The Hermitage FAQ

Where is the Hermitage Museum?

The State Hermitage is located in the center of St Petersburg, Russia. 

The main buildings of the Hermitage Museum are around the Dvortsovaya Square (Дворцовая площадь) which translates from Russian as the Palace Square, at the beginning of the Nevsky Avenue and along the banks of the Neva River.  

The address of the Main Museum Complex is 2, Dvortsovaya Square, while the General Staff Building is at 6/8, Dvortsovaya Square.

Metro Admiralteyskaya is the closest metro station to the Hermitage.  It would take you 5 to 10 minutes to walk to the Hermitage from the metro Admiralteyskaya.

You can also use Metro stations Gostiny Dvor and Nevsky Prospect and walk to the Hermitage for approximately 15 minutes via Nevsky Avenue.

How to Buy the Hermitage Tickets?

See detailed information on how to purchase the Hermitage tickets in my article How to Visit the Hermitage Stress-Free.

Why is the Hermitage Famous?

The buildings housing the Hermitage museum are architectural masterpieces dating to the 18th and 19th century.

The Winter Palace, a part of the Main Museum Complex, is a former residence of the Russian Tsars.

With over 3 million items, the art collection of the Hermitage is one of the largest in the world. It contains paintings, archeological artifacts, arms, and golden crafts. 

Some of the most famous artworks exhibited in the Hermitage are by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, collections of Rembrandt, Rubens, French Impressionists (Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Monet, Pissarro), as well as works of Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaugin, and Rodin.

 

Is There a Dress-code at the Hermitage?

No.  However, please do not wear high heels as they would damage the wooden floors.

I recommend wearing very comfortable shoes and layers.   

You cannot bring coats and bags to the Hermitage.  Use the free cloakroom on the ground floor of the Hermitage.

Can I Bring Water and Food to the Hermitage?

No. Drinks and foods are not allowed.  Your bags will be scanned at the entrance.  

You can buy water and snacks at the Hermitage Cafe on the ground floor, in the Grand Courtyard cafe.  

There are cafes in the Menshikov Palace and the General Staff Building.  

Can I Take Photos at the Hermitage?

Generally, you can take photos for personal purposes. 

Avoid using flash photography. 

Photos in the specific temporary exhibition halls are prohibited. There will be signs in the areas where photography is not allowed.

Are There Audio Guides Available at the Hermitage?

Yes, audio guides are available in Russian, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

An audio guide rental currently costs<450 rubles.

You can pick up an audio guide in the Main Gallery on the ground floor or at the top of the Jordan Staircase in the Winter Palace.

Can I Buy Souvenirs Inside the Hermitage?

In the Main Museum Complex, the souvenir shops can be found on the ground floor in the Rastrelli Gallery.  There is also a bookstore with a good selection of art books, as well as a shop selling games and books for kids.

You will find small book stands in the exhibition halls.  They carry a limited selection of books about St Petersburg and the Hermitage, maps and postcards.

The General Staff Building also hosts a nice souvenir shop.

Tip: If you are interested in buying souvenirs at the Hermitage, make sure you don’t leave your cash in the cloakroom, as you may not be able to go back to the museum shops once you arrive at the cloakroom area.

Who Owns the Hermitage?

The Winter Palace used to be the residence of Russian royals.  Russian tsarinas and tsars acquired art from all over the world. 

Today, the Museum and the buildings belong to the Russian State.  The official name of the Hermitage is the State Hermitage.  The museum is only 50% self-funded, the rest of the funding is provided by the state and only a small fraction comes from private donations.

Is the Hermitage Interesting for Kids?

Of course, it depends on their age and their interest in history and arts.  Frankly, kids can get bored and tired as they would in any classical art museum.

What should kids see in the Hermitage?  There are some halls in the Hermitage that I would recommend for kids:

  • the Knights’ Hall, hall 243, hosts a collection of historic arms and knight armor.  See the 3D panorama of the Knights’ Hall here.
  • the Peacock Clock – the 18th-century clock with the moving mechanical birds show.  Hall 204.  See in the video above.
  • Egyptian mummies.  There are several mummies presented in the Hermitage, the most famous one is the mummy of Pa-di-ist believed to date from the 10th century BC .  Ancient Egypt Exposition is on the permanent display at the Hermitage.
  • Archeological artifacts.  There is a significant collection of Bronze age artifacts found in the mounds of the Caucasus, the Altai region, the Middle East and other areas.

The Hermitage hosts special tours for children accompanied by adults, however, I understand that they are currently in the Russian language only.

The General Staff Building.

The Hermitage Opening Hours

As of 2020, the first admission to the Hermitage is at noon.  The last admission is at 7 pm.  The museum is open till 9 pm.  Please make sure you check the updated hours at the official Hermitage website. 

The museum is closed on Mondays.

The Hermitage is closed on the 1st of January and the 9th of May.  

When to Avoid Visiting The Hermitage?

When planning your visit to the Hermitage try to avoid these dates:

  • the third Thursday of every month, when the Hermitage is free for certain groups of people,
  • the 18th of May, which is the Day of the Museums
  • the 7th of December, the birthday of the Hermitage when admission is free.

You will see the Hermitage more crowded:

  • during the school holidays (January 2 to January 10, last week of March, the first week of November) 
  • between May 1 and May 9
  • around June 12 long weekend
  • during the White Nights (June 11 to July 2)

Tip: On the days when the Hermitage is open till 9 pm, enter the museum at 6 pm to avoid crowds.  Visitors from cruiseships will be gone by that time.

Where to Eat Lunch Inside the Hermitage

Entrance to the cafe inside the Hermitage.

You cannot bring food or drinks into the Hermitage. Water is not allowed either.

All bags are scanned at the entrance.

I recommend to eat or to have a snack prior to entering.  If you need to buy food at the Hermitage, there is a small cafeteria on the ground floor, at the Rastrelli Gallery next to the souvenir shops. 

The cafe looks rather small and the choice of food is limited.  Also, if possible plan your visit such that you avoid lunch hour at the Hermitage to avoid long lines to buy snacks.

Tip:  Have a meal or a snack before entering the Hermitage.

Virtual Visit to the Hermitage

If you want to plan your visit to the Hermitage or just to have a peek inside its gorgeous interiors, take this inspirational 3D virtual tour of the Hermitage.

Select a floor you want to visit and press Begin the Tour. Enjoy!

You can also watch this excellent video tour (in Russian).  

The Hermitage Webcams

To see the Palace Square, the inside of the Winter Palace garden, and the Raphael Hall, check out the Hermitage webcams.

How Much Time Do I Need to Plan for the Hermitage Visit?

The Hermitage houses 3.2 million pieces of art and historic artifacts.  

If you had to spend 1 minute to view each of them, it would take you 13 years to complete.  Just walking around the hallways of the Hermitage would take 5 hours.

You will also need time to admire the interior of the former royal palace rooms. 

Usually, guided tours last about 2-3 hours.  

If you are on your own, you can browse as long as you wish.  I am personally getting fatigued and overwhelmed after 3 hours in the museum.  If possible, break your visit into two days.

Tip: If you know exactly what you want to see use the visit planner on the Hermitage website to get the exact locations of the items.  Also, you can use the 3D virtual visit tour to understand the general direction.

Tip: If you are more after the general impression, hire a guide, who will show you the highlights and hopefully help to skip the lines.

Is there a Cloakroom at the Hermitage?

Yes, there is a cloakroom on the ground floor.  

All coats, bags, backpacks, umbrellas, food and drinks have to be left in the cloakroom.  

The cloakroom has a limited capacity which can create long queues. If you can avoid using the Hermitage cloakroom, do that. 

Tip: When visiting Hermitage, I try to wear a light foldable down jacket that fits into my purse.  

The cloakroom does not accept large luggage bags. 

Learn more on how to buy tickets to the Hermitage in my article 

How to Visit the Hermitage Stress-free.

See my other practical advice on visiting St Petersburg in the blog.

Enjoy your stay!

Saint Petersburg native and travel blogger