Introduction: Welcome to St Petersburg
Welcome to St. Petersburg, the cultural center of Russia, where the past and present coexist harmoniously and history meets contemporary. St. Petersburg has plenty to offer everyone, whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just searching for a romantic break. St. Petersburg is a treasure trove of singular experiences that will amaze you, from internationally famous museums to breathtaking architecture and attractive parks. The best activities to do in St. Petersburg are explored in this post, so you can have a great trip.
1. Learn About St. Petersburg’s Profound History
There are many methods to learn about St. Petersburg’s illustrious past and rich heritage. One of the biggest and oldest museums in the world is the Hermitage Museum, which you should visit first. The museum is housed in the majestic Winter Palace and has an amazing collection of artwork and artifacts. Here, you might easily spend the whole day, so make your plans appropriately.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is another historical site that tourists should not miss. The Peter and Paul Cathedral, where many of the Romanovs are interred, and the Museum of the History of St. Petersburg are both located inside the citadel that Peter the Great founded in 1703.
2. Examine the Magnificent Architecture of the City
There are many structures and monuments in St. Petersburg that are not to be missed because of its beautiful architecture. One such instance is the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. The church’s colorful, onion-shaped domes are a well-known sight, and the interior is even more magnificent. Nearly every square inch of the walls and ceilings is covered with breathtaking mosaics.
You ought to add St. Isaac’s Cathedral to your list of must-see structures. One of the biggest churches in the world, it offers stunning city views from its colonnade and a high central dome.
3. Take in the Active Arts Scene
There are numerous opportunities to fully ingratiate yourself in the culture of St. Petersburg, a city that genuinely values the arts. One of the most well-known sights in the city is the Mariinsky Theatre and with good reason. It was established in 1783, has hosted some of the most renowned performers in the world, and is now a must-see location for fans of theatre and music.
The Street Art Museum offers a more contemporary perspective on the arts. This outdoor gallery offers murals and other creations by regional and international artists and is a wonderful place to take in the vibrant street art scene of the city.
4. Take in the Beauty of Nature
There are numerous green areas to discover in St. Petersburg, a city that is well known for its parks and gardens. One of the oldest and most cherished gardens in St. Petersburg is the Summer Garden, which is situated in the center of the city. It is a well-liked location among both locals and visitors since it is full of fountains, statues, and immaculately maintained flower beds.
The Peterhof Palace and Gardens are another must-see outdoor location. This vast estate, which is located close to the city, is home to some truly amazing gardens, sculptures, and fountains.
5. Savour the Delectable Food and Drink of the City
A visit to St. Petersburg would not be complete without indulging in some of the city’s delectable cuisine and beverages. There are a variety of robust, savory dishes to sample in Russian cuisine. Beetroot soup known as borscht is a mainstay of Russian cuisine and is offered in most restaurants. Pelmeni, a sort of meat-filled dumpling eaten with sour cream, is another well-liked meal.
Head to one of St. Petersburg’s many cafes for a taste of the neighborhood favorite, a movie, or a honey cake. Of course, no trip to Russia would be complete without consuming some of their renowned vodkas. There are several taverns and eateries where you can try various flavors.
6. Go on a Shopping Spree
St. Petersburg is a fantastic place to go shopping as well. Markets and shopping areas abound throughout the city, where you can purchase anything from trinkets to designer clothing. The Gostiny Dvor shopping center has a large selection of stores and restaurants, while the Kuznechny Market is a terrific spot to look for unusual presents and souvenirs.
The city’s major shopping district, Nevsky Prospekt, is where you should go if you’re seeking high-end clothing. Designer shops, expensive retail stores, as well as a large number of cafes and restaurants where you may relax and refuel, can all be found here.
7. Depart from St. Petersburg for a Day Trip
While St. Petersburg itself offers a lot of things to see and do, the city is also conveniently located near several fantastic day trip destinations. The town of Pushkin, which is home to the lovely Catherine Palace and Park, is one well-liked choice. The previously mentioned Peterhof Palace and Gardens are a fantastic day trip location.
Consider going to the sleepy town of Vyborg, which is close to the Finnish border, for a more off-the-beaten-path experience. A lovely old town and a well-preserved castle can be found here.
8. Easily Navigate the City
Because of the enormous public transit network in the city, getting around St. Petersburg is simple. There are buses, trams, and trolleybuses that travel throughout the city, but the metro is the quickest and most effective method to get around.
There are numerous walking tours that will take you to all the must-see locations if you want to explore the city on foot. Additionally, you can rent a bike and ride through the city’s numerous parks and bike lanes.
9. Accommodations in St. Petersburg
There are many places to stay in St. Petersburg, ranging from luxurious hotels to hostels that are affordable. Consider booking a hotel in the Nevsky Prospekt neighborhood if you’re seeking a convenient location. There are several hotels, eateries, and shops nearby, and you can easily access the city’s public transportation system.
Consider staying in one of the city’s many Soviet-era apartment buildings that have been transformed into inexpensive guesthouses if you want a more genuine experience.
10. Traveller Safety Advice
Despite the fact that St. Petersburg is a relatively safe city for visitors, it is always advisable to use caution when moving around. At all times, especially in crowded places like marketplaces and tourist sites, keep a watch on your possessions. Use caution when using ATMs and keep significant quantities of cash out of your pockets. Be mindful of the local culture and familiarise yourself with the local laws and practices before you travel.
11. Marvel at the Beauty of the Hermitage Museum
No trip to St Petersburg is complete without a visit to the world-famous Hermitage Museum. Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage is one of the largest art and cultural museums in the world, boasting over 3 million items in its collection. You can spend hours wandering through its opulent halls, admiring the works of masters like Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh, as well as countless other treasures from all corners of the world. Don’t miss the chance to see the stunning Peacock Clock, a masterpiece of mechanical engineering that comes to life every hour with a dazzling display of moving figures and chimes.
12. Explore the Historic Peterhof Palace
The Peterhof Palace, also known as the Russian Versailles, is a stunning complex of palaces and gardens located just outside St Petersburg. Built by Peter the Great in the early 18th century, the palace and its fountains are a testament to the grandeur of the Russian monarchy. You can stroll through the perfectly manicured gardens, marvel at the intricate fountains and waterworks, and tour the opulent palace interiors, including the iconic Grand Cascade.
13. Admire the Stunning Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
One of the most iconic landmarks of St Petersburg, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is a breathtaking example of Russian Orthodox architecture. Built on the site of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the church is adorned with intricate mosaics and colorful decorations that will leave you awestruck. Don’t miss the chance to take a stroll along the Griboedov Canal, where you can see the church from different angles and appreciate its stunning beauty.
14. Take a Romantic Boat Ride Along the Neva River
The Neva River is the lifeblood of St Petersburg, flowing through the heart of the city and offering stunning views of its architecture and landmarks. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of St Petersburg is to take a romantic boat ride along the Neva, where you can see the city from a different perspective and admire its many bridges and palaces. You can choose from a variety of boat tours, including evening cruises that offer a magical view of the city illuminated at night.
15. Visit the Fabulous Catherine Palace and Gardens
The Catherine Palace, located in the town of Pushkin just outside St Petersburg, is a true masterpiece of Baroque architecture. Built by Catherine the Great in the 18th century, the palace and its gardens are a testament to the grandeur and elegance of the Russian monarchy. You can tour the opulent palace interiors, including the famous Amber Room, and stroll through the perfectly manicured gardens that surround it.
16. Immerse Yourself in Russian Culture at the Mariinsky Theater
If you love music and theater, the Mariinsky Theater is a must-visit destination in St Petersburg. One of the most iconic cultural institutions in Russia, the Mariinsky is home to some of the best ballet and opera performances in the world. The theater has hosted many legendary performers, including Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Pavlova. Make sure to book your tickets in advance to enjoy a night of unforgettable entertainment.
17. Take a Walk through the Beautiful Summer Garden
The Summer Garden is one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in St Petersburg, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Founded by Peter the Great in the early 18th century, the garden is a perfect example of classical European landscaping, with manicured lawns, fountains, and sculptures. You can take a leisurely walk along the garden’s shady alleys, relax on a bench, or have a picnic with your loved ones.
18. Visit the Iconic St. Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the most impressive landmarks in St Petersburg, with its magnificent golden dome visible from miles away. The cathedral is a perfect example of neoclassical architecture, with its impressive columns and ornate decorations. You can climb to the top of the cathedral’s dome for a breathtaking view of the city or admire the stunning interior, including its intricate mosaics and paintings.
19. Enjoy a Cup of Coffee at a Local Cafe
St Petersburg is famous for its vibrant coffee culture, with many local cafes offering a wide variety of coffee drinks and snacks. Whether you prefer a classic espresso or a fancy latte, there’s a coffee shop for every taste and budget. Some of the best cafes in St Petersburg include Kofe I Kuchy, Coffeeshop Company, and Russkaya Kofemaniya.
20. Explore the Charming Streets of Nevsky Prospekt
Nevsky Prospekt is the main street of St Petersburg, lined with beautiful buildings, shops, and cafes. Walking along Nevsky Prospekt is a must-do activity for any visitor to St Petersburg, offering a glimpse into the city’s vibrant life and culture. You can explore the many shops and boutiques, try some local street food, or simply people-watch from a cafe or restaurant.
St. Petersburg is a city of unending beauty and charm that offers a distinctive fusion of tradition, culture, and contemporary. In this dynamic city, whether you are a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, there is always something fresh and fascinating to explore. We hope that this guide has given you the motivation to enjoy the greatest things to do in St. Petersburg and make your vacation one to remember.
Q: What is the best time to visit St Petersburg?
A: The best time to visit St Petersburg is from May to September when the weather is mild, and the city is bustling with festivals and events.
Q: Is St Petersburg safe for tourists?
A: St Petersburg is generally safe for tourists, but you should take the usual precautions to avoid pickpockets and scams.
Q: What is the currency used in St Petersburg?
A: The currency used in St Petersburg is the Russian ruble.
Q: Do I need a visa to visit St Petersburg?
A: Yes, most foreign visitors to St Petersburg need a visa. You can apply for a visa online or at a Russian embassy or consulate in your country.