Planning a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia? That sounds great, because it’s a lovely city, and it’s so worth a visit. Try to take your time and stay longer, because the city is big, and has a lot to offer.
Firstly, if you are like me and hate winter, plan your trip in July or August. The rest of the year it’s a long winter, and a local said they have some autumn (but I don’t know when).
Keep in mind St. Petersburg is a big city, and has a strong cultural background. It is the second largest city in Russia, it was the capital of Russia for almost 2 centuries and it’s the country cultural capital.
What to visit in St Petersburg?
I would stay a week there because I hate rushing from one point to another. These are my recommendations.
The State Hermitage Museum
Part of the museum is the Winter Palace of the Russian emperors, which is amazing. If you enjoy art, this is the second largest art museum in the world, after Louvre. One of the oldest too, being opened to the public since 1852.
The entrance is free of charge the first Thursday of every month for all visitors and free daily for students and children. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Hermitage is an old word from and means in Greek “people who live alone”.
I recommend the Diamond room. It can be visited only with a guide, it costs extra and it takes around 1h. And photos are not allowed. But it’s a room of gold and diamonds and all the shiny stones and crystals of the Russian empresses.
The “Russian Versailles” is a beautiful place, with big gardens and fountains and many palaces and buildings. The greatest of them all is the Grand Palace or the summer palace.
The interior is impressive and it’s not that big around 30 rooms. A visit will take around 1h. Depends on you. Photos are not allowed inside.
Best time to visit would be in summer, to enjoy the green gardens and the many fountains, which are working from May to September.
Discount price for students. Bring your card.
Church of the Savior on Blood
This should be on your list of what to visit in St. Petersburg. In Russian, it’s also called Church on spilled blood, because it was built by the imperial family on the spot the emperor Alexander II was wounded in 1881.
The exterior resembles St. Basil’s Cathedral from Moscow.
It is considered a museum of mosaics, having its walls and ceiling completely covered in detailed mosaics, displaying biblical scenes and figures.
Today the church is a museum, dedicated to the assassination of the tsar and does not function as a full-time place of worship.
Discount price for students. Bring your card. (ISIC)
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest in the world. It was ordered by tsar Alexander I, and it’s the fifth church standing on this place.
The church took 40 years to be built. During the soviet period, the church was painted in grey, to avoid attracting attention from the enemy aircraft. It was also stripped of its religious trappings and turned into the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism.
The museum was removed and religious service was resumed after the fall of communism.