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1 Perfect One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

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Note: Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I don’t currently recommend traveling to this destination. I stand with Ukraine.

Greetings, Internet Stranger! Are you looking for the best one day in St Petersburg itinerary? Well, you’ve come to the right spot! During our last outing in St. Petersburg, we learned all about Peter the Great and how he created St. Petersburg to be his own little Paris-on-the-Neva.

But of course, if you’re going to build your own Paris, you need your own Versailles to go with it. The tsars more than kept up with the French kings when it came to palace building. I’m pretty sure even Louis XIV would give them “deux thumbs up!”

Peter the Great’s manor is certainly a must-see, but I think the Catherine Palace is the more architecturally interesting, so we’ll be heading to the latter on our one day in St Petersburg itinerary. (No points for guessing which Tsarina lived in the Catherine Palace). Let’s go! Time and czars wait for nobody!

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

How To Get There

Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a box of the finest caviar. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to St Petersburg.

But I can tell you that I used a lovely airplane to get from my hometown NYC to Helsinki, and then I took a shorter flight to St Petersburg. I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to St Petersburg at the best time of day.

You can even use Expedia to rent a car so you’ll be all set when you arrive at your destination. (I can’t drive, but if you can, this must be helpful.)

Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out on your 24 hours in St Petersburg ASAP.

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

Where to Stay?

We’re spending a good portion of our one day in St Petersburg itinerary outside of the main part of St. Petersburg. However, you’ll still want to rest your head in St Petersburg itself. That’s why I suggest the Nevskaya Classika Hotel. It is totally affordable and yet comfortable and well located, which is hard to find in St Petersburg. You won’t have any trouble catching the bus to the Catherine Palace if you stay here.

If you like convenience and affordability and want to book this room for your one day in St Petersburg itinerary, just click here! And if you have a strange fear of convenience, you can explore other hotels if you click here.

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

What to Pack?

  • If you have your one day in St Petersburg itinerary in the summer, you’ll need to keep your feet stylish at the Catherine Palace with these sandals.
  • But just in case it rains, bring your cute Waterproof boots along too.
  • A cell charger so that your phone won’t die when you’re about to take an amazing photo of the gorgeous Catherine Palace
  • The best international travel adapter because if you’re not European, you’ll need one to plug in electronics in Russia.
  • A rain jacket with a hood because it definitely could rain during your one day in St Petersburg itinerary
  • An umbrella so you can still wander the grounds of the Catherine Palace even if it rains.
  • My favorite guide to St Petersburg.
  • No one should visit the Catherine Palace without reading the juicy and fascinating memoirs that Catherine the Great wrote herself.
  • And if you feel Catherine might be biased about her own life, try reading Robert Massie’s Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age, and you don’t want to get stranded in a foreign country without help. You never know when extreme weather will strike or some other emergency. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by some tragic Russian novels on your 24 hours in St Petersburg.
one day in st petersburg itinerary

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

Morning: The Catherine Palace

Catherine the Great’s erstwhile abode is located in Pushkin, which is 25 km south of St. Petersburg. Sometimes people will say that it’s located in Tsarskoye Selo, which just means Tsar’s Village. The easiest way to get there is by booking a private tour that will take you to and from your hotel and give you a special tour of the Catherine Palace. You can book this tour by clicking here.

You can also get there in a less convenient but cheaper way by going to the minibuses at Moskovskaya Ploshchad, right next to Lenin Square. If you do it that way, then Lenin Square contains the first of our…

Approximately top 5: catherine palace

one day in st petersburg itinerary
1) Lenin Statue

If you are more a Communist than a Tsarist, then don’t miss the giant statue of Lenin located in the conveniently named Lenin Square. You need to wait by this square to catch the bus to the Catherine Palace, so you can’t miss it!

There’s also a pretty convenient public toilet in Lenin Square in case you are in need while waiting for the bus. It costs less than 50 American cents to get in. (I know some very literal commentator is going to ask if they take American money. No. You need rubles.)

On your one day in St Petersburg itinerary, you can take buses K-286, K-287, K-299, K-342 to get to the Catherine Palace (aka Pushkin). The buses that go to Pushkin will either have signs that say Pushkin or Catherine Palace in the front window.

Worse comes to worse, just ask the driver “Pushkin?” and he will either say “Da” or “Nyet”. It will probably be too hard to negotiate fare with the driver, so I suggest just giving him a 500 Ruble bill and he will give you the correct change.

one day in st petersburg itinerary
2) explore the catherine palace park

If you’re not on the private tour, you can buy your ticket to the palace at an admission booth outside the park. The ticket includes admission to the gorgeous park around the palace.

Your ticket will also have a timed entrance to the palace on it, but don’t worry! You will have a lovely time admiring the beautiful architecture of the buildings in the park while you wait to go in the palace. (I do recommend getting an early start to this day, to avoid the crowds.)

Calling the area around the Catherine Palace a park is the understatement of the century. I’ve never been to any park with architecture this grand. Some of the buildings have a Middle Eastern feel…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

Whereas some of them have a more Asian vibe.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

There’s even a tower for you to climb that will give you breathtaking views of Catherine the Great’s grounds.

one day in st petersburg itinerary
one day in st petersburg itinerary

It’s as if Catherine wanted to create the impression that she was Empress of the world and not just Empress of Russia by bringing in architectural styles from all over the globe.

The Catherine Palace park doesn’t just have fancy building. You will also love it here if you enjoy communing with nature. My favorite part of the one day in St Petersburg itinerary was the lovely views of the water…

one day in st petersburg itinerary
one day in st petersburg itinerary

And there is greenery everywhere. Really, what more could a little Tsar wish for?

I wonder how long it took to create this entire complex. In one sense it seems like a waste of time and energy that could be better spent on feeding the poor. It’s no wonder the Russian Revolution happened. On the other hand, maybe it’s good for a Tsar to have a hobby and building gardens seems like a harmless one. Much better than oppressing peasants or encouraging pogroms.

one day in st petersburg itinerary
3) tour the palace interior

Once it is time for your ticket to activate, get ready for the highlight of the trip! Now you are finally allowed to tread the same hallways that Catherine herself trod. (Tsars! They’re just like us!) You can enjoy a gold-plated grand hall…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

another gold-plated dining room…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

be made uncomfortable by racist statues…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

or admire a room with walls made out of porcelain.

Really the architectural delights of the Catherine Palace are unlimited.

The one room in the palace you can’t photograph is the world famous Amber Room. Yes, that is a room that is almost entirely made of amber. Sadly, the one there now is a replica because the Nazis stole the original and it has never been found. Damn you, Nazis! If there’s any group of people who can make the tsars seem sympathetic, it’s you. And who steals an entire room anyway?

one day in st petersburg itinerary
4) Lunch at Khochu Kharcho

When you return to Lenin Square by bus, you’re going to want a late lunch and a cold drink. Fortunately, both are available at a Georgian restaurant off Lenin Square called Khochu Kharcho. My favorite non-alcoholic beverage in Russia was fancy lemonade. I saw this available at quite a few restaurants. You can get anything from fruit to tarragon put inside your lemony goodness.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

I was so excited when I heard that it is easy to get good Georgian food in St. Petersburg because I love fried green tomatoes. But it turns out that Georgian food in St. Petersburg is actually from a small country in Eurasia. When you go here, you must order the khachapuri, which is warm bread filled with moist cheese. It’s like a Cheese Lovers Pizza, only actually delicious.

I also recommend Khochu Kharcho because the staff is welcoming and they have an English menu. I feel the need to say that because the waiter tripped over my purse and didn’t even get mad at me. Thanks, kind server!

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

Afternoon: Alexander Nevsky Cemetery

We’re all figuratively acquainted with the great Russian writers like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy or Russian composers like Tchaikovsky. But would you like to make their acquaintance for real? You can dp that on a one day in St Petersburg itinerary if you visit the cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. It costs a small number of Rubles to enter, but I think it’s more than worth it to get to say hello to old friends like Dostoevsky…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

and Tchaikovsky.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

Or to say hello to new ones like composer Alexander Borodin…

one day in st petersburg itinerary

or the art critic Vladimir Stasov, who definitely has the coolest gravestone I’ve ever seen.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

Fair warning! You can say hello as many times as you like, but I don’t think any of your new friends are going to answer back!

one day in st petersburg itinerary

If you have time after seeing the cemetery, don’t miss Alexander Nevsky Larva, which is the oldest monastery in St. Petersburg. It is still a working monastery so be warned that you might not be able to enter when you want if a service is in session.

As I arrived, there was a procession exiting the building–I think perhaps a funeral of some sort of important person because people were wearing very fancy black clothes and crying a lot. I didn’t try to enter at this point because my mother taught me that it’s not nice to crash a funeral.

24 hour TIP

There are a few rules of etiquette to observe when visiting a working Orthodox church. If you are a woman, you must cover your head before entering. Don’t worry because they sell pretty head scarves outside the monastery for about 250 Rubles and they make a nice souvenir. Also, don’t take pictures of anything unless you’re sure it’s allowed. (Especially funerals.)

one day in st petersburg itinerary

One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary

Evening: Dinner at Kvartirka Soviet Cafe

Now that you’ve learned all about the Russians, it’s time on our one day in St Petersburg itinerary to dine like one! Take the metro a couple of stops back to the Nevsky Prospekt station and you will be at Kvartirka Soviet Cafe. This is a place where you can get tasty and affordable traditional Russian food. (Also there is an English menu.)

Start with a pot of tea which comes with these tasty little crunchy baked bagels called sushki. You’re supposed to dip them in the hot tea before eating them because they are quite hard, like a breadstick.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

Next I ordered shchi, which is a pungent sour cabbage soup that comes with its own fun bread hat. If you like sauerkraut, pickles, or stabbing a bread hat with a fork until steam comes out, you will love shchi.

one day in st petersburg itinerary

My main course was draniki, which are freshly fried potato pancakes with a side of sour cream. As a half-Irish, half-Jewish person, there is literally nothing tastier to me than a potato pancake. They are the perfect comfort food. These were good versions of the PP because they were fresh but not greasy or oily.

Once you are done, spend the rest of your one day in St Petersburg strolling around Nevsky Prospekt. The shops will be closed, but there are usually street performers playing music, so you can enjoy a free show even if you don’t understand the words.

That’s a Perfect One Day in St Petersburg Itinerary!

What would you do on a one day in St Petersburg itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in St Petersburg? And what’s the coolest grave any Russian artist could have? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in St Petersburg itinerary. If you’d like to try another one day in St Petersburg itinerary, try here.

If you want to try a one day in St Petersburg itinerary with the Russian Museum, click here. If you’d like to spend a one day in St Petersburg itinerary with the Hermitage museum, click here.

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