Home Europe St Petersburg, Russia – The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary

St Petersburg, Russia – The Perfect 3 Day Itinerary

by Kat
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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.

Day One

St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral

St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral is a baroque style Orthodox Cathedral. I love its pale blue colour!

St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral

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.

A girl standing in front of Church of the Spilled Blood

Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg

Inside Church of the Spilled Blood

Beautiful Interior of Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood Paintings in Church of the Spilled Blood

Famous church in St. Petersburg, Russia

River Sphinxes

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.

A sphinx statue sitting on the banks of the river in St. Petersburg

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 golden domed St. Isaac's Cathedral

Hermitage Museum

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.

Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Palace used to be the former residence of the Russian royal family. Now it houses the Hermitage Museum.

Small Italian Skylight Room in the Hermitage Museum

Red room in Hermitage Museum

White hall in Hermitage Museum

Beautiful wall decorations on a staircase in the Hermitage

Blue Hallway in Hermitage Museum

Furniture display in Hermitage Musuem

A green jade vase in the Hermitage museum

Peacock Clock Hermitage Museum

The Peacock Clock features three mechanical birds. Every hour, the three birds would move and play a song. However, due to its age, the clock only plays the song on certain days.

Day Two

Peterhof Palace

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.

Peterhof Palace in April

Gold Statue at Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Fountain Fish

Gold statues at Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace in Russia

Peterhof Palace GardenThe Grand Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul Church at Peterhof

Peterhof App Sign

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul near Peterhof

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul near Peterhof

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!

The inside of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

Mikhailovsky Theatre interior

A girl using opera glasses in St. Petersburg, RussiaManon Lescaut Poster in the Mikhailovsky Theatre

Day Three

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.

A cute egg poster in St. Petersburg's Faberge Egg Museum

Nevsky Prospekt

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.

Colourful Matryoshka dolls in a shop in St. Petersburg, Russia

Faberge Eggs in a gift shop on the Nevsky Prospekt

Faberge Eggs in a gift shop in St. Petersburg, Russia

If you enjoyed this guide to St. Petersburg, pin it!

Are you wondering what to do in St. Petersburg? This 3 day itinerary covers all of St. Petersburg's top attractions.

St. Petersburg, Russia has many attractions: colourful churches, palaces, and the world-famous Hermitage Museum. Discover how to spend the perfect 3 days there in this travel itinerary!

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Chiera April 8, 2017 - 2:53 am

I have such a fascination with Russia, and in particular St Petersburg. I’ve always wanted to visit! Thanks for the tips

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:43 pm

Russia is a very interesting country! 😉 I hope you get to visit soon!

Sara April 8, 2017 - 4:19 am

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.

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:44 pm

I’m sure you will love Russia! 🙂 I really want to visit again someday.

Ellis April 8, 2017 - 4:48 am

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

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:46 pm

It’s definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe! And yes, the Hermitage is huge!

Eva April 8, 2017 - 5:14 am

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!

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:48 pm

I hope you have a nice trip Eva! Seeing the opera was a wonderful experience! 🙂

Alice Chen April 8, 2017 - 10:52 am

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!!

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:49 pm

Thanks Alice, I’m glad you like my itinerary!

Cherene Saradar April 9, 2017 - 2:15 am

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.

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:49 pm

I agree, St. Petersburg is so beautiful! I absolutely love the churches there. 🙂

Carmelisse April 9, 2017 - 2:31 am

This seems like the perfect 3-day itinerary! I would love to visit Russia someday. Great post! 🙂

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:50 pm

Thank you! I hope you get to visit Russia someday too. 🙂

Rhiannon April 9, 2017 - 2:45 am

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!

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:51 pm

It’s one of my favourite places that I’ve visited. Thanks for complimenting my photos!

Penny April 9, 2017 - 3:40 am

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.

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:52 pm

I would love to visit St. Petersburg during the winter! I think the buildings would look so romantic and charming covered in snow.

C-Ludik April 9, 2017 - 8:31 am

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 !”

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:53 pm

That’s exactly how I felt when I was there! The architecture was amazing.

Deepika April 9, 2017 - 8:45 am

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 ????????

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:53 pm

Thank you very much, Deepika!! The egg museum was one of the highlights. 🙂

Charmaine April 9, 2017 - 9:46 am

Lovely photos! Makes me feel like I am already there! Nice to see another Canadian online! 🙂

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:54 pm

Thank you, Charmaine! I’m glad to see another Canadian travel blogger too! 🙂

Samantha April 9, 2017 - 1:29 pm

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!

Kat April 13, 2017 - 5:55 pm

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). 🙂

Helene April 22, 2017 - 1:19 am

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!

Kat April 26, 2017 - 1:04 am

Definitely go when you have the time. 🙂 Glad you liked the post and photos! 🙂

Tripidee App April 22, 2017 - 3:04 am

Wow!!!! All those colors and the gold – so opulent. Looks amazing.

Kat April 26, 2017 - 1:05 am

Yes, the golden statues are really impressive!

David McClane April 28, 2017 - 1:20 am

Great photos – St. Petersburg looks stunning. Those gold, intricate interiors really are something! I actually want to go there after reading this!

Kat May 5, 2017 - 2:19 am

Thank you! I’m glad my post has made you want to go there! 😀

Emily April 28, 2017 - 6:59 am

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!

Kat May 5, 2017 - 2:20 am

The architecture there is very special. 🙂 I hope you get to visit soon.

Victoria @The British Berliner May 4, 2017 - 9:21 am

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.

Kat May 5, 2017 - 2:21 am

Thank you, Victoria! I’m glad you like my photos. Have a nice time in Sweden!

Only By Land May 12, 2017 - 2:25 am

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!

Liliane Fawzy May 12, 2017 - 12:03 pm

Wow St. Petersburg is so colourful! I would love to visit sometime soon!

Jackie Bursey April 17, 2019 - 2:35 am

Hi Kat,
I love your post- what area do you suggest to stay in? I want to be centrally located.

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