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Things to do in St. Petersburg

Things to do in  St Petersburg

Welcome to St Petersburg

Since being founded by Tsar Peter the Great and built on a desolate swamp, St. Petersburg—the former capital of the Russian Empire—has become a national symbol of historical heritage, vibrant cultural life, and sheer beauty. The city’s canals and grand architecture, drawn with bright colors and white light, show why so many of Russia’s famous artists and poets have sprung from the so-called Venice of the North. Taking a city tour with a local guide is a sure way to best explore the city’s highlights and deeply understand their history. Tours explore the magnificent Baroque-style Winter Palace (formerly home to Empress Catherine the Great, and now part of the State Hermitage Museum), the Peter and Paul Fortress on the Neva River, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Peterhof Palace, the Fabergé Museum, and more. You could spend years admiring the State Hermitage Museum’s astounding collection of fine art, comprised of works by everyone from Raphael to Rembrandt to Renoir—tackle its 2.7 million pieces on a guided tour. For even more culture, enjoy a Russian folk show at Nikolayevsky Palace. And you can’t miss the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, which—with its dramatic name and many towers—has become an emblem of this majestic Russian city.

Top 10 attractions in St Petersburg

#1
State Hermitage Museum

State Hermitage Museum

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The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is the largest art and cultural museum in the world, with more than 3 million items in its collection—only a fraction of which are on display in its 360 rooms. The main museum complex comprises six historic buildings on the Palace Embankment and includes exhibitions of works of art from the 13th to 20th centuries, as well as Egyptian and classical antiquities and prehistoric art.More
#2
Fabergé Museum

Fabergé Museum

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Housed in the suitably opulent Shuvalov Palace, the Fabergé Museum is a tribute to legendary Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé. The St. Petersburg highlight showcases Russia’s treasured series of Fabergé eggs alongside a dazzling collection of Russian art, jewelry, and artifacts.More
#3
Catherine Palace and Park

Catherine Palace and Park

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Once the summer residence of the Russian tsars and now a museum, Catherine Palace was named after Catherine I, who had it built in 1717. The structure was later rebuilt into an elaborately decorated Rococo-style palace in 1756 by Bartolomeo Rastrelli under the direction of Empress Elizabeth, meant to rival the Palace of Versailles in France. Today, the palace is famous for its baroque style and neoclassical interior that exemplifies Russian wealth and extravagance. Its main attractions are the Grand Hall, the opulent Amber Room, which is lined with gilded amber wall panels and ornate furniture, and the 1,400-acre (566-hectare) Catherine Park with its masterful landscaping.More
#4
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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St. Petersburg’s most iconic site after the Hermitage Museum, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is known for its elaborate façade and brightly colored onion domes. Officially the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, the magnificent church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881.More
#5
Mariinsky Theatre

Mariinsky Theatre

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St. Petersburg’s preeminent opera and ballet venue, and home to the world-renowned Kirov Ballet, Mariinsky Theatre has long been at the center of the city’s rich arts scene. Built in 1859 by architect Albert Cavos and named after Empress Maria Alexandrovna, the theatre saw a host of prestigious performers grace its stage during its pre-Revolution heyday, including dancers like Vatslav Nizhinsky, Matilda Kshesinskaya and Anna Pavlova, and opera singer Fiodor Shaliapin.The Mariinsky Theatre’s present-day building was restored in 1944, after being damaged during in the Siege of Leningrad, and features a 1,625-seat auditorium. Today, the historic theatre is accompanied by the Mariinsky Theatre concert hall, or Mariinsky II, an incongruously modern building that opened next door to the original theater in 2007.More
#6
Peterhof State Museum-Reserve (Muzeya-Zapovednika Peterhof)

Peterhof State Museum-Reserve (Muzeya-Zapovednika Peterhof)

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It’s easy to see why Peterhof Palace, a magnificent complex of palaces and gardens stretching along the St. Petersburg seafront, is called the Russian Versailles. Fronted by the opulent Grand Palace and displaying a rich variety of architectural styles, this UNESCO World Heritage Site—known officially as the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve (Muzeya-Zapovednika Peterhof)—is one of the city’s most visited attractions.More
#7
Neva River (Reka Neva)

Neva River (Reka Neva)

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Long considered to be the lifeline of St. Petersburg, the Neva River (Reka Neva) flows through the capital city from Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, eventually making its way to the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. Visit this historically important waterway to learn about the region’s history and see the city sites.More
#8
Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost)

Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost)

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The looming yellow cathedral tower and star-shaped fortifications of the Peter and Paul Fortress dominate St. Petersburg’s riverfront, rising up from the shores of Zayachy Island. Built by Peter the Great in 1703, the fortress boasts a long history, having served as a military base, royal burial site, and political prison.More
#9
Bronze Horseman

Bronze Horseman

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The Bronze Horseman is a statue of Peter the Great on a horse. Catherine the Great had the statue built in the late 1700s to honor Peter the Great as the founder of the city of St. Petersburg. She commissioned the French sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet who had spent a long time studying the movements of horsemen on reared mounts. The horse stands on a rock meant to represent a cliff. This huge block of granite weighs more than 1,600 tons and took more than nine months to transport from the Gulf of Finland.Visitors can still see an inscription on the stone that says "to Peter the First from Catherine the Second” in Latin on one side and in Russian on the other side. The statue faces west to represent Peter “leading Russia forward” because he drew inspiration from countries in the west. Legend has it that St Petersburg can never be taken by enemy forces as long as the statue remains standing in Senatskaya Square. You will often see newlyweds having their wedding photos taken in front of the statue.More
#10
Nevsky Prospekt

Nevsky Prospekt

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Russia’s most famous street—the Champs-Élysées of St. Petersburg—runs for 3 miles (5 kilometers) through the city’s historic center from the Admiralty Building to Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Some of the city’s most impressive buildings line the street, including the Kazan Cathedral, Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, and the Grand Europe Hotel.More

Trip ideas

Top Parks and Gardens in St. Petersburg

Top Parks and Gardens in St. Petersburg

Top activities in St Petersburg

The Swan Lake Ballet

The Swan Lake Ballet

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Recent reviews from experiences in St Petersburg

star-5
Must do tour
Artem_Z, Aug 2021
The General Staff Building (the Impressionists Collection)
If you failed to visit it you missed out the cultural and historical heart of the city.
star-5
Great tour
Valentina_K, Apr 2021
St Petersburg: Easy 2-Day Shore Excursion with Faberge
We had a lovely time in St Petersburg during the winter time.
star-5
Excellent experience & service
Katrina_S, Feb 2021
3-Days in St Petersburg: All-inclusive Private Tour with Professional Guide
We would never be able to see so much without guide and personal driver.
star-5
Great overview of the city
Brenda_G, Dec 2020
2-Day Group Shore Excursion in St Petersburg with Faberge Museum & Boat Cruise
This was a great tour to see St Petersburg from land and water.
star-5
Awesome experience :)
Fernando_M, Mar 2020
2-Day Private Tour of St Petersburg with Peterhof & Catherine's Palace
It was an awesome experience, Nadia has lots of knowlodge of everything in St Petersburg, she took me even to see one Catholic church wich was not in the itinerary, because i said i wanted to see.
star-4
St Petersburg 2 day tour
Anthony_K, Sep 2019
Shore Excursion: 2-Day St. Petersburg City Tour
There is a lot to see in St Petersburg so any 2 day tour needs a balance of seeing sights and not being too hectic.
star-5
Great excursion
Eleanora_W, Sep 2019
Mini-Group 2-Day Shore Excursion of St Petersburg Must-Sees and Boat Cruise
she was spectacular and knowledgeable about russian places and history and life and spoke excellent english.
star-5
excellent excusions, wonderful gudie
Daniela_K, Aug 2019
Discover St Petersburg in 4 Days with Private Guide
She avoided the big crowds in the Winter Palace which was a blessing.
star-5
Good
Simon_C, Aug 2019
St Petersburg 2 Day Mini-Group Tour Introducing All Highlights of the City And Its Suburbs
Cover many attractions.
star-5
Amazing!
Curiosity222878, Aug 2019
Private Shore-Excursion: 1-Day Fully Flexible St Petersburg Tour
There's a lot to see in St Petersburg on one day so take it slow and don't rush,you won't make everything anyway but whatever you see, enjoy it and take you time.
star-5
St. Petersburg
FidelizAnnA, Jul 2019
Shore Excursion: 2-Day St. Petersburg City Tour
Our tour guide Nina went above and beyond to cover important sights to see and she was very detailed and knowledgeable about facts and history of the place.
star-5
St Petersburg
Ronald_H, Jul 2019
2 Day Top-Guided Mini-Group Shore Excursion Introducing The Best of Saint-Petersburg And Its Surroundings
This is the way to visit st petersburg.
star-5
Great experience!
Daleen_K, Jul 2019
Small-Group St Petersburg Hermitage Museum Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry
I plan to visit the Hermitage again during my stay in St Petersburg, so this tour was an excellent introduction and orientation to the museum.
star-5
Lovely place, brilliant guide!
Stephen_B, Jul 2019
2-Day Group Shore Excursion in St Petersburg with Faberge Museum & Boat Cruise
Our tour guide (Alina) was brilliant, very friendly with excellent knowledge of all the attractions in St Petersburg.
star-5
Wonderful St Petersburg Tour
damplion, Jun 2019
St Petersburg 2 Day Top-Guided Optimized Mini-Group Tour Introducing The Best of the City And Its Suburbs
Olga was a wonderful tour director with excellent English skills and knowledge of the area.
star-5
Best way to see both palaces
Judith_Z, Jun 2019
St-Petersburg Imperial Suburbs: Peterhof & Catherine Palace Tour.
Without Maria I don't think we would be able to see both places in the same day.
star-5
Saint Petersburg two day group tour with city break
Adventure35426414789, May 2019
Mini-Group 2-Day Shore Excursion of St Petersburg Must-Sees and Boat Cruise
I had great fun and enough time to see most of the things that I was interested in.
star-5
incredible 2 days in St Petersburg
meyerfam2125, Aug 2018
2-Day City Highlights Tour of St. Petersburg
Her English was perfect, and her love of her city was obvious.
star-5
This was a great way to see St...
mbuggie01, Sep 2016
St Petersburg Shore Excursion: Visa-Free 2-Day Tour including the Faberge Museum
This was a great way to see St Petersburg without having to get a Visa.
star-5
Excellent and thorough way to see...
mriviglia, Oct 2017
2-Day St. Petersburg City and Local Culture Shore Excursion in a Small Group
Excellent and thorough way to see the beautiful city of St Petersburg and it's culture.

All about St Petersburg

When to visit

St. Petersburg fires on all cylinders winter and spring, when its weather hits the sweet spot of comfortably hot and dry. Outdoor events come thick and fast December through June, from holiday-season boat parades and the Firestone Grand Prix in March, to April’s Mainsail Art Festival, and Pride in June. Crowds thin when late summer brings muggy heat and a hurricane risk.

Frequently Asked Questions
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