Peter the Great founded Saint-Petersburg in 1703. As you wander the streets, travel back to the time of the tsars and appreciate the architecture’s grandeur with impressive plazas and baroque and neoclassical churches and palaces. Because of Peter the Great’s love for Amsterdam and Venice, he built St-Petersburg on a swamp, creating 65 rivers and canals and 342 bridges that divide the city into 42 islands. To this day, the city of the Tsars is Russia’s cultural capital with over 200 museums, world-class ballet, and great opera and classical music.
- Take a free walking tour
We learnt so much about the city and its history on the free walking tour we took. I normally recommend these types of tours since they are a great way to meet other travellers and you get a glimpse of what else the city has to offer. Then, you can choose the activities you want to do during your stay.
- Cruise along the canals
You can easily find small boats that take you around the city and its canals. Unfortunately, we did not find one that offered their services in English. We basically just enjoyed the different views of the city and its beautiful buildings and took pictures.
- See a ballet
Or classical music or the opera. I was not able to get tickets for The Mariinsky Theatre because we were there during the FIFA and it was fully booked. But smaller theatres are also beautifully adorned and have amazing sound.
Probably stole my heart away. The Hermitage consists of 7 buildings and its 500m facade is the longest in Europe. Inside, the chandeliers, paintings, columns, and richly adorned decors will make you feel like a tsar or tsarina. Even those who are not into art will enjoy walking along the Hermitage’s halls. If you tried to the whole collection would take 8 years to see its whole international collection.
- City outskirts
If you are in the city for a few days, I highly recommend take a train to the outskirts. Palaces and sites like Pushkin, Peterhof or Oranienbaum will allow you to enjoy beautiful views, walk around immense parks, and continue to learn about Russian culture and history.