If Moscow is Russia’s economic and political centre St Petersburg is certainly the cultural centre. A very different city to Moscow, it is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful – an architectural wonder often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” In addition to the architecture there are world famous museums including the Hermitage and numerous palaces can be visited as day trips from the city. Not strictly on the Trans-Siberian a few days here nonetheless very much part of the experience.
BEST MONTHS TO VISIT ST PETERSBURG
ST PETERSBURG WEATHER AVERAGES
REASON TO VISIT ST PETERSBURG
St Petersburg should not be overlooked and is Russia’s cultural masterpiece. There is so much to see that you are likely to only get a taste of what the city offers but that is a treat in itself.
ST PETERSBURG TRAVEL TIP
At least 2 nights in St Petersburg is highly recommended and the city is well connected to Moscow by fast day time trains or a very good overnight service.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ST PETERSBURG
The Hermitage Museum (also called the Winter Palace) – St Petersburg’s main attraction this is a huge, world class museum set in a beautiful building.
The Russian Museum – Extensive collection of Russian paintings and sculpture.
Peter & Paul Fortress – Entrance to the site if free but to enter any buildings needs a ticket. The church is impressive and the burial site of most of the Romanovs.
For military buffs the Museum of Artillery, Combat Engineers and Signal Troops and the Exchange Building Naval Museum (separate museums) are a must see.
Ethnographic Museum – all about the various peoples that make up Russia with displays of costumes and traditional items.
Alexander Nevskiy Monastery – located next to the Neva river this is where many of Russia’s famous composers are buried as well as other famous figures.
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood – Built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and features over 6,000 square meters of mosaics.
Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral – Impressive interior and exterior.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral – A real city landmark which is also open at night and offers some of the best views of the city.
Andreyevsky Cathedral – Perhaps the most beautiful of the city’s many Cathedrals.
Church of the Assumption of Mary – Five-domed church currently undergoing renovations.
Palaces of Pushkin & Peterhof – Outside of the city these vast palaces are testament to wealth accumulated by the royal family.
HAND PICKED ST PETERSBURG ACCOMMODATION
St Petersburg offers a slightly better choice of hotels than Moscow and most decent hotels are centrally located along of off Nevsky Prospect. Our stand out mid-range option is the Cronwell Inn which we use in many of our trips. Higher end options are the Angleterre and the fabulous Astoria Hotel that is joined to it which has a lovely contemporary feel. The grand dame of St Petersburg hotels is the Belmond Europa (previously the Grand Hotel Europe). For character we like the Rossi.
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