Take a trip around St. Petersburg with this insider guide to Russia’s fairytale city. With the help of Lidia Nerobova of MariaRosaTours, we’ll reveal what to see, where to shop and when to visit.

So, Lidia, what’s your favorite thing about being a tour guide?
It gives me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world while helping visitors better understand Russia and St. Petersburg.

What makes St. Petersburg so special?
It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a very rich culture. It has beautiful architecture, interesting history, lots of events, famous museums and theatres. It’s also a modern city with nice shops, good restaurants and clubs.

What’s your favorite place in St. Petersburg that tourists rarely visit?
I love the Peter the Great Bridge. It’s quite far from the city center and not often visited by tourists, but I love looking at it from a distance as well as how it looks when you drive through it.

What’s the most Instagram-worthy place in St. Petersburg?
It has to be the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. It’s on pretty much every guidebook cover, magnet, watercolor and postcard of St. Petersburg!

Nobody should leave St. Petersburg without having seen/visited…
Everybody should enjoy the unforgettable view of the Neva embankments from the spit of Basil Island. Visitors should also walk along Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main street that’s lined with beautiful palaces, churches, monuments, shops and all types of restaurants.

Where are the best places to eat in St. Petersburg?
Head to Terassa or Moskva for tasty food in perfect locations. From their open terraces, you have a fantastic view of Nevsky Prospect.

Where’s the best place to shop in St. Petersburg?
Galeria Shopping Mall! It’s the biggest and most famous mall in the city center.

What’s your favorite word/phrase in Russian?
Chut-Chut (чуть-чуть), which means “a little.”  For example, “I speak chut-chut Russian.”

What’s your favorite season in St. Petersburg?
When spring is turning into summer as everything is in bloom. This is also when we celebrate the famous White Nights, which is when the sun never really sets.

What’s the most exciting event to happen in St. Petersburg this year?
The city is ready for the World Cup! We’ll host seven games at this year’s tournament, including a semi-final and the third-place playoff.

What can people expect from your tours?
My tours take visitors to all the must-visit places. I run tours that showcase St. Petersburg’s beautiful squares, buildings, palaces, churches, rivers and bridges. Any visit to St. Petersburg is incomplete without seeing the Hermitage and the amazing tsar residences of Tsarskoye Selo, Peterhof and Pavlovsk.