16 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Saint Petersburg

Jul 22, 2021

Today known as St. Petersburg, Russia's oldest city and capital was founded in 1703. This beautiful city in the north of Russia is the perfect destination for a visit to the Russian architecture, historical charm and bustling nightlife. The mighty Neva River winds through the city center.

In this appealing city of canals, houses, museums and palaces that is also a gateway to more natural beauty. To go to the center of Russia is easy, for there is nothing but space around.

The name "Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky" translates as "the largest settlement on the Kamchatka Peninsula." However, there are other cities that should be added to your itinerary: Perm, Yekaterinburg, Yaroslavl, and Kaliningrad.

St. Petersburg, Russia, is a city that can entertain and amaze you. Visit these top places in St. Petersburg and start exploring now!

Peter and Paul Fortress

Photo of Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress: en.wikipedia.org

The elegant Peter and Paul Fortress (Победный крепость Петра и Павла, Dvortsov Otsenny Krest) is one of St. Petersburg's best-loved landmarks. Completed in 1740 and situated on the River Neva, it was designed by architect and engineer Matvei Kazakov as a bastion, a fortress that could withstand the attack of the approaching enemy, and now also functions as a museum and concert hall. The fortress, known as the "White Pearl on the Waters of the Neva", sits in a former royal residence compound founded by Peter the Great in 1710. The surrounding parkland is popular with joggers and offers great views of the river, while the fortress itself has a captivating, well-tended tranquility. A series of galleries and exhibitions are on display, from the old-fashioned rooms on the first floor through to the state rooms on the top floor and the stunning views. Peter and Paul Fortress tickets cost a flat fare of 70-80 roubles, and there is also an English-language guide book, published by the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Tourist Information Centre. You'll need to book in advance and allow at least a full day to visit.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Photo of Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Saint Isaac's Cathedral: en.wikipedia.org

The vast interior of St. Isaac's Cathedral (Синайская соборная Церковь) in St. Petersburg is the largest brick church in the world. With its 7,080,400 square feet (664,883.29 square meters), the cathedral represents the transformation of Russia into a secular country. It was completed in 1591 under the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Constructed using bricks from 100 m (330 ft) of snow, the cathedral is three and a half times the size of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

Nevsky Prospekt

Photo of Nevsky Prospekt (Saint Petersburg Metro)
Nevsky Prospekt (Saint Petersburg Metro): en.wikipedia.org

St. Petersburg's most famous street is Nevsky Prospect, which literally means "the Neva's bank" because it runs along the bank of the River Neva. It is at least 200 meters long and is lined with beautiful neoclassical buildings and embassies, the best of which is the Finnish Embassy. It also has many well-preserved buildings that date from the 18th and 19th centuries and has become the main site for street-art and graffiti in St. Petersburg. Walking the Nevsky Prospect is a must, but be sure to watch out for all the traffic and stop and admire the architecture. For visitors the highlight is a trip to the Hermitage, which is also on the Nevsky Prospect.

Nevsky Prospect

Photo of Nevsky Prospect
Nevsky Prospect: en.wikipedia.org

The elegant "New Royal Street" (Nevsky Prospekt) is lined with wide edifices that represent the most creative periods of the Russian architecture. Many of them house museums and galleries, with St. Petersburg's most popular museum, the Hermitage, situated at the intersection of Nevsky Prospect and the Moyka River. The "new" Royal Street links most of the most important historical landmarks, including the White House, the Winter Palace, the Lobkovic Palace, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Admiralty Building, the Bolshoi Theatre, the Yusupov Palace, and the luxurious Anichkov Palace.

Winter Palace

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Winter Palace: en.wikipedia.org

The Winter Palace, built in 1742 by the architect I.M. Chichiladze, was the residence of the Russian emperors until the palace was turned into the Hermitage Museum in 1764, when Catherine the Great donated the palace and its art collection to Russia. Today, the palace houses the State Hermitage Museum, one of the largest and richest art galleries in the world. Highlights include the magnificent collection of paintings by the Russian masters, including many by Velasquez, Raphael, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and others. Don't miss the painting The Meeting of Leo X and the Pope Julius II in 1513 by Michelangelo. Also well worth a visit is the ornately carved St. Petersburg Imperial State Theatre, completed in 1869.

Saint Petersburg State University

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Saint Petersburg State University: en.wikipedia.org

Founded in 1703, this prominent institution of higher learning is currently ranked as the seventh best university in Europe by Times Higher Education. Its five campuses are spread out all over the city, including the Saint Petersburg Central University Campus on the Fontanka River. An extensive range of programs are offered, including universities in science, medicine, international business, engineering, economics, philology, humanities and law. The school is also home to the Russian Geographical Society, which offers a number of lectures and courses throughout the year. Many educational and cultural events are also held at the university, including International Poetry Day.

Russian Museum

Photo of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg: en.wikipedia.org

Vasily Tsereteli, the foremost architect of the 19th century in Russia, designed the impressive Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg. It includes works from all over the world, including many masterpieces of the Russian artists. The museum also includes impressive works of art from the East, such as Buddhist statues from Ceylon, India and Tibet, and interesting works by famous Russian artists such as Peter Carl Fabergé. At the same time, the rich collection of the Hermitage Museum makes it the most important art museum in the world.

The Summer Garden

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Summer Garden: en.wikipedia.org

A tree-lined street lined with massive flowerbeds, an enormous canal with boat rides, and a massive water wall built in 1893, The Summer Garden (Morozeniye) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, have been colluding to impress the royal visitors to Russia's most historic city since its opening in 1847. The Summer Garden features a grand "shopping square," a series of café-restaurants, a "Grand Palace" where the royal family would be entertained and a series of gorgeous park-lined avenues. The park is contained within a massive 60-meter-high wall built on the isthmus to separate the city's once teeming Tverskaya street from the lake and river.

Peterhof Palace

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Peterhof Palace: en.wikipedia.org

Peterhof is one of Russia's most loved and charming cities. Its eighteenth-century residences and villas nestle among luxuriant parklands in a wooded setting. The magnificent palaces at the heart of the palace, where many of Russia's last tsars and tsarevna lived, can be seen either in the main grounds, or on a guided tour. The wide range of activities available in the parklands in addition to the Palace include the extensive French Gardens, with their incredible views over the Gulf of Finland. To visit the palace and parklands on your own, get a guide from the tourist office, or a local interpreter in St Petersburg's central resort area, Gorky Park.

River Neva

The River Neva is one of the most important rivers in St. Petersburg. One of the few navigable waterways that can support large ships, the Neva is still an important route for the transport of cargo and tourism. Many of the most significant Russian landmarks, including the Winter Palace, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, and the Peter and Paul Fortress, can be found along the Neva River in this fascinating city. The river divides the eastern and western districts of St. Petersburg, forming the basis for the navigation system that is the cornerstone of the city's economy. The cruise ships dock at the Cruise and Maritime Terminal or the international river port.

Red Square

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Red Square: en.wikipedia.org

Towering over and around the Kazan Cathedral in central Saint Petersburg, and across from the Admiralty Building, the Bolshoi Theatre was built between 1836 and 1852 by Carlo Rossi to a design by Karl Ernst Osthaus, one of Europe's first neoclassical architects. After seeing the Bolshoi, plan a visit to the islands on Lake Pleschev or head over to the Summer Garden, where the Nevsky Prospect ends in an idyllic flower garden, lined with Baroque buildings, fountains, and trees. Next, take a walk through Kazan Cathedral, which stands in an ornamental park modeled after the parterre gardens at the Palace of Versailles.

Moscow Kremlin and Kremlin Armoury

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Moscow Kremlin: en.wikipedia.org

The Kremlin, the sacred heart of Russia, is a ring of nine fortifications encircling Moscow, set upon its highest and best vantage point. During Russian history, this fortress has stood as a symbol of political and religious power, but today it is a city of cultural wonder. An ideal place to start a visit is at the State Kremlin Palace, site of the Russian Imperial family's official residence until 1917. This vast Baroque palace of 29,000 square meters is a palace inside a palace. It offers fascinating insight into how the Imperial family lived during the 17th century. The grandiose Peter and Paul Fortress in the city center was completed in 1716 and houses one of the world's largest Orthodox cathedrals, the Church of the Saviour on the Blood. Other highlights of a visit include the Annunciation Cathedral, situated atop the Sparrow Hills, which was built between 1706 and 1732, the grand spires of Saint Basil's Cathedral, the Tretyakov Gallery, the Durov Museum, and the Smolny Cathedral. Along the banks of the Moscow River, Moskva (Moscow), Moscow's charming pre-revolutionary city center, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. It contains historic churches and monasteries, palaces and embassies. At the start of the 20th century it was once a place of creativity, a lively center of music and theater, until the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

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Cathedral of Christ the Saviour: en.wikipedia.org

Also known as the Kazan Cathedral, Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Saint Petersburg is Russia's largest Orthodox cathedral and contains Vladimir Lenin's Mausoleum, where the great leader lies in a plain marble tomb that is reached through the cathedral's own gate. Here, visitors can also find Lenin's embalmed body, the architect of the cathedral and a collection of artefacts including three crypts and many intricately carved tombs. The church, with its ornate gilding and some stunning mosaics, is now housed in a building constructed from gold and marble.

Annunciation Cathedral

Photo of Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow
Cathedral of the Annunciation, Moscow: en.wikipedia.org

The most important architectural monument in the St. Petersburg city center is Saint Petersburg's oldest cathedral, the Annunciation Cathedral, officially named "Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Virgin." Construction of the cathedral began in 1744, it was consecrated in 1844, and its gilded domes are visible from most points of the city. The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of St. Petersburg and contains a large number of icons and relics dating back to the 16th century.

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Photo of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg: en.wikipedia.org

Despite the vast scale of the Russia's capital, St. Petersburg has a unique and eye-catching structure, Peter and Paul Cathedral, which has survived fire, revolution and the terrible winter of World War II. Founded in 1708 as a wooden cathedral, the current building began in 1725 and was completed in 1792. The magnificent marble structure is a breathtakingly ornate work of art, worthy of admiration and perhaps even awe from even the most hardened tourist. Surrounding the church are lovely green parks and the waters of the Neva River, making St. Petersburg one of the most attractive cities in Russia. Peter and Paul Cathedral is the oldest standing structure in St. Petersburg and can be entered during opening hours.

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Photo of Church of the Savior on Blood
Church of the Savior on Blood: en.wikipedia.org

Created between 1555 and 1565, Saint Petersburg's Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was commissioned by Tsar Vasily III as a response to the failed 1550 Siege of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible. The huge church is notable for its extravagant bell tower, which was the first in the Russian Orthodox Church, and is the tallest in the city. In the interior, a gloomy and somber atmosphere reigns with great richness and detail, and highlights include four enormous columns and a combination of Byzantine and Eastern European Baroque styles. The church is located about one kilometer from the Kremlin on Kazanskaya Street.