The city of Saint Petersburg is included to the district Saint Petersburg and to the region Sankt-Peterburg
Presentation of the destination
St. Petersburg as it is known in the English speaking world, is Russia's pride and glory. A journey of 800km away from the capital city Moscow, it gracefully sits on the delta of the Neva River, proudlylooking out to the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. An archipelago of hundreds of little islands compose this magnificent city of 5 million and its admirable imperialistic architecture with it's winding rivers, streams and tributaries effortlessly amaze even the most demanding visitor. It is rightfully called the Venice of the North. Visitors should be aware that the local currency is the Russian Ruble (1RUB=0.02€) and local time is GMT +3, Eastern +8. Moreover, the ideal time for a visit at this magnificent city is anytime between the end of April and end of September with peak season reaching the end of June during the White Nights when the days are endless and the dark nights are a memory of the past.
Points of interests / things to see
To start off your visit at this magnificent city, it is wise to take the essential boat trip on the River Neva and the numerous tributaries that encircle the islands that constitute the city of St. Petersburg. Over 90 streams, rivers and tributaries make up this network and incredibly they are all lined with spectacular architectural pieces of art. Hence, get your cameras ready because this will be an experience of admiration and absolute amazement. Three main rivers run through the city centre, Moika, Gribayedova and Fontanka. The boats go past the Church of the Saviour on Spilt Blood, the Hermitage, the Summer Gardens, Peter and Paul Fortress, Vasiliyevsky Island, St. Isaac's Cathedral and many more. During the White Night season there are night boat trips to admire the grandiose beauty of the seven Neva bridges rising for the approaching vessels to pass under. The boat trip season commences towards the end of April until late September. Although there is indoor space for passengers, not all boats offer this luxury but blankets might be offered on board. Make sure you book your trip in advance if your are visiting during the White Nights season as this is one of the top attractions of the city.
The Hermitage Museum or otherwise known as the Winter Palace is St. Petersburg's most famous and breathtaking attractions. Situated at the city's central Dvortsovaya Square, this Museum Gallery is a jewel to Russian and international history. Initially a wooden Dutch style house built in 1708 for Peter the Great, it took its present form in 1754 under the recognized master architect of Russian baroque architecture, Francisco Barolomeo Rastrelli. The Winter Palace was almost completely destroyed by a fire that broke out in 1837 which threatened to destroy the invaluable art collection of the Palace. Thankfully the artworks were spared and the then ruling Tsar, Nicholas I ordered that the Hermitage was reconstructed within a year. Remarkably the works were completed in this short period giving us therefore the chance to admire this trully breathtakig piece of architecture. Some of the treasures that await the visitor are paintings and sculptures of the great Leonardo da Vinci, El Greco, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir...the list is truly endless. The museum offers exhibits on prehistoric art, artifacts from great ancient civilisations as well as the imperial rooms of the Peter the Great himself. Visitors are welcome Tues-Sun from 10:30 - 18:00, apart from Wednesday when the Winter Palace is open until 21:00 and general admission cost is 8.50€.
The Cathedral of the Saviour on Spilt Blood overlooks with great pride and beauty the second of the three canals, crossing St. Petersburg central Nevsky Prospect. You will find this classic piece of Russian religious architecture resembling St. Basil Church in Moscow on canal Gribayedova with the metro station Nevsky Prospekt/Gostiny Dvor offering easy access to this tourist attraction. The Cathedral's construction began in 1883 under the rule of Tsar Alexander III in the name of his predecessor Alexander II who was assassinated on this very spot on May 1, 1881 hence it's name. The Cathedral is a jewel of mosaic icons with a most impressive shrine constructed on the exact sport where Alexander II the was fatally wounded. It took 24 years to complete, although the Cathedral was repeatedly lutted and destroyed over Russia's long bloody history. More specifically, the Cathedral, following extensive damage during the Bolshevik revolution, was shut down and left to decay while damage that was caused during Second World War is still visible today. Nevertheless, the Russian State has carried out extensive rehabilitative works in order to restore the building's overall condition and today serves as one of St. Petersburg most spectacular Cathedrals. It is open to the public daily from 11am to 7pm apart from Wednesdays and admission costs 5€ for adults and 1€ for children.
Yet another magnificent Cathedral to add to St. Petersburg’s great religious collection. St. Isaac's Cathedral was Russia' largest church and before the Cathedral of the Savior of Spilt Blood, it was also the city's main holy place. Its construction began in 1818 but completed in 1858 and it is dedicated to the patron saint of Peter the Great, Saint Isaac of Dalmatia. The architecture of the building is very different to that of classic Russian religious architecture. It is in a neo-classical theme with much influence from Ancient Greek architecture and a dominating dome in the centre making it visible from all corners of the city. Just like the Cathedral of the Saviour of Spilt Blood, the interior of St. Isaac's Cathedral boasts breathtaking mosaics of icons and an iconoclast made of precious stones such as malachite and lazurite while it's floor is made of Russian granite and marble. Visitors must not miss the chance to climb the 300 stairs to the top of the dome where the views of this great Russian city are truly a picture-perfect postcard. Admission to the Cathedral costs 5€ for adults and 1€ for children while opening hours are daily from 11am to 7pm apart from Wednesdays. Between May 1 and September 30 access is granted to visitors to climb up to the dome in the evenings between 18:15 and 22:00.
The Peter and Paul Fortress or Petropavlovski Kriepost as Russians know it was the first fortress built by Peter the Great upon his arrival in 1703 at the delta of the river Neva to mark his control over this territory. It sits on the small island of Hare on the northern bank of the river. The citadel was completed within a year of Peter's arrival but was rebuilt a few years later to be completed in 1740. On the island, within the fortress there are several monuments and buildings, noteably the Peter and Paul Cathedral whose bell tower is 122 m. long and visible throughout the city centre. Its importances lies in the fact that this is the burial spot for all of the Romanovs, from Peter I to Alexander III. The fortress also house the City Museum and several Bastions from which, as a tradition, a canon is fired everyday at noon. On May 27 each year, the city celebrates its birthday and celebrations are centred around the fortress as the birthplace of the city itself. Under the fortress walls the visitors will be surprised to find a sandy beach which, at peak summer season is usually overpacked with Russian beach lovers.
This monumental imperial estate should not be missed. It is described as the Russian Versailles for a good reason. 'Peterhof' meaning Peter's court in German was built by Peter the Great as a summer retreat in the suburbs of the city and also as a landing point on his departures and returns to and from Europe.On return from his trips to Europe, Peter the Great brought with him great artistic masterpieces which are still exhibited in the Palace's galleries today. Peter's granddaughter, Empress Elizabeth was very fond of this Palace and was the one that later on extended the gardens and impressive cascading fountain system of the estate. The main Grand Palace was completed by Hermitage architect Rastrelli.The fountains are in operation from April until late September between 11am and 5pm hence make sure you visit during this season. It is a sight not to be missed by anyone visiting this beautiful city.
The never-ending masterpieces of the Romanov Royal Family continue to decorate the suburban regions of St. Petersburg and this time take us to Tsarskoye Selo (Tsarist Garden) in the town of Pushkin (home also to the famous Russian poet) where Rastrelli has once again applied his talent to create the jewel of Tsarskoye Selo - the Catherine Palace. Catherine I was Peter the Great’s wife and the palace itself took its present form in 1756. The exterior of the palace is extensively decorated with real gold and the interiors of the Palace are well maintained to take the visitor back in time to relive moments during Catherine’s reign. During the Second World War many parts of the Palace were destroyed and especially the Amber Room – a hall decorated with valuable Russian amber. During 1982, restorations took place to retrieve the beauty of this room for which more than 12$million was spent. Tsarskoye Selo is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 and tickets cost 6.80€ for adults and 2€ for schoolchildren.
The Mariinsky Theatre is home to the St. Petersburg Ballet and Opera companies and is one of the top theatres in Russia. Just like the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Mariinsky strives to keep the Russian performing arts tradition alive and has successfully managed in maintaining Russia’s reputation as a leader in ballet performances. Great names of the ballet and opera scene have taken the stage here such as Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Fyodor Chaliapin. It sincerely is an experience that owes not to be missed by any visitor in St. Petersburg. Even those visitors not so found of the ballet or the opera will appreciate the sheer excellence of the performances and the grand interior of the Mariinsky theatre that stands proudly next to the Cathedral of the Saviour of Spilt Blood since 1783.
If you need a break from the busy sightseeing tours and bustling streets of St.Petersburg you need not to look far. A few minutes' walk off Nevsky Prospekt, down Sadovaya Ulitsa (Sadovaya Street) lie the Peter the Great's summer gardens. One of many of St. Petersburg's parks, the gardens are an open air museum of statues and grand fountains carefully designed and laid out by Peter the Great and world famous sculptures of the time. It also houses Peter's summer palace, a wooden building of Dutch design which is impeccably maintained until today for visitors to admire. The Summer Gardens are a true breath of fresh air and relaxation for visitors and is worth an spending an afternoon here to admire nature.
Vacation rentals in Saint petersburg (Saint Petersburg)
How to get there ?
St. Petersburg is served by Pulkovo 1 for domestic flights and Pulkovo 2 which serves international carriers. Unfortunately they are not served by a metro or train service although there are several choices to choose from. Anyone can take a taxi but use the Taxi Pulkovo services found at the arrivals hall rather than taking one from the taxi rank as you might be charged more than the actual fare. The ride to the centre lasts approximately 45 minutes depending on traffic. Alternative options are the bus services running every 15 minutes from 5:30 am until 1:00am. Pulkovo 1 is served by bus N39 and Pulkovo 2 by bus N13. Fares are low, 0.20€ and they drop off passengers at metro station Moskovskaya, just 7 stops away from central Nevsky Prospekt. The ride lasts approximately 30 minutes. Also, a more comfortable option is the Aeroport Express shuttle bus which for 5€ takes you directly to the city centre. This service runs throughout the day non-stop and tickets can be bought upon your arrival at the airport's arrivals' lounge.You can also reach st. Petersburg by train as the city is linked by rail to Moscow and many other Russian cities as well as the Baltic states, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Helsinki. At all three trainstations travellers will also find coach services running to and from St. Petersbug to these destinations and even to Stockholm and Munich.
Hotels in Saint petersburg (Saint Petersburg)