St Petersburg is an exceptionally beautiful city and is known as the Venice of the North due to its many islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. Admire some most elegant buildings is this more regal of cities such as the stunning stretch along the Palace Embankment, which boasts the Hermitage - which encompasses the tsars’ Winter Palace - the Marble Palace, the Vladimir Palace, the New Michael Palace and the Ficquelmont Palace among other landmarks. Behold the onion-domed splendour of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and visit the golden-domed neo-classical masterpiece that is St Isaac’s Cathedral, whose gilded interior is decorated in spellbinding frescoes.
The once notorious Peter and Paul Fortress is the oldest of Peter the Great’s grandiose projects and was intended to project his power, both military and spiritual. See the breathtaking baroque Cathedral of Peter and Paul with its seemingly never-ending 123 metre-long golden spire topped by an angel. Also within the fortress is the mint, which still produces coins and medals, and the cells of the prison. Explore this dungeon and find out about the appalling conditions prisoners such as Trotsky, Dostoyevsky, Gorky and even Peter the Great’s own son, Alexei, endured.