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    Saint Petersburg, Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

    Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

    This classic Russian Orthodox Church, with colourful ornate domes and an interior decorated with over 7,500 square metres of mosaics, is so lavish that it took 24 years to build. One of the finest examples of late Empire-style architecture.

    Saint Petersburg, Fountains and golden sculptures

    Fountains and golden sculptures

    A symphony of 144 fountains and canals, better known as the Grand Cascade, was partly engineered by Peter the Great himself. Enter from the Lower Park to access the fountains of Peterhof Palace and admire this uncontested centrepiece in its full glory from early May to early October.

    Flight Saint Petersburg, Russia

    Russian traditions and history

    Saint Petersburg’s Palace Square wasn’t just significant during the former Russian Empire – it remains one of the most striking squares in the world even today. Walk from Nevsky Prospekt towards the Narva Triumphal Arch for an amazing first impression of the Winter Palace.

    Saint Petersburg, Olga's Pavilion, Peterhof

    Flights to Saint Petersburg

    This 300-year-old city is built on 42 islands and is also known as the Venice of the North. Saint Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great and was the capital of Russia until 1918. In 1914, its name was changed to the more Russian-sounding Petrograd before being renamed Leningrad in 1924. It was not until 1991 that the city returned to its original name of Saint Petersburg.

    Saint Petersburg is a majestic city with an abundance of beautiful cathedrals, unique museums (many of which exhibit art collections owned by Tsar Peter the Great himself) and the pièce de résistance: the Hermitage. Saint Petersburg is one of Russia’s most modern cities and the second largest city after Moscow. It’s an important port on the Baltic Sea, situated on the Neva River in Russia’s northwestern mainland.

    Have you always wanted to see the city’s legendary White Nights? Then book your flight to Saint Petersburg via Brussels Airlines now!


    What to do in Saint Petersburg

    1. The Hermitage is Saint Petersburg’s premier tourist attraction. This enormous museum consists of six buildings, the most important of which is the Winter Palace. It is home to a collection of over 3 million works of art from the Stone Age to the 20th century.
    2. Enjoy a boat tour along the rivers and canals: Saint Petersburg has a total of 93 canals and 342 bridges, including 22 drawbridges across the Neva. A boat trip is a great opportunity to enjoy a different perspective as you explore the city.
    3. One of Saint Petersburg’s most impressive buildings is undoubtedly the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood. The church was built in memory of Tsar Alexander II, on the site of his assassination by nihilists. Its construction took almost 25 years and was mainly funded by the Imperial family and many private donors. After admiring the exterior of the church, enter the building to gaze upon 7,500m2 of colourful Art Nouveau mosaics.
    4. Home to some of the world’s best dance companies, you can’t visit Saint Petersburg without marvelling at one of its world-famous ballet performances. Book your tickets in advance to enjoy a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or the Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre.
    5. Savior On Blood Cathedral In St. Petersburg
    6. Watch the official opening and closing of the fountains at the majestic Peterhof Palace, the former summer residence of the Russian monarchs. This UNESCO World Heritage site is just outside the city centre of Saint Petersburg; with its elegant grandeur, it is often referred to as the Russian Versailles.
    7. The small Vodka Museum is entirely devoted to Russia’s national drink and showcases its history from the 12th to the 20th century. Exhibits include vodka bottles in unusual shapes and humorous dioramas explaining the evolution of the Russian firewater. You can also enjoy a taste of several different vodkas and some traditional Russian snacks.
    8. Walk up to the colonnade of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral to admire a magnificent view of the city. The cathedral is Russia’s largest church and one of the 5 highest one-dome constructions in the world. Its dome is gilded with 200lbs of gold and decorated with twelve angel statues.
    9. Although the White Nights of the northern hemisphere are not unique to Saint Petersburg, no other city has received such poetic and literary acclaim for this phenomenon. Take a romantic stroll along the banks of the Neva river and experience the city’s unique atmosphere in (almost) broad daylight. Night becomes so indistinguishable from day that the Saint Petersburg authorities have no need to turn the city’s streetlights on!

    Practical information for your trip to Saint Petersburg

    • Flights with Brussels Airlines arrive at Pulkovo Airport (LED). Located about 20km south of the city, you can travel from the airport to the city by taxi or public bus (although you should note that buses don’t run at night). The 39 bus runs between Pulkovo Airport and Moskovskaya subway station and takes 20-25 minutes. The fare is about 40 roubles per person and 40 roubles per piece of luggage; taking a taxi to the subway station costs 600 roubles. From Moskovskaya, you can take the subway or buses to the city centre and other districts.
    • Current local time in Saint Petersburg:  
    • Currency: The currency of Russia is the rouble (or ruble).
    • Country Dialling Code: +7.
    • Electrical Sockets: Saint Petersburg uses the standard European two-pronged socket.
    • Travel information: When visiting, make sure you have a valid passport. Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa and additional travel documents to visit Russia. For all information on visas and travel documents, visit www.iatatravelcentre.com.
    • Vaccinations: No vaccinations are required when travelling to Russia. For more health information, visit www.iatatravelcentre.com.

    Do’s and don’ts in Saint Petersburg

    • St. Isaac’s Cathedral St. PetersburgNo matter how sunny and warm it may seem in the morning, a compact umbrella and a light jacket are must-haves for all visitors to Saint Petersburg, even in the middle of summer. Due to its location between the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga, Saint Petersburg’s weather can be quite unpredictable.
    • It may seem unusual, but visitors are not allowed to walk on the grass in Saint Petersburg’s parks. Uniformed officers may approach you and you may have to pay a considerable fine, even if you’re just standing briefly on the grass to take a photograph.
    • Russia is a religious country and almost all of its best sites have their roots in religion. When entering churches, monasteries and cathedrals, be respectful of dress codes. Women are expected to cover their bare shoulders and their heads, while men should remove hats and should not wear shorts.
    • It is also a very superstitious country: shaking hands in the doorway is considered bad luck. Guests should always bring a gift, so do bring one when visiting someone’s home.

    Local phrases & essential vocabulary

    Even though Russians don’t speak much English, most of them know some basic words and are better at understanding than speaking. If you are comfortable with technology, using a translation application on your smartphone can be very helpful. The Russian language uses the Cyrillic alphabet and is quite challenging for English speakers, but it’s still a good idea to know a few basic words.

    • Dobraye ootro, dobriy den', and dobriy vyecher; good morning, good afternoon, and good evening (pronounced : Dob-ray ooh-t-row, dob-ray den, and dob-ray vee-chair) are the easiest greetings to remember.
    • Preevyet is a simple way of saying hello.
    • Spaseeba (spa-see-ba) means “thank you”, while prasteete (pras-tee-te) means “excuse me”.
    • Most importantly of all, is how to say “cheers”, as toasts of vodka are frequent during meals. Na Zdorovie (nas-tro-ve-ay) is roughly translated as “to health”. The more modern Nostrovia, meaning “let’s drink”, is a slang term and the most common phrase for foreigners to know.

    When to go to Saint Petersburg

    The weather in Saint Petersburg is quite unpredictable, as the city has high levels of humidity all year round which can be hard to bear at times. That’s why waterproof clothing is essential, no matter what the season. In terms of the temperature, the good news is that Saint Petersburg is a maritime city so it never gets really cold – at least by Russian standards. In the depths of winter, the temperature can reach as low as -10°C, while summer temperatures of higher than 30° are almost unheard of. Being a northerly city, winter nights can also be incredibly long which makes late spring and early autumn the ideal times to visit, although long summer days may be an attractive option too.

    What to eat in Saint Petersburg

    When in Russia, eat like the Russians do. The country is known for its hearty meals: get ready for calorific dishes. Most menus will include thick soups, alongside filling meat courses and root vegetables.

    Saint Petersburg’s culinary treats include:

    • Pelmeni – best translated as Russian dumplings, traditionally made with different kinds of meat. When served with a sweet filling (usually with berries or cottage cheese), the dish is called vareniki and is just as delicious.
    • Caviar – Sturgeon roe, a Russian speciality.
    • Pirozhki – small-sized buns stuffed with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings, made as a compact alternative to a full-sized pie.
    • Beef stroganoff – sautéed beef with mushrooms and paprika.
    • Borscht – beetroot soup served with sour cream and a small savoury bun known as pampushki

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