You probably know that St. Petersburg is about museums, palaces, Pushkin and culture. That the White Nights, when the sun never goes down, is the best time to visit St. Petersburg.That its the emerging foodie destination. Did you know it is in Europe’s top 5 most visited tourist cities?

Saint Petersburg travel guide

And if you ask me, one of the most spectacular cities in the world. Locally referred to by locals as the Venice of the North and Russia’s cultural capital(and, as of today, gastronomical capital), St. Petersburg is among the youngest European cities. The capital of Imperial Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s hometown is now being promoted as a family-friendly destination, the trade show hot spot and a party town. I mean, who wouldn’t like to party in a palace. In St. Petersburg, you can rent one for your special event – Yusupov and Catherine Palace, for instance.

Saint Petersburg was established in 1703 by Peter the Great. Since its inception in the last three centuries, this city has encountered three name changes. Today, many still refer to it as Leningrad or Petrograd. The face of this city has changed just like its name: from being the capital of one of the biggest empires in history governed by the czars to almost being obliterated during the second world war.
Saint Petersburg travel guide
Until today, its imperial past echoes through the entire city. The city had various names, including Petrograd, Petersburg, Leningrad (when communism fell, the city returned to its first name). However, its inhabitants simply call it Peter.


Centuries ago, Saint Petersburg was a prominent scientific and cultural center featuring a few of the world’s top choreographers, poets, writers, scholars, and painters. However, this culture met a radical change due to Stalinism and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Visit St.Petersburg surroundings

For about $10, you can go to the “outskirts” and visit the royal country residences.
Pavlovsk, the Catherine Palace, and Peterhof, most of the residences are just a few miles apart. Accessible by a train available at the Vitebsky station (the metro station, Pushkinskaya). Or a minibus from Moskovsky Prospect. A $20 taxi is an option as well.

Peterhof is 20 miles away in the southeastern part of the city. There is a hydrofoil running in front of the Hermitage every 30 minutes from the embankment. The splendid ride only lasts 40 minutes from the Gulf of Finland and tickets are available at $10 and covers entrance into the palace except for the main palace. The grounds can be accessed any day but the schedule during summer is usually unpredictable.

Saint Petersburg travel guide Peterhof

Peterhof
Peter’s favorite summer estate. Its famous fountains – really a wonder of the would of fountains- operate from May through October.

There is a Peterhof tradition: dashing through the so-called trick fountains and stomping on the “magic” stones to find the ones that make the water stream.

See St. Petersburg from the water


St Petersburg is a city of water.


If there was one thing you did in St.Petersburg, it should be exploring the city by water. Remember, we are talking about Northern Venice, with canals being the streets. Not only is this the ultimate way to feel the soul of St. Petersburg, but you can also see the palaces and other architectural marvels from the angles s=only available from the water.

Saint Petersburg travel guide


Plan for a at least couple of hours if you intend to visit, for example, the Neva River to view the Aurora cruiser, from where the firing of guns began the Bolshevik revolution. You also want to check out the round route that leads to New Holland, a prominent island in the city, beneath St. Isaac’s Cathedral, that leads out to the Neva on the Fontanka River, accessible through the beautiful Summer Gardens.
The major beneficiaries of the famous White Nights Festival in the city are the owners of the pleasure boats. For about $50-$100 you can enjoy an hour private boat cruise while drinking wine and gazing at historical locations such as the Mariinsky Theater .

For a few years now, the number of boats on the canal has multiplied. Although St Petersburg experiences a long winter season that lasts for seven months, the Neva river and tributaries are usually covered in a solid ice sheet. Its waterways remain frozen until around early April.

Drawbridges experience

While the midnight sun hangs low, the raising of the drawbridges is a sight to always remember.

Saint Petersburg bridges

The crowd usually gathers close to the Hermitage, in the early hours of the morning at about 1:30 am on either side of the river to see the rise of the four bridges, in the center to enable freighters to access the interior. By 5 am, the bridge would be lowered.

Walk


St Petersburg is a great walking city. Never mind the canals maze and the bridges that can be pretty tricky: the palace you just passed is suddenly up ahead.

Every step you take brings a new perspective. Only by touring the city on foot can you understand why St Peterburg is all about juxtapositions.
One moment it looks decaying and runs down. Then you take another step, and all of a sudden, it is lavishly aristocratic like Faberge eggs, sable, and gold.

Saint Petersburg travel guide

Nevsky prospect stroll.

“There is nothing better than Nevsky Prospekt,” wrote Nikolai Gogol, of of the city’s best-known residents.
It’s simply an iconic route, a wide street full of restaurants, bookshops, souvenir shops, and, well, palaces.

Saint Petersburg travel guide

Stroll down the prospect, people watch, stop for a cup of coffee in one of the city’s bakeries.

City of museums

There is a museum for every taste in St Petersburg.From general interest to amazingly distinctive and quirky.

The Yusupov Palace displays a group of waxed figures that shows the palace’s role in the famous Rasputin’s murder. In the Historical Museum in St Petersburg, there is a document on mass famine and the tribulations experienced during World War II endured by the city.

Saint Petersburg travel guide


Those with a literary bent of mind can glimpse the previous apartments of Aleksandr Blok, the famous poet Dostoyevsky, Nabokov, and Pushkin. There are museums devoted to musical instruments, theater, and the history behind the making of bread. Tourists interested in war history can visit the Artillery Museum or Central Naval Museum.

Explore the city’s haunted past


“The city is built on bones,” the locals say. And that is literally. Peter was a determined, unstoppable ruler who believed that the means justify the goal. Eager to “make” a new capital for the new Russia he was building, more European, inhabits, style and location. The city is just an hour away from northern Europe.

Saint Petersburg travel guide

The peasants were forced to dig the canals(manually at that time, as you can imagine). With the weather conditions and environmental conditions(the city used to be a swamp), over a million people died, buried right in the endless canals they were digging.
There are tales of paranormal activities since the city’s foundation and early years. The spookiest city in Russia.

The assassinations and suicides seem to be carried out with a touch of glitz in St Petersburg.
Sergei Yasemin, a famous poet, married Isadora Duncan, an American dancer, killed himself in the Angleterre Hotel.

Dive in the Czarist splendor

Saint Petersburg travel guide

Lavish has always been the czars’ favorite word(think Amber Room or Hermitage). Explore the opulence of palaces and museum exponents. Russia is known for its love of everything big and extravagant,and its czarist past might be where this love is coming from

Rubinstein Street

Head to Rubinstein Street- St. Petersburg’s restaurant epicenter.

Saint Petersburg restaurants

One of the city’s main restaurant destinations in central St. Petersburg, Rubinstein Street, has seen a new wave of dining spots. Phenomenal food, emerging chefs, creative interiors blending with the city’s Old World architectural space.