St Petersburg Pictures – Russia

Palace Square and Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Palace Square and the magnificent Winter Palace containing one of our top five museums in the world, The Hermitage.

This ‘Venice of the North’ – once called both Petrograd and Leningrad – Saint Petersburg is a splendid metropolisof grand, baroque buildings laced around with canals and a dynamite joie de vivre.

Colourful, attractive, walkable and cultured – night hardly falls at all around midsummer – so there’s plenty of light-time to waft around the streets in a haze of vodka-fuelled goodwill with your new Russian chums. . . and chums there may be, for St Petersburg people are very, very sociable. More.

Peterhof Palace Gardens, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof Palace Gardens, one of St Petersburg’s outstanding sights.

Peterhof (Petrodvorets), Peter the Great’s Grand Palace is a highly recommended and popular museumand gardens (genuinely comparable with Paris’ Versailles) with spectacular water features.
However, there are limited information signs in English and curiously the glittering interior only opens from 10am-12 noon and 2. 30pm to 4. 30pm. The Park food shop is awful and the land train ride is unbelievably dull.
Peterhof is 29km from the city; travel there by bus or hydrofoil from in front of the Winter Palace.

Peterhof Palace in winter, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Peterhof Palace in winter.

Top Saint Petersburg Sights – churches, museums and palaces:

The Hermitage Museuminside the Winter palace. This massive edifice houses nearly three million artifacts – in an awesome environment that often overshadows the exibits – which would require nine years to see, so do some research and choose your targets carefully, but do include a visit to the amazing state rooms of the Winter Palace.
Avoiding huge Hermitage queues: buy a two-day voucher (discounted and the museum certainly justifies a couple of days) a few days in advance from the Hermitage online. Print the voucher and then exchange it for an entry ticket on arrival at the groups/disabled entrance. To see the most popular section of the museum, the Treasure Gallery, book a guided tour as soon as you arrive.
Students of any nationality get in free, but must show a student card. The first Thursday of the month is also free to everyone.

The Church of our Saviour on Spilled Blood home to the Museum of Mosaic, is an amazing 7, 500 sq m of breathtaking mosaic religious art but frequently absolutely inundated by tank-top tourists, flashing cameras and milling clusters of paddle-followers, so try to go early or off-season. Photo.

Peterhof Palace and Gardens. Photos and information above.

The State Russian Museum, set in Mikhaelovski Palace is a must-see even if you love the Hermitage. It houses countless superb Russian art works from ancient icons to bizarre folk art, specialising in Russian work as opposed to the Hermitage which embraces the world.

Peter and Paul Fortress, built in 1703 by Peter the Great, is St Petersburg’s earliest structure, externally plain but picturesquely set on its own island in the city centre, the Fortress houses various museums and the Peter and Paul Cathedral, with gilded needle spire and containing tombs of the Tsars and a stunning gilded wood iconostasis among other unique relics. Also busy in the summer try visiting between 4pm and 6pm closing.

Opera or Ballet performances at Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) Theatre, Mikhailovsky Theater, or the cheaper and more intimate St Petersburg Opera.

Catherine's Palace in Pushkin, near Saint Petersburg, Russia

Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin, near St Petersburg.

Catherine’s Palace is a renovated masterpiece in the baroque style, surrounded by parks. It’s in Pushkin, 25km south of Saint Petersburg.

Catherine's Palace ballroom, Pushkin, Russia

The ballroom inside Catherine’s Palace.

The Summer Palace in central St Petersberg.

Next, more St Petersburg Pictures or Moscow Pictures.

Saint Petersburg weather is best in April, May and October when average low temperatures are still above zero (! ) and highs reach 8C (46F). It’s chilly but with low humidity, low rainfall, low mosquitoes and low tourist numbers. Winters will be incredibly cold, -2C (28F) to -10C (14F) or lower, but beautiful, with lowest rainfall, and offering a different perspective on Russian life!

Summer in St Pete has drawbacks – it’s obviously crowded with tourists but also with mosquitoes; it’s the wettest and most humid time of the year, though June ushers in the lively White Nights festival. Summer average highs are about 22C (72F) but can go above 30C (86F), lows around 12C (54F).