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Saint Petersburg Travel Guide

Saint Petersburg is the northern capital of Russia, founded by Peter the Great over 300 years ago. Visitors come here for the history and architecture of the 18th and 20th centuries, as well as for strolls along the riverside canals and drawbridges. The city attracts a multitude of tourists who eagerly return here and always find something new. In this Saint Petersburg Travel Guide, we will talk about classic places to see in Saint Petersburg and new points of attraction worth visiting for those who have already visited the northern capital.

What to see and where to go in Saint Petersburg

You can start exploring the city and plan your route from Nevsky Prospekt – the main transportation artery of the Central District, which historically connected the Peter and Paul Fortress with the Alexander Nevsky Lavra. On both sides of the avenue, almost along its entire length, many iconic sights of St. Petersburg are located. Nevsky Prospekt is always noisy and crowded.    
Nevsky Prospekt

Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg stretches for more than four kilometers. The busiest and most interesting part is between Vosstaniya Square near the Moscow Railway Station and Palace Square, where the imperial Winter Palace is located. Along this stretch, there are many shops, restaurants, and cafes. Street musicians often perform, and artists paint landscapes and portraits.

Palace Square

Palace Square is paved with cobblestones, and in the center rises the Alexander Column, crowned by a figure of an angel. The column was erected by order of Emperor Nicholas I in memory of the victory of his elder brother, Alexander I, over Napoleon.

In terms of significance, the square can be compared to Red Square in Moscow.


It’s easy to get lost in the halls of the Hermiatge, and there are so many exhibits that you can’t see them all in two days. Therefore, it’s easier to take a guided tour. The standard tour lasts two hours, but if you decide to stay longer, no one will kick you out until closing time. To avoid getting tired, dedicate this time to one specific area.


The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. It was built on the site of the assassination of Alexander II, and inside it houses a fragment of the pavement where he was killed in an assassination attempt. The church is one of the most recognizable landmarks, primarily admired for its exterior with carved kokoshniks on the windows, jeweled enamel, octagonal tent roof, and colorful domes.

The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral

The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral is among the largest religious buildings in the world and serves as the main cathedral of the city. Inside, you can explore museum exhibits and attend divine liturgy.

Be sure to climb to the observation deck above the cathedral’s colonnade to enjoy the panoramic view of the city from a height of 101 meters. Keep in mind that it’s cold and windy at the top, and you’ll need to climb 262 steps to get there.


The Mariinsky Theatre is famous far beyond St. Petersburg and even Russia. Here, they stage operas by Tchaikovsky and Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and Verdi, as well as performances and ballets.

Getting tickets for performances is difficult, as they sell out quickly — it’s better to plan ahead and buy them in advance.

new holland

New Holland is an art space for relaxation and one of the trendiest spots in the city. This impressive example of industrial architecture and classicism consists of beautifully restored shipyards with warehouses.

Canal Cruises in St. Petersburg

From late April to November, the bridges in the city are raised to allow ships to pass along the Neva River. This usually happens at night, so if your hotel is on the other side, you need to leave in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until dawn or pay a premium for a taxi.

One of the first bridges to be raised is the Palace Bridge, which starts at 1:10 AM.

Grand Maket Rossiya

National Show Museum “Grand Maket Rossiya

The world’s largest layout of Russia, covering an area of 800 square meters, is an artistic embodiment of the country’s image. From the Far Eastern borders to the amber shores of the Baltic Sea, this extensive exhibition captures the essence of various cities and regions, showcasing the diverse activities of the country’s inhabitants.

scale model museum «Petrovskaya Akvatoria»

Witness a rendition of Peter’s St. Petersburg in Scale Model Museum «Petrovskaya Akvatoria», where all objects, including lost ones, are recreated as they appeared in the mid-18th century. The historical model, on a scale of 1:87 and spanning over 500 square meters, features a water-filled basin stylized as the Neva and the Gulf of Finland. 

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