There are so many photogenic spots in St. Petersburg that the real challenge here is to choose the most beautiful photos for sharing, not to take them. Bridges and channels, glorious palaces and mansions — you will surely have enough of it in your camera and Instagram by the end of your trip. Here is our guide to help you discover some less obvious places where you can take even more stunning and original pictures.
Golitsyn Loft: Inspiring balcony
The place is worth visiting even if you are not a keen photographer. Located on Fontanka Embankment, this creative project brings together five buildings with numerous bars, cafes, handmade shops, and design studios. But the real Instagram hit here is the 18th-century mansion with the view to the Fontanka River and the St. Michael's Castle. For the best shots, look for Civil Coffee bar, Ziferburg cafe, or the place called Golitsyn Hall, an event space — it has an enormous balcony. Legends say that the famous Russian poet Pushkin was a regular guest in the mansion. Inspired by the romantic view, he wrote some of his most celebrated poems here. Who knows what the place will inspire you for.
Where: Fontanka Embankment, 20.
When: Open 24 hours
Zinger Cafe: Books and coffee
Probably, one of the best and easily accessible places for the classic coffee posts. The cafe is located in the scenic Singer House next to the famous bookstore Dom Knigi (which means ‘The House of the Book’). Go up to the second floor and enjoy the elegant interior, aromatic coffee, and the view to the Kazan Cathedral through the panoramic windows.
Where: Nevsky Prospect, 28.
When: 9am — 11pm
Another place with a stunning city panorama is just 5 minutes away if you go across Nevsky Prospect. In Terrassa, one of the most famous rooftop restaurants, you can take selfies in front of the Kazan Cathedral (now from the backside), Singer House and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Besides, the place is well-known for its cozy interior, international cuisine, and an open kitchen where you can watch your meal being cooked.
Where: Kazanskaya, 3A
When: 11am — 1am; Saturday and Sundays: from 12 pm
An excellent way to capture the true spirit of Saint Petersburg is to explore the old yards and beautiful stairwells of apartment buildings. Usually, locals don’t want tourists to crowd their entryways. But in one of such famous buildings people got used to it. Recently they have even started charging visitors a small fee of 100 rubles, aiming to spend the money on the reconstruction of the stair hall.
The residential house we are talking about was built in the 19th century. Its spiral stairs go up and around the well-elaborated wrought-iron lift tower. Soft light comes through the big yellow windows making the staircase look mysterious and of course, extremely photogenic.
Where: Lomonosova, 14
How to get in: Press 5B.
‘Etagi’: Catch the sunset on the roof
The loft project called Etagi (or ‘floors’) is the second-highest viewpoint in the city, and it works 24/7. You can go up there just before the sunset and take stunning photos of the gold-colored roofs if you are lucky enough to catch good weather. The ample 1200 square meters space is equipped with funny signs for the best selfies. Take a drink in a local bar for inspiration or explore small shops and cafes on the way to the roof. There is no lift. Be ready to exercise!
Where: Ligovsky prospect, 74
When: Open 24 hours
St Isaac's Cathedral Colonnade: Bird’s-eye view
If you are more into classic city views, then bring your camera to St Isaac's Cathedral. From the 43-meters-high colonnade, you can get a 360 panorama of the main downtown attractions, including the Winter Palace and the Neva River. Note that a ticket to the Cathedral does not include an entrance to the colonnade, you’d need to buy a separate one. Again, there are 262 steps to get up there, but after all, real photo art demands sacrifices.
Where: St Isaac's Square, 4
When: 10:00 – 18:00
Evening admission: 18:00 – 22:30 only from April 27 to September 30.
The dark beauty of Annenkirche
For those who are tired of the classic sights in the city center, here is an alternative, hidden from the tourists. Built in the 18th century, Annenkirche (or St. Anne's Church) was originally a Lutheran temple. During Soviet times it became a cinema and later — a nightclub. In 2002 the building was almost destroyed by the fire. It was restored several years ago and now the church hosts concerts and art exhibitions. Even after the reconstruction the dark interior with its burn marks still possesses the unique dark beauty worth seeing and capturing.
Where: Kirochnaya Ulitsa, 8В
When: 12 pm — 8 pm; Monday and Tuesday: closed