Search over 1,000,000 properties worldwide and 550 airlines worldwide
Search over a million flights, hotels, packages, and more
No Expedia cancellation fee to change or cancel almost any hotel reservation.
Reviewed on 31 Jul 2019
St. Petersburg is a city that lends itself to upmarket breaks. Pastel facades and its wide river embankments make the city feel more cosmopolitan and European than Moscow, yet its stately architecture and gilded domes refuse to let visitors forget the city’s Imperialist past. For a glimpse of how the Tsars lived, head to the mint-green Winter Palace. Originally built in the mid-18th century, this vast mansion was the royal residence right up until the revolution. It now houses the extensive State Hermitage Museum, a comprehensive collection of Western masterpieces, including pieces by Da Vinci and Goya.
For a bit of a treat, hunt out some of the best dance on the planet. Founded in the 1740s and having lived and thrived through many guises, the Mariinsky Ballet leads the world of classical dance. The Mariinsky Theatre, opened in 1860, remains St. Petersburg’s oldest theatre and has played host to works by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. The theatre is also home to the Mariinsky Opera, which even puts on opera for children at times.
It may not be as renowned as Milan or Paris in the fashion world, but St. Petersburg is a hotbed of boutique fashion. For homegrown designers, check out pieces by Leonid Alexeev and Tatyana Parfinova. Most visitors also save suitcase space for some gzhel (distinctive blue-and-white pottery) as well. It’s always worth a rummage around the vast Udelnaya Fair, where you could spend hours combing through Imperial antiques and World War II artefacts.
There are plenty of options to dine like a Tsar in St. Petersburg, from fancy restaurants re-creating the style and elegance of Imperial Russia to trendy eateries that attract a younger generation of well-heeled diners. While Nevsky Prospekt has a number of tourist-focussed eateries; places like the Literary Café, where Puskin apparently ate before the duel that ended his life in 1837, and Palkin, with its authentic elegance that reaches back to the 18th Century, are worth hunting out.