St. Petersburg is, without question, one of the world’s great destinations. It’s a place where almost every house you see tells a story and restaurants are found in buildings that are hundreds of years old.
This is where Tchaikovsky, Vrubel, Pushkin, and Dostoyevsky all lived. All in all, the elegance of its architecture and the weight of its history are almost overwhelming.
To take advantage of all that this place has to offer, take a flight to St. Petersburg in the summer. The city’s White Nights—nights in the beginning of summer when the city never gets completely dark—are legendary. And besides, the snowy, subzero temperatures of winter make sightseeing more difficult (although not impossible).
Once here, stuff yourself with blinis and caviar at the city’s high-end restaurants or pop into hole-in-the-wall bakeries for warm pies and tea. Don’t miss the State Hermitage, which has more than three million artifacts in its collection.
And make sure that the Peter & Paul Fortress is on your list, for a glimpse into Russian history. If you have time for a day trip, visit suburbs such as Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) or Peterhof, both recognized as Unesco World Heritage Sites, to explore stunning royal palaces, fountains, and gardens.
While there are plenty of places to visit in St. Petersburg, from markets to churches to Russian baths, some of the best times you’ll spend here will be walking the streets. This is particularly true in Nevsky Prospekt, the main boulevard in the city, which is home to shops, restaurants, and crowds of locals. Settle into a lounge, or sip tea and watch the world go by from one of the many cafes.
If the weather is good, take a boat tour along the many rivers and channels and explore the city from water. Try to get a sense of St. Petersburg history, but make sure to enjoy what it is today—a city with a sense of fun and adventure.