Summer Garden picture
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Hiking and Parks Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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  • 5.0Atmosphere

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?

There are some attractions of mild interest here, including the Summer Palace, the Coffee House and the Tea House -- though you will find no coffee or tea at them. Most come to the Summer Garden to just soak in the atmosphere. Classical gardens, Italian statues and lovely fountains will let you know that you made the right call to visit.

The Summer Garden is accessible from the Gostiny Dvor metro stop. Admission is free except for summer weekends when there is a nominal charge.

  • The park closes for a few weeks in spring, usually in April, for a 'drying out' period as the slush melts." -- Frommer's
  • There's a small admission fee (15R) to the park on weekends in summer." -- Fodor's
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Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
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#1 Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace

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.

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