One summer day in St. Petersburg

, updated on May 21, 2013
Itinerary one summer day in St.Petersburg

Everybody knows that summer is the best time to visit St. Petersburg. It’s the season of midnight sun and raised bridges that our city is famous for. Should it be your first time and your only one day in St. Petersburg  we would plan to turn this day into the time of your life!

Leave you stuff at the arrival

We strongly advise you to leave your luggage at the place of your arrival. If you have arrived at:

the railway station –  if you have a lot of bags it’s better to use the automatic luggage office, if you don’t  than just leave your things at the cloak-room for hand luggage;

Pulkovo 1 and Pulkovo 2 airport – the cloak-room costs 300 Rubles per day.

How can I get to St. Petersburg’s center – Nevsky avenue?

From Pulkovo airport:

Take any minibus or bus to reach the nearest underground station – Moskovskaya, then simply go to the Nevsky prospekt metro station.  It will take about 40-60 minutes. Using taxi will hardly shorten this time due to heavy traffic downtown. You can find more information in our article explaining how to get from Pulkovo airport to St.Petersburg center.

From Ladogsky train station:

Take a metro train from Ladogskaya station to the Gostiny dvor station (with a transfer on the Alexander Nevsky  station).

From Moscowsky train station:

Leaving the station, you will be in the Vosstaniya square. It is very close to the Nevsky avenue and you can try to get to the Dvortsovaya square on feet if you feel strong enough to walk 2,7 kilometers. Also you can make it faster using the public transport – there are plenty of buses and trolleybuses on Nevsky ave, and if you are lucky enough not to get into the traffic jam it will take you only 20 minutes to get there.  Read more about public transport in St. Petersburg

Advice:  don’t hurry to buy the souvenirs right away; it will not be comfortable to carry them around all day long.

A walk down the Nevsky avenue

Nevsky avenue is the main street of St. Petersburg, you will find the most expensive shops and luxurious restaurants here. Also you can see some of the most famous sights on your way to Dvortsovaya square –Gostinny Dvor,  Kazansky cathedral and the House of Books.

Dvortsovaya square, nextdoor to the Hermitage Museum

Just before you reach the Admiralty, the famous building with the golden spire where the Nevsky avenue begins, you can turn right and, after passing under the arch of the General Stuff Building, get to the Dvortsovaya square – the main square of the Russian Empire. You can see on one side of the square the Winter palace (Hermitage museum) – the residence of the Russian monarchs -, the General Stuff Building of the Russian army – on the other side, and the Alexander Column, glorified by Pushkin, stands in the center.

Our main museum, The Hermitage, occupies the Winter palace and a couple of surrounding buildings. The unique collections of west-european and oriental art are always on view – paintings, sculptures, china wares, guns, jewelry, everything! You simply can’t visit St. Petersburg and miss the Hermitage!

Info: entrance for the individual tourists is on the side of the square, just walk under the open worked grating through the yard with the fountain so you can reach the museum. Full info about the museum and all the admissions find in the article about Hermitage.

Gates to Winter Palace

What can I see in the Hermitage if I have not more than 2 hours?

Take a free museum map at the entrance and you will find the paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt, van Gogh, or the medieval hall or maybe even the mummy that is 4 thousand years old – it’s all up to you!

Interesting fact: the most valuable exhibition of the Hermitage consists of the works by Leonardo da Vinci.

If you have luck you’ll see the amazing mechanic toy of the 17th century in action – peacock-clock, where the peacock fluffs its tail off, the cock crows and the owl opens its eyes simultaneously – while everything is followed by a melodic tune. (hall #24).

Peacock clock in St petersburg Hermitage Museum

Advice: if you worry to get lost in the huge halls of the Hermitage and to miss a lot of masterpieces than you would better take a guide who will lead you through the main spots of the museum. You can buy a ticket for a guided tour at the entrance and it will cost you 100 Rubles extra.

If you want to see the jewelry of the Russian tsars or the gold found in the Scythian barrows you have to buy an additional ticket to the Golden or the Diamond room.

Don’t forget that the Hermitage is closed on Mondays and ticket offices close one hour before museum closes.

What can I do if I’m hungry?

After spending 2 hours or more in the museum you can have a snack at the museum café. It is not very cheap but at the same time it’s so nice. To find something cheaper you can head  back to the Nevsky avenue and drop by one of the numerous cafes or restaurants that are all over.

A tour down the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg is an unforgettable experience

It’s better to go out of the museum straight to the quay of Neva, in summer this exit door is opened.

If you feel sitting down or taking some rest we advise you to do it during the tour down the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg.  The tour is made on a small vessel and for the nearest hour or hour and a half you will just have to turn your head from side to side after the guide’s narration to see the famous building of St. Petersburg that would be passing by.

Water excursions in St.Petersburg

Some piers where the vessels start their journey are near the Hermitage museum. One of them is to the left from the Palace bridge, near the Admiralty and this tour will cost you 350-500 RUB.

Enjoy the panorama of St. Petersburg

If in the evening you still have the wish to see something after such an eventful day, St. Petersburg has 2 cathedrals waiting for you – the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Blood – the only two museums that are opened till late – till 11 p.m. Eventually you  can get to the colonnade of the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral to enjoy the bird’s eye view on the city.

Panoramic view over Saint Petersburg from St Isaacs Cathedral

It’s easy to get presents and souvenirs!

You can buy souvenirs at the museum shops and be sure the gift shops will be around you all day long. For instance, you can find them on the ground floor of the Gostinny Dvor (Old Merchant Court) at Nevsky prospekt or in the House of Books that is opened till 10 p.m.

After all, we all would like to wish you, inspired, impressed and covered with souvenirs, good luck and bon voyage!

Translation by Igor Todorov and Salvatore Gagliarde

About Ekaterina Labutina

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