There is hardly any other European capital that can offer its guests such an exciting cultural mix as St. Petersburg.
The conventional wisdom used to be that in winter, St. Petersburg shops selling sunglasses are closed for vacation, breakfast is served at noon, and people go to bed right after dinner. However, the literary tradition proposes quite a different description of a winter day by the great Russian poet Pushkin:
“A magic day — sunshine and frost —
But you, in dreamland still are lost…
Come, open your enchanting eyes..”
Don’t be afraid of the St. Petersburg climate: put on an extra layer of clothes and take a walk down the Moika Embankment from Nevsky Prospekt to St. Isaac’s Square. The best time is evening after 7 p.m., when all of the historic buildings along your way will be brightly illuminated. You see the snowflakes’ dance in the street light and hear the crispy fresh snow to crunch under your feet, and you will feel great and warm in your fur hat and woolen mittens.
Winter is the best time to get to the Hermitage without standing in queue, enjoy the masterpieces of ancient Russian icon art in the Russian Museum, and visit the exhibitions of modern art in the austere rooms of Mikhailovsky Castle and the Marble Palace. Winter in St. Petersburg is also the high season for theater. Dozens of fantastic opera and ballet performances are staged at the Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky Theaters, and Alexandrinsky Theater presents modern drama on its new stage. There are dozens of theaters in St. Petersburg and more than 70 museums, so one has to make tough choices .
By mid-December, St. Petersburg is permeated with an atmosphere of excitement as Russians foretaste their favorite holiday – the New Year’s. If you would like to celebrate the New Year local-style, plan a vacation through mid-January. The Orthodox tradition orders to celebrate Christmas on the7-th of January and due to the old chronology the Russians terminate the feasts on the 13-th of January — the old-style New Year Eve.
If your Russian waiter doesn’t speak English, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be served well: Russian hospitality reaches far beyond all major service standards. Russian culinary hospitality will be on full display at the St. Petersburg Restaurant Festival, which will be held on November 1-30. Restaurant Week in St. Petersburg will last a whole month, and many of the city’s best restaurants will offer their guests special set menus at attractive prices.
Come to St. Petersburg in winter and enjoy the unforgettable experience as you explore the vivid and unique Russian culture. Some of your impressions of the city might seem strange, while others could make you smile. A winter trip to Russia is an extraordinary adventure, off the beaten track and even exotic. So when you leave for your homeland should you happen to notice in the mirror a happy-looking person, wrapped in a warm scarf to the ears, with a fur hat (ushanka) on your head, don’t worry: that is just you and you have just been to Russia and you ‘ve enjoyed it !
Good to know
72 hours without a visa
City guests who arrive in St. Petersburg by sea enjoy the privilege of visiting the city without having to file for a visa. For visa-free entry for up to 72 hours, use the regular Helsinki-St. Petersburg connections by St. Peter Line ferryboat, or choose one of the multitude of Baltic Sea cruises.
Just the Right Exchange Rate
Over the past five years, the number of five-star hotels in St. Petersburg has doubled, while favorable exchange rates have cut accommodation prices almost in half. This year, St. Petersburg is offering perhaps the most attractive prices anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere for a deluxe class vacation. You can reserve a double room in a five-star hotel at a price starting at EUR 150 a night. The price for dinner-for-two in a good restaurant starts at just EUR 40. The concierge service at your hotel will recommend the best events to attend, and will order tickets to the theaters and museums of St. Petersburg for you.