Russia, and especially St. Petersburg, is full of exciting cultural experiences waiting to be discovered. In St. Petersburg it seems like around every corner there is something new to see or do. Although we were there for three weeks, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer and I’d love to go back someday.
Palavani: This place is a Georgian restaurant and wine bar with deeeeelicious food. I honestly still dream about it. If you go you have to get the khachapuri, oven baked bread stuffed with cheese. It’s to die for. The rest of the food is equally delicious and so are the Georgian wines. We tried to go back for a second time on our last night and it was closed for a private event. I don’t know if I’ve ever been so disappointed.
Stolle: We ate here for lunch one day after we went to the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. It’s just a short walk away and it’s a good, budget friendly café. They serve different types of Russian pies, both sweet and savory (we got both).
Rada-k: This vegetarian buffet was just a block over from our flat so it was a perfect spot for a quick and easy lunch, that also happened to be darn good food. Also, very good price for a good amount of food.
You must make sure to try the famous Russian blinis at one of the many shops around town - they are everywhere, you can’t miss them!
After a frantic scramble to find a place to stay (after we were already in St. Petersburg) with a kitchen and internet, we ended up with this great airbnb flat. If you need something for a longer stay, like we did, or you like to have a kitchen to cook in, this is a great option. It was spacious flat with all the amenities and close to the center of the city, which was exactly what we needed.
Hermitage Museum: A must see when in St. Petersburg. It’s one of the oldest and largest art museums in the world; you could spend weeks in there and not see everything. Not only is there exquisite art in the museum, the rooms themselves are works of art. Everything is so ornate you will be left in awe. Entrance is free for students and children and free for everyone the first Thursday of every month.
Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre: One of the things on my must-do list, while in Russia, was to see a ballet. The Mariinsky Theatre is the most famous historic theatre in St. Petersburg, which holds ballets, operas and orchestra performances today. We saw the Shurale ballet while we were visiting and it’s was absolutely amazing. The theatre is gorgeous, I felt like I had stepped back in time. If you can afford it, I’d suggest sitting in the first row of the dress circle right next to the Czar’s box. You will have a great view of everything and will not be disappointed!
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood: The first night we arrived in St. Petersburg, another student took us on a walk around the center of town. It was already dark and we had no idea where we were going so when we turned the corner down one street and looked up to see this magnificent church that we had seen so many pictures of, we were stunned. Obviously, it’s much better to see it during the day time when you can really take in all the bright colors and get the full effect of its fairly tale-like nature. The inside is just as amazing, if not more, than the outside. It’s covered, wall to wall, with mosaics. If you have time, I’d recommended taking a peek inside.
Summer Garden: This garden is just a short walk from the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. It’s worth taking at least a short stroll through to see all the marble statues. If the weather is nice, it would be a great place to stay and relax for a bit outside.
St. Issac’s Cathedral: Another magnificent cathedral that’s just as breathtaking outside as it is in. If you’d like, you can also climb to the top for a panoramic view of St. Petersburg!
Peter and Paul Fortress: Peter the Great established this fortress to protect the capital city from Swedish attach during the Northern War. Lots to see around the area!
Pushkin: We took a day trip to Pushkin and it was perfect - it’s definitely worth a trip. If you want to go into all of the palaces and churches, you’ll probably want to get there early morning so you can do it all. To get there from St. Petersburg you can take the purple metro line (line 5) to the Pushkinkaya stop. From there you will walk about 5 minutes to get to the Tsarskoye Selo Railway. The train costs about 40 rubles round trip, from St. Petersburg to Pushkin. A bonus is you’ll get to ride in the oldest public railway in Russia. The railway station itself is a site to see. If you’re wanting to just stroll around the town, like we did, you don’t need to worry about leaving so early in the morning because after 6:00 pm Catherine’s Park has free entrance.
If you’re looking for something to take home with you, the Souvenir Boutique has lots of good quality options. There are other souvenir shops all of over town, seriously everywhere, but I thought that this one seemed to be much better quality, since most of the items are handmade.
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