Leave your central St Petersburg hotel by air-conditioned vehicle and head into the city’s historical heart.
Hear about St Petersburg’s short but illustrious past from your guide, learning how it was founded in 1703 and served as Russia’s capital through the 18th and 19th centuries, until 1918. Hear how, during this time, the city presided over many seminal events in Russia’s history, including three revolutions.
Head first for St Basil Island, the original hub of the city as planned by its founder, the still-revered Peter the Great. Hop out of your vehicle and stroll to the island’s eastern corner, called the Spit of St Basil Island. Drink in the sweeping city views from here as your guide points out landmarks such as the Palace Embankment, the Winter Palace and the two 18th-century Rostral Columns that still rise from the spit and were built as beacons for passing ships.
Continue to the Peter and Paul Fortress, the oldest building in the city. Discover how the complex was intended to protect against a Swedish invasion that never materialized, and was later used as a political prison.
Visit the Peter and Paul Cathedral inside the walls, and admire the lavish interior, home to the tombs of Peter the Great and Tsar Nicholas II and his family, murdered in 1917.
Drive on to the Nevsky Prospekt, passing the shops and neo-classical residences of this vibrant thoroughfare, and continue into Palace Square, framed by the splendid Winter Palace.
Take snaps of this former residence of the Tsars, before moving on to gold-domed St Isaac’s Cathedral, one of St Petersburg’s most imposing sights.
Admire this imperious church, and then head for the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, known for its onion-shaped domes. Pose for photos here and marvel at the opulent interior as your guide explains how the church stands where Tsar Alexander II was killed in 1881.
After around three hours, finish your tour with a hotel drop-off.