Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and is one of the most attractive places in the country for tourists. This 3 days in Saint Petersburg itinerary is a great amount of time to get to know and explore the city.
Peter the Great decided to have the city constructed in order to gain a convenient port on the Baltic Sea to trade with Europe. It’s an immense and beautiful city. You could spend well over a week there without getting bored and for this I recommend you to check my full guide to Saint Petersburg, Russia, for the sake of this article though I am going to cover how to spend 3 days in St. Petersburg, Russia.
3 Days in Saint Petersburg Itinerary: Day 1
Church of Savior on Blood
This Orthodox church is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and you can’t miss it during your 3 days in Saint Petersburg itinerary. Tsar Alexander III ordered to build the church in the exact spot where his father got killed. The architecture of the church is inspired by medieval Russian style to differentiate from baroque and neoclassical buildings surrounding it. Inside it is covered with mosaics and can certainly take your breath away.
Book your ticket in advance and skip the lines!
The Field of Mars
The Field of Mars is located right next to the Church of Savior on Blood and it is a popular place for locals to relax. In the middle, there is an eternal flame to commemorate the ones who died during the Bolshevik revolution.
Peter and Paul Fortress
Peter and Paul Fortress is the first building in Saint Petersburg and it is located on the last upstream island of the Neva delta – Hare Island. It never served its purpose of a fort to protect the city – currently, it serves as home to many museums and points of interest and make sure to include it in your 3 days in Saint Petersburg itinerary.
Inside Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, you will find tombs of Russian Tsars. You can also climb up the fortress walls, visit the Museum of History of Saint Petersburg and many more. You can also relax on the beach right outside the fortress – just don’t go to Neva river! I’ve seen many locals do it but it is not wise, the water is very polluted.
When you enter or exit the island by a bridge throw a coin towards the hare standing on a log in the water. If you manage to make the coin stay between his legs you will have a lot of luck in your life. I never managed… 🙂
Mosque in Saint Petersburg
Close to the fortress, there is an impressive mosque of Saint Petersburg with its outstanding turquoise dome and portals. It is well worth a visit – if possible, go inside the mosque too.
Aurora, a Russian cruiser from which a signal was given to start the Bolsheviks’ assault on Winter Palace. Currently, there is a museum on the cruiser and you can go on deck. You can also just look at Aurora from the shore as a monument and a part of Russian history.
During your 3 days in Saint Petersburg, you will for sure pass an impressive, huge square, the heart of the city and one of the most popular touristic places in Russia and in the whole world. In Palace Square, you will see the Winter Palace. Currently, the Hermitage Museum is located in the palace. It’s an important historical place – Catherine the Great and other tsars lived in the palace. At the beginning of October revolution, it was also the first building taken by the Bolsheviks. In the center of the square, you will see a monumental Alexander Column built after Russia won over Napoleon’s France. On top of it, an angel smashes a snake with a cross – a symbol of triumph over evil.
Check out some amazing photos of the Hermitage Museum in this post by Make Time to See the World.
The Bronze Horseman
The Bronze Horseman is a monument offered to Peter I by Catherine II. The legend has it that as long as the Bronze Horseman is in the city unharmed, an enemy can’t conquer it. Until now the legend is true.
Saint Isaac’s Cathedral
The biggest cathedral in Saint Petersburg and the fourth biggest dome building in the world. The dome is covered with a thin layer of pure gold. At the colonnade under the dome you will find the best viewing point in the city – don’t miss it as this will be one of the best views you’ll get during your three days in Saint Petersburg!
3 Days in Saint Petersburg Itinerary: Day 2
The Hermitage is not only the largest museum of art and culture in the world but also an immense and beautiful palace, winter residence of the tsars. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of art, you will love the interior of the Hermitage and it is a must see during your three days in Saint Petersburg. In the museum, you will see numerous paintings of the most famous artists in the world. The museum is huge so make sure to take a map and plan where to walk. Visiting the whole museum will take you around 4 hours.
Book this guided 3 hour Hermitage Museum tour in advance to learn more about the art and history. There’s even hotel pick up.
Walk along Nevsky Prospect to Vosstaniya Square
Nevsky Prospect is the main and the most famous street in Saint Petersburg. It’s extremely busy almost all day long – but there are a few points of interest you shouldn’t miss.
First of them is the Kazan Cathedral right opposite the Church of Savior on Blood. Inside you will be able to see an icon Our Lady of Kazan which is special for the Russian Orthodox church. After the huge fire in Kazan in the XVIth century, the Virgin Mary appeared to a little girl and showed her where to find an icon hidden under a destroyed house. It’s not 100% sure if the icon in Kazan Cathedral is an original or a copy but it is worth seeing and shouldn’t be skipped in your 3 days in Saint Petersburg itinerary.
On the other side of the street, you will see the beautiful building of Singer House, also known as House of Books (Dom Knigi).
As you walk further along the street pay attention to Gostiny Dvor, the first shopping center in Saint Petersburg and one of the first shopping arcades in the world. After that, you will pass Alexander Theatre and the monument of Catherine the Great. Then you will cross Anichkov Bridge – the oldest bridge through Fontanka river decorated with four sculptures of Horse Tamers. Then continue towards Vosstaniya Square, the huge transportation and traffic hub of the city where you will find a Hero-City obelisk commemorating the victory of the Red Army over the Nazis.
3 Days in Saint Petersburg Itinerary: Day 3
On your third day you can take a day trip to one of the palaces located in nearby towns. The palace and fountains in Peterhof or Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, Pushkin.
Book your Peterhof Grand Palace and Peterhof Lower Park in advance here which lets you skip the lines and provides an audio tour with your ticket. Also, book at two hours guided Catherine Palace tour that allows you to skip the lines in advance.
You can also stay in the city and explore more of its beauty. You can take a boat trip along rivers and canals of Saint Petersburg. You might have heard that Saint Petersburg is called Venice of the North. There are so many rivers and canals cutting the city and a boat trip is a popular way to see Saint Petersburg.
In the summertime, many bridges on the main river Neva open – and you can watch the show from a boat too.
You can spend your time seeing the numerous beautiful cathedrals in the city – Trinity Cathedral, Chesme Church or Saint Nicolas Naval Cathedral. One of my favorite sacral buildings in Saint Petersburg is Smolny Convent. The convent’s name comes from Russian word “smola” – pitch. At the time of Peter the Great they produced pitch where Smolny Convent is today. The tsar’s daughter wanted to have it built but actually the convent worked only for four years. The building served as a warehouse, a museum, and a concert hall before it was converted back to its functions as a church in 2016.
It was still under renovation when I was there in 2017 and there weren’t many decorations inside – but it also has its charm after other churches in the city. There is also a viewing platform on one of Smolny’s towers.
Some other options for your third day of your 3 days in Saint Petersburg are museums. Check out State Russian Museum if you didn’t have enough art in your visit or the Museum of Russian Vodka if you’re interested in the history and culture of the famous drink. Tasting is included 🙂
Book in advance for this 2 hours private guided State Russian Museum tour that lets you skip the lines and picks you up from your hotel.
This was a guide to 3 days in Saint Petersburg. It is an outstanding city, one of the most beautiful in Europe. Make the most of your trip and enjoy your time!
Where to Stay in Saint Petersburg Russia
$ B&B Rinaldi
This budget-friendly hotel is perfect for your 3 days in Saint Petersburg itinerary if you need to find something not so expensive. Located across the Reki Fontanka River, the hotel is set in a historic 19th-century building and only a 10 minute walk from the nearest metro stop and less than 10 minutes from the Aleksandrinskiy theater. The rooms are simple and offer wifi, TVs, and safes. Some rooms even have beautiful river views and breakfast is included for everyone.
$$ Novotel Saint Petersburg Centre
This hotel is a great option in Saint Petersburg and just a 10-minute walk to the Dostoevsky Museum. The rooms are minimalist and offer wifi, TVs, tea and coffee, and suites have separate living areas. There is a restaurant on site as well as a fitness center.
$$$ The State Hermitage Museum Official Hotel
This is an amazing option for where to stay during your 3 days in Saint Petersburg if you’re a luxury traveler. This gorgeous hotel is located in a great location and offers beautiful vintage rooms with full amenities and marble bathrooms. Suites offer living rooms, fireplaces, and designer toiletries. There’s also a full fitness center and a gorgeous mosaic spa, pool, and sauna on site as well as two restaurants.
Have more than 3 days in St. Petersburg? Check out this guide to Kizhi Island, a great trip from St. Petersburg.
About the Author
My name is Dorota, I live in Poland. Even though I have always been passionate about traveling, I discovered a whole new world when I went to Russia for 6 weeks on a volunteering program. I loved it so much that I decided to volunteer on every continent and promote this idea on my blog, Born Globals. I slowly make the dream come true – and I want to help others believe they can do it too!
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