Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
- Type: Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage Museum in 1764 as a place to house her private art collection. The massive complex has six buildings, including the Winter Palace, which was the home of the Tsars for almost 200 years. It finally opened to the public in 1852, and since then has been one of the largest and most interesting museums on the globe. It draws more than two million visitors each year -- in fact, this museum is the main reason some travelers visit St. Petersburg in the first place. Recent travelers are full of praise, with one TripAdvisor user claiming, "This place makes other museums look unimportant."
Bursting at the seams with art from masters like Da Vinci and Picasso, the Hermitage is "virtually wallpapered with celebrated paintings," says Fodor's, who goes on to suggest you budget a substantial amount of time to explore. "It has been estimated that in order to spend one minute on each object on display, you would have to devote several years to the museum," they write.
A one-day ticket is about $18 USD and a two-day ticket costs $26 USD. Recent travelers and the Hermitage website both suggest purchasing tickets online here to avoid the (usually very long) line at the ticketing office. Closed on Mondays, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. The ticket office shuts down an hour before closing. For more information or a "virtual visit," check out the Hermitage website.