Meet your guide on foot at your central St. Petersburg hotel. Then, set off for the State Hermitage Museum, one of the world’s largest museums. As your itinerary is flexible, let your guide know if there’s anything you want to see more or less of during your tour.
Learn how the museum began in 1764 as a small collection of Catherine the Great before growing into today’s vast treasure trove. Now spread across five buildings — including the Winter Palace, and Small, Old, and New Hermitage — it houses three million treasures. It’s estimated seeing them all would take 11 years, so it’s sensible for a private guide to show you the highlights.
Start at the Winter Palace, once home to Russia’s tsars. Skip the main entrance lines with your pre-booked ticket, and work your way around this lavish residence. See highlights including the Jordan Staircase, White Hall, Malachite Hall, Field Marshal's Room, Small Throne Room, the 1812 Gallery, Boudoir, and more; as your guide sheds light on the tsars and rituals of the imperial court.
Admire the Soviet Staircase and explore the Raphael Loggias, Majolica Room, and Italian Cabinet, hung with works by Michelangelo and Raphael. Enter the New Hermitage to admire the Small and Large Italian Skylight Halls, and the Rembrandt Room. Dedicated to the French and Flemish schools, it contains 23 works by Rembrandt, including Prodigal Son and Portrait of an Old Man in Red.
Other highlights include the Small Spanish Skylight Room, the Tent-Roofed Room, the Room of Netherlands Art from the 16th and 17th centuries, and more.
Afterward, stroll to the banks of the River Neva for photos of the views, and end your tour in Palace Square. Perhaps dip into the nearby bakeries and coffee shops before returning independently to your hotel.