Saint Petersburg is one of those cities that somehow manage to blend in so many elements without losing touch with their beauty. With its history, architecture, and love of the arts, it’s no surprise that this is one of the most astonishing cities in the world. Saint Petersburg is not a city you can see in one day, maybe not even three, but this itinerary will show you the destinations you should see during your visit. Welcome to the cultural capital of Russia!
GUEST POST BY DIMA ALSHEIKH
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What’s the best time to visit Saint Petersburg?
The best time to visit Saint Petersburg varies by what you’re looking for. The two best seasons to see the city when you have just one day are summer and spring. The summer months have great weather, but large tourist crowds take over the city. In fact, some locals leave for most of August. Spring, which comes late to this northern city, is host to a series of festivals and holidays and is a great time to see the city while avoiding the summer crowds. Due to extreme cold and unreliable weather, avoiding Saint Petersburg during winter and autumn would be wise.
What’s good to know about Saint Petersburg?
There is so much to see and do in this city that it’s easy to miss a few things when traveling on your own. Finding a tour guide or an experienced local could make the trip around the city a whole lot more interesting. They can point out things you never would’ve noticed on your own and help skip many of the lines. Fun facts on the way to Tsars Village, details inside the Catherine Palace, marvels of the Peterhof Gardens, and the wonders of the Hermitage all await you.
One Day in Saint Petersburg Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Saint Petersburg.
Explore the State Hermitage Museum
To see the entirety of the Hermitage Museum in one visit is an impossibility. In fact, if you were to spend one minute looking at every item on display there, it would take you eight years to see everything. The museum occupies a vast complex of six historic buildings along the Palace Embankment, including the enchanting Winter Palace that used to be the residence of Russian emperors.
Booking a tour with a group that goes here early in the morning means you get to skip the rush of visitors later on in the day. You may even get to go in before official opening hours. Walking thorugh those near empty rooms, which are usually crowded, makes for an incredible and unforgettable experience. You will hardly be able to believe your eyes!
Stop to see the Peter and Paul Cathedral
Across the river, inside the Peter and Paul Fortress, is the Cathedral that serves as the burial site of the Romanov dynasty. This is a generally quick stop, since the Cathedral is not very big in size, but it is present on pretty much every famous trip planner.
Visit the Catherine Palace at Pushkin
The drive to Pushkin (formerly Tsars Village) is an opportune moment to catch up on the history you are about to see firsthand throughout your one day in Saint Petersburg. It takes about an hour to get there, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it if you’ve gone with a good group. This would be a good time to eat a pre-packed light lunch or a snack in preparation for the rest of the day.
The Catherine Palace served as a summer palace for the tsars and definitely does not pull back in terms of opulence. Don’t forget to have a look at the Amber room, but remember: photography is prohibited in that area of the palace.
Photo stop at Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood
On your way back from the village into the city, it’s a good idea to stop for a photo by the Church of the Spilled Blood. After all, what is a trip to Russia without a photo with one of it’s famous domed churches? If you’re visiting in summer, you will have the chance to see the church during the evening opening hours. The beauty and splendor of this building is something you definitely don’t want to miss.
Stop at the famous Nevsky Prospect for dinner
A five minutes’ drive away from the Church, Nevsky Prospect is the ideal area to head to find a proper bite to eat before the end of your day. This is a 2-in-1 deal, since the area itself is also considered one of Saint Petersburg’s must sees!
Where to stay in Saint Petersburg?
Friends on Fontanka
Naberezhnaya reki Fontanki 59, Tsentralny, 191180 Saint Petersburg
Friends on Fontanka is a comfortable and stylish hotel with minimalist and modern decor and one of the best value deals in the area. It’s located next to the Fontanka River and only 15 minutes walking to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Vosstaniya Street 13, Tsentralny, 191036 Saint Petersburg
Silver Age is a charming and classy hotel located very central, with lots of cafes and restaurants around and only a short walk from the Nevsky Prospect street. The rooms are elegantly furnished with classic-style interiors looking like from the beginning of XX century.
Kentron Boutique Hotel
Nevsky Prospekt 111/3, Tsentralny, 191186 Saint Petersburg
Kentron Boutique Hotel is a contemporary boutique hotel located on Nevsky Prospekt avenue, in the city centre, close to train and metro stations with many restaurants, shops and bars close by. All rooms have incredible furniture, are beautifully decorated and give you that modern luxurious vibe.
Extra tips for visiting Saint Petersburg
– As this is a city well known for it’s pickpockets, be extremely careful about what you bring with you. Try not to wear any jewelry or flashy clothing, and do not carry large amounts of cash with you.
– Don’t forget to adjust your itinerary depending on the day you’re visiting! Some destinations are closed certain days of the week, so do your research before you decide to make the trip!
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Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Dima is a Saudi Arabian English major, amateur photographer, and self-proclaimed wanderer. She currently has her plate full with full-time schooling and part-time photography, but hopes to one day make her passion for storytelling, travel, food, and literature her full-time focus. Check out her day to day adventures on http://www.snapchat.com/add/DimaTheWanderer