One of the most charming cities in Russia, Saint Petersburg is seeing a rise in international tourism. And with good reason: are you a lover of art and culture? Do you prefer crazy parties and wild nights? Or maybe you’re looking for a romantic destination for the next holiday with your partner?
Saint Petersburg has it all. And we get it, some may be put off by the cold (although snow-capped Russia is undeniably magical). Well, you’ll be glad to hear that during the summer months, temperatures are consistently over 20 degrees Celsius. Perfect for exploring the city’s many gardens and canals and spending the night out.
There are plenty of reasons why you should make Saint Petersburg the top destination for your summer 2020 holidays. Keep reading to discover them.
An Award-Winning, Culture-Rich City
St Petersburg is considered the cultural capital of Russia. A whole week wouldn’t be enough to see the 3 million items collected in the marvelous Hermitage Museum alone, and lovers of architecture will be amazed by the iconic onion domes towering over the city’s orthodox cathedrals and churches. Moreover, some of Saint Petersburg’s treasures — like the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site Grand Palace commissioned by Peter the Great — are only open to visitors from June until September.
It’s no surprise then that St Petersburg won Europe’s Leading Destination at the World Travel Awards for the second time in a row in 2019. As reasons for this victory, the panel of judges and WTA President Graham Cooke mentioned the large number of cultural and business events held in the city, its artistic and literary treasures, and the many local festivals.
The Best Summer White Nights Are in Saint Petersburg
As it happens in other northern cities, the sun shines around the clock in June in Saint Petersburg. This is due to its geographical location, the same latitude of Oslo and the southern tip of Greenland.
Yet no other city has turned the natural event into such a poetic and exciting time. The White Nights Festival (Belye Nochi in Russian) is perhaps the most popular summer festival in Saint Petersburg, with all sorts of celebrations in the streets and on the romantic canals. Imagine live music performances, the best ballets of the year at the famous Mariinsky Theater, and spectacular firework shows.
The festival peaks with the Scarlet Sails: an amazing water show that includes rowing and motorboat racing, music performed live by the Saint Petersburg Symphonic Orchestra, fireworks, and even a pirate ship battle.
Although the White Night festival is by large the most popular summer celebration in the city, there many more unmissable summer events such as:
- The largest Film Festival in the country, attended by stars and film directors from around the globe
- The Palaces Music Festival, during which you’ll get to live like a tsar for a night, attending concerts in the most extraordinary imperial palaces in the city
- The Yelagin Park International Street Theatre Festival will allow you to see some of the world’s best street artists in a gorgeous location.
Jaw-Dropping Romantic Gardens Abound in the City of the Tsars
The most well-preserved architecture from the flamboyant Tsarist era can be found in St Petersburg. Royal gardens are made unique by careful and original landscaping, fountains, and classical sculptures.
Spend an afternoon walking around the charming pavillions of Catherine Park and take a ferry to visit the baroque Grotto pavilion on the tiny island in the middle of the Great Pond. Concerts take place in the park every Sunday at 5 pm. And if you’re a fan of water features, head just outside the city center to Peterhof Palace or Lower Park, which hosts the jaw-dropping Grand Cascade.
If you’re into edgy culture and contemporary art, you can’t miss out on the island of New Holland, a creativity hub made of yoga classes, art exhibitions, film screenings, and pink floating flamingos.
Do I Need a Visa to Visit St Petersburg?
Travel documents may not sound quite as exciting as summer parties and stunning palaces but they can make or break your holiday. Another reason why Saint Petersburg should be on top of your 2020 destination list is that the Russian government has recently launched an electronic visa specific to Saint Petersburg.
The new Russia visa application for St Petersburg can be completed entirely online in minutes. As per October 2019, there is no longer the need for foreign tourists to attend a Russian embassy or consulate in person or hire a travel agency. Just complete the application form, submit your ID documents, and you’ll receive your visa for St Petersburg directly in your inbox.
Daniel Moore is a passionate traveler and experienced content writer. He is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where he shares his valuable travel tips with the audience.