St. Petersburg, Russia emerged out of nothingness. Once a symbol of imperial Russia’s growing stature, the city is now quite a unique facet of contemporary Russia. Much to the travelers’ delight, the city’s love for art and music has made it a cultural hub of the country. The city’s legendary white nights, magnificent museums, awe-inspiring palaces, and centuries-old churches create a fantastical setting that has to be explored to the depth. Its history has been eventful and its present looks resplendent.
Facts about St. Petersburg
- With 40 rivers flowing through St. Petersburg, the city is often referred to as ‘the Venice of the North.’
- The city generally has 21 ‘White Nights’ from June 11 to July 2. During this time, the sun never sets.
- The city has the largest brewing industry in Russia.
- St. Petersburg is spread across 42 islands.
Places to Visit in St. Petersburg
Yusupov Palace – The 18th-century palace, situated on the River Monkya, has a haunting history but impressive interiors. The banquet hall, the Green Drawing Room, the White Column Room (ball room), and the rococo private theater are must-visit attractions within the palace.
Peter & Paul Fortress – St. Petersburg owes its present appearance to this large protective fortress that houses a former prison and a cathedral where the Romanovs are buried. Considered the birthplace of the city, the Fortress has a troubled history as a military base.
Church of the Savior on Blood – St. Petersburg’s most luxurious church is officially known as the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. This five-domed church is an impeccable example of 18th-century Russian architecture. Another marvelous attraction in St. Petersburg is the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. It is the most important and ancient monastery of the city.
State Hermitage Museum – Opened for the general public in 1852, this museum enjoys a sterling reputation and truly lives up to it. Situated in the Winter Palace, it houses over three million artifacts (only the most illustrious ones are on display though), depicting the history of the art of Western Europe. You can spend days in the museum and still might not get enough of it.
Russian Museum – Located in the Mikhailovsky Palace, this is where you get to see the biggest collection of Russian art in the country. You would love to take a walk around the garden behind the palace.
There are several other museums and galleries in St. Petersburg that should find a mention in your itinerary. Kunstkamera, Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum at the Fountain House, and Fabergé Museum are worth your time.
Things to Do in St. Petersburg
Travelers look forward to indulging in water sports activities at the Waterpark Piterlend. Rush down the water slides and twist out of a gigantic replica ride on a pirate ship. Do not forget to enjoy the wave-pool too.
If you want to attend the best Russian ballet, come to the Mariinsky Theater. It is one of the most esteemed cultural institutions in Russia. This theater has been staging mesmerizing performances ever since it was founded in 1859. You can also embark on a boat ride along the waterways and gift yourself a memorable cruising expedition.
Hotels in St. Petersburg
High-end travelers prefer to check in at the Taleon Imperial Hotel, Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, Trezzini Palace Hotel, Grand Hotel Emerald, and Angleterre Hotel. Mid-range travelers can settle down at Alexander House, Petro Palace Hotel, Arkadia, NashOTEL, Gogol’, and Tradition. However, if you are looking for a decent accommodation that’s not hard on your pocket, stay at Baby Lemonade Hostel, Soul Kitchen Hostel, Nevsky Grand Hotel, Stony Island Hotel, Kristoff Hotel, and Cameo Hotel.
A happening city like St. Petersburg can never disappoint its guests when it comes to serving quality food as it is home to a number of world-class restaurants. If you want to try Russian cuisine, book a table at Mechta Molokhovets, Dom, Restoran, Yat’, Gosti, Green Room, and Chekhov”: the list is endless. Teplo and Na Kuhne are two restaurants that stand out because of their European offering. While you can enjoy authentic Italian food at Vinostudia, restaurants such as Mesto Hotel, Khochu Kharcho, and Duo Gastrobar are top choices for those keen on trying continental cuisines.
Best Time to Visit St. Petersburg
The best time to visit St. Petersburg is from June to September when the weather remains relatively pleasant. Some prefer to come here between February and April to enjoy the snowfall.
How to Reach?
By Air – The Pulkovo International Airport serves St. Petersburg. It is about 16 miles from the city center and it takes 37 minutes to cover the distance.
By Train – The Moskovsky Railway station is situated in the heart of the city. It is well connected to all parts of the city. You can also take a ride on the city tram and metro rail.
By Road – The city has an extensive road network with top-notch public transport. Take a bus, hire a cab, or rent a bicycle/motorbike to get around the city.