Neva River (Reka Neva)
Long considered to be the lifeline of St. Petersburg, the Neva River (Reka Neva) flows through the capital city from Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, eventually making its way to the Gulf of Finland in the Baltic Sea. Visit this historically important waterway to learn about the region’s history and see the city sites.
Numerous historic events have taken place on the Neva River’s shores, including the Battle of the Neva in 1240, and it is one of the reasons that St. Petersburg exists where it is today. The Neva stretches throughout the city via several channels and tributaries, and some of the city’s most iconic monuments and structures are located along its banks.
Join a sightseeing tour on the Neva River route to catch a glimpse of some of St. Petersburg’s finest attractions. Most tour guides point out and expound upon major sites, such as the Winter Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, and Bolsheokhtinsky Bridge (also called the Peter the Great Bridge). Alternatively, book a Neva river cruise during the spring and summer months when the waterways are flowing freely, to see the city from a different perspective.
Things to Know Before You Go
Wear comfortable, supportive shoes as most tours are single- or multi-day excursions that require several hours of walking around the city.
Although the Neva River may look inviting, it is not intended for recreational swimming.
Residents of most countries are required to have a visa from the Russian Embassy or Consulate to enter the country for any reason.
Most tours are not accessible to wheelchairs and strollers; those with mobility issues may be able to schedule a private tour.
How to Get There
It’s hard to miss the Neva River’s presence wherever you are in St. Petersburg. A popular place to begin a stroll along the riverbank is in front of the Winter Palace. From the Polkovo Airport it is roughly a 35-minute drive to the royal residence. If you are already in the city, hop on metro lines 2 or 3 to the Nevsky Prospekt and Gostiny Dvor stops.
When to Get There
The best time to visit St. Petersburg is from mid-June to September, when the weather is at its warmest. Consider planning your visit during the city’s peak season in late June and early July to experience St. Petersburg’s White Nights, a natural phenomenon occuring due to the city’s higher latitude. At this time the sun never sets, and the region puts on an annual festival celebrating White Nights.
Visit the World’s Largest Museum
Located within the confines of the minty-green-hued Winter Palace, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is the largest art and cultural museum in the world. With more than three million pieces in its collection, the Hermitage features global treasures such as prehistoric art, Egyptian artifacts, and classical antiquities.
- Summer Palace of Peter the Great (Letniy Dvorets)
- Peter and Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost)
- Winter Palace of Peter the Great at the Hermitage
- Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
- Pushkin Museum
- The State Museum of the Political History of Russia
- Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines
- State Memorial Museum of Leningrad Defense and Siege
- State Russian Museum (Russkiy Muzey)
- Mikhailovsky Castle (St. Michael's Castle)
- State Hermitage Museum
- Military Historical Artillery Museum
- Leningrad Zoo St. Petersburg
- Russian Museum of Ethnography
- Yusupov Palace (Yusupovsky Dvorets)