The Best Places To Visit In St. Petersburg, Russia

The Best Places to Visit in St. Petersburg, Russia
The Best Places to Visit in St. Petersburg, Russia

People often ask me “which city has been your favorite to visit”, and my answer is simple: St. Petersburg, Russia.

Why St. Petersburg? It could be the amazing people that live in the city, the incredible history around each corner, the beautiful buildings that surround you, or the delicious food that can be found in almost any cafe/restaurant/food stand. Any of these reasons alone could justify my response, but this city has each of them.

Let’s take a quick journey around the city of St. Petersburg, lovingly called “The Venice of the North”.

Nevsky Prospekt and the canals

Canals Around Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg, Russia
Nevsky Prospekt and Canals ( Не́вский проспе́кт)

Upon arriving in the city center of St. Petersburg, it’s hard to miss the famous Nevsky Prospekt and it’s legendary canals that deem it the Venice of the north.

Nevsky Prospekt is the main street in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. It takes its name from the Russian hero Saint Alexander Nevsky (1221-1263). The heart of the city runs on Nevsky Prospekt, as well as the side streets that surround it. There is every type of shopping imaginable, as well as bars, nightlife, and some of the best food you will ever eat.

You can’t go far on Nevsky Prospekt without encountering one of the 800 bridges in the city that span its 100 canals and tributaries. Want to take in more of the canals? You can take a boat ride and explore St. Petersburg from a different perspective on the water.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови)

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights to visit in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s stunning architecture and sheer beauty inside make it a must see on any travel itinerary in St. Petersburg.

Inside The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови)
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови)

The interior of The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is remarkably beautiful and awe inspiring.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови)
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (Церковь Спаса на Крови)

The canal that runs next to The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is the Griboyedov Canal. Not far from here is our next stop at The Hermitage Museum.

The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum (Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж)
The State Hermitage Museum (Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж)

Our next stop is close to The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and right off the Nevsky Prospekt. It is the world famous State Hermitage Museum. This museum of art and culture was founded in 1764 by Empress Catherine the Great, and opened to the public in 1852.

The Hermitage Museum at Night
The State Hermitage Museum at Night

The State Hermitage Museum only displays a small part of it’s massive collection at any given time. The entire collection contains over three million pieces of art and culture. This includes the largest collection of paintings in the world.

The collections occupy six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment and are open to the general public daily except for Mondays. The entrance fee is free on the third Thursday of every month for all visitors, regardless of nationality.

The State Russian Museum

The State Russian Museum
The State Russian Museum (Государственный Русский музей)

Just a short walk from The State Hermitage Museum sits The State Russian Museum. This incredible building houses the world’s largest collection of Russian fine art and is also one of the largest museums in the country.

The collection of art stored in The State Russian Museum features items beginning in the 12th century all the way up to the Soviet times in the 20th century.

Inside The State Russian Museum
Inside The State Russian Museum

While The Hermitage Museum may have a lot to offer, The State Russian Museum isn’t too far behind. You can lose track of time quickly by traversing the many rooms located in this massive museum. Endless rooms of paintings, statues, and more.

The Peterhof Palace

The Peterhof Palace
The Peterhof Palace (Петерго́ф)

Just outside of the city of St. Petersburg sits the legendary and inspiring Peterhof Palace. This palace, commissioned by Peter the Great, was intended to be a direct response to the Palace of Versailles by Louis XIV of France. Over the years, tourists have come to call Peterhof Palace “The Russian Versailles”.

The palace and it’s gardens are a wonderful way to spend a nice summer day. You can never get “too tired” of seeing gold, and you will absolutely get your fill after touring the palace and it’s gardens.

Fun Fact: There are 64 fountains at Peterhof Palace, yet none of them are operated with pumps. Instead, water is supplied from natural springs and collect in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens. The elevation difference creates the pressure needed to generate flowing from the fountains.

The Catherine Palace

 The Catherine Palace
The Catherine Palace

St. Petersburg isn’t short on breathtaking palaces, and Catherine’s Palace is another example of architectural beauty. Catherine’s Palace is located about 30km south of St. Petersburg and can be reached via public transportation or private car.

This amazing palace was created in 1717 when Catherine I of Russia hired a German architect to construct a summer residence for her pleasure. More than 100 kilograms of gold were used for the roof and various statues situated on the roof.

The Drawbridges

The Drawbridges of St. Petersburg
The Drawbridges of St. Petersburg

It’s 3 a.m. and you’ve had a fun night out exploring the various bars and restaurants that St. Petersburg has to offer. Why head back to the hotel room when you can share a special moment with hundreds of other people on any given night of the week watching the drawbridges on the Neva River open.

Each night from April until November, the 22 bridges across the Neva River are drawn to allow ships to pass in and out of the Baltic Sea. The schedule of drawbridge openings is precisely calculated to ensure one bridge always remains open for emergency personnel.

I remember my first time experiencing the draw bridge opening at 3 a.m., and it was a sight to behold. Hundreds of people standing around cheering, playing music, taking photos/videos, and having fun. That’s what life is all about. Having fun and taking amazing adventures.

Thanks for reading!