Many tourists believe the only time to visit St. Petersburg is during the spring and summer months. They are quite surprised to learn one of the best times to visit St. Petersburg is during the winter months. Traditionally the winter months in St. Petersburg are filled with festivals including of course Christmas and the New Year. The St. Petersburg Tourism Committee has begun promoting the winter season with a program called “White Days.”
One of the main benefits for tourists arriving to St. Petersburg in the winter is that many of the hotels offer seasonal discounts and specials prices which are significantly lower than during the spring and summer months. One example is the charming Hotel Vera, located in the center of St. Petersburg near Nevsky Prospect. In addition, airfare to St. Petersburg is also less expensive and offers more availability to travelers from around the world.
During the summer months there is almost no availability in the hotels and the main tourist attractions can be crowded with tourists from all over the world. In the winter the atmosphere is more relaxed and visiting the local attractions is relaxing and offers a more personalized experience.
In addition, there are many special events and tours available only during the winter months. A local tour company, TJ Travel, offers special guided tours for the winter season that truly brings about the magic and beauty of St. Petersburg. The tour includes a sleigh ride in the enchanting Pavlovsk Park while enjoying a shot of icy-cool premium Russian vodka and Russian pickles. TJ Travel also takes tourists to see a traditional Russian Christmas Fair. At the Fair you will find a small wooden house which sells beautiful handmade souvenirs. You can also try traditional Russian pancakes and hot tea with berry jam or honey.
A famous Russian tradition during winter is visiting a Russian steam sauna, or “banya.” You will definitely feel yourself Russian after warming yourself in a Russian banya and then jumping in icy cold water. A Russian banya rejuvenates your body and cleanses your pores. After an afternoon in the warm Russian banya you will feel refreshed and relaxed, Russian style. Russian people say that after the banya you will feel as a new born baby.
Winter in St. Petersburg is also the museum and theatre season. There are many special performances of ballet, opera, classical music, and dancing which are not available during the summer months. In addition visitors can see many of the most famous museums in a more relaxed and warm environment in the winter. This includes the State Hermitage Museum, Russian Museum, Catherine Palace and the Amber Room, among others. St. Petersburg offers more than 220 museums which are all very warm, interesting, and inviting in the winter.
Traveling around the city is quite easy, especially if you are part of a tour group. As such tourists should not be concerned about the cold weather in St. Petersburg. In addition, despite the northern geography of St. Petersburg, the climate is quite moderate due to northern trade winds arriving from the Gulf of Finland. However, it is certainly recommended to bring warm clothing to feel comfortable moving around the city.
Winter travel to St. Petersburg can be a truly remarkable, enchanting, and romantic experience, with attractions and festivals for visitors of all ages. Despite the colder weather, tourists will be warmed by the soft snow, glistening and glowing streets, and the many tourist attractions that make St. Petersburg one of the top tourist destinations in the world.