A day to explore the Northern Capital is very short. However, if you set your priorities correctly, even in such a period you can see the most famous symbols of the metropolis…
Acquaintance with the city can be carried out in two ways. In order to have more time, it is better to prefer bus tours around St. Petersburg. In this case, you can visit 2-3 dozen attractions per day. The second option is walking around the historical center, which, in fact, is where the main tourist sites are concentrated. Whatever method of transportation is chosen, there are at least five places that you need to visit.
1. Palace Square
The heart of St. Petersburg, where a number of famous sites are located. We are talking about the symbol of imperial times – the Alexander Column, the Winter Palace and the Triumphal Arch of the General Staff. The Hermitage is also located here, and the Admiralty and the Neva Embankment are nearby. Professional architects are convinced that the Palace Square is one of the most harmonious architectural ensembles in the world. But most importantly, it is here that a tourist is able to feel the true spirit of the city and realize that this is indeed the capital, albeit the northern one.
The center of the complex is the Pillar of Alexandria, erected in 1834. This is a favorite place for selfies and visits by newlyweds. According to an urban legend, how many times the groom walks around the pole with the bride in his arms, they will have so many children. The most beautiful building on the Palace Square is considered to be the Winter Palace, against which tourists like to take pictures.
2. Nevsky Prospekt
Its length is 4 km, which are dotted with attractions. Kazan Cathedral, Gostiny Dvor, Anichkov Palace, Passage and many museums – it is impossible to get around in a week. But even a small promenade will allow tourists to feel the atmosphere of modern St. Petersburg, in which three centuries of existence have merged.
It is better to plan a walk along Nevsky Prospekt in the evening, because at this time it is brightly illuminated and especially spectacular. In addition to historical sites, there are many cafes, restaurants and theater and concert complexes on the avenue. The main thoroughfare of the city is noisy and fun: street musicians arrange nightly shows, artists paint passers-by, life is in full swing. Travel agencies offer walking and bus tours of Nevsky Prospekt, which are conducted from the Admiralty to the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
3. St. Isaac’s Cathedral
This is the largest church in St. Petersburg, although worship services are rarely held there. The cathedral is more of a museum. The basis of its exposition consists of paintings, including canvases by Bryullov, Shebuyev and Bruni. There are many huge mosaics and sculptures on biblical themes.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Tourists are led not only through the inner halls, but also allowed on the colonnade. It is located at an altitude of 43 m, offering an amazing view of the city center. The panorama of the metropolis is especially beautiful on white nights.
There is also a lot to see around the cathedral. Next to it is St. Isaac’s Square, the monument to Tsar Nicholas I and the Blue Bridge over the Moika. This is the widest bridge structure in St. Petersburg (114 m), the first version of which was built in 1818. There is a memorial sign next to the bridge with marks of the Neva River levels during flood periods.
4. Peter and Paul Fortress
It is considered the historical center of St. Petersburg, since it was with the construction of the fort on Zayachy Island that the development of the city began. There are more than a dozen museums and exhibitions in the modern Peter and Paul Fortress. Among them is the gloomy Museum of Torture, which presents sophisticated instruments of reprisals practiced in the XVIII century, the life–affirming Museum of Cosmonautics, exhibitions dedicated to the history of the fortress and St. Petersburg as a whole.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Excursions to the Trubetskoy Bastion prison are arranged for those who wish. At various times, famous personalities were kept in its casemates: Tsarevich Alexei (son of Peter I), Dostoevsky, Radishchev, Chernyshevsky, Gorky and others. According to tourists, the mint, where the money of the Russian Empire was minted for two centuries, as well as the tombs of princes and monarchs, are extremely interesting places of the fortress.
5. Arrow of Vasilievsky Island
Perhaps the largest museum and scientific center in St. Petersburg. The famous Kunstkammer, the Academy of Sciences, the Pushkin House, where the poet’s manuscripts are kept, Literary, Zoological and other museums are located here. There are enough historical buildings here, including the Menshikov Palace, the Stock Exchange building, and the state University.
The arrow of Vasilyevsky Island
Strelka is an excellent place for selfies. It is here that the symbols of St. Petersburg are concentrated: Rostral columns and famous Sphinxes. From the cape on Vasilyevsky Island, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Neva River, the Admiralty and the Peter and Paul Fortress. One of the most picturesque places in the city are the granite slopes to the river. They are worth seeing for every tourist who has visited St. Petersburg, even on a short visit.