15 Best Things to Do in St. Petersburg (Russia)

trinity cathedral

Much of central part of St. Petersburg is part of the list of World Heritage by UNESCO.

The old part of the city is a work of architects from across Europe, including France and Italy.

There are three elements that describe the Pieter best – palaces, canals and cathedrals.

1. Hermitage

hermitage at night
Hermitage at night by Paulius Malinovskis/Flickr

Completed in 1764, the Hermitage is the largest landmark and symbol of St. Petersburg.

It was built by order of Empress Catherine the Great.

The Hermitage is also known as the Winter Palace.

At those times French was the salon language – it was a matter of aristocracy, prestige and high culture, if someone speaks French.

Not accidentally, and the name of Hermitage comes from French and means “place of solitude.”

The name was chosen deliberately.

Exactly what was the purpose of the Hermitage – to create a place where the empress to enjoy its solitude and left alone with herself.

Today the Hermitage is a museum.

It is one of the best in the world and with certainly the most attractive, with regard to its architecture.

2. Savior of the Blood

savior of the blood
Savior of the Blood by Larry Koester/Flickr

This is the most beautiful and famous cathedral in the Pieter and if you visit St. Petersburg in any case not miss it!

With its brick-colored façade and multicolored doom it is one of the most famous structures in the city after the Hermitage.

It proudly overlooks the ancient skyline of St. Petersburg and instantly grabs the look of visitors.

It was built all 24 years – from 1883 to 1907.

3. The Statue of Peter the First

peter the first
Peter the First by CityBreak Tours/Flickr

It was founded in 1782 by order of Empress Catherine the Great in honor of Peter 1st.

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The statue depicts him riding a horse.

This monument is often called by the tourists and local people simply “the bronze horseman”.

Rider is located amidst a small garden next to the River Neva.

4. Cathedral of St. Isaac

st. isaac cathedral
St. Isaac Cathedral by Dennis Jarvis/Flickr

It is located next to the place where is located the monument of Peter the first.

It is very beautiful, and the dome is covered with gold.

It is finished in 1858 and is work of the French architect August Montferrand.

Its construction lasted about 40 years!

5. Nevsky Prospect

nevsky prospect
Nevsky Prospect by Ninara/Flickr

For St. Petersburg Nevsky Prospect is the same as Champs Elysees to Paris, Fifth Avenue to New York, Rodeo Drive to Los Angeles or La Rambla to Barcelona.

This is one of the most expensive streets in Russia.

Here are the most expensive shops and, of course, offices.

The length of the street is about 4 kilometers and 400 meters.

It stretches between the Admiralty and the Alexander Nevsky Square.

6. Stroganov Palace

stroganov palace
Stroganov Palace by Guy Fawkes/Flickr

Located on Nevsky Prospect, it is one of the most interesting parts of St. Petersburg, Stroganov Palace is also an work of the great Italian architect Rastreli, like other major attractions such as the Winter Palace for example.

Indeed the Italian imprint is felt in many buildings in St. Petersburg, and in this including.

The palace was completed in 1754. Today this building houses the State Russian Museum.

7. Kunstkamera

kunstkamera museum
Kunstkamera Museum by Konstantin Malanchev/Flickr

This is the oldest museum in the Pieter.

It was founded by Peter the first.

Here you can learn more about the life and lifestyle of different nations in the world.

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Furthermore, there is a special room where you could see the startling anomalies – exhibits of people having terrible disabilities.

Once every visitor of Kunstkamera received a glass of vodka.

8. Petrodvorets

Petrodvorets by paweesit/Flickr

This is one of the most beautiful places in St. Petersburg, which ironically is located outside the city.

You will be impressed the by the opulence and extravagance that will surround you here.

Splendid fountains with golden statues (so-called fountains Peterhov), magnificent gardens with vibrant flowers, lovely walks and the crown jewel the Petrodvorets, which beauty and grandeur can hardly be compared to something else.

9. Shlisselburg Fortress

shlisselburg fortress
Shlisselburg Fortress by Andrey Korchagin/Flickr

Located near the place where deep river Neva flow its waters into the Gulf of Finland, there is an impressive fortress Shlisselburg – a structure with stone walls which are over 2 meters thick.

It was used as a jail for political prisoners, including one king.

10. Smolny Sobor

smolny sobor
Smolny Sobor by Andrey Korchagin/Flickr

Smolny Sobor is a cathedral in St. Petersburg, built by order of Catherine the Great.

The original idea of the great Empress was to build a monastery.

Today the building has attracted many tourists, although as a cathedral.

Blue and white facade and regal broadcast turned it into one of the most popular cathedrals in Europe.

It rises proudly on its present site by 1865.

11. Trinity Cathedral

trinity cathedral
Trinity Cathedral by CityBreak Tours/Flickr

Trinity Cathedral is one of the most original in St. Petersburg.

The facade is white, and the domes are painted in blue and studded with golden stars, reminding for the night sky.

Cathedral is a masterpiece of neoclassicism.

In 2006 it suffered seriously from fire during reconstructions, but today everything is restored.

12. Rabbit Island (Zayachy Island)

rabbit island zayachy island
Rabbit Island (Zayachy Island) from above by Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia

You can find it among the River Neva.

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Here is a pleasant place for walking and sightseeing.

On this small island you will find both Petropavlovski fortress and remarkable cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, which is difficult to remain unnoticed, given that its needle-like peak seems to be stuck into the sky.

From Rabbit Island reveals beautiful views of the old buildings of St. Petersburg located on the opposite bank.

13. Palace Square

palace square
Palace Square by Richard Mortel/Flickr

This is one of the most majestic places in St. Petersburg.

It is strongly reminiscent to some of the squares in Rome.

This is the place where every year during the Christmas holidays you can find one of the largest and most beautiful Christmas trees in Russia.

In the center of Palace Square stands the Alexander Column, high approximately 47 meters.

14. Blue Bridge

blue bridge
Blue Bridge by Andrey Korchagin/Flickr

While passing over a relatively narrow channel of the River Neva, The Blue Bridge is considered to be one of the widest bridges in the world.

It is the main link between the Mariinsky Palace and the Isaak Cathedral.

It is created for both vehicles and for pedestrians.

15. Waterville Aquapark

waterville aquapark
Waterville Aquapark

In the center of Petersburg, near by the Pribaltiyskaya hotel is located Waterville Aqua Park.

It is a great solution for locals and tourists who want a little water fun.

This is particularly interesting place in the winter months, because while the outside temperature is several tens of degrees below zero, here into the Aqua park is about 30°C.

And what better from bit of heat and swim in the heated pool during the cold and dark winter days in St. Petersburg?