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Russia’s second largest city and former capital, St. Petersburg, is located on the northeastern tip of the Baltic Sea. It’s a stunningly beautiful city, more or less a large open air museum, with any building in its historic centre worth exploring in detail. The old centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Winter Palace - the lavish home of the royal family at one time - an internationally-renowned site. Discover incredible artistic and cultural treasures in the Hermitage Museum and learn more about the city’s history from its founding by Peter the Great in the early-18th Century to the fall of the Soviet Union.
Palace Square - The historical heartbeat of the city, where you can explore the sea-green Winter Palace and world-renowned Hermitage Art Museum.
Nevsky Prospekt - An elegant avenue that cuts through the centre of the city. This is a useful geographical reference point, with high-end restaurants and plenty of chic dwellings.
North of Nevsky - Feel like a stroll? Then this is the perfect neighbourhood for discovering the city’s lesser known attractions and architectural masterpieces.
South of Nevsky - Built around a series of canals and where you can visit some of the city’s biggest attractions, including Dostoevsky's House Museum and the Mariinsky Theatre.
Vasilevsky Island - Sometimes called the city’s Manhattan, the island is home to a growing number of swanky restaurants and shops. More and more visitors are discovering its more isolated appeal.
Just wandering the streets of the historic centre is enough to fill any holiday but with so many other attractions, you might have to limit your strolling somewhat. You can’t miss the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace complex, one of the world’s great cultural venues. See priceless works of art by Rubens, Rembrandt and plenty more. Take in more art at the Russian Museum or learn more about the city’s founder at Peter the Great’s Cabin. It’s worth making the trip to Vasilievsky Island to see the cathedral and museums there. If you really want to see the city, take a rooftop tour or dine out on a roof terrace to enjoy the best views.
Going to St. Petersburg goes hand in hand with attending the opera or ballet. The Mariinsky is known around the world for its performances but tickets do sell out quickly so buy in advance if possible, and avoid getting them from costly online sites. As well as plenty of art and music spaces, including the Conservatory Theatre and Youth Theatre, there are numerous more edgy cultural projects around the city. The Loft Project Etagi and Taiga offer a more progressive approach to the arts, with trendy bars and shops on site too.