What to see in St. Petersburg, Russia: 10 best places + bonus!

posted by Liza 19th March 2016 7 Comments
what to see in St. Petersburg Russia

Last updated on November 30th, 2016

In this post, you will find out what to see in St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is wonderful, you’re very lucky if you have a chance to visit the city. If you just bought your tickets or only planning your visit and you are desperate in need of some information about what to see in St. Petersburg, you are on the right page.

What to see in St. Petersburg?

1. The Savior on a spilled blood church

You probably think that the “Disneyland-style church” is St. Basils Cathedral and it’s located in Moscow. Well, you’re right… BUT, there is another one, which is in St. Petersburg, and, personally, I like this one more! Just look at it:

And inside it’s also marvellous!


Moreover, there are some nice parks (Summer Garden and so on), located around this church. Not mentioning that other landmarks are also within 15 min reach. So you won’t get bored.

2. The Hermitage and the Palace Square

The Hermitage is one of the biggest museums in the world and one of the most lavish for sure. You’ll probably need around 4 hours to jog through all the rooms of Winter Palace part only and more than 1 day to see the artworks located in other buildings. But it’s a must. If you’re limited by time, just spend ca 2 hours there visiting the throne rooms on the 1st floor and the peacock watch. The Hermitage is located on the Palace Square, the main square of the city, so for sure you will see it while heading to the entrance of the museum.


3. Seasonal: in summer, visit the Peterhof palace; in winter – the Catherine palace.

I assure you that the Palace in Peterhof along with the great park full of fountains will be the most impressive palace you’ve seen in your life as long as you visit it from the middle of May till the end of September. Outside this time, the fountains don’t work. And well, if you see something, it makes sense to see it at its best!


So if you arrive in Saint Petersburg in winter, late autumn or early spring, better go to the Catherine Palace – it is also incredibly beautiful and it also looks amazing in winter!



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4. The Field of Mars

Despite its name, it’s not just a field. Well, maybe technically it is. However, it’s surrounded by amazing buildings and palaces and the view which opens to you from the middle of the square is just… Wow 🙂


Did you know that you can visit Russia without a visa? Here’s how!

5. The Peter and Paul Fortress.

That’s the place where it all began in 1703. Saint Petersburg is located on 33 different islands and that one was the island where the first building was constructed. Later a fortress was erected here. The fortress is quite interesting inside too, you can visit various museums and the first cathedral in St. Petersburg. Every day at 12 pm a cannon inside the Fortress fires, it’s quite loud but don’t get scared, it’s fine.


6. The Isaac’s Cathedral

This majestic cathedral is one of the tallest in the whole world. It’s not a working cathedral so inside there is a church-museum.


It’s very impressive and definitely worth taking a look.

After you’ve seen what’s inside, you can climb on top of the Cathedral and enjoy the most beautiful city panorama in Saint Petersburg. Just stunning.



7. The Kazan Cathedral

This one is my favorite. Located just outside the Nevsky Prospect metro station, it is very easy to reach and impossible to not see. The first thing you see exiting the metro hall is this gorgeous building! It may remind you of Vatican, it really looks a bit alike but inside it’s different. Since it’s the working cathedral, the entrance is free and you may also have a chance to see a real Russian holy mess. That’s something special.

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8. The Square of Arts

The square of Arts is located quite close to the Church of the Savior on the spilled blood and the Palace Square. On the square, there is another famous amazing museum which has the biggest collection of Russian Art in St. Petersburg. Even if you don’t have time for the museum, it looks gorgeous from outside and is worth taking a picture in front of it. Moreover, on this square is located one of the best opera and ballet theatres in Russia, Mikhailovsky theatre. Remember, that watching the Swan Lake is a must 🙂


9. The aquatic area of Peter the Great

It’s not really a landmark from the definition of a landmark, however, since this place is directly connected to the history of Saint Petersburg, it’s architecture and the way it looked in 1750, this place is worth visiting. The aquarium is more like an interactive exhibition, where everything moves, shines and so on. If you purchase an audio guide (and I would recommend you that), you will understand how Saint Petersburg evolved since its founding in 1703 to the middle of the 18th century and why is it called the northern Venice.


10. Fontanka and Moika rivers.

Just take the river boat tour (preferably on the Moika river) and only available from April to October. It will be very chilly outside but the tour is totally worth it. No need for more words, just look:

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What to see in St. Petersburg in Summer:

11 (optional). Watch the bridges open during the white nights.

I underhand that not everybody has a chance to visit St. Petersburg during the White Nights in Summer (for reference: White Nights is a natural phenomenon, when it doesn’t really get dark during the night. At all. That’s pretty cool 🙂 so yep, the moment when the bridges “open” in order to let the ships go throw the main river at night, is very romantic and unique.

There are many more amazing places you could visit, so I can assure you that even 1 week is not enough for St. Petersburg, Russia! There are so many places to visit and see in St. Petersburg, so you will probably need a month there!

In case you arrived at this page about what to see in St. Petersburg directly, it makes sense for you to check my other posts about St. Petersburg:

Russia visa free: how to visit Russia without a visa

72 hours in St. Petersburg without a visa

Gem of the North: Karelia – cruise from St. Petersburg

Why you should visit Russia NOW

Where to eat in St. Petersburg on budget

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Jesper, The Biveros Effect 30th November 2016 at 6:52 pm

St Petersburg is one of those places that are so close to us here in Sweden, but still so far away due to the visa requirements. Maybe it is time to plan a trip to the big country in the east. 🙂

Liza 8th December 2016 at 6:48 pm

I would definitely suggest you to visit St. Petersburg 🙂 Besides you have a ferry, which goes to St. Petersburg via Helsinki & you can visit St. Petersburg visa-free for 72 hours 🙂

Dancing Bear 14th June 2017 at 1:13 pm

In St. Petersburg, there is a museum of water, mittens, cats. We have a lot of interesting things)

Liza 14th June 2017 at 4:10 pm

Thanks for your comment 🙂 I was born and lived in St. P. for 22 years, so I know, which museums it has)

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