St. Petersburg Travel Guide

Russia  #11 in Best Affordable Vacations in Europe

Best Things To Do in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a great city for sightseeing, with an abundance of art-filled galleries and brilliant architecture to explore. Stroll along the Nevsky Prospekt and have a coffee at a local café, explore north end's sites like the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum and the intricately decorated Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. Or take a daytrip to the Peterhof Palace & Garden, Peter the Great's summer palace, which was modeled after France's Versailles.

How we rank Things to Do
  • #1
    Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
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    #1 in St. Petersburg
    Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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."

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  • #2
    Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
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    #2 in St. Petersburg
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main attractions in St. Petersburg, drawing crowds to its ornately decorated onion domes and the stunning mosaics housed within.

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  • #3
    St. Isaac's Cathedral
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    #3 in St. Petersburg
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The construction of St. Isaac's Cathedral was ordered by Alexander I in the early 1800s. This neoclassical marvel was finally completed in 1858 after 40 years of construction. St. Isaac's has an interesting history: it survived Nazi shelling in World War II and even briefly served as a museum of atheism under the Soviet regime.

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  • #4
    Summer Garden
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    #4 in St. Petersburg
    Hiking and Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking and Parks
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    After battling the crowds at the Hermitage and taking in one too many masterpieces at the Russian Museum, you're going to need a place to unwind. So why not go to the same spot Peter the Great used to go for some R&R?

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  • #5
    Peterhof Palace & Garden
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    #5 in St. Petersburg
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're visiting St. Petersburg in the summer, the Peterhof Palace & Garden is an absolute must-do. Frommer's says, "Unquestionably the number-one day trip from St. Petersburg, Peterhof lures visitors with its Versailles-inspired palace, which overlooks a cascade of fountains and gardens opening onto the Baltic Sea." A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof was the brainchild and summer palace of Peter the Great.

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  • #6
    Russian Museum
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    #6 in St. Petersburg
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Russian Museum boasts the biggest collection of Russian fine art in the city. Its main part has been housed in the neoclassical Mikhailovsky Palace since 1895. The Russian Museum also consists of the Marble Palace, the Mikhailovsky Castle, the Stroganov Palace and the Benois Wing.                                                                  

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  • #7
    Yusupov Palace
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    #7 in St. Petersburg
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Also known as the Moika Palace, Yusupov Palace is a St. Petersburg landmark. It was the main residence of the House of Yusupov, which was a wealthy family of Russian nobles.

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