8 fantastic St. Petersburg attractions and one surprise [with map]
If you are planning a trip to St. Petersburg, this is the ultimate list of what you need to see, with a handy map. Let the buildings astound you as you explore the rich culture of the Venice of North.
Plan your trip to make sure it includes the most incredible and memorable attractions of the city. Bring your camera and put on your trainers, because you’re in for a great adventure with attractions right outside the door from Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya Hotel. Here are nine must-sees including one surprise you might not have heard of.
1. Nevsky Prospekt
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Stroll down one of the best-known streets in Russia, cutting straight through the historical city centre. On the way, famous buildings line up like pearls on a string, such as popular Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood. Browse the many stores of the street, including the largest department store in the city, Gostiny Dvor.
2. The Hermitage Museum
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Discover the stunning treasures collected by Catherine the Great and several others in the State Hermitage Museum, located in the fantastic Winter Palace. More than three million items are on display ready for you to admire. You will also be impressed with the buildings and the different rooms, ornately covered in drapes, luxurious marble and pops of colour. Check out our beginner’s guide to the Hermitage to ensure you get to see the best it has to offer.
3. Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood
© Shutterstock / Tereshenok Olga
Its beauty is known around the world and this marvellous building is something that simply can’t be missed. Make your way around five domes while documenting it through your lens. The classic Russian Orthodox exterior and interior is decorated with more than 7000 square metres of mosaics and took 24 years to build. The official name is Church of the Resurrection of Christ, but it got its colloquial name from the assassination attempt on Tsar Alexander II in 1881.
4. Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art
Located on Vasilyevsky Island, this five-floor museum has much in store for those who visit. The left side of Erarta Museum contains a permanent collection of more than 2000 works of Russian art from the 1950s to present day. The right side houses temporary exhibits presented in such a way that you will never want to leave. This is perfect for any art-lover and a great way to learn more about the Russian history and arts.
5. Peterhof Palace
This is one of the most visited attraction in St. Pete’s and with good reason. The palace and park is often referred to as ‘the Russian Versailles’ and is truly a sight to be cherished. It was built during the reign of Peter the Great and expanded by his daughter Empress Elizabeth, who extended the park and added the famous system of fountains that can be seen today.
6. St. Isaac’s Cathedral
The shining, golden globe of the St. Isaac’s Cathedral is an inevitable sight. Head over to the museum and explore the lavish interior that will make you daydream about a day in the life of Russian royalties. Gaze down on the city after climbing the 262 steps to the colonnade in the dome, covered in more than 100 kilos of gold.
7. Peter and Paul Fortress
This large fortress is found on Zayachy Island and is a favourite amongst history buffs. Explore the cathedral where the famous Romanovs are buried, the prison building and the exhibitions. The Peter and Paul Fortress holds some 1.5 million items ranging from porcelain to furniture and other historical artefacts. Make sure to see the ceremony of the changing of the guards if you visit on a Saturday, a cool highlight to top of an interesting visit.
8. Mariinsky Theatre
© Shutterstock / Sergey_Bogomayako
Built in 1859, the Mariinsky Theatre has played a big role in the development of the Russian ballet and opera. The stunning building holds several stages, including the 21st century style Mariinsky II stage where you’ll be able to see Tosca, the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Carmen and much more. This is a can’t miss when in St. Petersburg, so book your tickets now to explore this grand building in the best way possible.
9. The Great Mosque of St. Petersburg
The Great Mosque opened in 1913 as the largest mosque in Russia. The dome rises an impressive 39 metres high and can be seen in the heart of the city. As opposed to the golden dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral, this one is bright azure, with fantastic decorations. This is a lesser-known attraction and maybe a surprise for many but still a spectacular sight worth visiting.
Do you want to learn more about this dreamy destination? Here are some interesting reads on what to do in St. Petersburg: