Soft Skills 2021
Checklist: What to Visit in St. Petersburg in 2 Days
When you live in the most popular tourist destination in Russia, all your friends ask you one simple question: what do you recommend seeing? In my three years of living here, I developed a checklist which I will be happy to share with everyone.
Most are not expensive. If you are a Russian student, or a pensioner, or a parent with a child, then look at the discounted tickets.
The title of each museum below contains a link to Yandex. Maps. And if you need more information about what’s on now, go to social media. It is easier to find the opening hours, current prices, and news about exhibitions there.
For walking inside the museums, I recommend downloading the izi.travel app. It is a free audio guide with a numbered list of audio recordings about the exhibits. You simply put the numbers of the exhibits into the app and press play. The service is also available in English.
Regardless of whether you want to go around the entire museum or only see a particular exhibition, be sure to take a map of the building.
One of the largest art collections in the world. To avoid boredom while visiting it, use the Liza bot on VK (in Russian). If you want to see everything there — set aside half a day or a whole day.
The General Staff Building
This is the building opposite the Winter Palace (where the Hermitage museum is located). There you can see Van Gogh, Monet, Kandinsky, Picasso, and others. There are also permanent exhibitions dedicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Empire.
It houses a collection of Faberge eggs and other jewelry. The exhibits are very beautiful and deserve a closer look. Be sure to use izi.travel there, too. It is a private museum, so it is well-equipped and expensive.
The Museum of Political History of Russia
The biggest omission of all travel guides. It is mandatory to visit on a par with the Hermitage. Everything is as interactive as possible: you can twist and touch the exhibits, listen to recordings, etc. It will be interesting even if you do not like museums and do not like politics.
It is located in the former mansion of Matilda Kshesinskaya with a separate exhibition dedicated to the building itself.
The largest planetarium in the world, being inside it feels like virtual reality without the headset. During the show you are sure to fly to another galaxy.
Be sure to stop by when you are walking along Nevsky prospect. It’s a legendary pyshechnaya with a Soviet atmosphere. Even the taste of coffee is authentic. NB: you can pay with cash there.
The most delicious and cheap pastries you can find. Be sure to try the carrot cake and the cream bun.
Khachapuri and wine
One of the many restaurants serving Georgian cuisine. I recommend going for a hearty and delicious lunch served from 12 pm to 4 pm.
An unusual shawarma in a modern cafe. I recommend shawarma with lingonberry sauce and mint.
Japanese fast food. Choose the most unusual filling and try it for the sake of taste. This is a good place for a snack.
Churches are probably the most beautiful buildings in St. Petersburg. On the list, they are arranged subjectively by increasing greatness. I advise you to visit them in this order so that you can fully enjoy all the grandeur of the cathedrals.
Beautiful on the outside. Inside, it is striking in its whiteness and the height of the dome. Climb the belfry to see one of the best panoramas of St. Petersburg.
Peter and Paul Cathedral
This is the tomb of the emperors. The interior is very beautiful but even if you do not go inside, it is worth exploring one of the main attractions of St. Petersburg, the Peter and Paul Fortress inside which the cathedral is located, and walking along Hare island.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Incredibly beautiful photographic mosaic. Very high arches. The ticket includes a guided tour.
The Naval cathedral of Saint Nicholas in Kronstadt
You will have to go far — about 2 hours from the center by public transport, but this cathedral is worth it. Inspired by the image of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, it sparkles with novelty.
St. Isaac's Cathedral
The main cathedral of St. Petersburg, it is incredibly beautiful inside. There is a way to the colonnade with a view of the entire center of the Northern capital.
I recommend not rushing from spot to spot — just go with the flow and feel the city. See you in St. Pete.
Written by Ivan Timakhovich