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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Jennifer Eremeeva

The stately dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral — the fourth-largest domed cathedral in the world — dominates the low skyline of St. Petersburg. Though deliberately designed to integrate into the Western European style of the city, the interior of the cathedral is magnificently decorated with traditional Orthodox icons and frescoes and has recently reverted to the Russian Orthodox Church. Note the scarred exterior columns, which were damaged during air raids in World War II.

For a magnificent panoramic view of St. Petersburg, climb up to the cathedral’s colonnade, which stays open much of the night during the White Nights.

Price from: £3
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

St. Isaac’s Cathedral is located on Isaakievskaya Square in the heart of the historic center. Plan on about 45 minutes – 1 hour for a visit. A visit the colonnade takes 30-50 minutes depending on crowds.

Tickets may be purchased on the cathedral’s website (currently under reconstruction) or at the kiosk outside the cathedral.

When to do it

The cathedral is closed on Wednesdays and may limit access during high season or religious holidays, so it is best to check the website for any announcements. They extend access to the colonnade from May to September and during the White Nights festival.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace

St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia[0.1 miles]

Incomparable elegance, comfort, and service await at the Four Seasons Lion Palace, just steps from the Hermitage.

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SO Sofitel

St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia[0.2 miles]

A hip design hotel opposite St Isaac’s Cathedral, with a basement spa and rooftop bar and restaurant that’s one of the city’s premier party spots.

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Hotel Astoria

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[0.2 miles]

One of the city’s oldest and most elegant places to stay in the city, it offers luxury accommodation and an excellent location.

Official star rating:

Faces Historical Center

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[0.5 miles]

Enjoy the convenience of a central location, in-room amenities, and friendly staff at a very affordable price.

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Boat tours of St. Petersburg’s canals

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[0.3 miles]

Discover St. Petersburg’s spectacular architecture from the water, with a slow-paced cruise through the city’s rivers, waterways and canals.

Best for ages: 4+ | £7 | 1-2 hours

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State Hermitage Museum

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[0.8 miles]

Once the premier royal residence of the Romanovs, today this vast complex – the second-largest art museum in the world – houses a jaw-dropping collection of Egyptian antiquities, European Renaissance Art, treasure galleries and Russian military history.

Best for ages: 13+ | £5

Ballet & Opera at the Mariinsky Theatre

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[1.1 miles]

Enjoy an unforgettable evening of classical ballet or opera at the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre. It was here that Tchaikovsky’s famous ballets, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake were first performed.

Best for ages: 18+ | £40 | 2+ hours

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Yellow painted mansion on canal front

Yusupov Mansion

St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia[0.6 miles]

Visit the elegant mansion of the wealthy and colorful Yussupov family, the notorious site of the grisly murder of Grigory Rasputin in 1916.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

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Pale yellow building on corner of street

Literary Cafe

St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia[0.8 miles]

St. Petersburg’s oldest eatery is a favourite of Russia’s famous writers and an excellent place to sample traditional Russian food.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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St. Petersburg, Northwestern Region, Russia[0.8 miles]

Founded by Peter the Great to house his collection of physical oddities and preserved ‘freaks’, this museum has a ghoulish lure; not for the faint-hearted, or children.

Best for ages: 16+ | £6

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Wide yellow villa

House of Academics

St. Petersburg , Northwestern Region, Russia[0.9 miles]

One of the city’s oldest and most famous apartment blocks, home to scores of Russian Scientists since 1708; the facade of the building has nearly 30 memorial plaques honoring its past residents. You can g inside and visit the house-museum of its most famous resident, the great physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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