Today the city looks as grand as when Peter I laid the first stone in 1703. The emperor invited the leading architects of Europe to fill the streets with extravagant palaces and elegant baroque churches. For 300 years, the city was the cultural capital of the country, in which writers, poets, artists and playwrights worked. St. Petersburg is still a vibrant center of art, displaying everything from painting and literature to street theater and hard rock.
The focus is on the Mariinsky Theater, which houses the famous Kirov ballet troupe and of course the Hermitage, the world’s largest art museum, founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. Today, St. Petersburg is a modern metropolis with alternative cafes, techno clubs and one of the deepest metro in the world. The historical heart of this timeless, romantic city is concentrated between the Neva and Fontanka rivers. Here you will find Palace Square, the Hermitage, the Admiralty, as well as Nevsky Prospect, the most luxurious avenue of St. Petersburg. To the west of the Admiralty is the famous Mariinsky Theater, and to the north across the river is Vasilievsky Island with its universities and museums, and of course the Petrograd Side, where the Peter and Paul Fortress is located.
About the weather: when is it better to go to St. Petersburg
Petersburg Due to the short summers and long cold winters, we advise you to stock up on warm clothes before heading to St. Petersburg. Fortunately, there are many museums in the city that you can visit if the street is too cold. Spring (March to May) began cold, with an average temperature of + 1 ° C, but during the season it gets warmer, reaching an average of about + 16 ° C in May. Summer (June to August) is the best time to visit, because the weather is warm and pleasant, the maximum temperature during the day is + 22 ° C. From mid-June to early July, the time comes for the White Nights. Autumn (from September to November) starts pretty with mild weather + 14 ° C, but then cold sets in pretty quickly and the temperature drops to + 2 ° C. Winter (from December to February) at this time only brave tourists visit the city, because the temperature typically below zero, reaching an average minimum of -9 ° C.
On what to get around St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is well equipped with trams, buses, trolleybuses, subway trains and minibuses. Some of the vehicles are pretty worn out, but getting around the city is cheap. Please note that the city stretches for kilometers around the center, and there can be long distances between stops, if time is of the essence for you, it’s better to use the metro. Taxi, car rental, bike rental – all this is available today, so moving around the city should not be some kind of test for you.
The main attractions of St. Petersburg
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Created in the image of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, this temple was built on the site where the socialist radicals killed Emperor Alexander II on March 1, 1881. The temple is decorated with a fantastic collection of onion domes and has a stunning interior consisting of sparkling marble and mosaics. The best view of the exterior of the temple opens from the embankment of the Griboedov Canal.
These huge galleries, often undeservedly overshadowed by the magnificence of the Hermitage, contain the best collections of Russian paintings in the world: from icons of 1000 years ago to old masters and modern legends such as Malevich, Kandinsky and Chagall.
The magnificent baroque Winter Palace of Empress Elizabeth, designed by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, is a collection of the best works of art in Russia from ancient times to our century. Here are more than three million works. The main place is occupied by the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Housed in the wonderful Shuvalov Palace, this incredible museum is dedicated to the work of the outstanding jeweler Karl Faberge, famous for his virtuoso precious eggs. The museum has the largest collection of designer works in the world, in which more than 4000 works of decorative and applied Russian art.
Built by Peter the Great in 1703 to protect the territory from the Swedes, this fortress soon became a political prison. Among the famous prisoners were Gorky, Dostoevsky, Trotsky, as well as the son of Peter, Alexei. Gloomy cells today are a museum, as well as the house of the commandant, where prisoners were tried. The main attraction of the fortress is the soaring golden spire of the cathedral.
What to do in St. Petersburg
Visit a Russian bath
Russian bath, what could be better ?! Take a break from the bustling city and endless excursions in a Russian bath, enjoy a stuffy steam room, and then plunge into a font with ice water. We advise you to take a good steam bath with a birch broom in order to properly stimulate blood circulation.
Ice skating in the open air
The best place to relax in the winter is the skating rink! The temperature in St. Petersburg in the winter regularly drops to -20 ° C, and there is no better way to keep warm than ice skating. Many parks with ponds rent skates, there are also artificial ice rinks, but the best place to ride all of these is the natural ice rink, which is located on the Elaginsky Island.
Go in for winter sports.
Skiing, fun for the whole family. If you are visiting the city in winter, do not miss skiing. Tuutari Park, located an hour’s drive south of St. Petersburg, boasts five slopes and luge tracks. This is a great place for practicing winter sports, as well as an active recreation center offering ski lessons and equipment rental.
Shopping in St. Petersburg
1 United States Dollar equals – 63.70 Russian Ruble
For lovers of shopping in St. Petersburg, there is everything from shopping centers to markets, this is a great place to shop for Russian delicacies and traditional arts and crafts. Note, many famous stores in St. Petersburg are hiding behind richly decorated facades, which are made in the style of Italian art nouveau or art deco.
Best places to shop
Nevsky Prospect – the main shopping street in St. Petersburg, with many boutiques, department stores and bookstores, many of which are located in majestic neoclassical buildings – be sure to look into the delightful Singer Building on 28 Nevsky Prospect. Another popular street with many shops is Bolshoi Avenue on Vasilyevsky Island.
Souvenir markets are located around the main shopping areas of St. Petersburg, including Konyushennaya Square, opposite Savior on Blood and Duma Street, across Nevsky Prospekt and from the Grand Hotel Europe. At the Art Market on Nevsky Prospect 32/34, in front of the Catholic Church of St. Catherine, oil paintings, prints and portraits are sold, and at the Kuznechny Market near Nevsky Prospect you can buy flowers, fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade cheeses and pickles. You will find the largest selection of fresh products on Sennoy Market, which is located on Moskovsky Prospekt.
The main focus in St. Petersburg is on traditional Russian souvenirs – caviar, vodka, jewelry and dishes, woolen scarves and semiprecious stones, as well as the ubiquitous nesting dolls. There are also many Soviet-era memorabilia on sale (earflaps, military badges and buckles, watches, flags and the like), of course, many items are modern reproductions. Keep in mind that prices are often overpriced, so be prepared to bargain, especially in craft markets and street stalls.
Cafes and Restaurants in St. Petersbur.
Catering facilities in the city range from cozy bistro cafes and dining canteens to luxurious banquet rooms. The menu has expanded far beyond traditional Russian cuisine, modern cafes and restaurants offer Mexican, German, Italian, Japanese, French and Indian dishes. Please note that some trendy restaurants that work as nightclubs use face control to ensure reception for the most glamorous visitors – so take care of the look.
The following restaurants in St. Petersburg, we have grouped into three price categories:
expensive (more than $ 80);
medium (from 30 to 80 $);
cheap (up to $ 30).
In the price we included a 3-course dinner and a bottle of wine, or its equivalent, including taxes and 10% service.
Restaurant Bellevue (Russian and French cuisine) – Kempinski Hotel, offers all conceivable and unimaginable luxury, and this extends to the restaurant’s menu, which is located on the roofs. Bellevue Brasserie offers a luxurious menu of Russian delicacies, from caviar to Kamchatka crab, and also boasts a gorgeous panoramic view. Prices, however, can empty the thickest wallet.
Europe (Russian and French cuisine) – this stylish restaurant offers the perfect combination of Art Nouveau elegance, impeccable service and creative Russian gastronomy. Under the stunning stained-glass ceiling, you can dine on the original Russian-French cuisine, including skillfully prepared sturgeon and caviar, as well as enjoy an exquisite Sunday jazz brunch.
Palkin Restaurant (Russian cuisine) – if you want to spend the evening in a sophisticated atmosphere, we recommend visiting the Palkin restaurant, once the favorite place of Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky. This historic restaurant is located in a prestigious location on Nevsky Prospekt and offers an impressive menu of Russian delicacies, from beluga caviar to flambé lamb, accompanied by fine Russian wines and vodka. Your appearance is important.
Cafe Botanica (European, Russian, Asian cuisine) is a rare find for vegetarians, as the locals are big lovers of meat dishes. Here you will be offered a soulful selection of delicious soups, salads, sandwiches and main dishes.
Erivan author’s restaurant (Armenian) – Erivan is famous for its abundance of homemade dishes based on fish, meat, seasonal vegetables, as well as handmade bread and noodles. The restaurant resembles more a country dining room than an official restaurant; it is a hospitable place where dudu sounds so divine.
Restaurant Marketplace (Russian and international) – This small chain in St. Petersburg is especially popular with young residents due to its low prices and healthy food. The restaurant concept is a modern version of the old-fashioned Soviet dining room with a huge assortment of sandwiches, rolls, salads, pasta and much more. Restaurant branches are scattered throughout the city.
OBED BUFET (Russian, European and Asian cuisine) is the food of the cafeteria, it is not only the culinary of Soviet times. Obet Bufet, a great place for a creative lunch or a quick, hearty bowl of soup. Usually on the menu there are many salads, soups and sandwiches, as well as hearty meat dishes, pizza and Asian fries.