Our first stop on our world trip: Saint Petersburg! Now I won’t lie to you, we were here for the FIFA World Cup… but what a glorious place to be! Here are my highlights of what to see, followed by some extra info that might help you if you ever decide to visit the beautiful Saint Petersburg. You could easily knock over most of the sites in 2 days if you’re in a hurry or take an entire week if you have the time.
Monument to Prince Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly & Kazan Cathedral – Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly was a Russian Field Marshal and Minister of War during Napoleon’s invasion in 1812. An easy find on Nevsky Avenue, he stands outside the monumental Kazan Cathedral.
Fontan U Admiralteyskaya – a big ol’ fountain which can be found in the Aleksandrovskiy Gardens, surrounded by many monuments and beautiful buildings.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral – A popular spot, the inside is far more grand than the outside. A small fee to get in. You can also go to the top for some views, which Matt and I didn’t do, due to some communication issues. Haha. It’s just across the road and down a little from the Aleksandrovskiy Gardens. You can’t miss it.
Bronze Horseman – A statue of Peter the Great, the founder of Saint Petersburg. Across the road from Saint Isaac’s, on the corner, next to the Gardens.
State Hermitage Museum – the second largest museum in the world, you’ll find a large collection of art and culture here. If you’re not into that, or just don’t have the time, do yourself a favour and at least check out the outside of the building. It’s beautiful. You’ll find it at the end of Nevsky Avenue, on the waterfront. If you’re coming from the Horseman, you can just follow the river back towards Nevsky.
Savior on the Spilled Blood – Everyone knows this building, it’s pretty famous. Built on the site where Emperor Alexander II was severely wounded and died in 1881, it has a gruesome name, but is a beautiful structure. You’ll see this majestic landmark just off Nevsky Avenue, on the Griboyedov channel embankment. Keep your eyes open for the turn off though, blink and you’ll miss it!
Saint Petersburg Mosque – Maybe a lessor known attraction, this beautiful mosque isn’t open to the public (I don’t think), but that doesn’t stop you from seeing the intricate tiling on the outside. Visit it on the way to Peter and Paul Fortress. 10 out of 10 would Instagram.
Peter and Paul Fortress – Home of 2 Russian Orthodox cathedrals, Peter and Paul Fortress was built by Peter the Great and is the oldest landmark in Saint Petersburg. Entry to the fortress is free, but get there early if you want to get inside the cathedrals.
Peterhof Palace and Gardens – This particular visit will require at least half a day. Fork up some cash and catch the hydrofoil from outside the Hermitage to Peterhof. Pay an extra fee to get into the Gardens, and then even more if you want to get inside the Palace. Matt and I had a game to watch this day, so we skipped the palace and just took in the gardens. There’s squirrels as well! Peterhof opens at 9am, so get there at 9am. No jokes, it gets incredibly busy.
Do your research – alot of places are randomly closed on Wednesdays.
We stayed at Anabel on Nevsky, but anything on Nevsky Avenue or in the Nevsky Prospect would be awesome.
Eat all the Georgian food. Seriously. Order the cheese bread and let your waiter/waitress recommend some food to you. It’s pretty much all delicious. We ate at Cat and Rustaveli Restaurant.
As for Russian food, we had a Russian mate take us to Pelmenya for dumplings and Чайная ложка for traditional canteen food. Both were delicious and well priced.
So in conclusion: get your ass to Saint Petersburg! Hit me up if you have any questions about Saint Petersburg and I’ll do my best to answer them!
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