Updated: May 17, 2020
The Hermitage is the biggest museum in Russia, and one of the most important art museums in the world. The vast collection, of more than 3 million objects, is displayed at six different buildings. The most important one is the Winter Palace – the official residence of the Russian Tsars.
The collection first established by Catherine the Great, who bought art collections from all over Europe. Today the collection includes European art from the 13th-20th centuries, displayed in more than 120 rooms of the Winter Palace and the other buildings: The Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, and the General Staff Building.
Even if you are not an art fan – this is a place you must visit when visiting St. Petersburg. The beautiful oversized Winter Palace, with his beautiful halls and rooms, is fascinating. There is an excellent audio-guide in several languages, that gives useful information and covers all of the essential objects and places.
I highly recommend buying tickets online upfront. The lines to the ticket office are terrible. If you didn't buy online, try to reach the tickets Kiosk placed outside the Online tickets entrance, or buy them at the General Staff Building, where the lines are much shorter.
I bought tickets for two days, but it was too much for me. If you are not an avid art lover, it is too much. The clutter of art objects is incomprehensible, and after a few rooms, it all looks the same. At least that's how it is with me.
The Winter Palace of Peter the 1st, which is just next to the main Hermitage (the entrance is from the side of the river) is very nice – but hardly essential. There are private rooms of the Tsar to see and a small display.The museum part of the General Staff Building, although hosted in an old building, is quite modern and display permanent and temporary exhibitions.
The Palace Square
The Winter Palace Building
The Winter Palace Collections
General Staff Building
Winter Palace of Peter the Great