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Top 7 Places Not To Miss In Saint Petersburg

Here are the places we recommend seeing and visiting for an unforgettable tour to St. Petersburg.

The Hermitage Museum

The Palace Square, standing on the shores of the Neva River, is the first place to start your St. Petersburg exploration as here you can find the colossal Alexander Column and the delightful Winter Palace, which is the former residence of Russian royalty designed by Francesco Rastrelli and home to the iconic Hermitage Museum today. A visit to this museum that started out as Catherine the Great’s private collection is a highlight of any trip, and here within its adorned walls and former ballrooms you can find impressive works of art by the world’s most famous painters, sculptors and artists. There are about 3 million exhibitions in the State Hermitage Museum that take up the halls of 5 buildings, meaning you’ll have to walk about 20 kilometers to see them all!

Church of the Savior on Blood

The colorful-domed Church on Spilled Blood is arguably one of St. Petersburg’s most recognizable sights. This church stands on the place where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881 and was built to commemorate this great Russian emperor. It took over 24 years to erect this ornate church, decorated with mosaics, frescoes, limestone and gemstones, and afterward 27 more years to restore the building after the vandalism it has undergone during Soviet times.

Peter and Paul Fortress

The Peter and Paul Fortress is a historic defensive structure, occupying an island in St. Petersburg. It dates back to the early 1700’s and has a unique star shape. The complex houses multiple attractions, including the old watchtower, the St. Petersburg Mint, the infamous former prison called Trubetskoy Bastion, the Museum of Cosmonautics and Rocket Technology and, of course, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, which holds the tombs of Russian emperors.

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Another unmissable sight in the northern capital of Russia is the striking St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Having been rebuilt several times throughout the years of its existence, it is among the largest domical buildings in the world. Surprisingly, about 100 kilos of gold was used for gold-plating the cathedral’s domes! It was designed by French architect Auguste de Montferrand and is a conglomerate of a cathedral and museum that can encompass a total of 12 thousand people at once. Moreover, St. Isaac’s observation deck, the highest in town, is a popular platform that opens outstanding views of the city.


The imposing “Russian Versailles”, Peterhof, is definitely worth putting on your St. Petersburg bucket list. Peter the Great laid the groundwork for the building of this royal summer palace and park ensemble, set near the shores of the Gulf of Finland. The lavish palaces, including the Grand Palace, Marly and Monplaisir, are just as impressive as the surrounding parks with extravagant fountains, such as the Grand Cascade Fountain or the famous Samson, to name a few. There are about 150 fountains in the parks and some of them even have “a sense of humor”, such trick fountains squirt people passing by with water!

Catherine’s Palace

The marvelous Baroque Catherine’s Palace located in the outskirts of the city in Pushkin is also worth a visit when going on a St. Petersburg tour. Often referred to as Tsarskoe Selo, the complex features buildings that were designed on the order of Empress Catherine II, who received it as a gift from her husband Tsar Peter the Great. The construction of the luxuriant palaces, one of which was rebuilt several times just to please the empress, along with the shaping of the parks cost the Tsars a vast deal of money but demonstrate their wealth even today. As such, the replica of the Amber Room is the centerpiece of the palace.

Faberge Museum

Those wishing to immerse themselves in simply stunning masterpieces by genius jeweler Carl Faberge should make their way to the Faberge Museum, housed at the lush Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka River embankment. The privately-owned collection displays numerous treasures such as nine Imperial Easter Eggs that were designed for Russian Tsars. Among the highlights of the exhibition are icons, paintings, picture frames, medallions as well as the following Easter Eggs: the Imperial Coronation, the Lilies-of-the-Valley, the Bay Tree, the Hen, the Cockerel, the Renaissance jewelry box, among others.

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