A guide from the locals:
Discover hidden gems
in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is sometimes also known as an open-air museum — from the Hermitage and the Peterhof to the Peter and Paul Fortress — the textbook sights of the northern capital of Russia are hard to miss. But exploring a new city is always better with the help of locals, so we spoke to popular Petersburgers to find out more about their favourite places that tourists should definitely visit.
A guide from the locals:
in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is sometimes also known as an open-air museum — from the Hermitage and the Peterhof to the Peter and Paul Fortress — the textbook sights of the northern capital of Russia are hard to miss. But exploring a new city is always better with the help of locals, so QRM speaks to popular Petersburgers to find out more about their favourite places that tourists should definitely visit.
historian and ethnographer
St. Petersburg is the third-largest city in Europe and the only city that has preserved its historical appearance in such an excellent condition. There are many well-known textbook places here: Pavlovsk, Peterhof, the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Palace Embankment and in recent years, many new attractions have appeared. To see them, you can look from the Tuchkov Bridge towards the bay and you can get a view of the highest skyscraper in Europe, the Lakhta Center and the Gazprom Arena football stadium. Attention should be paid to two creative spaces: the Sevkabel Port and the man-made island of New Holland, where exhibition spaces, a cinema, restaurants, sports grounds and a park operate.
Several new museums have also appeared in St. Petersburg, which tourists may not know about, such as the private Faberge Museum, which contains the famous imperial Easter eggs, decorated with precious and semi-precious stones. The Erarta Museum is also interesting — it is the largest private museum of contemporary art in Russia. Next to it on Vasilievsky Island is the New Museum, which houses Leningrad paintings and drawings from the second half of the last century.
Petersburgers themselves love to walk in the area of St Nicholas Naval Cathedral. From here you can see the seven bridges at once and feel the water element of St. Petersburg in full force. Beautiful lanes can be found from the Petrograd side — they converge to Aleksandrovsky Park and the Zoological Garden. This place is more reminiscent of the Arbat lanes in Moscow than the regular streets of St Petersburg. Those who are interested in art nouveau should definitely go to Kamenny Island, where small mansions of the early 20th century are buried in greenery and create the feeling of a mysterious forest or a Gothic park.
director of the Principe PR Media Agency
I love the terrace of the Kempinski Hotel; it offers a view of the Hermitage and the legendary St. Petersburg rooftops. Imagine: the snow has just melted, the sun is shining and you are drinking your first espresso with a view of the Hermitage. This view cannot be exchanged for anything else.
Another favourite place of mine is the St. Petersburg Museum of Theater and Musical Art. This is an absolute place of power: for example, it was here that the festival Diaghilev. P.S. happened. Another must-see small gallery is KGallery on the Fontanka. It is located opposite the Summer Garden, which definitely adds to its charm. Another cult place is the Museum of Joseph Brodsky ‘Room and a Half’ – the memorial section of the museum occupies the room where Brodsky lived with his family.
owner of multi-brand boutique Babochka
Alexander Nevsky Lavra is one of the most beautiful Russian monasteries and the first to appear in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 18th century. It was founded by Peter I himself, and dedicated to Prince Alexander Nevsky. The Lavra is located on the island: it includes several churches, one cathedral and a cemetery where famous personalities like Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky are buried.
In St. Petersburg, you can find many fashion brands — for example, Loro Piana, and there is even a special privilege programme offered to Qatari guests which includes night shopping, VIP service and others.
Literally a two-minute walk from the fashion area with the boutiques of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other brands, there is a bathhouse — the Russian equivalent of a spa. Here you will find the restaurant Banshiki — a secret foodie place popular among many Petersburgers.
VIDEO: Alice Kuchinski