Here's why St. Petersburg was just named the best destination in Europe

St. Petersburg Saviour of Spilt Blood ChruchRoman Evgenev / ShutterstockThe Church of Our Saviour on Spilt Blood is one of St. Petersburg’s most beautiful landmarks.

St. Petersburg, Russia, was just named the best destination in Europe by the World Travel Awards.

To determine the World Travel Awards winners, thousands of travellers and people working in the travel industry vote on certain categories in regions around the world.

St. Petersburg won as the Leading Destination in Europe. The city’s ornate palaces and churches and the rich history behind them make it an ideal destination for travellers.

Keep scrolling to see why St. Petersburg took the number one spot.

The uniquely colourful Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood marks the spot where Alexander II was attacked in an assassination attempt in 1881 (hence the church's name).

As if its exterior isn't breathtaking enough, the interior is covered in bright mosaics.

Shutterstock / Art Konovalov

The Winter Palace is also known as the Hermitage Museum. The palace was completed in 1762, the same year that Catherine II rose to power.

Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock

The square is an interesting mix of architecture: the Baroque style used for the Winter Palace, and the more classic style of the imperial army building.

Fontanka River is a branch of the Neva River, which flows throughout central St. Petersburg.

Denis Mironov / Shutterstock

The Palace Bridge sits over the Neva River and is one of the city's most striking bridges, especially when it's lit up at night. This picture shows the bridge's framing of Smolny Cathedral.

Taking 40 years to complete, St. Isaac's Cathedral was built to be St. Petersburg's main church and the largest cathedral in Russia.

Stretching between the Palace Square and St. Isaac's Cathedral, Alexander Garden was a popular place for the city's aristocracy to enjoy some leisure and gossip time. It's even mentioned in literature written by the country's favourite poet: Alexander Pushkin.

bellena / Shutterstock

Originally built for Catherine I by her husband Peter the Great, Catherine Palace didn't become the magnificently ornate palace it now is until their daughter, Empress Elizabeth had it reconstructed in 1734.

The resulting palace stretches close to one kilometer and is covered in over 220 pounds of gold on the outside.

Sergey_Bogomyako / Shutterstock

Like Catherine Palace, the Grand Palace at Peterhof was originally commissioned by Peter the Great, but after his death in 1725, the building was abandoned until his daughter, Empress Elizabeth took over the construction in 1740.

Empress Elizabeth commissioned the same architect who worked on Catherine Palace to the Grand Palace and the result is stunning and elegant. The bright yellow and white palace is a little more understated but is surrounded by gorgeous fountains and gardens.

S.Borisov / Shutterstock

Occupying a corner of the Nevsky Prospekt -- St. Petersburg's main avenue -- the Singer Company Building or Dom Knigi (House of Book) is a masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture. The metal and glass tower that tops the building gives it both height and a unique look.

One of St. Petersburg's more modern churches, the Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Kronstadt was constructed in 1913, the year of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

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