It is no secret that Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and today it is a huge draw for tourists. Let’s discover the top 3 green itineraries that will turn your holiday into an unforgettable experience.

Saint Petersburg, the best destination for green itineraries
White Nights in Saint Petersburg. Photo by Hu Chen via Unsplash

Situated by the Baltic Sea and interlaced with a complex web of canals stemming from the Neva River, Saint Petersburg is the second-largest city in the country. Moreover, it is considered by many Russia’s Cultural Capital.

It is certainly famous for its iconic sights and architectural beauties, which have inspired countless artists over the years.

And although there is a huge variety of options to visit this amazing destination, it is important to go for the ones that best respect the environment.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral Saint Petersburg
Photo by MariaKuzkina via Canva

So, how to visit Saint Peterburg in an eco-friendly way?

Green mobility is key. It is the perfect way of minimising the environmental impact of your holiday while enjoying even better this must-see destination.

We suggest 3 green itineraries which will make your stay unforgettable. In short, we recommend getting around on foot, by bike or by public transport. Are you ready?

green itineraries in saint petersburg, winter palace
Photo via Wikimedia

1. A Stroll Along the Canals: One of the Most Beautiful Green Itineraries on foot 

walking along the neva, the first of the green itineraries in saint petersburg
Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA via Unsplash

It is no surprise that this Russian city has earned the moniker of ‘Venice of the North‘. In fact, in addition to the main Neva River, there are hundreds of canals flowing through the city, for a total of about 300 km.

Water is actually embedded in the urban landscape, as well as the almost 800 bridges crossing the various water streams.

Thus, if you find yourself in Saint Petersburg, walking along the main embankments is a must.

Walking is certainly the most eco-friendly way to get around. Moreover, it is the best chance of appreciating the stunning buildings situated on the banks of the various waterways.

The Absolutely Must-see Spots Include:

  • Troitskiy Most, the ‘Trinity Bridge’ across the Neva. It is the widest among the 5 bridges straddling the river;
  • The narrow Moyka River. It is famous for its granite embankments and encircles the city’s central island;
  • Fontanka River, a water stream surrounded by several beautiful mansions;
  • The iconic Lions Bridge over the Griboedov Canal;
  • Zymnyaya Kanavka, the ‘Winter Canal’. This is a short water stream measuring only 220 metres near the beautiful Winter Palace.

These attractions are located within a walking distance from one another. And your itinerary will take about one hour and a half.

Walking is also the perfect way to see as much as possible at your own pace. And isn’t it great to enjoy the city while also minimizing your impact on the environment?

frozen canals in Saint Petersburg
Photo by Alice Pegonzi

In winter, Saint Petersburg is simply breathtaking. As the temperatures can drop to -30ºC, water gives way to ice and snow, thus painting enchanting, fairy-tale views.

If you love freezing temperatures – and you are also brave enough to visit Saint Petersburg in this period! – you will also have the chance to actually walk on the frozen Neva and canals. And I promise it’s worth it.

2. Reach the Most Beautiful Churches on Two Wheels: a Cycling Itinerary

green itineraries by bike in Saint Petersburg
Photo by Viridi Green via Unsplash

Are you a fan of cycling holidays? You can even reach Saint Petersburg by biking along Amber Road, the cycling route linking Vienna to Saint Petersburg.

But even if you have reached Saint Petersburg by other means, you should still consider renting a bike. As this is a great idea to see the city from a new, ecological perspective.

Moreover, it is also a great way to get rid of the limitations of public transport! And thus enjoy a more customized travel experience.

Smonly cathedral along one of the main green itienraries
Smolny Cathedral. Photo by GORBACHEVSERGEYFOTO via Pixabay

For instance, some of the shops offering bike-rental services are Велодрайв and RentGo. They offer a huge array of bike options and even include electric rollers.

Top 3 Most Beautiful Churches in Saint Petersburg: Smolny Cathedral, Tserkov Spasa na Krovi and Isaakievskiy Sobor

The cycling itinerary we suggest measures about 8 km.

If you are not spending many days in Saint Petersburg, biking is definitely the most convenient way to make the most out of your holiday, and still live an authentic Russian experience. In fact, in addition to the most famous sites, you will also explore some of the less touristy areas.

Start by visiting the stunning Baroque-style blue Smolny Cathedral.

Then, reach by bike the iconic ‘Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood’, Tserkov Spasa na Krovi. Colourful inside and out, this magnificent building contains over 7500 square meters of mosaicsmore than any other church in the world!

mosaics along the green itineraries in saint petersburg
Mosaics in Tserkov Spasa na Krovi. Photo by Mitya Ivanov via Unsplash

Finally, reach ‘Saint Isaac’s Cathedral’, Isaakievskiy Sobor.

This is the largest cathedral in Russia and one of the most impressive landmarks in the city. Its most striking feature is its gilded dome, which unquestionably dominates the skyline of Saint Petersburg.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Isaakievskiy Sobor. Photo via Wikimedia

3. Fancy a Break From the Hustle and Bustle of the City? Take the Metro

Yusupov Gardens, in the green itineraries of Saint Petersburg
Yusupov Gardens. Photo via Wikimedia

Let’s consider public transport. As soon as you get to Saint Peterburg, you will realize that there are so many options here: from the quintessentially Russian Tramvai to the Trolleybus and the Marshrutka.

Still, the metro often remains the most convenient, comfortable, and less polluting means of public transport. Also, it can take you literally anywhere in the city.

Why don’t you take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city by chilling out in a green urban area?

Yusupov Gardens in Saint Petersburg
Photo by Polyrus Via Flickr.

For example, you could stop at Sadovaya Metro Station and reach the famous 4 hectares park called Yusupov Gardens.

This park offers beautiful views that you can’t help but capture with your camera, any time of the year.

For instance, in the mild season, this is the ideal spot to just walk among flowers, or sit and read a book. Yet in the coldest one, it becomes a sort of magical Winter Wonderland.

In fact, with falling temperatures, a blanket of snow covers the park, and the pond turns into an actual skating rink. If you want to find the fun in cold winter days by ice-skating and sledding, this is the perfect place. And it is still in the heart of the city.

Which option would you choose?

Green itineraries are the best way to make the most out of your travels while having the lowest environmental impact.

Featured Image by Aitor Montaña via Fli

Author: Alice Pegonzi

My name is Alice, and I am passionate about travelling and discovering new cultures. I was born and bred in the Tuscan city of Lucca, but in the last few years I travelled a lot: first I moved to the mysterious Edinburgh, then to the icy Saint Petersburg. While knowing new places, I understood even better how beautiful yet fragile our planet is, and I realized that a urgent change is needed towards greater respect and protection of the environment. “Knowing your planet is a step towards protecting it” (Jacques-Yves Cousteau)
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