St Petersburg may seem like an unusual holiday destination but it is rapidly becoming more and more popular. Formally known as Leningrad, this vast city still shows the scars of wars gone by.
So why has it become such a popular destination? The city has a lot to offer culturally and it is fast becoming trendy with its fine restaurants and nightclubs, and with many reasonably priced flights to Russia now available, it’s easy to access too. One of St Petersburg’s best assets is the abundance of beautiful palaces which are dotted across the city. They offer visitors the opportunity to see something totally unique, and learn about former Russian Kings and Queens before the outbreak of modern day war. Their world was one of opulence and extravagance. Here are five must-sees on your tour of St Petersburg:
Book a trip to the Hermitage
Situated along the banks of the River Neva, the Hermitage is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. Also known as the Winter Palace, it houses famous artworks by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Picasso. Stretching along one side of Palace Square, this green and white building was founded by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since the 1800s. Originally this was her personal museum but it has now grown to hold over 3 million items, spanning six buildings.
Watch a ballet performance or folkloric show
Russia has long been famous for its outstanding ballet dancers performing in productions such as Swan Lake and the Nutcracker. St Petersburg has a lively performing arts district and each night you can find ballet performances in well known venues such as the Mariinsky Theatre in Theatre Square. If ballet isn’t your thing, then you can choose from other shows such as traditional folklore dancing.
Visit a Palace
Ranging in opulence, St Petersburg’s palaces are a real delight to visit. One of the most famous is Catherine Palace, approximately one hour’s drive outside of the city centre. Famous for its Amber Room, spend around one hour walking around the interior before heading outside to the gardens. Peterhof Palace should be next on your list, well known for its fountain display at 11.00am each morning. You can access the palace by hydrofoil from the city centre.
The Church of the Spilled Blood
This attraction should be top of your list. Used as a store house for potatoes up until its restoration started in 1970, this church opened to the public in 1997. The inside is made up of tiny mosaics and it has since become one of the most famous landmarks in Russia.
Tea at the Kempinski
No visit to St Petersburg would be complete without tea at this well known hotel. This really does have to be seen to be believed! Not your cup of tea? Have a look at our others hotels in Russia.