The view over Palace Square with the magnificent Winter Palace in the background that is home to the Hermitage Museum.

Whilst strolling in St Petersburg, Russia

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

Through Palace Square, Nevsky Prospekt, the Neva River and beyond

The best way to see the wonders of St Petersburg is on foot (comfy shoes essential), from wandering through some of the small local streets to the wide bustling boulevard of Nevsky Prospekt.
Looking through a wooded garden to the gold-topped Grand-Ducal Burial Vault next to Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Grand-Ducal Burial Vault

This is a pleasurable experience, although the 30-degree heat in the August sunshine did take its toll at times.

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Down by the Neva River

Along the ‘Admiralty’, ‘English’, ‘University’ and ‘Palace’ Embankments that straddle the River Neva you can appreciate some the colourful architecture that St Petersburg is so elegantly laying before you.
The Kunstkammer from the river with the Rostrum in the distance, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Kunstkammer

Before crossing the Birzhevoy Bridge towards the Peter and Paul Fortress, spend some time strolling around Vasilevskiy Island.

The Rostral Columns, built in 1811, which stand flanking the Stock Exchange, were designed as lighthouses and the figures at the bottom represent Russia’s four biggest rivers (Volga, Dnieper, Neva and Volkhov).

On this island you can also visit two of St Petersburg’s many Cathedrals.

One of the Rostral Columns on the banks of the Neva River, Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The Doric column sit on a granite plinth and is constructed of brick coated with a deep terra cotta red stucco and decorated with bronze anchors and four pairs of bronze ship prows.

One of the Rostral Columns

St Petersburg has a beach?

A short hop over towards Peter and Paul Fortress and suddenly you have sand beneath your feet, who knew there was a beach in St Petersburg (an opportunity to top up the tan).

A view of Saint Peter's and Paul's Fortress from the Neva River in St Petersburg, Russia.

Peter and Paul Fortress

From within the fortress you can admire the stunning Baroque cathedral of Saint Peter and Paul. This ancient church is also the last resting place to many of Russia’s emperors and empresses.
Furthermore, the fortress also houses an Artillery museum.

Heading out of the citadel over Ioannovskiy Bridge you enter Trinity Square. On the perimeter of the square is one of Europe’s largest and most eye-catching mosques, which can hold up to 5,000 people.

The tiled dome of the Great Mosque of Saint Petersburg in Russia.  The surface is covered with mosaic ceramics of sky-light-blue colour and topped with a golden crescent.

The Great Mosque of St Petersburg

We strolled back over the Neva, crossing the beautiful Trinity Bridge. This bridge opened in 1903 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of St Petersburg. Trinity Bridge spans the widest point of the Neva River and has an incredible ten arches.
This is just one of the 800 bridges in this colourful city.

Floating under the centre span of the green, cast-iron, Trinity Bridge over the Neva River, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Trinity Bridge over the Neva River

To relax those tired feet, wander through the ‘Field of Mars’ and take a respectful rest by the Eternal Flame monument.
This monument was erected in 1957 and dedicated to those who died during the 1917 Russian Revolution.

A wreath, decorated with red & white flowers, stands before the Eternal Flame in the Field of Mars, St Petersburg, Russia.

The Eternal Flame in the Field of Mars

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.

Enough Resting

Beyond the ‘Field of Mars’ you will come upon the Mikhaylovskiy Castle, this was built for Tsar Paul I in 1801, who had a fear of being assassinated, so had the castle surrounded by moats and drawbridges as well as a secret tunnel.
He was right to be paranoid as he was murdered after only 40 days of living in the castle.

The main gate of the Mikhaylovskiy Castle in white stone against the ochre painted main building.

The Mikhaylovskiy Castle

Back on your feet again head to the Anichov Bridge, which 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.

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.

Nevsky Prospekt

From the Anichov Bridge head down the eight-lane boulevard of Nevsky Prospekt (this is a must). This 4.5km (3 miles) stretch of culture is the hub of the city’s social life, nestled amongst the cafes and boutiques you will witness architecture like no other.

One striking building is the Singer House, also known as the House of Books, it is a magnificent example of Russian Art Nouveau.

The building was originally designed to be a skyscraper, similar to the Singer Building in New York. However, due to St Petersburg’s building code it could not be taller than the Winter Palace, therefore it was adorned with a glass tower and globe.

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

The House of Books (aka Singer House)

Those comfy shoes must be coming in handy now.

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.

DK St Petersburg cover

Palace Square

Nearing the bottom of Nevsky Prospekt head off along Bolshaya Morskaya Street (you won’t be disappointed). When you walk through the Triumphal Arch to Palace Square the vision will take your breath away.

The top of the Triumphal arch, focusing on the detail on top with a Roman chariot of 6 horses surging forward.  The Triumphal arch leads onto Palace Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The detail in the Triumphal arch

The Hermitage is revealed in all its glory, the incredible colours of the Winter Palace, the Old and New Hermitage and the General Staff Building are stunning.
Witnessing this view was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit St Petersburg and it most definitely lived up to my expectations.

The sweeping span of the Hermitage Lecture Centre, with the Triumphal arch in the centre,  on one side of Palace Square in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Hermitage Lecture Centre, St Petersburg, Russia

The Palace Square encircles the Alexander Column, which was built in 1834 and dedicated to Alexander I.
The 47.5-metre-high monument is adorned by an angel holding a cross.

The view over Palace Square with the magnificent Winter Palace in the background that is home to the Hermitage Museum.

Palace Square with the Hermitage Museum, or Winter Palace, in the background

After our long stroll around Saint Petersburg we have a well-earned beer.
A glass of cold Baltika Beer next to its green bottle.  A local beer in Saint Petersburg, Russia

A cold Baltika Beer

Inspired to visit Saint Petersburg?

See what you recognise from James Bond’s Goldeneye – That’s right the tank chase scene happed through this magnificent city.

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