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text by toma kuzminova

photos by ruslan vallev (@rsexplore)
Saint Petersburg: essential points
Imagine you are in Saint Petersburg. You have only one full day to explore the city. Also, somewhere deep inside there is a feeling that you've got to make a "check-the-box" route. So, unless you have a thematic itinerary, we are happy to provide you with a list of must-see places in Saint Pete.
So, you are in Saint Petersburg now. Well, fancy that! You wake up at 8 a.m. It is kind of greyly outside and the sun is going to rise in 1 or 2 hours. By the way, it is highly likely that you will not see it shining because it would be above the grey clouds – shining for anyone else. But wait a minute… what a beauty outside! Since you tide for time you only have one question: where to go?

We are here to make your stay easier. Let us introduce you the must-visit places to make sure you have really been to Saint Petersburg.
The heart of the city – the Palace Square. It is a marvel on all sides. Three basic facts about the place:

  • The Winter Palace, the General Staff building, the Alexander Column and the Guards Corps Headquarters building are components of the Palace Square ensemble.

  • The Hermitage is the second largest museum after Louvre. Art treasures, sophisticated imperial interiors, antiquities – there are so many things to see!

  • No cars on the square, only pedestrians so you can enjoy the view and take your time to read this very note.

Right across the Palace Square and the neighbouring Neva River embankment, there is a place witnessed its birth of the city back in 1703. Peter and Paul Fortress is located on the so-called Hare`s Island. There is also a museum, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral with a table-tomb of almost all Russian emperors and empresses inside. But no more barren style! Fun fact: the wall of the Peter and Paul fortress from the Neva river side is an absolutely windless place. When the sun shines in early spring people come over to get some tan. Even if it is less than +10C. Join us for a new season in March 2018.
There is a place where you may kill two birds with a stone. The first bird is the place itself – St. Isaac's Cathedral. The second – bird`s eye panorama of the city. Be ready: there are 262 stairs to overcome via a spiral staircase. But the view is absolutely worth it.
If you are a kind of person who likes hair-curling stories then you have to visit the Mikhailovsky Castle. It seems that guides like to tell the story about a ghost murdered there Paul I. The ghost of emperor appears at the midnight. Near the Mikhailovsky Castle, two places of interest are located. The Summer Garden and the Field of Mars. These two work perfectly for a summertime activity. The dense shade of the Summer Garden`s alleys, sprays of the fountains, dozens of marble sculptures contrasting with the deep green foliage – what a snug surrounding to take a breath. Or maybe you want to have a picnic and play frisbee? Then the Field of Mars is a place of your choice. And of course, after all, these are places with a historical background. Stay curious!
For those who want to feel art spirit, there is a place called the Art Square. The State Russian Museum, Mikhailovsky Theatre, Theatre of Musical Comedy, The Russian Museum of Ethnography and Saint Petersburg Philharmonia are the elements. Together, it is a list of places where you may spend your evening or daytime if it will be raining.
The last but not the least place to draw your attention is the Griboyedov canal which overlooks the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and the Kazan Cathedral divided by the Nevsky prospect – the main street of the city. It is usually overcrowded during the high season. Just remember that you can always turn the parallel streets leading to your destination in one way or another.
All photos are taken by Ruslan Valeev, @rsexplore
The list of places presented here is a basic one. It works fine if you visit Saint Petersburg for the first time. However, we are staying curious and continuing to explore the city with you. Join the curiosity club (join our journey) and Say Hi to Saint Petersburg. Make sure you have a look at all our activities that are available in Saint Petersburg!
I am one of those daydreamers who was always thinking about moving to a big city. Originally Siberian, I have been enjoying Saint Petersburg for almost 5 years now – a big city of my dream.

I guess that travelling is what brings people together in Say Hi to Russia. At some point in my life, I travelled a lot, almost every weekend. It was an adventure of a lifetime I had never experienced before. What a feeling it is to step out of a bus, train or plane at a new place. And what a feeling it is to get to know locals who always have a word to share.

A short while ago I got a sense that there is so much to discover in Russia: it doesn't matter if it is a big city or a small village. My desire is to unite tourist and local experience in my writings. It is a way to rediscover day-to-day places and maybe inspire someone to visit Russia.


Toma Kuzminova
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