Russia isn’t really known to be a popular tourist destination, probably partly because of their policies and how they’re portrayed in the media (rightly or wrongly), and partly because the visa process is a pain!

Prior to this trip I’ve NEVER thought of going to Russia.

My thoughts on St. Petersburg now after visiting — it’s an incredible city. I had no clue what to expect, but the architecture and canals are so stunning. I can’t think of any other city I’ve been to that has had as many major landmarks as St. Petersburg. Every direction you look you see something that makes you go “wow, look at that!”

*Disclaimer – I could not pick ‘favourite’ photos – so you have a lot of beauty to look at on this post!!*

The streets were all different colours – with some soviet era buildings, and then super brightly coloured and different buildings! You couldn’t have passed the same one twice.

It reminded us of Amsterdam, with the winding canals. The architecture of the city almost seems Parisian too, although many aspects are unique to Russia, like the style of the Orthodox churches.

Saint Isaac’s Cathedral is the largest Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the city. It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint.

We explored inside, and even went up to the top! As you can imagine, the day after 1/2 Ironman, this was a struggle for poor Michiel’s legs!

Outside the cathedral were these beautiful flower morals.

The Summer Gardens are a great place to explore. Although we did get told off for running in them, it seems the gardens aren’t for practical uses…

The Summer Garden

Based on our experience here, I’d highly recommend a trip to St. Petersburg to anyone! The vegan places, the friendly people, the cultural sights. It’s such a charming and beautiful city.

Are we lost?

A few days before the race, having a short run around the beautiful Hermitage. 

We were recommended the boat trip along the Neva river – which didn’t disappoint – seeing the city from this perspective was great! And just what Michiel needed the day after his 1/2 Ironman!

Me, enjoying the view, Michiel, not so much…

By night, this city is alive! The lights are so beautiful!

All in all, a surprisingly amazing place – we LOVED St Petersburg!