I have made a visit St Petersburg, not just once but twice. First time, Gorbachev was still in power, the locals were still queuing to buy food and the city felt cold and unwelcoming. Today, a warm welcome awaits!

What a change!

I was thrilled to return in September. What a change! You can walk freely around the city. As well as taking photos – even on the underground and in museums. Riches adorn the churches. Local and international businesses fill the streets. Moreover, you can enjoy Starbucks, Mcdonalds or Burger King, or try something more traditional.

Grab a Burger from Burger King or Try Something Traditional

Open to the world

St Petersburg has opened up to the world. Furthermore, they now welcome the world with open arms. Ultimately, it is also an extremely safe city.

Friendly Locals

My top 10 reasons to visit St Petersburg

Number 1

> Architecture – St Petersburg is like an open-air museum. Founded in 1703, the city has evolved over time. A kaleidoscope of building styles has been created.  Baroque and neo-classical architecture with a European influence. Peter the Great wanted a ‘window to Europe’ which not only just included a port but also city that looked European. Architects came from France, Italy and Holland. Which is why in some parts, as you walk along one of the city canals, you could almost be in Amsterdam. It is indeed known as the ’Venice of the North’

Venice of the North

Number 2

> City Lights – the best way to see St Petersburg by night is on foot. Look back from the opposite bank of the Nevsky to the Hermitage. The skyline is stunning! Floodlit buildings. Bridges lit up. The city at night is quite magical.

Hermitage at Night

Number 3

> Photography – if you are a photographer be it an amateur or professional, or just snap happy, then St Petersburg is possibly one of the most photogenic cities in the world. The architecture, the night lights, the colours and the people all make stunning photographs.

The Colours make Stunning Photos

Number 4

> The Hermitage – No visit to St Petersburg is complete without a visit to the State Hermitage Museum. It is the second largest museum in the world. Founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great acquired an impressive collection of paintings from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsk. The best way to visit is with a local guide. To see all the exhibits is just impossible – it has been calculated that, if you spend a minute at one item and spend 8 hours in the Hermitage daily, it will take you almost 15 years to view all the museum’s exhibits! Why not take a virtual tour? Click Here >

The Peacock from the Peacock Clock in The Hermitage

Number 5

> Cinderella – The Mikhailovsky Theatre is recognised as St Petersburg’s most prestigious musical theatre. Opened on 08 November 1833 and situated on Arts Square. Named after the Grand Duke Mikhail – brother of Emperor Nicholas I. Both ballets and opera are staged here. The ballet of Cinderella being part of it’s repertoire. First premiered in December 1999. If you are new to ballet and just want the local culture, then I would highly recommend this being the ballet of choice. Because it is easy to follow, the whole family will enjoy.

Cinderella Ballet – Fun for All.

Number 6

> Tchaikovsky Night – If you are in St Petersburg on a Friday night, a table reservation is a must in L’Europe. Belmond Grand Hotel Europe’s beautiful restaurant. Enjoy fine dining whilst listening to a quartet play a selection of tunes by this great composer. Ballet and Opera are also part of the evening.

Opera at the Hotel Grand Europe

Number 7

> Catherine Palace – A must visit site with its Amber Chamber. Part of a complex of palaces and parks in the city of Pushkin. Also, a World Heritage Site. Dating back to 1717, when Catherine I hired German architect Johann-Friederich Braunstein to build her a summer palace. Remodelled by Empress Elizabeth in 1752. The facade gilded by gold. As well as the roof statues.

Catherine Palace

Number 8

> Underground – The metro in St Petersburg is not only a means of transport, but a showcase of architectural ingenuity and beauty. The first line was constructed in 1955. Two must see stations are Admiralteyskaya is the most recently built. It is also the deepest station in the city at 86 metres underground. Portraits of Russian admirals and navy offices adorn the walls. Secondly, Pushkinskaya named after Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s famous poet. There is a sculpture of Puskin at the end of the station.

Pushkinskaya Station

Number 9 

> Palace Square – a public space where major historical Russian events took place. For Example, the Bloody Sunday Massacre. Political rallies still take place in the city’s main square. However, festivals and concerts take place more often. A combination of baroque and Neoclassical architecture makes it very photogenic.

Palace Square

Number 10

> Nevsky Prospekt – The Nevsky Prospekt is the main avenue of St Petersburg. Stroganov Palace, Winter Palace and Vorontsov Palace are just some of the majestic places along the avenue. It is also the city’s central shopping street. Stop at Gostiny Dvor which is the largest department store in the city and one of the first shopping malls in the world. Other famous shops include Dom Knigi bookstore which was also the former headquarters for the Singer company.

Nevsky Prospekt

Kirker Holidays

I travelled to St Petersburg with our travel partner Kirker Holidays.

Choice of Hotels

Kirker offer a choice of 4 star and 5 star hotels.

I can highly recommend the Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria. My room had wonderful views of St Isaac’s Cathedral and it was walking distance to the Hermitage Museum, the River and Nevsky Prospect.

Morning Coffee with a View of St Isaacs

Kirker Concierge

The Kirker concierge can arrange excellent private excursions with an English speaking guide. I particularly enjoyed getting to know our guide and learning about the local culture. The team at Kirker can also arrange tickets to the ballet and make dinner reservations for you.

Touches that make a visit to St Petersburg extra special.

Visa Service

Above all, they offer a visa service. Handling all the paperwork, so all you have to do is turn up at the Russian Visa office for finger printing. Kirker take care of the rest. An invaluable, time saving service.

What’s included

All this is included in the cost of your holiday. As well as return flights, private return car transfers and guide notes – essential information for a visit to St Petersburg.

St Petersburg with Kirker Holidays


A warm welcome in St Petersburg awaits you. Above all, Kirker really do look after you. So much so, there is only one thing to do on arrival. Dump your bags in your room. With a Kirker map in hand, start exploring this beautiful city.

Exploring the City