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24hrs in…St. Petersburg

In our humble opinion, St. Petersburg is simply breathtaking. And if you’re thinking about visiting, there’s no better time than during May-July, when the city celebrates approximately 80 evenings of nearly 24 hours daylight. The ‘White Nights” as they are known, have become an intrinsic part of St. Petersburg’s identity.

Here are our recommendations for a weekend in this awe-inspiring city:

SATURDAY

The northern side of the city is made up of islands, and definitely worth a visit. Head to Peter & Paul Fortress on Zayachy Island. It is filled with museums and the gorgeous (and slightly eerie!) Cathedral of Saint’s Peter and Paul.

Take a slow amble back to the city centre, over the Neva on the Trotsky Bridge. Pass through the Field of Mars, a park with an eternal flame and war memorial. Cast your gaze upwards and you’ll see the colourful onion domes of the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.

SATURDAY NIGHT

The Idiot (82 Moika Canal), is a perfect spot for vodka shots and a pre-theatre dinner. It’s a popular cafe named after Dostoyevsky’s novel, and the menu features fabulous Russian and vegetarian cuisine.

A theatre experience not to be missed awaits you at the Mariinsky Theatre (www.mariinsky.ru). The performances here are of the highest quality. The theatre is also an important part of the White Nights Festival; an international arts extravaganza which runs from May-July.

Seeing as it’ll be midnight and still not dark, why not take a tour boat at the Fontana Canal? An unforgettable experience that will have you passing under low arched bridges and out onto the vast Neva River, with pink and violet clouds streaking the horizon. Stunning.

SUNDAY

For a late breakfast to remember, head to L’Europe at The Belmond Hotel. This culinary hot spot is Russia’s oldest continually serving restaurant, and has a menu to die for.

A trip to St. Petersburg would not be complete without visiting the great Hermitage Museum (www.hermitage.ru), You could easily spend the whole weekend here, but a few hours will give you a real taster treat. The impressionist paintings are among the most popular works, but all in all it really is a storehouse of masterpieces from ancient Egypt to the 20th Century.

Until next time…до свидания

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