State Hermitage Museum
St. Petersburg's most popular visitor attraction, and one of the world's largest and most prestigious museums, the Hermitage is a must-see for all first-time travellers to the city. With over 3 million items in its collection, it also definitely rewards repeat visits, and new-comers can only hope to get a brief taste of the riches on offer here, from Impressionist masterpieces to fascinating Oriental treasures. One estimate has it that you would need eleven years to view each exhibit on display for just one minute, so many visitors prefer to organize a guided tour to ensure they have time to catch all the collection's highlights. Art aficionados, however, may find it more rewarding to seek out for themselves the works that they are particularly interested in.
The bulk of the Hermitage collection is housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes. However, there are a number of other sites that constitute part of the Hermitage, including the recently opened Storage Facility in the north of St. Petersburg, which offers guided tours through some of the museum's vast stocks. Our guide to visiting the Hermitage is designed to help you find your way around this enormous collection, with a detailed tour of the main site and individual information on each of the affiliated museums.