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.
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I have such a fascination with Russia, and in particular St Petersburg. I’ve always wanted to visit! Thanks for the tips
Russia is a very interesting country! 😉 I hope you get to visit soon!
I’d love to go to Russia one day! Right now it is at the top of my travel bucket list. I’ll definitely saw this for when I head to Russia.
I’m sure you will love Russia! 🙂 I really want to visit again someday.
I was in Saint Petersburg 15 years ago but from your pictures it looks like not much has changed. It’s such a beautiful city and only in the Hermitage you could easily spent 3 days
It’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! And yes, the Hermitage is huge!
Planning to take the same trip this summer, great to read someone else’s experience and how you timed the visits to the various places of interest whithin the time allowed visa-free. I also want to go see the opera, hope to manage to do evverything!
I hope you have a nice trip Eva! Seeing the opera was a wonderful experience! 🙂
Russia looks absolutely stunning! This looks like an amazing itinerary. I’ve been wanting to go to Russia so I will definitely reference this when I go!!
Thanks Alice, I’m glad you like my itinerary!
These places are so beautiful! Those cathedrals look like doll houses. The winter palace….wow such opulence and history. This is definitely on my list.
I agree, St. Petersburg is so beautiful! I absolutely love the churches there. 🙂
This seems like the perfect 3-day itinerary! I would love to visit Russia someday. Great post! 🙂
Thank you! I hope you get to visit Russia someday too. 🙂
I’ve always wanted to go to Russia. It looks like such a beautiful and fascinating place. I’m glad you had a wonderful time, and these photos are gorgeous!
It’s one of my favourite places that I’ve visited. Thanks for complimenting my photos!
Russia is definitely one of my favorite locations. I spent a month there in winter and it was gorgeous. Somehow I got to St. Petersburg when there was all slush. It didn’t take away the beauty from the scene though.
I would love to visit St. Petersburg during the winter! I think the buildings would look so romantic and charming covered in snow.
I’d love to go to Russia one day : this place looks absolutely stunning ! It is definitively on my bucket list 🙂 . St. Petersburg seems an incredible city: every direction you may look you see something that makes you go “oh my gosh, look at that !”
That’s exactly how I felt when I was there! The architecture was amazing.
Loved your itinerary! The pics are stunning especially the ones inside the palace, also I loved the egg meuseum! Seems you enjoyed a lot, keep exploring and sharing ur fun itineraries ????????
Thank you very much, Deepika!! The egg museum was one of the highlights. 🙂
Lovely photos! Makes me feel like I am already there! Nice to see another Canadian online! 🙂
Thank you, Charmaine! I’m glad to see another Canadian travel blogger too! 🙂
I love how colorful St. Petersburg is! I’ve always wanted to go to Russia as I had a thing with studying the Romanov history when I was younger (which was 100% inspired by watching Anastasia :p). This really is the perfect itinerary!
That’s great to hear! When I was younger I was really into the Anastasia story too. I read so many books about her (both fiction and non-fiction). 🙂
I would love to go to Russia! And as I live in Norway it’s our neighbor too. Your blog post and awesome photos really inspired me!
Definitely go when you have the time. 🙂 Glad you liked the post and photos! 🙂
Wow!!!! All those colors and the gold – so opulent. Looks amazing.
Yes, the golden statues are really impressive!
Great photos – St. Petersburg looks stunning. Those gold, intricate interiors really are something! I actually want to go there after reading this!
Thank you! I’m glad my post has made you want to go there! 😀
Wow – what incredible architecture and art! St Petersburg looks amazing. I would love to visit here, it’s such an iconic city. Your photos really show it off well and make me want to visit!
The architecture there is very special. 🙂 I hope you get to visit soon.
It looks delightful!
I’ve been trying to get to St.Petersburg ever since I realised how easy and visa-free it would be from Helsinki! Howver, I ran out of time as I was actually suppose to be in Estonia, and hopped over to Finland for a few days as it was so near! 😀
I’m going to Sweden in a few weeks, and I still don’t have time to get to Russia, but I will,one of these days, I will!
p.s. I like your photographs.
Thank you, Victoria! I’m glad you like my photos. Have a nice time in Sweden!
The St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is an absolute stunner, there’s an Orthodox church similar to this in Kiev, but I think the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is more beautiful. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is stunning as well, I must visit St Peterburg!
Wow St. Petersburg is so colourful! I would love to visit sometime soon!
I love your post- what area do you suggest to stay in? I want to be centrally located.
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