5 observation decks in St. Petersburg offering breathtaking views

Etazhi loft project
Taking a rooftop walk in St. Petersburg tends to be for extremists. For saner tourists, the city’s numerous viewing platforms make an excellent alternative. We tell you where the best bird’s-eye views are to be found.

1. Colonnade of St. Isaac’s Cathedral

You can view the historical center of St. Petersburg from a height of 43 meters from the colonnade of St Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the most famous attractions in the city.

When buying a ticket, be prepared to climb the steep spiral staircase – 562 steps in all.

From the observation deck, you’ll be able to see Trinity Cathedral with its unusually bright blue domes dotted with gilded stars. From the south-east side, the historical center, including Kazan Cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt, Smolny Cathedral, Palace Square, and the Peter and Paul Fortress, is right there in the palm of your hand.

4, St Isaac’s Square 

2. 'Nevsky Panorama' and the Peter and Paul Cathedral belfry

Another popular observation deck is located in the bell tower of the Peter and Paul Fortress, built in the 18th century. At one time, it was used as a strategic observation point.

These days, it offers panoramic views of the Petrograd side and Vasilievsky Island, plus the Palace and Admiralty embankments.

Another option open to the public is the “Nevsky Panorama” walking route. Although the observation deck is low, it offers a beautiful view of the Spit of Vasilievsky Island architectural ensemble, St Isaac’s Cathedral, the Admiralty, the Hermitage, and the Troitsky and Palace bridges.

3, Peter and Paul Fortress 

3. Smolny Cathedral belfry

The highest official observation deck in the city (50 meters above ground level) is located inside Smolny Cathedral. From here you can admire the glorious panorama of the Neva River, the buildings of Smolny Monastery, and even the excavations at the site of Nienshantz Fortress on the other side of the river. On climbing to the top, you will be rewarded with the sweet sound of Baroque music.

1, Ploshchad Rastrelli

4. Krysha space in the Etazhi loft

Rooftop viewing is perfectly legal and safe enough when done from places like Krysha (“Roof”), a special viewing platform inside the Etazhi (“Floors”) loft project on Ligovsky Prospekt. From there you’ll see the avenue itself – one of the city’s busiest streets, as well as the domes of Vladimirsky and St. Isaac’s cathedrals.

74, Ligovsky Prospekt 

5. Roof of the Mariinsky Theater Second Stage

In summer, when buying tickets to a performance at the Mariinsky Theater Second Stage, you can visit the rooftop observation deck one hour before the start. The open terrace provides a great view of the historical center of St. Petersburg, in particular Theatre Square and St Nicholas Cathedral.

34, Ulitsa Dekabristov

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