Best Travel Tips to St. Petersburg, Russia (For Your First Trip)

Peterhof fountain St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg was founded in 1703 by Peter the first.

Today is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

For this great merit has its picturesque location and spectacular urban architecture.

The city was a capital of Russian Empire for more than 2 centuries.

It is named after the holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

With its numerous cultural monuments, museums, palaces, parks and canals, the city is a destination for tourists with good taste who seek spiritual growth and cultural enrichment.

It is called “The North Venice” because in the world there are only three cities in which water plays such an important role and occupies such a large area of them – these are Venice, Sydney and of course St. Petersburg.

How to Get to St. Petersburg?

Hermitage Sankt Petersburg
The Pieter is very large city and offers a wide variety of options for the transport for tourists.

Here is one of the biggest and loaded Russian airports – the international airport Pulkovo.

It is located in the southernmost parts of the city.

Besides with plane you can reach to the Pieter also by train, from other Russian cities and abroad.

From many European countries you can buy tickets for the train to St. Petersburg.

The railway transport is a cheaper in comparison with the air transport.

For this purpose, of course, you need to take and more time.

Buses are also an option although the remoteness of Petersburg from most European capitals makes buses less popular than plains or trains.

Here we should mention that in the Baltic Sea ferries are pretty good alternative for a comfortable and interesting journey.

By ferry you can get to St. Petersburg from most of the major Baltic cities.

What Clothes to Wear When We Travel to St. Petersburg?

If you chose “North Venice” for your next vacation, it is better to prepare warmer clothes.

In the period from November to late March is really cold and is too likely to have not so warm clothing as it would require your stay in St. Petersburg.

For April you have to wear winter clothes, but know this part of the year is not as cold as it was in recent months.

In May, September and October is good to have warm clothes, although not too warm.

One not very thick jacket would be adequate for these months of the year.

In June, July and August, wear your summer clothes with short sleeves, but do not forget to put in your luggage and some jacket and/or an anorak – most likely you will need some time to use them.

Do not forget your umbrella – the summer in St. Petersburg is quite humid.


St. Petersburg in the winter
The city is located in the temperate climate zone, but the northern location and proximity of the Baltic Sea has left a deep imprint on it.

Here the only long season is the winter when Petersburg remains for a long time under very thick snow cover.

Winter in St. Petersburg is legendary.

Many stories are told of the famous cold, chilling each year the most beautiful Russian city.

Perhaps one of the most impressive stories is one that tells about the cold during the Second World War.

It is said that then the winter was so severe that the tanks has crossed the frozen waters of the River Neva.

Here the climate is cooler than in Moscow, and dark days are much more than the Russian capital.

For example, summers here are short, cool and moist.

Temperatures can reach about 22 – 23°C, of course there are wonderful days when the sun shining is abundant and temperatures can even reach 30 degrees.

June and July are the months with the most pleasant weather and with the highest temperatures.

August is also warm, but rainfall increases and sunny days significantly reduce.

Autumn begins to be felt, despite the temperatures of 20°C.

August is the month with the heaviest rainfall throughout the year.

In September begins the autumn. Rainfall and temperatures decrease.

The temperature in this month rarely exceeds 15°C.

In October, even during the day the thermometer shows less then 10°C and the weather is colder in comparison with the Mediterranean in January.

November is the first month with chilly daytime temperatures – between 0 and 2°C.

November’s nights are very cold and this makes the Gulf of Finland and the River Neva begin to freeze.

December, January and February are the harshest and coldest months in the year, December is the darkest and gloomy, and January is the coldest.

Average daily temperatures in December are between (-1) and (-5) °C, in January (-5) – (-10) °C.

After January mercury in thermometers began subtly to crawl up, but by the end of March weather remains quite frosty.

April is the first spring month, which occurs after long and cold winters.

The average daily temperature for April is about 7 – 8°C and in May degrees very fast increase from 10°C in earlier May to about 20°C at the end of the month.

Because of the proximity of the Gulf the climate here is stable and there are no large daily temperature amplitudes.

For example, there is no month of the year in which night temperatures are more than 10°C lower than daily temperatures.

Petersburg and its Culture

The Saver of the Blood St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is a city with an impressive cultural background.

As a founder of the city Peter the Great (the first) became obsessed with the idea to turn St. Petersburg into a city like Venice.

For the construction of many buildings were invited French and especially Italian architects.

So if you during walk through the streets of the Pieter feel the Italian atmosphere – you are absolutely right.

It really is.

Perhaps the most influential on the features of the city is the Italian architect Rastreli who has perhaps the greatest merit for the masterpiece which is Petersburg today.

Rastreli for Petersburg is what was to Barcelona Antoni Gaudí.

Here is perhaps the most significant center of Russian culture as the city is culturally richer even than Moscow.

We could give you an example with the literature.

The largest Russian names like Dostoyevsky, Pushkin and Gogol lived and worked in St. Petersburg.

This is not accidental.

If you have had the pleasure to visit more places around the world there is no way not to have noticed that there are cities that inspire and encourage the creative work of a man.

Here we can give an example with New York, Paris or Venice.

They somehow unleash the creative spirit of man.

With St. Petersburg is the same.

Old solid buildings with its regal broadcast channels crossing the city (some natural and other – no), dozens of museums, cathedrals and palaces can help to unleash the imagination.

And here it is today.

In the 21st century Petersburg is a modern city, but walking down its streets you can imagine what the people heard, seen and felt when they have walked through the streets a few centuries earlier.

Although it looks very old and dignified, St. Petersburg can be also very fashionable.

The Names of St. Petersburg

sunset in St. Petersburg
In different historical stages St. Petersburg bore different names.

For example, in the period from 1914 to 1924, it was called Petrograd and in the years of the Soviet Union was called Leningrad in the name of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, who was one of the most influential figures stood at the head of the Soviet Union during the regime.

The city is affectionately known after its inhabitants simply as the Pieter.

Size of St. Petersburg

Today this vast city is spread on a much larger area than ever before.

The old part of the Pieter today actually represents the city center, but in all parts of the city there are sprung many neighbourhoods built primarily with large and uniform buildings.

In its two most distant points St. Petersburg is more than 95 km.

Because of rapidly growing population in 1955 has build a subway in Petersburg.

Today it is the deepest trench subway in the world.

The reason is the peculiarities of the local terrain and the fact that Metro must go under the River Neva.

Today it has 5 lines and they all intersect at the center of St. Petersburg.

Location of St. Petersburg

The city is located at 59° north latitude and 30° east longitude in the western parts of the vast Russian Federation.

It is located on the banks of the shallow Gulf of Finland (part of the Baltic Sea), whose depth seldom goes 100 meters, and near it are located the borders of Finland and Estonia.

Northeast of Petersburg is Lake Ladoga, which is the largest on the continent of Europe.

Specific feature of the location of St. Petersburg is that it is located in the delta of the Neva River.

The location of the city is important for its development.

It is one of the most favourable places in the country in terms of trade, because the Baltic Sea allows to Petersburg fast and cheap transport by sea to some of the richest countries in the world located in this region.

St. Petersburg is the northernmost millionth city in the world.

White Nights

Sankt Petersburg is the northern Venice
It is believed that these are the most beautiful days of the year.

During this period, the days are sunniest and longest, and night practically does not occur.

The cause of the midnight light is the north geographical location of Petersburg and its proximity to the Arctic Circle.

Yet the city is not located beyond the Arctic Circle, so that the sun still hidden behind the horizon, but stay enough close to it to remain the night sky light.

Neva River

the home of pushkin
Even if only 75 km long, Neva River is quite deep and serves as a busy thoroughfare of this bustling city.

It springs from Lake Ladoga and flow its waters in the Gulf of Finland.

Just in the city center the river is divided into several branches, which form the face of the city and are the main reason for the fame of St. Petersburg as the “northern Venice”.

Indeed, Pieter (as Russians call it affectionately) quite reminiscent of the romantic Italian city.

Numerous river channels and sleeves are reason to be built almost 350 bridges in the city of Peter the first.

The river is not normally navigable during the frost period of the year from November to April.

After the end of March the ice melt faster because of the rising temperatures.

Gulf of Finland and St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg winter storm
This not very deep gulf is the relationship between Russia and the Atlantic Ocean.

It is quite cold and freezes between November and March.

However, during the short summer water can become relatively warm – up to more than 20 degrees.

However, the coast is not very popular place for sunbathing on the citizens, as beaches are few, not very large and the local busy port and its permanent traffic of ships and ferries is not very helpful to the reputation of local beaches.

Quality of Life

Senate and Synod building
Petersburg has a significantly higher quality of life compared to other Russian cities.

Only Moscow is its serious competitor.

After the fall of communism here, like all other major cities in the former Soviet Union, the population has gone through many difficulties caused by the changing economic environment.

Today the Pieter is a city with great prospects.

The population has been forgotten about those times when the people have roughly the same standard of living. Today there are distinct classes.

The number of well-off people rapidly grows because there are still many business niches that are not occupied.

There is a strong middle class, whose purchasing power is rapidly increasing.

Unfortunately the dividing of the society after the fall of the regime has led to some negative traits such as increased crime caused by the formation of a new class of very poor people, with no proper education and which are not training to be competitive in a modern market economy.

Today, average income per capita is almost $ 700 per month, which is a pretty good standard of living for countries of Eastern Europe.

Along with the advantages of living in one of the most promising and rapidly developing Russian cities, however, there are also many drawbacks.

The local population often suffers from massive depression and other milder forms of depression.

The reason for this is dark and cold weather in much of the year, and lack of sunlight.

It is believed that because of this reason many people reach for antidepressants and alcohol.

Popular way to escape of winter depression in St. Petersburg is going to the solarium.

It is practiced long time ago in Scandinavia, but in the last few years became a part of the everyday life and to the people of the Pieter.

Topography and Scenery of St. Petersburg

Nevski Prospect St. Petersburg
The Pieter is located at an area with little altitude and flat terrain.

Specific feature of St. Petersburg is that, like other big and modern cities, it is situated on marshland.

Similarly, large parts of Miami, Florida and Central Park, New York have built on marshlands.

Along with the arable lands around St. Petersburg, the city is surrounded also by beautiful forests.

Cool and humid climate stimulate the development of vegetation.

The surrounding area are predominated mixed deciduous and coniferous forests.


Winter Palace Hermitage
This is the second largest city in Russia.

It has a population of nearly 5 million inhabitants.

It is considered to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country because as an important scientific and economic center since the fall of the Iron Curtain Petersburg attracts many young and ambitious people from all around the world with its numerous high schools and increasing opportunities.


Peterhof fountain St. Petersburg
The city is quite developed.

This is the second richest city in Russia after Moscow.

Although the economy of St. Petersburg is versatile, yet most of its revenues come from industry.

Petersburg has a more developed industry in comparison with Moscow, which is normally for a large coastal city.

Second in importance is the service sector (tourism, medicine, education).

Many big names in history of science are linked to St. Petersburg.

Here we should mention Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev (the creator of the Periodic Table), who was a professor at St. Petersburg University and St. Petersburg Institute of Technology.

Tourism is also important for the local economy.

Every year millions of tourists from all around the world flock here, attracted by the countless architectural landmarks.