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What to do in St. Petersburg in 4 Days

by Juan José Herranz | January 5, 2021
canal and buildings in Saint Petersburg

St. Petersburg is a one-of-a-kind city. Built on an archipelago of Neva Delta, it is the second-largest city of Russia with significant cultural and historical importance. While St. Petersburg is home to monumental buildings that are architectural masterpieces, it also holds remnants of revolution and war. It has magnificent bridges, cathedrals, museums, and cultural landmarks that will make you fall in love.

As a traveller, there is so much you can do in St. Petersburg, but if you only have 4 days to spare, take a look at our list of major attractions that you shouldn’t miss!

Hermitage Museum

No itinerary of St. Petersburg will be complete if it doesn’t include the second-largest museum in the world. You will be fascinated by the extensive collection of paintings, jewellery, and antiques of different eras. This art museum has over 3 million pieces.

Palace Square

Palace Square is surrounded by important landmarks in St. Petersburg and is a public space that’s used for many important parades and festivals, such as the Victory Day Parade of Russia. It’s one of the most beautiful and architecturally symbolic squares in the world.

Alexander Column in Palace Square in Russia

Nevsky Avenue

Nevsky Prospekt is one of the most popular streets in Russia filled with ancient buildings, churches, cafes, restaurants, and shopping malls that are worth visiting. Some important attractions are the Singer House, Alexandrinsky Theatre, and Eliseyev Emporium shop. You can also pay a visit to the Russian National Library on your way here.

When you are in Nevsky Avenue, the cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan is something not to be missed. With an 80-meter high dome, stone colonnade, and a water fountain, the cathedral has an impressive architectural value. As it’s an important place of worship, it’s advised to be silent when you visit the Kazan Cathedral.

Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood

This church was built on the spot where Alexander II, the famous Russian Tsar was wounded by an enemy. Built-in the 19th century, the architecture of the church is of classical Russian-style with five elegantly decorated domes. However, the church’s main attraction is its collection of Roman mosaics, one of the largest in Europe.

Saint Isaac Cathedral

Every cathedral in St. Petersburg is unique because of its history. Saint Isaac Cathedral, the 4th largest in the world was built in the 9th century. The gold-painted dome, red granite columns, sculptures, and Roman mosaics beautify the structure of this church.

The church mainly serves as a museum today, although it is still used for certain religious ceremonies. You can also take the long flight of stairs to the Colonnade to experience the view from the top.

Saint Isaac Cathedral in Russia

Neva River

Neva River is an integral part of local life. The many bridges that connect the embankments of the river are illuminated at night, making it a picture-perfect sight. If you visit St. Petersburg during summer, you can even take a boat cruise on the Neva River. During winter, the river is almost abandoned as it is covered in ice.

Fabergé Museum

If you like admiring fancy items and intricate jewellery, don’t miss visiting this museum, which houses a large collection of work done by the House of Fabergé. Although the main attraction is the set of 9 Easter eggs beautifully crafted for two Russian Tsars, there are also interesting pieces of jewellery, home decor, silverware, and other miscellaneous items. The Museum is located in the Shuvalov Palace.

Saint Petersburg's Underground

Many visitors choose making at least one train ride simply to admire this underground railway system that is cut-above many other railway stations you have come across in your life. You would be amused by the rich interior of each station, each of them very different. Marbled flooring, carved columns, large chandeliers, and mosaics define the grandeur of the metro.  

Russian Cruiser Aurora

Anchored permanently in the Neva River in Aurora, the ship that heralded a new era for Russia in the past. As an icon of the Bolshevik Revolution and a ship that served in the navy over a century, Aurora is known as an unsinkable warship. Today, it is a museum with 10 exhibition rooms that will take you back in time with tales of the Russian fleet.

Russian Cruiser Aurora in Saint Petersburg

Russian Railway Museum

The museum has a fascinating display of steam engines, coaches, and railway equipment that are very old. Some notable exhibits there are the oldest Russian tank steam locomotive, last Soviet steam locomotive, and Russian railway uniforms.

Soviet Submarine

C-189 Submarine Museum is a rare attraction. The submarine belonged to the Soviet Navy until 1990 when it sank. Later, it was found, renovated and turned into a museum. You can walk through this submarine and observe its components up close and even learn about its history if you are assisted by a tour guide.

Russian Ballet

St. Petersburg is one of the best places to watch classical Russian ballet, which is strongly embedded in its culture and art. It’s popular among both locals and tourists because of the extraordinary choreography and performance of the dancers.

You can watch a performance of the Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, or a Shakespearean-themed piece in one of the famous theatres such as Mariinsky Theatre, and the Hermitage Theatre.

The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

This monument pays tribute to those who fought against the Nazis and lifted the Leningrad Siege. There’s a 48-meter high obelisk with a pair of statues at its foot. It also consists of a large ensemble of bronze statues depicting soldiers, pilots, and civilians who worked for the cause.

Under the monument, there’s a large underground memorial hall that houses a museum covering a lot of important details about World War II and Russia’s role in it.