Top attractions in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg's 7 best things to see and do
While Moscow has the bulk of Russia's history, St. Petersburg is its most exciting destination. With a young population and ever-growing cultural landscape, the city is bathed in a unique light and laid-back vibe. See our sightseeing highlights.
1. Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Visit the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city, where you can learn about the religion and history of this important landmark. Entry plus audio guide is 350RUB.
2. State Russian Museum
With the biggest collection of fine art in St. Petersburg, this attraction is a hit with art lovers, though is often quite quiet. Enjoy the work of Russian artists of the past.
3. Nevsky Prospect
The main street in the city, this bustling thoroughfare offers beautiful buildings, bridges and squares. Best enjoyed as a walking tour, with opportunities to shop along the way.
4. Winter Palace
This opulent building is perhaps the sight the city is most proud of. With more than 100 rooms, highlights include the gilded Armorial Hall. Visit at night for a pretty picture.
5. Mariinsky Theatre
Ballet and opera are the cornerstones of St. Petersburg's classical culture, and the best on offer takes place here. The season ends in early August and begins in late September.
6. Peterhof Palace
The garden fountains (check dates) and golden statues are the real stars of the show at this extravagant palace, although some of the lavish interiors must be seen to be believed.
A vast museum housed in the Winter Palace, the Hermitage is perhaps the jewel in the city's tourism crown. The stately rooms bear many artistic treasures; leave hours to explore.
Planning Your Visit
The St. Petersburg Metro is a good way to get around the city, particularly in winter, when it can be bitingly cold. Tickets are available at the stations from the toll booths, and a smart card that you can top up is the easiest option if you're staying more than a couple of days.
Do I need a visa?
Most international visitors to Russia will need a visa, so check well before you travel and apply early to avoid disappointment.
What is the weather like?
It's said the weather in this city has character - in others words, be prepared. By Russian standards, it doesn't get too cold - never really below minus 10 degrees - and in the summer highs can reach 30 degrees. However, a jacket and umbrella are always handy to have in your luggage!
Good to know
- RUB (руб)
- Time Zone
- UTC (+02:00)
- Country Code
- Best time to visit
- It's more expensive to visit in the summer months, but this is by far the best time. The temperatures are warm and the days are the longest, so you may get to attend the White Nights celebrations!
Other Sightseeing Options in St. Petersburg
Want to discover all there is to do in St. Petersburg? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about St. Petersburg
The tour was great and the inner cabin was heated. Having said that, there were two issues : The entire commentary is in Russian which meant that I understood NOTHING of what we were seeing except for the Hermitage which I had visited What a pity given that St Petersburg is full of history! Another minor issue is that the site states that food and drinks can be purchased on board. This was NOT available. Overall, seeing the bridges open etc was fantastic BUT the tour package failed to deliver in terms of content and facilities. I could have easily taken the NEVA TRAVEL tour which offers the same (no food or drinks and everything in Russian)
Our family can strongly recommend Wilson tour . Booked a tour to Hermitage in advanced lasting 3h . No other participants so we had our own private guide Valeria Feodorova for ourselves. Perfect ! Valeria was professional and have a lot of knowledge that she shared with us. We had a good tour . I think it's wise to explore the Hermitage museum with a good tour guide . Nice experience overall when in St.Petersburg.
Picked up on time by the owner Nickolay, who made our journey to the airport relaxed and trouble free. We were considering getting a tube train , but not speaking russian would have made it too much hassle if we missed the stop.
Elena was great company and although it was just my wife and I who were shown around which made it a fairly expensive visit (over (£100) it was a brilliant afternoon and to top it off Elena made some great recommendations.
It was a nice experience going round on the canals. If you go in the Autumn months be sure to wrap up warm though, and the saxophone music is a recording from a live band not a live musician.