Russia Edition: 7 Euphoric days in Saint Petersburg

As we say in Russia: “Moscow is the financial capital and Saint Petersburg is the cultural capital”. There are so many things to do in Saint Petersburg! This city is eye-candy for photographers and a gem for any tourist. It is definitely my favorite city in Russia and one of my favorites in the world! With a young population and ever-growing cultural landscape, the city is bathed in a unique light and laid-back vibe. The city is the epitome of beauty and sophistication with the most relaxed people I have ever seen. They are fond of Indians and never miss an opportunity to express their love for Bollywood!

Staying in an Airbnb in Nevsky Prospekt, which is the main street in the city worked like a charm in terms of time for me and made this trip one of my favorites.

Read along to see the best 11 places that cannot be missed in the city. I have also suggested tons of other great activities for those of you who have more time and are eager to explore, so your list for what to do in St. Petersburg should be never-ending!

  1. Smolny Cathedral
A cathedral and convent located on the banks of the River Neva in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was built in the mid-1700s in a Baroque style, and it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city due to its striking blue color.
Absorb the city skyline from the riverbanks of Neva, while walking along from Nevsky Prospekt

2. Palace Square

Palace Square, connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire. Many significant events took place there, including the Bloody Sunday massacre and parts of the October Revolution of 1917.

3. The Winter Palace /Hermitage Museum

Built in 1754, The Winter Palace houses the Hermitage Museum – One of the world’s most famous and has one of the largest art galleries and antiquities museums in the world.

4. Alexander Column

Raised in 1832, the 47.5 meters tall monument is located right in the center of Palace Square. The column is crowned by a large cross and an angel on a cylindrical pedestal. The angel is said to have the face of Czar Alexander and defeated one of the best strategists in history.

5. General Staff Building

Built half a century after the Winter Palace, its style is neoclassical but it is seamlessly integrated with the square’s entire architectural complex.
This building has served as the headquarters of many ministries of Russia. Currently, its west wing is the headquarters of the Western Military District, a military unit of the Russian armed forces in the northwest of the country, so it’s not open to the public.

6. The Admiralty

The first building on the left bank of the Neva River and it’s one of the most important sights of St. Petersburg
It is one of the oldest buildings of St. Petersburg and is opposite the Winter Palace.
Its the focal point for three of the city’s main central streets, Gorokhovaya Ulitsa, Voznesensky, and Nesky prospekts. Just because of this interesting possibility – one can see the spire from these 3 streets –  in the 19th century the Admiralty was jestingly called  a “Pole Star” or “Nevsky trident”
In nearly 140 years it had produced 262 warships. The building then became home to the Sea Ministry, the Central Naval Headquarters, the Naval Museum, and the Revolutionary Naval Committee.

7. Cathedral of Kazan

The seat of the Orthodox bishop of St. Petersburg. It is consecrated to the Virgin of Kazan, the most revered icon of Russia.
  It is the main cathedral of the city and they call it the “little brother” of the Vatican.

8. Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood

The name represents and marks the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt on March 1, 1881.
The church’s interiors contain more than 7,000 sq. m. of unique mosaics

9. Peter and Paul Fortress

It’s shaped as a separate Island famously called Zayachiy Island or Hare Island. You can just walk around on the island or visit one of the many museums including the Emperor’s tomb in the Petropavlovsky Cathedral.
The bell tower was the first structure to be built in St. Petersburg, and thus the birthplace of the city. The bell tower of the Peter and Paul Cathedral is the tallest building in the city, which stands in the center of Hare Island.

10. St. Isaac’s Cathedral

This is the largest Orthodox church in the world and the fourth largest cathedral in the entire world (it has space for 14,000 people standing inside!)

11. Lions Bridge

Bridge of Four Lions is a 28-meter-long pedestrian bridge over the Griboedov Canal in St Petersburg. Its abutments are crowned with four cast-iron sculptures of lions, which give the bridge its name. It’s Keanu Reeves’s favorite spot too. 🙂

There are many other places and activities that did not make it to this list, and that’s because I already had so many recommendations, I could not squeeze them all in! Nevertheless, these activities and attractions are awesome as well, so you should consider them too :

  • Don’t skip the metro! The city has some breathtaking gems built underground.
  • When in Russia, you cannot miss the night clubs. They are full of life and energy!
  • Watch the city bridges open during a Draw Bridges tour
  • Visit the Mariinsky Theatre for Opera and Ballet shows.
  • Locals love to climb on the roofs and admire the Saint Petersburg sights; they even organize romantic dates there. Experienced roofers will take you up one of the buildings. As long as you follow their advice, it is safe.
  • Enjoy the local Russian cuisines at Gogol and Katsuya. The food is yum here!

A seven day trip to Saint Petersburg including the stay, food, and the daily conveyance will sum up to be a maximum of 25,000 rubles (25,814 INR!!). While most of the tourist places do not charge an entry fee, there is a handful of them who charge within 200-1000 rubles as a fee.

Remember, you haven’t been to Russia if you haven’t seen Saint Petersburg!

I will be so happy if you manage to see all the places on my list. If not, oh well, you can always visit again!

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