The dome of Saint Isaac's church dominates the skyline over the Moyka River, St Petersburg, Russia St Petersburg, Russia

Bridges and Waterways of St Petersburg, Russia

In Europe, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Russia, Trip-Types by JanisLeave a Comment

‘Venice of the North’

This phrase is often used to describe many European cities; however, St Petersburg has certainly earned this moniker.
I’m always one to enjoy a stroll along a riverside or hop on a boat, if there’s water involved I’m happy.

The salmon pink Beloselskiy Palace on the Fontanka River embankment, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Fontanka river embankment

Amazingly, St Petersburg has around 800 bridges, so it is quite difficult not to find yourself meandering along the canals and zig zagging over some of the bridges.

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Boats moored up in front of the Stroganov Palace on the banks of the Moyka River, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Stroganov Palace on the Moyka River

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Saint Petersburg’s Rivers & Canals

Where do you begin…….Neva, Moyka, Fontanka, Griboedov (lets do all of them)
The Neva River runs through the heart of St Petersburg, taking a boat trip along this waterway is a must. From this great vantage point you can really appreciate the architecture of the palaces along its main embankments.

A panoramic shot of the full span of the Trinity Bridge, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The full span of the Trinity bridge

Most of St Petersburg’s waterways are within a short distance of the Hermitage Museum, the Neva is straddled by five bridges, the widest of which is the Trinity Bridge.
Trinity Bridge opened in 1903 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg, it consists of ten arches and stretches across the widest point of the Neva River.

The Trinity Bridge over the Neva River, with the spire of St Peter & Paul's Cathedral in the background, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Trinity Bridge over the Neva River

Point to Note

Ensure you check the language of your boat tour, depending on your language of choice will dictate the time of the tour.

Blagoveshchensky Bridge

The four other bridges that can be seen from the main embankments are Blagoveshchensky, which opened in 1850 and is a bascule bridge, similar to London’s Tower Bridge, but not as elegant (I my opinion anyway, but I am biased).

The Blagoveshchensky Bridge over the River Neva with St Isaac's dome visible in the background of Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Blagoveshchensky Bridge

The Dvortsovy opened in 1916 and also is a bascule bridge, often known as the Palace bridge. Birzhevoy bridge was opened in 1894, this is also known as the Exchange bridge, after the Old Stock Exchange. The fourth bridge, Liteyny, was opened in 1879.

The elegant art deco Blagoveshchensky Bridge control box over the Neva River, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Blagoveshchensky Bridge control box over the Neva River

Bring your comfy shoes, you’ll going to need them crossing backwards and forwards.

A useful guide

If you've yet to discover the incredible history and architecture in St. Petersburg, you're in for a treat. I found this DK Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide invaluable, they're extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our St. Petersburg adventure, now you can grab the revised copy.

The Moyka River

Heading into the heart of St Petersburg and you’ll come across the Moyka River. This river encircles the core of St Petersburg and give you some fantastic views of the city.

The dome of Saint Isaac's church dominates the skyline over the Moyka River, St Petersburg, Russia St Petersburg, Russia

St Isaacs from the Moyka River

Originally the Moyka only had four bridges, which were named the Blue, the Green the Yellow and the Red, each painted in that colour. Nowadays the river is spanned by 15 bridges.

Don't just take our word for it!

If you're tempted by the intriguing city of Saint Petersburg and its beautiful architecture and waterways, take a look at the 'Visit Saint Petersburg' official website.

The Griboedov Canal

The Griboedov Canal is really pleasant to stroll along, passing by some of St Petersburg’s iconic sights along the way.

One of the stone lion statues at the end of the Lion Bridge in Saint Petersburg, Russia

A close-up of the Lions on Lions Bridge

The canal was constructed in 1739, 5km in length and has an incredible 21 bridges spanning it. One of which is the Lions Bridge, even though this bridge is small in comparison to the ones stretching across the Neva, it’s actually one of the most famous bridges in St Petersburg.


The Lions Bridge

Situated near the Mariinsky Theatre, the pedestrian bridge was constructed in 1826 and has two eye-catching cast iron lions sitting at either end, almost guarding it.

The Golden-Winged Griffins that flank either end of the Bank Bridge over the Moyka River, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Bank Bridge over the Moyka River

Continuing along to the Bank Bridge, which was constructed in 1825-26, this is the narrowest pedestrian bridge in the city. Adorned at each end of this suspension bridge, are two shimmering golden-winged griffins.

Looking across the lawn in front of the Kazan Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.  With its outstretched curved colonnades, it is said to resemble St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Kazan Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan

Further along the canal you pass by the Russian Orthodox Kazan Cathedral, which was modelled on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

The wonderfully ornate House of Books, (also known as Singer House), on Nevsky Prospect, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The House of Books aka Singer House

Then a quick hop across Nevsky Prospekt, and you come to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood.

This is one of my favourite sights in St Petersburg and quite possibly the main reason we visited.

A pleasure boat passes by the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood on the Moyka River in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Something to make your travels easier?

  • 6-Port Desktop USB Charging Station

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • Portable Charger 2 USB Ports Power Bank

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve, Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

The Fontanka River

The Fontanka River is 6,700m length and is spanned by 15 bridges. One of its most famous bridges is the Anichov Bridge, this bridge was completed in 1841.

It has four stunning bronze statues of men taming wild horses, viewed in the correct order you may notice that they appear to be broken in.
Now the beast is under control.

Just near the Anichov Bridge you can also visit the Fabergé museum.

The elegant white Faberge Museum on the banks of the Fontanka River, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Faberge Museum,

Tempted To?

Visit Saint Petersburg, Russia's second largest city. Take a peek at our 14 reasons to lure you to St Petersburg or for a little fun check out our St Petersburg - Truths 'n' Trivia.

and finally

Intro Paragraph
A view along the Winter canal from the Neva River, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Winter canal

The Winter canal is the narrowest waterway in the city, it only has 3 bridges and is 228m in length. This little canal is fed one end by the Moyka river and the other by the Neva river, the Winter Palace is just a short walk away.

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Inspired to visit Saint Petersburg?

Are you tempted to visit this ‘Venice of the North’? Stroll the canals, or a boat ride along the cities waterways?

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About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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