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Built in defiance of nature and logic, St. Petersburg is a monument to the will of Peter the Great. His city became a 'window on the West' and remains Russia's cultural capital. Spruced up in celebration of its tercentenary in 2003, the city's sights range from the humble log cabin from which Peter oversaw the construction of his city, to grandiose buildings such as the Admiralty, headquarters of Peter's beloved navy. And then, of course, there's the incomparable Hermitage with its (conservative estimate) three million artefacts and art works, and its extraordinarily opulent interiors.

The list of famous St Petersburg residents reads like a who's who of Russian history: Dostoyevsky, Fabergé, Rasputin, Tchaikovsky, Lenin and Putin, to name just a few, but the buildings are what really take the breath away. Splendid palaces line the rivers and canals, their pastel-coloured façades reflected in the water, and no fewer than eight cathedrals grace the skyline. The latter range in style from the onion domes of the Church on Spilled Blood to the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, with its gilded spire soaring 122m into the sky.

20th century landmarks include the battleship Aurora, which fired the shot signalling the start of the 1917 Revolution, and the impressive Monument to the Defenders of Leningrad, a memorial to those who resisted the 900-day Nazi siege during World War Two.

For lovers of classical music, opera and ballet, there's the renowned Mariinsky Theatre (formerly the Kirov). Just outside the city are the lavish summer residences of the Tsars and Tsarinas, which are also well worth a visit.

On a less cultural note, there are outdoor skating rinks (in winter), shopping opportunities ranging from traditional markets to the glitzy boutiques, and an ever-increasing number of bars and restaurants.

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Hermitage Museum Winter Palace
If You Do Three Things
1
Visit The Hermitage Museum

The Heritage Museum is home to over three million works of art and cultural artefacts spread across around 400 rooms, and we can organise a tour with the curator so you don't miss any of the highlights. The museum was founded in 1764 and the majority of the collection is found in the Winter Palace, once the residence of the Romanov Tsars and a spectacular building in its own right.

Peterhof Palace
If You Do Three Things
2
Pushkin & Peterhof Palaces

Head to the town of Pushkin, just 15 miles outside of St Petersburg to visit Catherine Palace, which was commissioned by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine in 1717, and was once the summer residence of the Tsars. On the outskirts of the city, visit Peterhof Palace, also commissioned by Peter the Great and referred to as the 'Russian Versailles' because Versailles provided the inspiration for the palace.

Mariinsky Theatre
If You Do Three Things
3
Catch a Show or Ballet at Mariinsky Theatre

Take in a show at the Mariinsky Theatre, home to the iconic Mariinsky Ballet, Opera and Orchestra, with the opera and ballet companies regarded as among the finest in Russia. The theatre as it is today opened in 1860, the previous wooden structure having burnt down in 1859, and was named after Alexander II's wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna.

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A Note on Price

All of our holidays are completely tailor-made and prices will vary based on things like when in the year you will be travelling, how far in advance you book, the class of flights included and the level of accommodation you choose. The guide prices shown across this website are designed to provide you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your trip.

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