Through Palace Square, Nevsky Prospekt, the Neva River and beyond
The Grand-Ducal Burial Vault
Down by the Neva River
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
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).
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 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.
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.
The Eternal Flame in the Field of Mars
Don't just take our word for it!
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 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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
Palace Square with the Hermitage Museum, or Winter Palace, in the background
A cold Baltika Beer
Inspired to visit Saint Petersburg?
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