Explore St Petersburgs grandiose architecture on Admiralty Square and Nevsky Prospect main street. Then delve into hip nightlife venues on the Petrogradskaya Storona (Petrograd Side). Come back to see priceless art at the Hermitage Museum and pre-Revolutionary extravagance in the Yusupov, Stroganov and Menshikov palaces.
The River Neva splits the city in two, with the stellar sights on its southern bank, bounded by the Griboyedov canal and the Fontanka River, radiating in semicircles from the Hermitage Museum. Follow main street Nevsky Prospect south-west from Admiralty Square to the famous graves of the Alexander Nevsky Cemetery. Alternatively, follow the historic bridges of the Moika River eastwards from the Letny Sad, the Summer Garden laid out by Peter the Great, to the Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin was famously murdered.
Head straight for the Hermitage Museum, where a shot aimed from the Aurora Cruiser, now a museum-ship on the other side of the River Neva, started the Russian Revolution. As well as taking in its impressive collection of worldwide art, dont miss the ornate Malachite Room and the other Tsarist State Rooms. Get a birds-eye view of huge Admiralty Square from the colonnades of the Neoclassical St Isaacs Cathedral, have your portrait sketched on Ploshad Iskusstv (literally, Arts Square), and catch the best of the Russian avant garde art at the Russian Museum. Then marvel at the colourful domes of the Russian-style Church of the Spilled Blood.
Uncover the citys history at the 18th-century Peter Paul Fortress, burial place of the Tsars. Or visit Dostoevsky and others in the Russian Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cemetery. Witness the sheer decadence of the summer retreats of the Romanov royal family at Peter the Greats Peterhof or Catherine the Greats Tsarskoye Selo. Sample Russian cooking along the main street at Nevsky Prospects upmarket restaurants, or try Georgian and other cuisines across the river on Vasiliyevsky Island or the Petrogradskaya Storona (Petrograd Side).