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Baltic Travel Blog

Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Posted on July 30th, 2019.

“St. Petersburg is the most beautiful and most European city in Russia” – I’ve heard this a lot from articles and other travellers. As a short weekend break traveller, I made plans to see if it was true and bought my flight tickets to St. Petersburg for mid-June – white nights season. From late May and early July, the nights are bright and it’s the brightest period in Russia. Most of the museums, shops, and markets have longer working hours and there are more options of concerts, festivals and other events. Unfortunately, this also means that there are more travellers and queues everywhere at this time of the year.

Day 1.

We have arrived in the afternoon and decided to make our own way to the hotel in a city center. We took a marshrutka (Russian word describing an 18-seat minibus) from the airport to the Moskovskaya metro station, where we continued our journey by metro directly to the Belmond Grand Europe Hotel on Nevsky Prospect. Another option is to take a taxi or pre-book it in advance with a driver waiting for you at the arrivals zone. Taking public transport, it can take up to 2 hours to reach the hotel and for those who like more comfort I would advise to choose private driver option.

On the first evening we had booked tickets to Michailovksy Theatre to see Giselle Ballet performance. Tickets can be booked online and I highly advise to organise it as soon as possible, as seats sell out fast. Michailovsky Theatre was founded in 1833 and it is situated in a historical building in Arts Square. Its beautiful interior gives you a feeling of old times, when ladies and gents were attending ballets and operas, wearing their best suits and dresses. After the incredible ballet performance our hotel reception advised us where to eat late dinner. We chose to try gourmet restaurant Gastronomika, which belong to GINZA project and were impressed of the food quality there. Service and interior were also pleasant. I highly recommend this place.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Michailovsky Theater

Day 2.

The weather was fantastic, and we decided to visit Peterhof gardens. To go to Peterhof there are several ways, but we decided to experience Hydroboat, which takes about 45 minutes. There is an option to purchase tickets online, but we did it on the spot and we had to wait 30 mins for the next scheduled Hydroboat. When arriving at Peterhof be prepared to queue at the entrance as you will need to get your ticket in. Gardens and fountains are fantastic there and if weather permits you can spend hours walking around.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Peterhof Palace

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Peterhof gardens

Our evening programme took place in another great opera and ballet house – Mariinski Theatre. It’s very similar to Michailovksy, but slightly bigger. Actually, I preferred Michailovksy as they had very comfortable seats. Just a minor difference, as both theatre’s interior is similar. At Mariinski Theatre we were enjoying Pagliacci Opera. After the opera we went to Krisha 18 restaurant, which has a nice rooftop bar and good quality food.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Marinskii Theatre

Day 3.

Another beautiful day in St. Petersburg started with city sightseeing and we decided to visit the famous Peter & Paul Fortress. In the early 1920’s it was still used as a prison and execution ground by the Bolshevik government. I think it is one of the must-visit places in St. Petersburg. The fortress contains several notable buildings, but museum of Cosmonautics and rocket technology made the biggest impression on me. It is a permanent exhibition devoted to Russian scientists, engineers and designers in the development of this area.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Peter & Paul Fortress

After long hours spent in Peter & Paul Fortress, we decided it’s time to try Russian cuisine and headed to one of the GINZA project restaurants called Katyusha in Nevsky prospect. The food was especially delicious! If you ever visit Russia, you must try Russian soup borsch made from beetroots, potatoes, carrots and meat. To complete the soup, you must put a little sour cream and mix it all before eating. It tastes fantastic!

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Traditional Russian food at the restaurant Katyusha

We continued our day by visiting St. Isaacs Cathedral. This massive historical building reminded me a bit of Vatican Cathedral, and the beautiful pieces of art and massive interior details took my breath away. After walking inside the Cathedral, we took hundreds of steps up to the dome, from where you can see all the city 360 degrees.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Inside St. Isaacs Cathedral

My colleague Michael, who used to live in Russia advised me to visit Arcade Museum in St. Petersburg. It was one of the best places for me! Especially, when I can still remember old mineral water machines and other Soviet gaming machines from when I was little. Lots of laughter and fun times were spent there! Most of the machines are still working and you can play games as much as you want.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Arcade Museum

The highlight of today was White Nights Cruise through the Russian rivers and bridges. It took about 1.5-2 hrs and it was quite cold, so I would advise to dress warm. The tour itself was brilliant! We were sailing through all the famous buildings and at the end of the tour we were waiting for the bridges to open. I have never seen in my life how it actually works, and it was pretty amazing.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Midnight Cruise

Day 4.

For our last day we decided to visit the Hermitage – a museum of art and culture of St. Petersburg and Russia. Opposite Hermitage you can find the General Staff Building – one of the most famous architectural monuments of Saint Petersburg. To visit both historical buildings you will most probably need a full day, as there is so much to see. Be ready for a lot of tourists! We didn’t have enough time to visit all the sights, but this place still gave us a big impression of massive pieces of art.

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Hermitage

, Saint Petersburg Sightseeing

Inside Hermitage

 

If you have any questions or wish to receive your personal itinerary for St. Petersburg tours, please contact us. 

Julija Leliunaite,

Baltic Travel Company ( all rights reserved )

 

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