, 2019. Visit the official website to check more accommodation and price)
This features sea and mountain views, free WiFi, fully equipped kitchenette with dining area, a fridge and a stovetop. Towels and bed linen for an extra charge. Outdoor activities like cycling and hiking can be done close to the aparthotel. Petrovsky Stadium is 8 km away, while Mariinsky Theatre is 10 km from the property.
Price starts at US$18+US$15 taxes and charges, non-refundable
Inn 6 Line is situated 1.7 km from Petrovsky Stadium, 2.3 km from Chapel of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and 3.1 km from Mariinsky Theatre. The property is located 3.4 km from Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, 3.6 km from St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral, Winter Palace is 3.9 km from Inn 6 Line, while Palace Square is 5 km. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, a shared kitchen free WiFi, wardrobe, flat-screen TV with cable channels and continental breakfast.
Price starts at US$28, taxes and charges included, non- refundable
Where to Stay in St Petersburg, Russia if you’re on a Budget
This guest house is located in the center of Saint-Petersburg, a 10-minute walk from Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra, Nevsky Prospekt is a 15-minute walk. It offers free WIFI, air-conditioned rooms, TV, refrigerator and private bathroom.. Different Cafes and restaurants are also just around the corner.
Price starts at US$38, taxes and charges included, Breakfast at US$4, free cancellation
This hotel is 1.4 km from Petrovsky Stadium, 2.5 km from Chapel of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and 2.6 km from Mariinsky Theatre.St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is 3.1 km from the accommodation, while Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is 3.1 km from the property. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, a shared kitchen, ironing service, free WiFi and even concierge service
Price starts at US$40, taxes and charges included, Breakfast at US$4 (optional), non-refundable
Where to Stay in St Petersburg, Russia if you want Luxury?
Located within 1.2 km of Anna Akhmatova Museum and 1.9 km of Faberge Museum, 3.7 km from Palace Square and 3.8 km from Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The accommodation offers airport transfers, shared kitchen, free WiFi, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, private bathroom, hairdryer, shower and own desk.
Price starts at US$75, taxes and charges included, free cancellation
Situated within a 3-minute walk of Vosstaniya Square, within 100 m of Ploshchad Vosstaniya Metro Station and Moskovsky Train Station. Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is 2.2 km and Palace Square is 2.8 km away.
The soundproofed rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV, free WIFI, seating area, private bathroom with underfloor heating. Extras include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.
Price starts at US$ 105, taxes and charges included, fabulous breakfast included, non-refundable.
List of Restaurants that you can try in St. Petersburg, Russia
Serves European, Central European, Seafood cuisines. Also with winebar, stylish interior and warm atmosphere.
Operating hours: Sun-Sat 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Address: 9-Ya Liniya B.o., 30, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 199178
Serves European, Russian, Eastern European, Central European cuisines. This gourmet restaurant is one of St. Petersburg’s best.
- Sun 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
- Sun-Sat 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM
- Mon-Sat 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Address: House 1/7 Mihaylovskaya St Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg 191011 Russia
Serves European and Russian cuisine. This high-end restaurant will take you back to the 19th century, classical but traditional.
Operating hours: Sun-Sat 11:59 AM – 11:00 PM
Address: Nevskiy Ave., 47, St. Petersburg 191025 Russia
How to go to St. Petersburg, Russia from the UK
Via Aeroflot (one way)
*From LGW London Gatwick LED to St Petersburg Pulkovo
Sept. 20 (Friday) 17:10- 22:25
Ticket price: $144
Via KLM (one way)
*From LCY London City to AMS Amsterdam 17:50- 20:05
*From AMS Amsterdam to LED St Petersburg Pulkovo 20:55- 00:55+1
Ticket price: $242
Sept. 25 (Thursday)
* Prices are subject to change. You can visit Skyscanner for more details about the ticket prices.
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