Known as the ‘City of the Czars’, St Petersburg offers a fascinating glimpse into Russia’s historical relics. With it being the second largest city in Russia, St Petersburg is also fondly known as the cultural capital of Russia (shhhh, don’t tell Moscow). With that in mind you can expect some pretty epic museums, beautiful art galleries, and enough religious monuments to shake a stick at!
Take a look at some of the very best sites you should be including whilst on your trip to St. Petersburg:
1) Take a ride to Grand Peterhof Palace and Grand Cascade
One of the great things about Grand Peterhof Palace is that it’s pretty darn fun to get there… Firstly, you’ll need to take one of the city’s bumpy hydrofoil boat across the pond that’s as fun as it sounds!
Built in the 18th century and similar in design to Versailles in France, the palace is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see sight for its historical significance (and bumpy hydrofoil ride). 🙂
2) Get your culture on at Hermitage Museum
First commissioned by Catherine the Great, the Hermitage Museum features an impressive 3 million pieces…. making Catherine a little bit of a hoarder, no? 😉 It’s the best place to visit, especially if you’re looking to learn more about Russian art and culture.
3) Discover the old Rostral Column
Once a former lighthouse that shooed away ships, this column still stands proud overlooking the city today. Designed in a Roman style, it’s a pretty immersive sight that you literally can’t miss!
Oh, and don’t forget, if you look closely you will spot some of the carvings of ancients gods upon it.
4) Find the Bronze Horseman of the city
Created in 1782, the statue of the Bronze Horseman is known as one of the national symbols of the city and one that local residents are pretty proud of! The statue is modelled on Peter the Great and is said to symbolise the strength of the city and the people who live there!
5) See 100kg of gold in St. Issacs Cathedral
You will probably spot St. Issacs Cathedral from afar, thanks to its dome which is made of over 100 kilo of gold. Built in 1858, come here for the opulent and over-the-top architecture that’s incredible to see!
As you can imagine, 100 kg of gold makes this place a pretty special place!
6) Discover the Cathedral at the Peter and Paul Fortress
The final resting place of many of the Romanov rulers, you can now tour the intricately carved sarcophagi that line this the walls of this special place. A rather macabre sight, this also offers a unique insight into some of Russia’s history – that’s well-known across the country.
7) Ride the canals and River Neva
St Petersburg is covered with canals and bisected by the River Neva. One of the best ways to see the city (and relax at the same time) is to take a boat trip on the mighty river to take in the majestic architecture along the way.
8) The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The rather alarming name for this church comes from the fact that it stands on the site where Alexander II was assassinated *gulp*. For years the church was ruined and only reopened in 1997 after it was restored to its former glory.
9) St Nicholas Naval Cathedral
Dedicated to all things related to the Russian navy, this is an interesting place and quirky attraction in the city. The interior will take you through Russian naval history but be warned, you might find it as dull as dishwater if you’re not interested in the navy!