Exploring the hidden gems of a city can be a most rewarding experience. Vasilievsky is just that kind of place, full of history and often overlooked. Make sure to stroll down the perfectly parallel streets of the island and see the St Petersburg Peter the Great envisioned at the time of founding.
Admire modern art at Erarta Museum
The Erarta Museum has an extensive permanent collection of Russian modern art. Works on display come from all kinds of artists, some are well-recognised and others are at the start of their career. The gallery also aims to represent artists from all regions of Russia, not just the bigger cities. The gallery is quite large, and there is a pleasant café to sit down and enjoy a coffee as you explore the various exhibitions.
Erarta, 29 Liniya Vasilyevskogo Ostrova, St Petersburg, Russia, +7 (812) 324-08-09
Visit the first museum in St Petersburg
The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, previously known as the Kunstkamera was established by the founder of St Petersburg himself, Peter the Great. The original idea of the museum was to create a cabinet of curiosities where all sorts of rarities both natural and human were collected. Although now the main bulk of the exhibition are ethnographic exhibitions, articles collected by Peter the Great still remain there. Among them are human and animal fetuses in a bottle that display all sorts of genetic mutations. A sight not for the faint-hearted.
Take a ride in an antique tram
The St Petersburg Museum of Electrical Transport was established in place of an old depot on the Vasilievsky Island. Trams have long been an essential part of the St Petersburg transport system and were installed during the imperial times. So long ago that those trams were pulled by horses. On display here, there are 45 trams that you can explore inside and out. There is also an exhibition of authentic photographs featuring these trams in action. At an extra cost, the museum organises a short tram ride around the depot on one of the trams displayed. Just ask at the cash desk if it would be possible to arrange.
Look around the St Petersburg University
A the moment, Vasilievsky island is mainly inhabited by students. The university has a number of faculties as well as student housing spread around the island. Although the university does not allow visitors in unless they are attending an open event, it is possible to walk around and admire the buildings. For example, the main campus of the university is located in the building of Twelve Colleges, which housed the Russian government during the time of Peter the Great, back in the 18th century.
Step on board an icebreaker
That’s right, a real icebreaker called Krassin, docked not far from the city centre of St Petersburg. The ship has a lot of history to it. It was built during the Imperial times, in 1916, and participated in the Revolution. Krassin then took part in a number of rescue missions during the time of the Soviet Union and was also active during the Second World War. There is lots to learn on board, not only about the structure of the ship but also about modern Russian history.
The icebreaker “Krasin”, 23 Leytenanta Shmidta embankment, St Petersburg, Russia, +7 (812) 325-35-47
Take beautiful photos from the Spit
The Spit of Vasilievsky Island is one of the most picturesque places in the city. From here you can look across to the Palace Embankment and see the Hermitage palace as well as many other buildings in the centre. There is also much to be admired right on the spit, such as the two Rostral column, that served as lighthouses in their time, and the old Stock Exchange building. You can also walk down toward the water at certain points and just enjoy watching the water flow by.
Walk through the Menshikov Palace
The palace was the residence of the first St Petersburg Governor General and the right hand of Peter the great, Alexander Menshikov. Ironically, his palace was more luxurious than that of the Tsar himself. No wonder he was later exiled to Siberia for interference in throne affairs. The general is gone, but the palace remains and is now open to the public as a museum. It houses a collection of Russian art of the late 17th and early 18th centuries and is a branch of the Hermitage museum.
The Menshikov Palace, 15 Universitetskaya Embankment, St Petersburg, Russia, +7 (812) 323-11-12
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.