A getaway to the glittering city of St Petersburg is good for the soul. There is cultural nourishment at every turn, in the fascinating art galleries, museums and theatres. If underground art is more your scene, you will love the burgeoning alternative culture that is springing up among St Petersburg’s young population. When it’s not being serious and cultured, St Petersburg definitely knows how to party. The city has its fair share of big clubs, but a true St Petersburg night out consists of visiting as many of the countless bars as possible. There is a city-wide bar crawl every weekend, come bright sunshine or blizzard.
St Petersburg can seem slightly overwhelming at first, so it is a good idea to take a walking, cycling or bus tour of the main sights to orientate yourself. The impossibly beautiful city has an architectural gem wherever you look, in addition to world-famous landmarks. Dazzling churches dominate the skyline, such as the impossibly colourful Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood and the impressive St Isaac’s Cathedral. The stately exterior of the Russian Museum contains the country’s most extensive collection of Russian art, and it has a beautiful garden that offers a breath of tranquillity. The Kirov’s museum focuses on life under the Soviet regime, and the Peter and Paul Fortress is also worth a visit.
While you could spend days exploring these sights and museums, there is one attraction that takes pride of place in the itinerary of all city breaks to St Petersburg. The Hermitage is a palace and museum, with a world-class collection of over 3 million artefacts and pieces of art by the greatest artists throughout history.
St Petersburg is home to some of the greatest opera, ballet and theatre in the world. Savouring a spectacular show at one of the city’s elegant theatres is an unmissable St Petersburg city break experience. The Mariinsky Theatre has an impressive programme, and the sumptuous grandeur of the interior brings the performance to life. The Shostakovich Philharmonia put on magnificent classical concerts all year round, and in summer performing arts festivals take over the city.
The culinary scene in St Petersburg has seen a recent revolution, with young chefs around the city rediscovering their foodie heritage and reviving rustic Russian delicacies. For your fill of beautiful traditional dishes, try Yat or Restoran. There are also plenty of contemporary fusion places which bring quirky, experimental menus to St Petersburg’s increasingly discerning palate.
Bars are not just bars in St Petersburg. Spend an evening listening to live jazz in decadent surroundings at The Hat, or enjoy a poetry evening at Mayakovsky. There is an abundance of achingly cool hipster hangouts, with the kind of energy only generated by reckless hedonism.