Updated: Dec 6, 2019
Now it's my busy season of preparation work. I plan itineraries for the new clients and the most popular question is what I would recommend? Certainly you know from guide books what is "must see" and still let me help you organise St Petersburg sightseeing. BTW read also "off the beaten tracks" to have a better sence what would you like to see.
Right, number one is the Hermitage museum. It fits to everyone needs. If you are the art lover you will find world famous masterpieces by da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Canova, Rubens, Rembrandt. If you come with kids the worth doing route is through the State rooms of the former palace and also look at couple of pieces from Antic and Egyptian collections. If you are concentrated on Russian history visit Russian department and few former private rooms of the Royal family, later on rooms of the provisional government. If you don't like long museum trips spend an hour taking best photos in the original interiors.
Have you been to Versailles? Peterhof was planned by Peter the Great as the residence that could rival with beauty of European palaces. 180 fountains to enjoy! The main part here is to see the Lower garden (Upper Garden is small and it's opened for free). For comfortable visit leave at least one hour and a half. If you want to add the Grand palace one more hour is required. By the way this palace is one the most popular sights for big Chinese groups. If you try to decide between Catherine palace and this one I will sacrifice Peterhof's palace. But if there is no shortage of time visit both, two palaces are quite different.
The most sparkling palace you can ever visit is Catherine palace in Tzar's village. Everybody heard about the Amber study which is here. No, it's not the original one but the story, the colours and originality will not leave you indifferent. If you are lucky you will be able to see the longest golden gallery (in high season the exhibition is devided into 2 routes, both see the Amber room and the Big Ball Hall but the rest is a bit different). In a sparkling enfilade each room is made in the Baroque style - when gilded woodcarving is motto of decoration. If you plan to book one of St Petersburg guided tours I would recommended to do Peterhof and Tzar's village in one day.
Onion shaped domes, bright colours, mosaic icons all these you couldn't just pass by. Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood is the one with opulent Russian style and true spirit. For next six years it would be party hidden by scaffoldings as the museum has started the huge restoration. One fact from history when in Soviet time it was a long restoration process (it lasted longer than 15 years) people start saying that by the end of work it would be also the end of USSR. And you know, it happened in the same month. Firstly they took off scaffoldings and almost right after the collapse of the Soviet Russia followed. Can we link it with today's Russia I don't know.
What's next? In my opinion it's the only sight where we can feel the spirit of Petersburg of 18th century. I mean Peter and Paul fortress. It's located on small island at the city centre. A hour walk here gives you a chance to rest a little bit from museum buildings. What to do - listen a blank shot at 12 pm, take a look of the Neva river from the pier, visit the former political prison, be surprised by the monument dedicated to Peter the Great, spend time reading names of Russian monarchs from tombs inside the cathedral.
Finally finish you city day at Faberge museum. I welcome you to read the article about this gorgeous place. I have two favourite museums in Saint-Petersburg besides the Faberge collection I am still in love with Impressionist department of the Hermitage museum. Does this recommendation from local mean anything?
Visit St-Petersburg because it's a pearl of the Baltic cruise or because it's Venice of the North (if you are not cruising). Anyway see you soon!