Wow, what a city!
I spent five full days in St. Petersburg and I easily could have stayed for another five. There is just so much to do and so much to see, that it’s really not a city you can simply rush through. Personally, I tried to see the majority of the main sites but 5 days wasn’t quite enough time to check off all the boxes. However, I will give a brief run-down of what I did manage to visit during my stay!
Peter and Paul Fortress
St. Petersburg’s first settlement is now a huge tourist complex containing the famous Cathedral, museums, galleries, old prison cells and terrific views of the Neva River. It costs 250 Rubles ($5 CDN) to enter every building on the island and you’ll want to spend a good 3 hours checking everything out.
- The inside of the Cathedral is quite impressive as 46 members of the royal family are buried here.
The Winter Palace of the Russian tsars is an amazingly impressive building that was primarily constructed under Catharine the Great in the mid to late 18th century.
Often compared to the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage is a museum that takes upwards of 4-hours to fully explore the five connected buildings. It contains some of the most important artwork in the world – over three million works – and each room is spectacular. Here is a brief taste of what you’ll see on the inside!
- It costs 600 Ruble ($12 cdn) but it is free the last Thursday of every month.
- This amazing golden peacock was built by a watchmaker. Every Wednesday night, the peacock opens its wings and moves its head and body using the same functions that a watch would use.. don’t ask me to explain more..
- Below is a picture of how it looks when the wings open. Unfortunately I wasn’t there on a Wednesday to see the actual bird move!
- Now, onto some artwork.
- Yes, you are very likely to see a drunk Russian ; )
Church of the Saviour on the Spilt Blood
While the Winter Palace might be the most famous site in St. Petersburg, the Church of Spilt Blood is the type of building that drew me to Russia in the first place. Just look for yourself!
This Moscow-style church got its name because it was built on the spot where Tsar Alexander ll was murdered in 1881. The inside is equally magnificent, as each wall features a specific Biblical theme.
- It costs 250 ruble to enter ($5 cdn)
Museum of Political History of Russia
This museum is located near the Peter and Paul Cathedral and it’s definitely worth checking out if you have some time! The history spans from the end of the 19th century until present day with a large emphasis on the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. If you’re into Russian history, plan on spending about 4-hours here in a state of absolute amazement!
- This painting was completed in 1938 depicting the scene of the October revolution in 1917.
- They even show footage of the famous Canada vs Russia Summit Series of 1972. What a place!
Additional Pictures of the City
- Above are two pictures of the main city square, the primary location of resistance during the October Revolution. The Bolsheviks stormed the Hermitage which is opposite of the gate shown above.
- A typical Russian snack to go with beer. Fried bread covered in cheese with a side of sour cream.
- The famous Russian Matryoshka dolls!
If you’re not yet sold on going to St. Petersburg, perhaps this shirt of Putin riding his pet bear will change your opinion.. And there are plenty more! Many are also displaying a shirtless Putin…
St. Petersburg is an absolutely fascinating city that doesn’t allow one to get bored. There is always another church to visit, another museum to see and more vodka to drink! Thankfully, everything is relatively condensed in the centre and it’s possible to walk to most of the main sites.
There are, however, many incredible places located outside of the city that require a full day to check out including the Catharine Palace, the Alexander Palace and Peterhof. For real, plan on staying here for at least a week if you hope to see over half of the main sites!