St. Petersburg is situated a mere 1 hour by plane from four European states – Latvia, Finland, Lithuania and Estonia further Moscow is located 1.5 hour from the city and Ukraine, Belarus (Byelorussia) and Moldova lie about 2 hours from the city. You can also reach Helsinki via bus in a mere span of 5 hours with Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius also accessible in the same time period. As a result of this incredible geography, the city has earned a reputation of being the most ideal stopover for holidays for anyone who wishes to visit all the major cities that lie within the Moscow – Baltic – Finland route. Your typical holiday could be like spending day 1, 2 and 3 in Moscow, day 3, 4 and 5 in St. Petersburg finally followed by a day tour to Helsinki from where you can travel to Tallinn or Stockholm by ferry.
St. Petersburg is a home to imperial stalwarts such as the Hermitage. The streets here offer a glimpse of revolution to the visitors. Timofey Radya is an iconic of the contemporary street art of Russia. This street art reveals the political as well as personal of the city. To view the best of Russian art, you must definitely make a visit to the Petersburg Street Art Museum. For art and history lovers, St. Petersburg is indeed a great tourist attraction. If classical art forms is your thing, you can plan a visit to the Hermitage Museum which displays priceless works by Leonardo, Rembrandt, Rubens and Michelangelo. It is indeed a home to gilded refinement and elegance.
The "Russian Versailles" also known as the Lower Park is nestled between the sea shore and the Grand Palace. It presents the largest system of fountains and three major cascades. You can spot more than 140 fountains here. The magnificent Grand Cascade can also be found here. It is located directly below the Grand Palace and presents a beautiful golden statue of Samson grasping the lion’s jaws. You can note the diversity of the park in its cascades that include white and black chess board designs along with Chinese dragons.
Pavlovsk Palace once happened to be the summer residence of the King Paul I. The beautiful interiors of the palace are a work of several great architects who have ensured that every detailing only adds value to the beauty of the palace. Inside the palace is a cultural melting pot with a Greek Hall comprising of French furnishings, Egyptian Vestibule and the Italian Hall. Visitors who come here for sightseeing can relax in the serene palace gardens located here where Strauss gave a performance with his orchestra. Gardens here offer several pavilions such as the Colonnade of Apollo, the Temple of Friendship, the Dairy Farm, the Pavilion of the Three Graces or the Rose Pavilion.
Travel and Romance
On a winter night, if you take an overnight train from Moscow to St Petersburg, you’ll experience a phenomenal romantic journey. During the colder season, the train moves sleepily through the snow falling outside as it pulls out of the capital. The train will take you through the suburbs into the silent forests. Your arrival in the St Petersburg will be a special moment in itself given the gilded spires, ornate museums and the beautiful River Neva. So plan a holiday to St Petersburg and immerse yourself in romance.
If the day in St Petersburg belongs to the palaces, museums and parks, then the night time must be spent enjoying the nightlife that the city presents. Bars here serve you with quality alcohol, vibrant atmosphere and world class service. The licencing policy of the bars here is usually liberal and visitors can enjoy till the early hours of the morning. You can head to Khroniki for the finest cocktail or Redrum for some local crafted beer.
St Petersburg is proudly known as the ‘Venice of the North.’ Ever pondered why? The criss crossed canals are the reason behind it! For people who come to St Petersburg on a summer tour must definitely spare some time for a relaxing canal cruise taking you through the heart of the city. This cruise will present to you innumerable photo opportunities when you sail through the photogenic bridges or pass through the notable landmarks here.
White Nights and the Midnight Sun
St Petersburg is the world’s Northernmost large city. The white nights which you experience here in the peak of the summer are wondrous. It happens when the Artic sun stays out for late and never really sets. In order to experience the sheer splendour of the polar nights, you must plan your trip between mid-June and early July. During that period, you can also attend the St Petersburg White Nights Festival which is an annual international arts festival. This festival is known for its night long celebration.
You can tour the entire city by the river:
Yes, it is very much possible! However, the only little sacrifice that you may have to pay when trying to tour the city by boat is the biting cold outside. But, since it will be an experience worthwhile, you have no reason to miss it. Cruise the Neva River which will take you around some of the most attractive monuments that shaped the identity of the city.
Morning coffee by the river could be your best coffee experience:
In the garden located adjacent to the Saviour of the Blood Cathedral, you’ll come across an archaic looking café. Facing the river, enjoying a cup of coffee here with some snacks will indeed going to be your one prime romantic way to start a morning in the city. Do try out the marshmallows here.
Prayer time at the Kazan Cathedral:
When you are in St. Petersburg, you must definitely make a visit to the Kazan Cathedral. You must however, plan your visit in such a manner that it coincides with the prayer time of the cathedral. Entry to the cathedral is free. Prayer time is in the evening so, mark your holiday calendar accordingly.
Watch the bridges shut at night:
This is not going to be anything extraordinary for the frequent travelers however if you are visiting St. Petersburg for the first time, catching a glimpse of the bridges shutting out at the night is going to be a sight in itself. St. Petersburg is indeed a beauty at night. During this time, all the buildings and the monuments are very well lit up. Adding to the glory, the bridges here shut down every night between 1:00 AM to 2:00 AM. In case you are traveling in any of those white nights, it is recommended for you to park yourself at one of the nearby cafes from where you can enjoy the view of the bridge just when the city comes together for a celebration. The scene here is too festive to miss out. Catching the bridges shut down is a great activity to do in St. Petersburg.