This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)
Week-end in Saint-Petersburg will be amazing if you read our guide. Saint-Petersburg – ex-capital of Imperial Russia is also known as Northern Venice, a dream-city cornerstones by the will of Peter the Great, Russian Tzar, who ruled the country in early 18th century. The city is placed at the shores of the River Neva and Baltic Sea. Surrounded by waters it is usually compared with Amsterdam and Venice, also because of its magnificent architecture, that makes this city one of the most beautiful in the whole world. If you love travelling and sightseeing, Saint-Petersburg is number one at your travel list. Be sure, you have a great time here as the city is known for its huge museums, excellent theaters, magnificent cathedrals, great restaurants and jolly bar-life. Are you ready to go? Let’s do that!
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Week-end in Saint-Petersburg
So, you came to Saint-Petersburg, rent a room and unpack your luggage. You have two days of great cultural and gastronomic experiences in ahead. What’s the first thing to do? It is obvious. Let’s have a breakfast!
Breakfasts with sparkling wines are especially popular among locals who prefer to have a good mood and smooth state during all day long. This is our point as well, that is why we go to have a breakfast at Charlie.
Art deco with hints of surrealism combine at the interior of the cafe as good as corn toasts with burrata or home-made granola with sour-cream mousse and chia pudding from the menu. Huge panoramic windows faced to Griboyedova channel confirm your arrival to Saint-Petersburg. Now it is time to relax. A promised glass of Spanish cava makes you feel easy, and a cup of fine espresso brings you a proper rhythm for the coming day. Now you are ready percept the beauty. And this is what we are planning to do as our next step is a visit to the largest Museum of Russia – The State Hermitage.
The main Museum of the city and probably, of the country, is an object of great interest for millions of tourists all over the world. Be ready to meet a huge line crossing the Palace Square, where The State Hermitage is placed at. But don’t get upset, we are not going to stand that line. There are some better ways to get inside. First, you can buy your tickets online. Or you can get them at the automats placed next to the entrance. When you have a ticket, pass by the line and enter the building.
Notice! If you have e-ticket, you have to use different entrance marked at your mail.
So, you are in. Be sure to visit golden and brilliant galleries as well to see Madonna Benoit by Leonardo Da Vinci and Madonna Litha by Rafael. Plan to spend at least three hours inside. This is usually enough to see the highlights of the collection. Moreover it is a high time to have lunch, and this is quite important point in our journey.
PETROV-VODKIN. RUSSIAN DINNER WITH A SHOT DRINKS
When you return to Palace Square, head to the golden spire of Admiralty and huge dome of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. At Admiralty prospect 2, you find tapas-bar and restaurant “Petrov-Vodkin”, one of the most popular places among foreigners and locals today. We should admit, this is one of the best modern twists on classical Russian cuisine, where you can find traditional Russian soups, porridge, and great choice of seafood specialties. Moreover, pay attention to the wine card rich with numerous tinctures and appetizers. It is very comfortable, that the menu contains several versions for lunch sets. Choose one of them to appreciate Russian cuisine in its total splendor.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
Good, the lunch is finished. It’s the right time for a footwalk and new impressions. They are just around a corner! Next block down the street you will find the fourth largest church in the world – magnificent Saint Isaac’s Cathedral. This Cathedral does not belong to the Church at the moment, this is a museum. You can get tickets at the cash desk placed nearby. Take two-in-one ticket to visit it and the get upstairs to the colonnade – the best venue to observe the whole city.
Inside the museum you better take an audio-guide to avoid another line for excursion. This will allow you to walk on your own and find curious facts from the history of this architectural giant.
Right after go upstairs to the colonnade. This is a real fitness-adventure. 562 steps up by a winding staircase bring you to a wonderful panorama of the city center.
ANGLETERRE. HAPPINESS. XANDER
When you go down to earth again and leave the cathedral, turn to Isaac’s Square behind the church. Here you can chill a bit making some nice photos for your social networks, and then have an aperitif, as you are at one of the most fancy districts of Imperial Capital. There are two historical hotels right at the square: Angleterre and Astoria. Nowadays this is one big hotel with a few nice places at the lobby. You can choose whatever you want from democratic “Happiness” (in Russian “Schastye” – try to spell it!) to aristocratic “Rotonda”. Wherever you go, you have a gorgeous view to the golden dome and marble walls of the Cathedral.
If you are a real adept of cocktail bar culture, have your five o’clock drink at Xander bar, placed at Four Season Lion Palace Hotel at the same district. Its chief-barman Taras Zavalnyuk is the best Russian bartender 2019.
After you have this nice stop, head to your place to change an outfit. And this is not just a whim. You are going to visit a theater. We strongly recommend you to buy tickets online and in advance. Spring-Summer is a high season and you can hardly find good tickets in a couple of hours before the show. Have a look at the repertoire of Mariinskii and Mikhailovsky theaters. Best operas and ballets are staged there.
Theatre is a temple of arts, and it has some everlasting rituals. During the break go with the rest of the public to the local buffet. It is a tradition to have a glass of sparkling wine with red caviar and white bread. And bring some cash, as no cards are accepted!
In some moment after the play you find yourself at the streets of the night Saint-Petersburg. The right time to have a good dinner after this long-long day.
HAVE A NICE DINNER
Book a table at Social Club cafe and restaurant. This is a highly atmospheric place at the very heart of the city. Panoramic windows bring you to the decorations of Northern Venice by night. European cuisine with a good choice of wines – this is what you need and what you get at this place. Have a meal and go to rest. Tomorrow is another big day!
DAY TWO. WHICH BAR TO CHOOSE?
Good morning! Yes, you are still in Saint-Petersburg, and this is not a dream. Today we plan to learn even more about the city, its historic, gastronomic and bar-life.
Let’s start a day with good filling breakfast at one of the most stylish places of Saint-Petersburg. Cafe Jungle is placed at design-hotel WYNWOOD at the court of Griboyedova channel 18-20. Enter the arch and turn to the right. This is a very trendy place among locals. Probably you should book a table before you come. The name of the cafe speaks for itself. The interior is real jungle, somehow it resembles aristocratic winter gardens of The Old World. Here you can find pan-Asian cuisine and continental breakfasts served till 4 p.m. Our favorite is millet porridge with caramelized pumpkin and pear. Try every dessert, as they are made by angels at least. The main peculiarity of the place is a terrace at the top of the building. It is opened at summertime when the weather is good. Nothing is better than a breakfast in a downtown with a nice panoramic view.
TO THE FORTRESS BY SUBWAY
After breakfast you need to cross the river Neva to see Peter-and-Paul Fortress. The easiest way to do that is to use subway, one of the deepest in the world. Take line 2, and go one station from Nevsky Prospect to Gor’kovskaya. It is just 10 minutes, and a true adventure with the ride under the river.
The Fortress is another 10 minutes by foot from the subway. Walk around a park to the South to see it. Plan to spend around three hours inside. There is pretty much to see. Peter-and-Paul Cathedral, Emperors’ tomb and Trubetskoy Bastion, the main political prison of old times. The Fortress is a heart of the city, the place it started from, full of dramatic and curious stories.
After your walk around the Fortress, we head to another unique place – gastro-alco project Wine&Dine, Petrogradskaya embankment, 8.
Wine&Dine, located at the historical manor, includes Italian cuisine restaurant, spirits boutique and a hall of Russian winery. You can choose a bottle of wine at the Hall and have it with your lunch at the Restaurant. All this goes together with majestic view to the riverside and Cruiser Aurora, where we go right after.
The Cruiser is a symbol of the Great October Revolution and one of the must-visits in Saint-Petersburg. Why it happened like that, you find out during a tour around this military ship turned into the museum in Soviet times.
When you come back to the embankment, turn to the left. In 200 meters you meet another local relic – the house of Peter the Great, the founder of the city. It is considered to be the first building of Saint-Petersburg, and had been preserved here since early 18th century. Inside there is another museum filled with Tsar’s belongings. If you do not feel like visiting another museum, have a cup of coffee at Volna restaurant placed just behind the House.
You can see the gilded fence of Summer Gardens just across the river. This is the first park of the city, one of the most beloved places by many generations of citizens. Surely, we have to visit it. If you feel like having a foot walk, cross the river by luxurinat Troitsky bridge on your right. From the bridge you have probably the most beautiful view to the city landscape with Vasilievsky Island, Peter-and-Paul Fortress and Palace embankment. A perfect place to take few photos.
So, Summer Gardens. Fountains, sculptures and shadows of trees. A pleasant stop amid our active ride around Saint-Petersburg. Walk down the alleys, feed ducks in the pounds, eat ice-cream and follow touristic boats at the rivers around the Gardens. Be happy and careless. This is a place to be like that. And when you feel like it is high time to stop, find the way out on the opposite side to the entrance. When you are outside, turn to the left and cross Fontanka river. Here are some nice places to have your aperitif before we go further. Look for our favorites: Gastroli, Wong Kar Wine and Portuguese cafe Tawny.
Main restaurant’s street of the city
Well, you are ready for evening adventures! Go to your place to change your outfit if needed, and then head to Rubinsteina street, the main restaurant street of the city. If you hadn’t dinner here, you haven’t been to Saint-petersburg! Book your table at “Rubinstein” cafe in advance. This is the most bohemian place of the district with great menu and hearty welcome.
To celebrate the end of your trip to Saint-Petersburg, go to Orthodox bar, hidden at the court of Rubinsteina street, 2. Signature cocktails based at local ingredients are inspired by great Russian writers. So, you can boast now, what it feels like to drink Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.
It is time to say good-bye to Saint-Petersburg. This is your new friend. And it will be waiting for you to come back!
This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)