Saint Petersburg: My Personal Favorite in Europe!

The Colorful Domes

The Colorful Domes

I’m not too sure why I prefer Saint Petersburg over Moscow. Perhaps, because I have preference for something more laid back, Moscow is always busy and fast-paced. I believe Saint Petersburg has potential of being the best place to visit during winter time from November to February. Still, I enjoy taking trips during the less touristy April!

Street of St Petersburg

Street of St Petersburg

Below is my own list of Saint Petersburg’s best. For others that are not listed here, it doesn’t mean that they are any less appealing, but some places are better viewed during another season.

The State Hermitage Museum
How to reach: Metro Stations: “Admiralteyskaya”
The full pictures can be viewed here: https://travelwithoutborders.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/the-gallery-the-hermitage-museum-st-petersburg-russia/

Going to St Petersburg without visiting this museum is a big miss. This white and green palace consists of 5 main buildings, namely: Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, New Hermitage, Large (Old) Hermitage and Hermitage Theatre.

I thought, the building’s facade did not look anything grand or spacious. At first, I did not go frantic over the fact that the museum is one of the world’s largest, hosting more than 3 million important collections. But I was wrong! My initial plan of 2 hours was not good enough for visitation of 1050 rooms, 1940 windows and 1780 doors. In the end, I spent 5 hours and looking for a way out of this enormous maze!

The Hermitage Museum!

The Hermitage Museum!

The collections are good, but the architecture is great! A major draw is the design and decoration of each room fitting into the display. I’m particularly impressed with the majority on the 2nd floor. To beat the queue, it’s better to purchase online tickets. I was there during winter, and the crowd was jam-packed, now I couldn’t imagine summer time.

The Hermitage Museum!

The Hermitage Museum!

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
How to reach: Metro Stations “Nevsky Prospekt”

This church is dedicated to Tsar Alexander II, who was assassinated here. You couldn’t possibly have missed this building, as it is too prominent amongst the neighbors. Not to mention the amount of tourists flocking along the Griboyedov Canal for the scenic view. Even with its resemblance to Moscow’s St Basil Cathedral; I’m delighted to see its beauty.

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral
How to reach: Metro Stations “Nevsky Prospekt”
If you have been to Vatican City, you won’t be blown away by its exterior. Nevertheless, it is not a fair comparison between these two. I’m well compensated with its classic decorated interior. Additionally, there is no entrance fee for this cathedral.

Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral

Our-Lady-of-Kazan Cathedral

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
How to reach: Metro Stations: “Admiralteyskaya”
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is one of the major attractions in the city. The interior looks extravaganza with all the paintings and chandeliers. As the local suggests, for those who are willing to climb 300 steps, the observation deck from the colonnade is the best spot to get an overview of the city. I guess the view is much better in summer than winter.

Inside Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Inside Saint Isaac’s Cathedral

Ballet
After a bit of googl-ing, I realized ballet was actually originated in Italy and later transformed to its current state by Russian. Despite my limited knowledge of technicalities in ballet, I enjoyed the classic Swan Lake in The Hermitage! When all the white swans appeared on stage, it gave me the chills. It was well-coordinated and compelling. The price might be steep; but you will remember the performance for sure.

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace
How to reach: Metro Stations: “Avtovo” and continue with bus 224, 424, 300, 401.

Often dubbed as Russian Versailles, Peterhof Palace looks beautiful in all the postcards I have seen. But unfortunately, I came at the wrong time. The palace was covered for re-painting and the weather was cold and gloomy. Apart from that, I can imagine this palace to be much more beautiful in summer. Just when you thought the admission ticket couldn’t get any pricier, it is only admission to the garden. Be prepared to pay almost twice of the price for the palace.

Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo

Tsarskoye Selo
How to reach: Metro Stations: “Moskovskaya” and continue with bus 286, 287, 545,342 or 299.
The full pictures can be viewed here: https://travelwithoutborders.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-gallery-tsarskoye-selo-summer-palace-st-petersburg-russia/

Tsarskoye Selo, located 24km from the city of Saint Petersburg, easily makes it the Top 3 of a must-visit list. The garden is splendid and the palace is stunning. Each and every room inside the palace has its own story to tell. The choice of colors might be bold but it is definitely paid off with the content. My personal favorite is “The Amber Room”; too bad camera is prohibited inside the room. During summer, this palace is a hot spot for tourists, arrive early might help! If you have a spare time to kill, don’t miss out Pavlovsk Palace, which takes a 30-minute bus-ride from Tsarkoye Selo.

Pavlovsk, the Private Palace of the Tsar Paul I

Pavlovsk, the Private Palace of the Tsar Paul I

Overnight Train from St Petersburg to Russia
The experience on train is generally pleasant. Certain class might get more expensive than travelling by air. But it’s the experience that counts. On a positive note, it is one way to save on hostels, which do not come cheap in Russia. Well, be mindful, trains depart on time!

Overnight Train from St Petersburg to Russia

Overnight Train from St Petersburg to Russia

Novgorod
Novgorod, is located 3-hour train-ride from Saint Petersburg, recently became a popular gateway for the locals during weekends. The city is small enough to explore by foot and everything is congregated within Kremlin. Lastly, you might not want to miss the silver and golden domes of The St. Sophia Cathedral as well!

Welcome to Novgorod!

Welcome to Novgorod!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Saint Petersburg: My Personal Favorite in Europe!

  1. Pingback: The Gallery: The Hermitage Museum! – St Petersburg, Russia |

  2. Pingback: The Gallery: Tsarskoye Selo (Summer Palace)! – St Petersburg, Russia |

  3. Pingback: The Golden Ring: Russia’s Most Sacred Cities! |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s