Revel in the magic and mystery that is the winter wonderland of St. Petersburg. It might be cold and snowy, but the city blossoms with life in winter. Chances are you’ve considered traveling to St. Petersburg to take in the sights of the famous Hermitage Museum, the stunning cathedrals or some of the other buildings that make the city known around the world. But St. Petersburg has plenty more to offer and it truly comes to life when other cities go into hibernation. Discover how below.
A winter city
What you may not know about Anastasias playground is that it’s actually the northernmost city in the world with a population of more than a million, and the temperatures average at around -10 degrees Celsius. January and February can be colder but as long as you remember to pack your best winter clothing you’ll be good to go. Come prepared and you won’t face the same defeat as Napoleon!
Sure, you won’t be able to go on a cruise on the Neva River or experience the white nights of summer. But St. Petersburg knows how to do winter like no other, and the buildings are certainly best enjoyed when wrapped in blankets of snow. Empress Elizabeth actually had houses painted in confection-bright pastels to break up the snowy monochrome, and the colorful contrasts against the white snow is a sight you’ll never forget.
Take a trip with the troika
Now, what could possibly be a better way to enjoy winter and the snow than curled up with your loved one while on a sleigh ride through one of St Petersburg’s most beautiful parks? Take a trip to Pavlovsk Park, a short trip south of the city, and take in the amazing scenery of the park as well as the palace. Let the winter wonderland race past as you enjoy the ride.
Island getaway at Yelagin
When you’re tired of crowded museums, opt in for what might just be the easiest island getaway known to man. Hop on the metro’s purple line and make your way to Yelagin Island. Even though it’s just a short trip away from the city center, you’ll feel like you’re miles away from the bustling city. Enjoy a walk around the island, feed the friendly squirrels that inhabit it (they’ll eat straight from your hand if you bring them nuts!) or go ice skating around a massive Christmas tree.
© Ninara / Flickr
Snowboarding and steaming saunas
South of St Petersburg lies the village of Restselya and Tuutari Park, a prime spot for skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. Go swooping down one of the five slopes and leave a cloud of snowy dust behind you, or try some of the special runs for sledding and inner-tube rides. This popular ski resort hosted the final of the Snowboarding World Cup in 2006!
When your limbs are sore and your body tired from spending the day in the slopes, then a trip to the sauna is exactly what you need. The Russians have always considered a bath more than just a way to get nice and clean, it is also a great way to deal with fatigue. So get your relaxation on at Degtyarniye Spa with their luxurious yet affordable treatments. Try a full body massage, soapy massage or a massage with the veniks, a fragrant bundle of leafy birch or oak tree twigs. You’re in for a real Russian treat!
And after spending your day out in the cold, coming back home always feels good. Let Radisson Sonya Hotel, St Petersburg be your home away from home on your wintry adventures in Russia. Not only will you be staying in the heart of the city, but you’ll also enjoy a comfortable stay in exquisite style.