An enchanting city with a rich and fascinating history, St Petersburg is the Jewel in Russia’s Imperial Crown. It was from here that the aristocrat tsars ruled over Russia for two centuries until the Russian Revolution in 1917. Today remnants of the city’s grandiose past can be seen in its beautiful historic centre; made up of a series of canals this UNESCO World Heritage site is dotted with elegant baroque bridges, impressive rococo architecture and spectacular palaces. Modern-day St Petersburg is thriving city of culture, with fabulous museums, art galleries and world-class museums, offering plenty to keep visitors entertained.
St Petersburg boasts an impressive collection of churches and cathedral, making them a highlight of any tour of the city. Dominating the skyline are the glistening dome of St Isaacs Cathedral, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Here you can climb up the 300 or so steps to the observation walkway at the base of the cathedral’s dome and enjoy views over the city. Located just off Nevsky Prospek is the striking Church on Spilled Blood. Bearing resemblance to St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, this impressive church features colourful onion domes and colourful mosaics and stone carvings on the exterior facade. Situated within the River Neva is the Peter and Paul Fortress, an 18th century church that houses the tombs of the Romanov Tsars. With its marbled columns, amazing chandeliers and incredible carved and gilded icons, the church creates a reverent setting for the tombs of the Romanov monarchs.
Situated on the banks of the River Neva and partly housed in the Winter Palace, is the world famous Hermitage Museum. Made up of five interlinked buildings, the museums boasts one of the world’s largest art collections, with exhibits ranging from the Stone Age to present day, including works by Rembrandt, Picasso, Da Vinci and more.
A short drive from St Petersburg is the elaborate Catherine Palace. Originally commissioned as an modest building for the wife of Peter the Great, it was later transformed by their daughter into the blue-and-white fairytale palace it is today. Located on the tsar’s suburban estate - Tsarkoe Selo, the palace provides a fascinating insight into the history and luxurious lifestyles of the tsars. Also outside of the city is palatial Peterhof, the former summer residence of Peter the Great. Peterhof Park is famous for its array of magnificent gold fountains, with highlights including the Grand Cascade, which runs down from the palace towards the sea along the Samson canal and comprises 64 different fountains and over 200 bronze statues.