For a long time now, I’ve wanted to visit Russia. Specifically, Moscow and St. Petersburg. My wife doesn’t really share my fascination with Russia, nor remotely share my wanting to visit the country, but that hasn’t deterred me from dreaming about walking the streets of these cities. I’m not really sure where this desire came from, maybe from reading some of the early Tom Clancy novels or classic 80s movies.
Typically, in a travel blog, you’d read about trips we’ve already taken. However, I’ve been thinking more and more about a trip to Russia, trying to come up with an angle to talk Amy into a stop there, so I thought I’d write about some pre-trip planning to St. Petersburg. This will give you a little info about one of the stops I’d like to make, as well as serve as a shell for a planning guide if I’m actually able to pull this off.
Likened by many to Venice, Italy, St. Petersburg is the Venice of the North. There are over 340 bridges in the city on the Neva River. There are a host of things to see, do, and experience while visiting the city. Something for everyone, really.
How To Get There
This is an easy one. Most major airlines have flights connecting throughout various cities in Europe to St. Petersburg. Pulkovo Airport will be your hub, and once you arrive, you’re only about 10 miles from the city center. Both the bus and train are easy, cheap options to the city center from the airport. Flights during the late spring or early fall (when I’d like to visit) are around $1200 round trip per person.
Where To Stay
A number of hotels are available with something to fit every budget. Prices range from $50 to $300+ with Airbnb options hovering under $100 for most options. I’m planning on around $90 per night for decent, 4-star hotels in St. Petersburg, Russia or a nicer Airbnb. There are several options I found near the airport for under $75. This is my backup option for a one-day trip to the city.
What To See & Do
Here are the top five things on my list for my visit to St. Petersburg:
- St. Isaac’s Cathedral – Large enough to accommodate 14,000 worshipers, this massive church, built by Auguste Montferrand as the main church of the Russian Empire, has amazing city views from the cathedral’s dome.
- The Blue Bridge – Supposedly the widest bridge in the world, it’s built entirely from cast iron and dates to 1818.
- The Church of Our Savior On The Spilled Blood – St. Petersburg’s answer to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the church is on the very spot of Emperor Alexander II’s assassination in March 1881.
- The Bronze Horseman Statue – Built to honor Peter the Great, who founded St. Petersburg, was also one of Pushkin’s favorite works.
- The Hermitage – Spanning across five palaces, it is one of the most respected art museums in the world.
When thinking of Russia, many people think Moscow. However, St. Petersburg is a hidden gem worthy of anyone’s travel itinerary. Whatever your pleasure, from art and architecture to shopping and an abundant nightlife scene, St. Petersburg has something we can all partake in and enjoy. Can’t wait to visit this amazing city!