Being the second-biggest city in the world’s biggest country, Saint Petersburg is a cultural marvel. It features a rich history and a unique cultural scene that must be experienced to be appreciated. You’ll enjoy visiting world-famous heritage sites and sampling all the delicious foods and drinks Russia has to offer on Saint Petersburg city breaks.
What to know before visiting Saint Petersburg
Pulkovo International Airport (LED), the main entry point to the city from abroad, is a 30-minute taxi ride to the centre of town. Check flights both from London and Manchester. You’ll likely need a visa to enter the country, and your passport should be valid for at least six months after the expiration date on the visa.
The local currency is the ruble, and Saint Petersburg is three hours ahead of London. The official language is Russian, although many service industry workers have a good grasp of English. While learning the Cyrillic alphabet and a few basic phrases would be a great way to get more out of your trip, this isn’t necessary, given Saint Petersburg's reputation as a global city.
When is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg?
Travelling to Saint Petersburg is possible at any time of year, though the cold winters and long nights sometimes encourage people to visit this great Russian city in the summer, with June to September being high season. You’ll also get to experience the special sensation of near-24 hour daylight in summer, with festivals such as White Nights being celebrated at this time. Saint Petersburg weekends and longer trips are ideal for checking out the area's festivities.
If you’re a traveller who enjoys colder climates, then wrap up and enjoy stunning Saint Petersburg package holidays under the snow in winter and spring, and see the gorgeous Neva River frozen solid. Autumn is a good balance, with mild weather and smaller crowds. Saint Petersburg flight and hotel deals can be enjoyed at any time of year.
What to do in Saint Petersburg
There is a range of activities throughout the year for families, friends and couples on Saint Petersburg city breaks:
Climb to the top of St Isaac’s Cathedral and snap panoramic photos of the city.
Shop, eat and enjoy the views at Taiga cultural centre.
Catch one of the best ballets you’ll ever see at the Mariinsky Theatre.
Sit back and see the city from a different perspective with a canal tour.
Learn more about the country’s history on a Communist Walking Tour.
Places to visit in Saint Petersburg
You'll find plenty of amazing sights to take in on a Saint Petersburg weekend:
The enormous, painstakingly crafted Hermitage Museum.
The marble-lined Church of the Saviour on Blood and its Orthodox-style domed towers.
The royal palace and beautiful gardens of Peterhof.
Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main street, which is lined with shops and restaurants.
A tour and tasting at the Museum of Russian Vodka.
What to eat in Saint Petersburg
Russia' range of cuisine is amazing, and Saint Petersburg package holidays should include trying local delicacies. Delicate pelmeni dumplings, filling beef stroganoff, blini pancakes and pirozhki pies with meat or fish fillings are just a few of the many traditional Russian dishes to sample.
The city boasts a huge variety of restaurants, ranging from world-class haute cuisine establishments to more relaxed eateries. Of course, in a city of this size, you'll also find excellent international options, including surefire favourites such as Italian and Japanese. Central Asian cuisine, which you may not find back in the UK, is another option to consider if you’re fancying something a bit different.
What can you bring home from Saint Petersburg?
With your Saint Petersburg flight and hotel package booked, you can start planning what to shop for in the city. Russia’s unique culture has given rise to many different iconic symbols, including Russian dolls and replica Fabergé eggs. A locally made fur hat is another great buy – keep warm both during your trip and when winter arrives back home.
Beautiful handicrafts, including lacquered jewellery and ceramics, are also excellent options. GUM and Nevsky Atrium are among the shopping centres you’ll find in the city, and Udelnaya Flea Market is the place for unique bargains.
Explore other destinations
If a city break in St. Petersburg doesn't quite convince you, why not explore other exciting cities? Check out our amazing flight and hotel packages for your next holiday adventure!