Join a whirlwind adventure of St. Petersburg
If you only have a few hours to spare in St. Petersburg, you can still discover the city’s must-see marvels thanks to these super convenient bus and boat tours, both of which run all year round.
St. Petersburg is not described as the ‘Venice of the North’ for nothing. The city exemplifies Russia’s European heritage, with 342 bridges spanning its picturesque canals. The challenge lies in packing everything into a single trip, which, fortunately, is where the City Sightseeing Hop On, Hop Off bus and boat tours come in. Running every 30 minutes and every hour respectively, you’re free to wander into whichever attractions take your fancy before hopping back on board to journey on to the next stop.
From cathedrals to palaces
There are 19 world-famous sights to see from the top of the red double-decker buses, the first of which is St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Dating back to the early 19th century, the structure still dominates the city skyline. If you hop off the bus here, take the opportunity to ascend 262 steps into the drum’s gold-leaf-adorned dome.
Next up on the 70-minute tour is St. Petersburg’s best-known building: the Winter Palace, which presides majestically over Palace Square. Designed in 1754 by court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Baroque structure is made even more impressive by its enviable location on the southern bank of the Neva River. At night, the still water perfectly reflects the illuminated palace windows. Hop off here to explore the state rooms, preserved in all their astonishing opulence.
Also within the Winter Palace’s walls is the Hermitage Museum, Russia’s biggest art gallery. You won’t have time to see all 2.7 million artefacts before jumping back on the bus, but it’s worth seeking out works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.
Russia’s most famous street
Among the next attractions is Nevsky Prospekt, Russia’s most famous street. Located a few kilometres due north of our Park Inn by Radisson Pulkovskaya, St Petersburg, the road is up to 60 metres wide in places. Lined with grand buildings immortalised in prose by the likes of Dostoevsky and Gogol, don’t be surprised if this street features prominently in your holiday snaps collection.
An interesting fact about Nevsky Prospekt: a couple of times in the 18th century the street, owing to some relentless rainfall, could only be travelled by boat. Although such a spectacle is not likely to occur again any time soon, those in a rush can still explore St. Petersburg from the waters.
From bus to boat
Given the proximity of many of St. Petersburg’s museums and other attractions to the 300km of waterways, City Sightseeing’s Hop On, Hop Off boat tour provides a compelling alternative perspective. Beginning at the Bronze Horseman statue (an imposing sculptural tribute to Peter the Great) or Admiral Embankment, the tours showcase all of St. Petersburg’s essentials in one 90-minute round trip.
The boat trip provides several enchanting vantage points, namely around Peter and Paul Fortress, the spot where St. Petersburg was founded. This is also the site of Peter and Paul Cathedral, the city’s oldest church and second tallest structure. It boasts the added distinction of being the resting place of nearly all Russia’s rulers since the time of Peter the Great.
If you are short of time when visiting St. Petersburg or want a whirlwind adventure of the city, then the City Sightseeing bus and boat tours are the perfect way to sit back and take in the sights.