Wondering how to spend 3 days in St. Petersburg, Russia? Here is my recommended 3 day itinerary! St. Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest city and is located by the Baltic Sea. I took a ferry to St. Petersburg from Helsinki as part of St. Peter Line’s visa-free program which allowed me to spend 2 nights and 3 days there.
St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral
St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is a baroque style Orthodox Cathedral. I love its pale blue colour!
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
This colourful church was the sight I was most looking forward to seeing in St. Petersburg! Its interior is also very impressive.
These two Egyptian sphinxes are over 3500 years old. They were brought from Egypt to Russia in 1832. You can find them by the river in front of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Isaac’s Cathedral is the fourth largest cathedral in the world. It took 40 years to build and has a prominent golden dome. However, during World War II, the dome was temporarily painted over to avoid attracting the attention of enemy aircraft.
The Hermitage Museum is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. It houses an extensive collection of art and antiquities. Plan to spend at least several hours here and buy your tickets online in advance to avoid long lineups.
There are more than 70 cats who live in the museum (mostly in the basement) and they have special caretakers. During the summer, the cats like to roam outside in the square.
In the morning, visit Peterhof Palace, which is famous for its many fountains and beautiful gold statues. You can get there by train from Baltisky railway station or by taking the metro and then a bus. You can also take a boat (called a hydrofoil) from behind the Hermitage museum on the Neva River. However, this is the most expensive option. Plan to spend a few hours at Peterhof wandering through the gardens and enjoying the fountains. Summer is the best time to visit as all the fountains will be turned on. When I visited in April, only a few fountains were on.
See a Ballet or Opera
Later, I recommend going to a ballet or an opera at the Mariinsky Theatre or the Mikhailovsky Theatre. The Mikhailovsky Theatre is located very close to the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. My friend and I bought tickets for the opera Manon Lescaut in the afternoon (for balcony seats in the back) and went to see it that night. I enjoyed the opera even though I couldn’t understand anything (it was performed in Italian with Russian subtitles shown on a screen). People usually dress up to go the opera, but unfortunately, I hadn’t packed any fancy clothes. No one gave me any weird looks though. I rented opera glasses because my seat was far away from the stage. During the intermission period, you can head downstairs to buy desserts or drinks. I tried a mousse and it was delicious!
Faberge Egg Museum
Russia is famous for its Faberge Eggs, which are jeweled eggs that contain a little surprise (like a miniature carriage or chicken). The Russian royal family used to give each other Faberge Eggs as Easter gifts. The museum has a collection of Imperial Faberge Eggs made especially for the last two Tsars as well as collections of paintings and jewelry. You can buy your tickets online. You can take a guided tour of the museum or rent an audio guide. We took a guided tour. The guide told us lots of interesting facts and spoke perfect English. If you are interested in buying a Faberge egg for yourself or as a gift, the museum gift shop has some very nice eggs.
You can spend the next couple of hours strolling along Nevsky Prospekt, the busiest street in St. Petersburg. Now would be a good time to visit some gift shops – I recommend buying a Matryoshka doll, which is a wooden doll filled with matching wooden dolls of decreasing size. Like Faberge Eggs, it is a popular souvenir from Russia.