Canals and Rivers, Saint Petersburg
Why not have a boat trip along the city canals and rivers, which will allow you to see the buildings from different angles and to enjoy the city sites - the splendid samples of the old Russian architecture.
Fondest memory: walking along the city canals and living there for a year.
The canals form an integral part of St Petersburg, walking along them was one of the best experiences from the town.
They are also good if you want to orient yourself easily in the city, starting from the Neva, you have Moika, on which most of the aristocrats built their palaces, then kanal Griboiedova along which most of the merchants built their homes and ending with Fontanka.
Fondest memory: Amazingly also, while the main prospects full of shops are crowded at any time of the day (and night), the streets along canals are devoid of any shops, so have preserved an authentic feel - and you will be almost alone...
When in Saint Petersburg during winter take a walk on the river if possible. It's a fantastic stroll. A trip to the Summer Palace is also fantastic in winter - next time I will arrive in a sleigh and feel like a real zarina.
Fondest memory: The river is really special during winter. The ice creates beautiful formations along the river banks. Also the sight of locals sun bathing in -15 degrees celsius is rather unique.
One thing that really surprised me about St Petersburg was the canals. I wasn’t expecting them to be so picturesque.
We spent quite a bit of time on our trip walking around the city, and kept finding ourselves back wandering by the Moika and the Griboyedov canals.
Fondest memory: There are some really interesting buildings and bridges to discover if you take a wander.
I always find it is great to explore a little off the main tourist drag, nice not to have to dodge fellow tourists occasionally!
Favorite thing: Our Russian guide in St. Petersburg told us that there are more than 60 canals throughout the city. It's easy to believe because it seems that there is another one everywhere you turn. Because of this, the city has aquired the name "The Venice of the North" among locals. The canals and rivers once served the purpose of allowing barges full of goods and raw materials in from the Baltic Sea up to the Neva River and eventually to Moscow and parts of interior Russia. Today, barges still use many of these waterways to transport goods. Each night after 11 PM the drawbridges crossing the Neva are raised to allow ships to pass. Driving or walking over these bridges after this time is impossible until they are lowered again in the morning, so be sure that you don't get stuck!
Saint-Petersbourg est une ville exceptionnelle dans la mesure où pour la première fois, en Russie, elle n'a pas été construite sur une hauteur, mais sur les îles d'un delta, dans un espace naturel conditionné par les bras de la Néva.
St-Petersburg is an exceptional city insofar as for the first time, in Russia, it has not been constructed on a height, but on the islands of a delta, in a natural space conditioned by the arms of the Neva.
Canal tours will offer outstanding views of many of the prominent structures of St. Petersburg.
Shown from left to right:
Kunstkammer - The blue and white building houses Peter the Great's collection of biological curiosities.
Zoological Museum - Yellow building has over 100,000 specimens including a collection of mammoths and stuffed animals once belonging to Peter the Great.
Rostral Column - Once lighthouses for the busy port.
SS Peter and Paul Cathedral - The thin spire of the cathedral can be seen. The oldest church in St. Peterburg.
A new perspective on the city can be gained from water-level. . .and the boat trips visit some areas of the city that might not be reached on ground.
Fondest memory: The Sheremetev Palace (1750's) is located on the Fontanka ~ outside of the central core of the city. It's another example of the beautiful Baroque palaces that can be found throughout the city, but we wouldn't have seen it without the trip through the canals.
St. Petersburgs encompasses more than 100 islands and is crossed by more than 50 canals and rivers.
The city was under constant threat of flooding from its very first days ~ in fact, the entire city was submerged due to rising water levels in 1824. . .the flood destroyed over 400 buildings.
A dam project was intiated in the late 1980's, in order to prevent a future catastrophe.
Boat trips through the canals can easily be found on Nevsky Prospekt at the bridge over the Moika and at the bridge over the Griboedova (further west)
As the city is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North, it would be a shame to miss out on this special aspect of it.
Fondest memory: Our boat ride cost the equivalent of 10 USD per person and lasted just over an hour, with a commentary in Russian. The language was irrelevant though, as the singular draw is the view. . .
The canals of St. Petersburg are worthy of a Must-See tip, but their importance is much broader than that. . .the city was founded on its network of waterways and the maritime connection has never lessened in importance.
Fondest memory: A boat ride on the canals is the best way of appreciating them ~ and it's a fantastic way to get a new look at bridges and embankments.
We picked this boat in the photo based on its size ~ there are many larger ones, some of which can't enter smaller canals.
Fondest memory: Saint Petersburg is one of the most fascinating towns I ever visited. I have been there several times. Beside the very famous white nights, when people seems to stay up all night, the winter season is also worth a visit. There are much less tourist as in the summer season. But of course the days are quite short. Just as the nights are very short in the summer.
Perhaps the water is one more reason why I love St. Petersburg and like taking pictures there whenever I'm lucky to visit the city. Long time ago the city was given the nickname of Northern Venice thanks to its rivers and canals.
If you come to St. Petersburg, do not miss the chance to ride a boat and to look at the city from the water. It seems that architects who were building St. Petersburg were well aware of this strange angle at which you see the facades, bridges and cathedrals from a boat. Small water taxi that now are easily available may be more comfortable and interesting than any larger vessel.
Watch the sunset at Neva. This is so beautiful, one of the most colourful sunsets I've ever seen, maybe because of all the historical buildings around you:)
Fondest memory: Walking down the promenades at Volga, watching the sun going down and how it coloured all the old palaces, the river and the parks, and eating the delicious Russian ice cream.
Favorite thing: Visit during the period known as White Nights when darkness never completely arrives. It is interesting to go out at night to see the sights as the streets have the people of St Petersburg wandering around making the most of the daylight they are so often deprived of in winter.