One of my favourite stops on the Baltic Cruise was St. Petersburg in Russia. We had two days there and I was very excited to finally see this city.
Eight years previous I had been there but could not go ashore! So I made the most of my two days and went on tour to see Catherine’s Palace, the Hermitage Museum, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
The only way to go ashore as a cruise passenger is to either go on the ships organised tours or apply for a Russian visa beforehand. You can book with outside tour companies, but check you can 100% get through the Russian immigration first with the company you book with.
If you do neither the Russian immigration with not let you in the country. So keep this in mind if you are planning on going on a cruise around the Baltic.
Spending two days in St. Petersburg was fantastic as we could really do a lot. I was exhausted at the end of it, but I was very pleased to finally get there! Catherine’s Palace and the Hermitage Museum were out of this world.
St. Petersburg only sees 60 days of sunshine a year and the days we were there, we did not see any sunshine! Shame, but you cannot control the weather.
Catherine’s Palace was built-in 1756. It is beautiful inside and out. But I must warn you it is very hot inside!
The day we were there it was cold and wet. So it was nice to warm up! Also, you can not take a backpack inside, so just bring a handbag and not too big.
The palace is painted pale blue, white and gold and looks very grand from the outside. Inside every room is glorious, with lots of gold and ornate patterns on the walls.
There were lots of rooms to walk through, all very beautiful, especially the ceilings that were nearly all painted.
My favourite room was the amber room. The walls were covered with the gemstone amber, but you could not take any photos!
Whilst we were walking through we had to wear these trendy shoe covers! The gardens were lovely, but wet the day we were there.
The Hermitage Museum is fascinating and huge. It has been open to the public since 1852.
As we were on a cruise ship tour we were allowed to enter the museum an hour before the rest of the general public.
This helped a lot as we were one of the first groups and we got to see a lot of the rooms empty. So book the morning tour for the Hermitage.
Each room was amazing and so different. It took 3 hours to walk around the museum and see everything and this was with our very knowledgeable guide.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
We only had time for a photo stop and it was raining! So my photos are not the best. The colours of the church were beautiful and in real life, it looks ten times better!
It was such a shame as this is what I was really looking forward to seeing, it would have been a lovely photo in the sunshine.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built between 1883 – 1907.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
St. Isaac’s Cathedral was another quick photo stop and it was pouring with rain so I ran off the tour bus took a quick photo and ran back on the bus!
It took 40 years to build between 1818 to 1858 and is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral the city.
The weather was not great while I was there, in July. It was cold and raining, 13C – 15C, but the week before it was hot and sunny at 27 *C.
My packing tips for St. Petersburg are to bring comfortable walking shoes to see all the sites, rain jacket, layers (just in case it warms up!), trousers, T-shirts, lightweight jumpers and an umbrella.
- Weather: Summer months between 11*C – 23*C
- Language: Russian (some people speak English)
- Currency: Russian Ruble (US Dollar/Euros are excepted in some shops)
- Here are my recommendations for two days in St. Petersburg; walking shoes, rain jacket, umbrella, a small bag (no backpack), camera and foldable water bottle as it easier to carry your own water.
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Have you been to St. Petersburg? What would you recommend doing?
Love Lucy x
I love palaces!! I’ve been meaning to visit Russia for the longest time but just haven’t gotten down to planning it. Thanks for the weather information, it was very helpful 🙂 I did not know that there were only 60 days of sunshine! Pity the weather was wet, but I’m sure you enjoyed yourself!
Thank you! I had a great time!
Russia has been on my bucket list for years! I know that it can take a bit of planning in advance to get a visa, so it’s nice to know that you can still go if you book the tour. Catherine’s palace is my favourite from all of the places you went to… I especially like the booties 😉
Thank you! It is wonderful place visit and I was so pleased to finally go!
Those are all such beautiful buildings! I especially love the intricate paintings and details on the ceilings, it adds so much beauty to the space.
Thank you! Every angle inside the buildings were beautiful!
oh so much beauty in their building structures from the outside to the inside. I so love the palace and museum.
Thank you! Catherine’s palace is beautiful!
This is a city that has always intrigued me so much! I love all of those beautiful gold details. Thanks for the great post!
Thank you! Me too, so pretty
It’s such a pretty city full of a very unique history. Despite the rain it looks like you had a great trip!
It was fantastic! Thank you 😊
It looks very grand and luxurious. And the city has as rich a history behind it. Such a wonderful trip that you had
I recommend, it fabulous trip 😀
Looks like you had a real whirlwind of a tour. Still, you’re so lucky to get to see all these incredible landmarks in that city! Sounds funny to me that Catherine’s Palace would be warm – with such large rooms like that I would think it’d be difficult to keep the space heated.
I was surprised it was so warm! As everywhere else was cold! But it was a fantastic experience 💙
Beautiful even in the rain isn’t it? The ornate detail in the palace and museum just blew me away, it’s hard to imagine living somewhere like that! I visited many moons ago, I guess 25 years, and I think I’d appreciate it more now and would love to go back.
It was! I was in awe, such a beautiful place and so much detail ⚜️
We would love to do a cruise there! St.Petersburg is still on our bucket list and we want to include it one day in a northern hemisphere tour 😀 It’s so cool that you were allowed to enter the Hermitage Museum an hour before anyone else! This gave you the chance to make some really pretty photos.
It was great! A cruise is a good way to see the Baltic region 🛳
I have always wanted to visit St. Petersburg – I have heard it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (maybe in the world). Both Catherine’s Palace and the Hermitage look absolutely stunning. And great advice about looking into a visa beforehand if visiting by cruise ship – I always forget about things like that!
I enjoyed the cruise & especially St. Petersburg. It was an amazing two days ✨✨✨
Would love to explore, was 2 days enough time?
You can do it in two days, but it was tiring! 😴
If ever I visit St. Petersburg, I would love to spend a week or so there. There’s just so many places to visit! Love the city’s architecture!
If you can, go for a week I would, then you can see everything at a slower pace 💙
We went to Moscow for a few days, but not St. Petersburg. We didn’t have the opportunity unfortunately but I would love to go back one day. The visas to get into the country are very difficult.
It is a beautiful city to visit, but I would love to see Moscow! The visa is a real pain, that’s why it’s great to visit St. Petersburg so a cruise ship, as you do not have the hassle if you go on one of theirs tours 🛳
This post brought back all my great memories from Petersburg. Glad you visited Hermitage Museum – it’s a must-see. It is already some years ago, but I remember I managed to get the entrance fee as a local:) I think it was just a third of price for foreign visitors!
I loved the Hermitage museum and how every room was a surprise! Wow! You were lucky to get the local fee 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
What a fantastic, visual story! I always think of Russia as kind of stodgy, but I love reminders of how vibrant and opulent the architecture is. Can’t believe you saw ALL of that in only 2 days! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Parts of it are! But the old palaces are stunning ✨
What a beautiful post. I love hearing that you had a fantastic stop in St. Petersburg because I’m hoping to maybe pop in for a few days. It looks just so beautiful!
Thank you so much 😊 I hope you get to St. Petersburg soon!
Looking at these amazing architecture pics, I’m now regretting why I didn’t take the ferry from Helsinki!
Thank you very much Christine. I hope you make it to St. Petersburg in the future 😀