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18 Things To Know Before You Go To Saint Petersburg


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Helga Jeffers


Saint Petersburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” is a city that captivates visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. As the cultural capital of Russia, this majestic city offers a plethora of attractions and experiences just waiting to be discovered.

Before you embark on your journey to Saint Petersburg, it’s important to gather some insider knowledge to make the most of your visit. From navigating the local transportation system to understanding the city’s customs and traditions, being prepared will enhance your experience and ensure a smooth and unforgettable trip.

In this article, we have compiled a list of 18 essential things to know before you go to Saint Petersburg. From visa requirements and weather conditions to recommended attractions and local etiquette, we’ll provide you with valuable insights to help you navigate this enchanting city with ease.

The Historic City of Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg, often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” is a city steeped in history and culture. With its grandiose palaces, picturesque canals, and vibrant arts scene, it’s no wonder that this city has become a popular destination for travelers.

The Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest art museums in the world. Housing over three million works of art and artifacts, it showcases a variety of collections, from Renaissance masterpieces to ancient Egyptian artifacts.

The Stunning Architecture

Saint Petersburg is known for its impressive architecture, with landmarks such as the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and the Peter and Paul Fortress. Marvel at the intricate details and ornate designs that adorn the city’s buildings.

The White Nights

Experience the wonder of the White Nights in Saint Petersburg, where the sun barely sets during the summer months. Take a stroll along the Neva River at midnight and witness the city bathed in a magical twilight.

The Fabergé Museum

Visit the Fabergé Museum and discover a world of exquisite craftsmanship. Admire the famous Fabergé eggs and other intricate jeweled creations that were once owned by the Russian royal family.

The Mariinsky Theatre

For a night of cultural entertainment, head to the Mariinsky Theatre. Enjoy ballet, opera, and classical music performances in an opulent setting that reflects the city’s rich artistic heritage.

The Peterhof Palace

Explore the magnificent Peterhof Palace, also known as the “Russian Versailles.” Admire the stunning gardens, impressive fountains, and the grandeur of this former summer residence of the Russian tsars.

The Russian Cuisine

Indulge in the flavors of traditional Russian cuisine. Try classics like borscht, pelmeni, and blini, and don’t forget to pair your meal with some traditional Russian vodka.

The Nevsky Prospekt

Take a stroll along the Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s main thoroughfare. This bustling street is lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings, offering a vibrant atmosphere day and night.

The State Russian Museum

Discover the largest collection of Russian fine art at the State Russian Museum. From icons and paintings to sculptures and decorative arts, immerse yourself in Russia’s rich artistic heritage.

The Winter Palace

Step back in time at the Winter Palace, now part of the State Hermitage Museum. Explore the opulent interiors and learn about the history of the Russian imperial family.

The Canal Tour

Embark on a canal tour and see Saint Petersburg from a different perspective. Cruise along the city’s picturesque canals, marveling at the stunning architecture and getting a glimpse into local life.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Visit the iconic Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, a breathtaking example of Russian architecture. Marvel at the intricate mosaics that adorn the interior of this historical landmark.

The Russian Museum of Ethnography

Learn about the diverse cultures and traditions of Russia at the Russian Museum of Ethnography. Discover the customs and lifestyles of different ethnic groups through a vast collection of artifacts.

The Vodka Museum

Uncover the secrets of Russia’s most famous drink at the Vodka Museum. Learn about the history of vodka production, sample different varieties, and gain insights into Russian drinking traditions.

The Summer Garden

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Summer Garden. Take a leisurely stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens, relax by the fountains, and enjoy the serene atmosphere.

The Aurora Cruiser

Explore a piece of Russian naval history on board the Aurora Cruiser. This historic ship played a significant role in the 1917 October Revolution and is now open to visitors.

The St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Marvel at the grandeur of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the city and admire the stunning interior adorned with marble and mosaics.


In conclusion, visiting Saint Petersburg is an experience like no other. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, this city is truly a gem worth exploring. However, it’s important to be prepared before you go. From familiarizing yourself with the local customs to knowing the best time to visit, these 18 things will help you make the most of your trip to Saint Petersburg. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with breathtaking sights, delicious food, and unforgettable memories in the magnificent city of Saint Petersburg.


1. Do I need a visa to visit Saint Petersburg?

Yes, most visitors to Saint Petersburg will require a visa. It is recommended to apply for a tourist visa well in advance of your trip to avoid any last-minute complications.

2. What is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg?

The best time to visit Saint Petersburg is during the summer months of June to August, when the weather is mild and the city comes alive with festivals and events.

3. Are credit cards widely accepted in Saint Petersburg?

Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments in Saint Petersburg. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or establishments in more remote areas.

4. Can I drink tap water in Saint Petersburg?

It is generally safe to drink tap water in Saint Petersburg. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, it’s recommended to drink bottled water.

5. Is it safe to walk around Saint Petersburg at night?

Saint Petersburg is generally a safe city to walk around at night. However, it’s always a good idea to take standard safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings.