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About city Gallery Where to stay

The “Russian capital of culture” or the “brainchild of Peter the Great” is how Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, with a population of 4.8 million, is commonly referred to as. Only a few of the world’s cities can be praised for such a plethora of sights, museums, theatres, palaces, parks and monuments. The city’s literary and musical heritage is impressive as well - even the wildest imaginations would be flabbergasted by the number of writers, poets and composers inspired by the city’s misty shores. Alongside Paris, Rome and Venice, Saint Petersburg is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as a city whose entire historical centre should be protected.

Besides, it is home to houses of worship of 42 different confessions: a spectacular mosque with a porcelain-tiled dome, the only Buddhist monastery in Europe and one of the most beautiful chapels of the Order of Malta.

The city can also be called the city of bridges. 68 rivers, their arms and canals intersect the city in various directions, creating 42 islands on the territory of the megalopolis. Saint Petersburg and its boroughs combined have 580 bridges, 50 of which are lift bridges.

Saint Petersburg
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Saint Petersburg

Its unique ambience is what distinguishes the city from others. Visitors might hear people say, “open your heart to the city and it will open itself to you”.

It is easy to navigate in Saint Petersburg. Its many rivers and canals divide the city into islands and islets, connected by regular and lift bridges. The three main tourist areas of the city (and also the largest land masses) are the historical centre, the Petrograd side and Vasilyevsky Island.

Most of the sights are found in the historical part of Saint Petersburg: the Hermitage Museum, the Russian Museum, Nevsky Prospekt, the Field of Mars and Kazan and Saint Isaac‘s cathedrals.

The Petrograd side hosts the Peter and Paul Fortress, Saint Vladimir‘s Cathedral, the zoo and the Artillery Museum. This part encompasses the Petrogradsky, Zayachy, Aptekarsky and Krestovsky islands.

The Moyka River embankment in Saint Petersburg
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  The Moyka River embankment in Saint Petersburg

Vasilyevsky Island is famous for the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange building, the Kunstkamera, Menshikov Palace and the Saint Petersburg State University. Also worth mentioning is Dekabristov Island, which is in the western seaside part of the city, and created by Neva’s split into two big arms – Bol’shaya Neva and Malaya Neva.

If the main goal of your stay is visiting as many sights as possible, you should look for a hotel in the city centre – that way you won’t have to waste precious time to reach interesting landmarks, and it will be safer to get back after dusk. Perhaps the best option is the vicinity of the Chernishevskogo Prospekt and the bank of the Moyka River. It is an area dominated by consulates, so peace and tranquillity are guaranteed to the hotels’ guests. It is also convenient to stay near the Nevsky Prospekt, Palace Square, the Vosstaniya Square (lit. “Uprising Square”), Saint Isaac’s Square, on the shore of Fontanka and along the Griboyedov canal. Areas of the Admiralty, Moscow and Vasilyevsky islands are popular as well.

Tourists can find affordable accommodation even in the centre of Saint Petersburg – from cheap hostels perfectly suited for big groups to European-style cosy hotels.

Food Festival - "National cuisine - the key to the friendship of the peoples"
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Food Festival - "National cuisine - the key to the friendship of the peoples"

Saint Petersburg has many unique cafes and restaurants. For example, the “Pierre” café, where the ambience is created by running water; the “Terrace” restaurant on the top of one of the highest buildings, which provides a stunning view; the French patisserie “Du Nord 1834”; the “Dans le noir” restaurant, where food, brought by blind waiters, is eaten in complete darkness; and the humorously named “Valise for a pregnant spy” cafe, where the interior reveals the secrets of the spy lifestyle.

So, there is more than enough to see and do in Saint Petersburg for a week.

Where to stay

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