Discover magnificent Saint Petersburg and the sightseeing highlights of the Russian cultural capital on a city tour. Feel the atmosphere of the Russian Empire and see famous world heritage sights – the Hermitage, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Mariinsky Theatre and many more.
- Region in Russia: Saint Petersburg
- Topic: City Tour, Sightseeing
- Best Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
- Family & Kids: Yes
A city tour to Saint Petersburg equals a tour to the Russian Empire
A city of museums and theatres, palaces and mansions, broad avenues and winding canals, Saint Petersburg has enriched the country with a wealth of architectural and artistic treasures. Like no other city in Russia, Saint Petersburg takes a visitor back to politically, economically and culturally prosperous days of the Russian Empire with the beauty of its grand palaces, unique architecture and cultural variety. In the centre of the city there is an architectural marvel on every corner: no wonder that the ensemble of the historic centre of Saint Petersburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The number of sightseeing highlights is endless: enjoy the beauty of the cathedrals such as St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, get inspired by one of the largest collections of world art in the Hermitage, see a breathtaking performance at the Mariinsky theatre and walk through cozy winding canals of Saint Petersburg. A city tour in Saint Petersburg is a chance to see a great variety of cultural sights.
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The Peter and Paul Fortress – the place where it all began
Where should one start his or her city tour in Saint Petersburg if not in the Peter and Paul Fortress, the place where the city of Saint Petersburg was born. Saint Petersburg was founded by Peter the Great on the recently reconquered lands in the delta of the Neva River, near the Gulf of Finland. A new strategically important city was being built during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) and, therefore, the first building in the city was a fortress planned by Peter himself and the military engineer Joseph Gaspar Lambert de Guerin. On 16 May 1703 the construction work began, the day on which Saint Petersburg celebrates its birthday. Situated on the small island, The Peter and Paul Fortress, nowadays a sightseeing highlight of the city, was never used as a defensive structure. Instead it has a rich and varied history as a military base, a home of government, the burial ground of the Romanov royal family and a jail that held some of Russia’s most prominent political prisoners.
Today, the Peter and Paul Fortress attracts many tourists and citizens with a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as with its beach that is a popular picnic site and a host of various events and festivals including the respected Petrojazz. However, the main tourist attraction in the fortress is the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, one of the most striking building in the city. The Peter and Paul Fortress, thus, is a number one sightseeing highlight on a city tour in Saint Petersburg.
Palaces and Estates
What is another famous sightseeing highlight of Saint Petersburg? Of course, numerous imperial estates – another step on a city tour in Saint Petersburg. It is true that a trip to Saint Petersburg is not complete without visiting at least one of the world-famous imperial estates or palaces in the suburbs of the city. The wealth and taste of the Russian Emperors starting from Peter the Great is what one will find in any of these extraordinary estates: splendid palaces, vast gardens and parks, and, most importantly, a treasury of architecture, art and history. Which of the estates one should visit first on Saint Petersburg city tour? Tsarskoe Selo and Peterhof are undoubtedly the two must sees and absolute sightseeing highlights of the city: both estates offer unique charm, display extensive landscape gardens and manifest the beauty of architecture. Make sure to visit at least one of the estates on the city tour in Saint Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg is rich in culture and art
Saint Petersburg is a home to many museums, galleries and theatres, and is called by Russians “Gorod Muzei” which means “Museum City”. Of course, number one museum tourist attraction in Saint Petersburg is the Hermitage – one of the largest museums in the world. The Hermitage saves in its walls a grand collection of European art, including works of Michelangelo, Rubens, Rembrandt, Picasso and Matisse. If you are more interested in the Russian art, make sure to visit State Russian Museum which rivals the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow as the country’s finest collection of Russian art. No visit to Russia is complete without a ballet performance. The Mariinsky Opera and Ballet Theater is a theatrical highlight of Saint Petersburg: the beautiful building, which dates back to 1859, hosted some of Russia’s best classical performers. Fiodor Shaliapin sang there, Vatslav Nizhinsky and Anna Pavlova performed at its stage. Saint Petersburg, as any city on the water, has a marine museum called Central Navy Museum. Founded by Peter the Great in 1709, the museum offers more than 1500 exhibits and is one of the oldest museums in the city. See the treasures of world’s and Russia’s art and culture during a city tour in Saint Petersburg.
Saint Petersburg City Tour – Location Map & Contact Information
Saint Petersburg, Russia
How to get there – ARRIVAL INFORMATION
Metro Stations: Vasileostrovksaya, Nevskiy Prospekt