St Petersburg Bucket List!

peterhof palace
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I recently announced that St Petersburg was my favourite city in all of Europe (see the others here). It is a city I only visited for a few nights, thus it is a city I am eager to return to, but my all too short time there was unforgettable to say the least. If you find yourself looking for a new adventure to unfold in Europe, I highly suggest you venture East and specifically to Russia, as there is so much history to tap in to… particularly in St Petersburg.


1. Walk the Halls of the Hermitage Museum

Whilst it might seem impressive from the exterior, trust me when I say the interior of the Hermitage opens up a whole different world. As one of the world’s oldest museums, it is today home to a collection that rivals bigger names like The Louvre in Paris, and to some is regarded as more impressive!

2. Stroll through the Painting Market

Located on Nevsky Prospekt is a small painting market I stumble upon when walking from one pit stop to another, trying to rely on a hand drawn map from a kind Russian man I had met on the plane to Moscow. If you’re looking for an authentic souvenir to return home with, here is where you will find something incredibly unique. Of course you will also find the tacky stalls… though how could you go wrong with one of those faux fur Soviet hats!?

3. Visit Peter & Paul Fortress

As the original citadel of St Petersburg, the Peter & Paul fortress is a fabulous insight into the history of St Petersburg for first time visitors. It was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great and is an incredible fortress by any standards, so be sure to have your cameras at the ready!

peterhof palace

4. Visit Peterhof Palace

Due to my short amount of time in the city of St Petersburg, I didn’t have enough time to warrant two day trips, so I chose to visit just one palace outside of the city – Peterhof. After exploring so many countries and cities in Europe you would think I would have had enough of palaces, though this is one such palace that truly deserves a visit, no matter how well travelled you are. The gardens are incredible and full of “trickery” – like fountains that surprise and squirt you, showing Peter the Great’s humorous side as he entertained his guests.

5. Eat Russian Dumplings

Russian food and Eastern European food in general tends to get a pretty bad wrap, considered to be centred around meat and carbohydrates. Though this is true for the most part, it doesn’t mean there aren’t some delicious local dishes for you to try! Dumplings are about as Russian as you can get by way of food, so be sure to sit down for a hearty lunch amidst your explorations on foot (that way you can walk them off in the afternoon!)

6. Walk through the Summer Garden

Whilst walking around the city of St Petersburg I happily stumbled upon the Summer Garden, a garden that was created for locals in the city to enjoy the summer sunshine while it lasts (those Russian winters are h-a-r-s-h!!!) Though I hadn’t planned to visit it, I was pleasantly surprised to take a stroll through and would highly encourage you seek it out if visiting St Petersburg during the warmer months!


7. Step Inside St Isaac’s Cathedral

During my stay in St Petersburg I was lucky enough to be staying right beside St Isaac’s Cathedral (at the Four Seasons Alexander Palace) and talk about location, location, location! This Cathedral is one of the cities’ main attractions so be sure to stop by for a walk through and if time permits, drop in to Xander Bar at the Four Seasons for a classic cocktail in typical old school Russian-cigar-room surrounds.

8. Marvel at the Faburgé Museum

One souvenir I knew I wanted to return home with from Russia was a Faburgé egg, though whilst shopping for one I remembered I had already purchased one a few years earlier in Kiev, Ukraine, and as gorgeous as they are, 2 would be a little unnecessary. So if you just want to appreciate the unique, regal trinkets and learn the history behind them (it is truly fascinating), then head straight to the Faburgé Museum – a great escape from the cold weather if you’re visiting in winter!

9. Bottoms up!

To visit any city in Russia and not dabble in a taste of the local vodka offerings would be a crime! St Petersburg is absolutely filled with great bars to duck into for a quick drink, or, if you’re up for a more wild night out the nightlife here is second to none.

Church of the Savior on Blood

10. Stand in Awe at the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood

As one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of St Petersburg, a visit to the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood absolutely cannot go missed, even if it is just to gaze in awe at the exterior architecture (Image source).

11. Eat Russian Pancakes

Another great chance to indulge in Eastern European cuisine is to order yourself a generous serve of Russian Pancakes. Unlike the Western World where pancakes are doused in maple syrup and ice cream, Russian pancakes are typically a savoury affair… though you’ll soon find the options for toppings are limitless!

12. Visit Catherine Palace

Another great day trip and one that I will certainly take on my second visit to St Petersburg is to visit Catherine Palace. Located 30 kilometres outside of the city, Catherine Palace offers another insightful look into Russian royal history as it was once the summer residence of Russian tsars.

Mariinsky Theatre

13. See a show at Mariinsky Theatre

Home to world class ballet and opera, the Mariinsky Theatre is a must visit for musical and live art lovers. Tickets are much cheaper here than you will pay in much of Western Europe, so be sure to make the most of it and see at least one show in the evening! (Image source).

14. Sip a Cocktail at Xander Bar

As mentioned earlier, one of my favourite little finds in St Petersburg was to kick back at Xander Bar, located in the Four Seasons Alexander Palace Hotel. Though overpriced in comparison to other bars in the city, Xander Bar offers a chance to step back in time with a nostalgic approach to its’ decor.

15. Visit the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral

This pale blue, white and gold tipped cathedral looks incredibly ethereal in a blanket of snow, though looks equally as charming (and slightly less eery) in the warmer months. If you haven’t seen too many cathedrals yet on your travels in Europe, make this another stop on your visit to St Petersburg.

17. See the Bronze Horseman

If you’re a bit of a Russian history nerd like me, you’ll likely want to walk out of your way to see the statue of Peter the Great, the Bronze Horseman, commissioned by Catherine the Great. If not? Probably not worth the extra footwork!

18. Walk the length of Nevsky Prospekt

If you’re interested in shopping in St Petersburg, then look no further than the busy street of Nevsky Prospekt. Although it is constantly overrun with visitors to the city, you’ll find everything you’re looking for an then some on this centrally located shopping street!


Have you been to St Petersburg? What are your highlights to share with other readers!?

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    April 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Just back from St Pete – it is truly the most beautiful city in the world. Great choice 🙂
    I’ve just visited it in May and if someone is interested how does it look like now – you can have a look in my blog, posted a few photos.
    I’ve done my bachelor degree there and this city is incredible. Best time to visit May-end of June (white nights phenomenon), end of summer is good as well though. Or Autumn – September – October is so beautiful ! One of the most beautiful places to see all the color of this season.

    March 31, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I am currently reading ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’, and it is making me want to travel to Russia so badly! I especially want to see Tsarskoe Selo, which is where the Catherine Palace is, I believe – did you happen to see the rest of this park? Is it even open to the public? This looks like a beautiful destination!

      April 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Yes, you can have a walk to the rest of the park. It is so beautiful! Especially in September I would say.
      Good luck with your trip! Hope you will make it soon.

    March 30, 2016 at 5:36 am

    It looks so amazing ! I’d love to visit Russia, that’s a country that I find more and more appealing !

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Kenza from

    Posh, Broke, & Bored
    March 29, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Saint Petersburg was definitely my favourite city from my Russia trip last summer! I found Moscow a bit too nouveau riche and flashy. St P is definitely way more laid back and doesn’t try too hard – it’s got the natural confidence that comes with ‘having it all’ ie. such a grand history. x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

    Posh, Broke, & Bored
    March 29, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Saint Petersburg was definitely my favourite city from my Russia trip last summer! I found Moscow a bit too nouveau riche and flashy. St P is definitely way more laid back and doesn’t try too hard – it’s got the natural confidence that comes with ‘having it all’ ie. such a grand history. x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

    Maxine Francis
    March 29, 2016 at 7:22 am

    It looks and sounds amazing, I think I’m definitely adding this to the places I’d like to visit 🙂

    Maxine xx

    March 29, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Haven’t been here yet but I was so surprised when you named it your favorite! I definitely want to visit Moscow soon, but for sure putting this on my list now too! It sounds so lovely.


    Alina Ermilova
    March 29, 2016 at 3:30 am

    I’ve been to St.Petersburg this winter and it’s been an amazing experience, definitely looking forward to come back there! I’m from Russia, Moscow, so it’s not a long way for me 🙂


    March 29, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Russia seems amazing, I can’t wait to go and experience it for myself!

    Characters & Carry-ons

      April 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Good luck with your trip!
      I’m just back from there – love it, not the best time to visit, cause a bit cold, but I love it : )
      Better time is probably May – October

      also local currency is pretty low now, so it is quite cheap to go there
      good luck with your journeys

    rajasthan tour operator
    March 28, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    St. Petersburg is a fantastic place of Russia. There are so many things to visit.
    Completely enjoyed your post.

    Gabi @ Books & Trips
    March 28, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    It’s fairly close to Romania, but unfortunately the flights are over-the-top expensive! I’d love to visit one day though!

    Linda | travellersoftheworld
    March 28, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    I love the list! I really want to go to St petersburg! I think its a beautiful city

    March 28, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Great list! I loved visiting St. Petersburg, it’s one of the places I often dream of going back to. You’ve done a wonderful job highlighting the must-sees in the city. I wouldn’t add a thing 🙂

    March 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Lovely list! ^^

    March 28, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    So beautiful. I am desperate to get to Russia someday. St. Petersburg is at the top of my list. It looks incredible.

    March 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Definitely bookmarking this list for my next trip! I only had 4 days in St. Petersburg on my last visit, and I can’t wait to come back and see everything! 🙂

    March 28, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Oh what a beautiful city! I really want to go there one day. Really confused about Russian dumplings though?! Sounds interesting.

    March 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Did you learn the language to visit Russia? Or were you able to chat in english there?

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    March 28, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Russia sounds like an amazing country to explore, and St. Petersburg looks so beautiful! I’ve heard great things about the Hermitage museum, would love to visit one day 🙂

    Tessa at