Private tour packages designed to make the most out of your time in St. Petersburg.
But as soon as Valeria from St. Petersburg Guided Tours drove us into the center of the city I was shocked at the vibrant colors of the historic buildings, the number of waterways, the restaurants, and chic boutiques. St. Petersburg may be like any other metropolitan city, but with a whole lot of shocking history.
Here are the must-do experiences while visiting this big, beautiful city.
Visit The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
One of the most awe-inspiring places of worship I’ve ever seen. Not to mention it takes the cake for the most badass name ever. True to its name, it was built on the site where Alexander II was assassinated. The baroque-style exterior is exactly what you expect to see when you visit Russia, although atypical for St. Petersburg. But the interior is absolutely mindboggling. The entire church is made up of millions of tiny mosaic tiles. There are so many colors and mosaics to see you can spend hours just looking up.
Walk The Grounds Of Peterhof Palace
As soon as you pull up to this sprawling palace and its grounds you instantly think of Versailles. Its opulent yellow and gold exterior pale in comparison to the expansive grounds and incredible fountains throughout the property built by Peter the Great.
What I found most impressive about this palace is its 64 fountains powered by gravity and water pressure. Another magical aspect of the grounds is the handful of joke fountains throughout the gardens. If you step on the wrong stone a hidden fountain may spray you.
Eat Traditional Russian Food
You’ll find that there is more to Russia’s culinary resume than borscht and rye bread. For the freshest fish experience in the world head to Русская рыбалка to catch your own trout for dinner. To dine like an aristocrat book a reservation at Palkin Restaurant.
There you can try traditional beef stroganoff or a famous Russian soup cooked for over 16 hours. When in Russia you must drink lots of vodka, it’s actually a rule. The restaurant at the Museum Of Russian Vodka serves dozens of local vodkas paired with tasty vodka snacks.
Go Inside Catherine Palace
If you like gold this is the place for you! But seriously…this palace is DECKED OUT! Built in the 1700s by Catherine I (shocker) it is a rococo lovers dream. More than 100 kgs of gold were used to complement the turquoise exterior of the palace.
Not to mention the grand ballrooms, bedrooms rooms and other stunning spaces that have been reconstructed since the Nazis burnt down large portions of the Palace during WWII. It also included stunningly manicured grounds and a private lake.
Explore The Hermitage Museum
This is probably St. Petersburg’s most famous tourist attraction and for good reason. It has over 3 million exhibits making it one of the largest museums in the world. Built in 1754 by Catherine the Great it is also one of the oldest. You better bring your walking shoes because it is made up of six historic buildings, yes six!
It houses ancient Egyptian works, famous Michelangelo works and the infamous room where the Romanovs ate while the palace was stormed and they were murdered.
But beware of the crowds, especially on the first Thursday of every month when the museum is free.
Many of these sites had insanely long lines to get in, I’m talking three-hour waits. That’s why I can’t recommend doing a private tour like St. Petersburg Guided Tours enough! We skipped all the lines and saw everything we wanted to see in a short amount of time.
Have you ever been to Russia? What were your impressions?