A Couple's Guide to St Petersburg, Russia

The Bronze Horseman Statue
The Bronze Horseman Statue | © fitzgeraldbc/Pixabay
Anastasiia Ilina

White Nights, rivers and canals, palaces and museums – St Petersburg is the perfect romantic destination. Here, you can enjoy the splendour of the former Russian Empire mixed with the comforts of the modern world. Here’s the perfect plan to spend time in St Petersburg as a couple.

Check into a historic hotel

The city centre of St Petersburg has well-preserved buildings that date back to the 18th century. Some former palaces or stately homes have now been turned into luxury hotels. To make your visit perfect, stay within central St Petersburg – everything will be so close by that you will never need to use transport at all. Some hotels will also offer relaxing spa packages – perfect to end a busy day. Make sure to inquire in advance, and make a booking for a package ‘for two’.

The beauty of St Petersburg is in its historic city centre

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast

St Petersburg is a fairly lazy city, and nobody tends to be in a rush in the morning. Most shops and cafés don’t even open till about 10am, so there is no need to rush for breakfast. Places specialising in breakfast and brunch will have a wide selection of meals to start your day. If you want to try something Russian, try sirniki, small cheese pancakes. They are especially delicious with honey and jam.

Sirniki with jam and berries

Take a cruise along the Neva River

The rivers and canals that connect St Petersburg have earned the city the title of ‘Venice of the North’. Although in the winter they are frozen, the summer brings the season for boat tours. It is a leisurely way to get an introduction to the city, as the boats will pass alongside many notable landmarks. For a more romantic touch, you can enjoy a private cruise with Champagne at your own pace. Some restaurants, for example, Volga-Volga, and party boats take cruises in the evening, so you can enjoy a meal and a drink while sailing into the sunset.

Boats cruising down the St Petersburg canals

Get lost in art galleries

When it comes to art and museums, St Petersburg has no shortage of options. If you’re in for some international and collectables from the royal family, then the Hermitage is a must-visit. The museum is so large, you can get lost in it together. For specifically Russian art, head over to the Russian Museum, where you can get a chronological tour through the history of Russian painting. During the tourist season, popular galleries and museums tend to be crowded. For a more private experience, try coming in the evenings when large groups have already left. Some museums also have late days when they are open late into the evening.

The Hermitage Museum

Share a romantic dinner

The most atmospheric restaurants in St Petersburg are purposefully tucked away to retain their romantic atmosphere. There is something for everybody to choose from – depending on what kind of mood you are in. There are fine dining restaurants where you can enjoy exquisite cuisine and service. Perhaps you’ll want to try some Russian cuisine. In that case, make sure to choose from the best in the city.

Table for two, please!

Watch a ballet at the theatre

Going to the theatre together will be perfect for a St Petersburg date night. The city’s main theatre, the Mariinsky, has a large repertoire of ballets and operas showing throughout the year. The exquisite interiors of the theatre will take you back in time to the age of the Russian Empire. If all tickets are sold out, as they tend to do fairly in advance, there are other theatres to check out, such as the Mikhailovsky Theatre, which also has a well-known ballet troupe. If you’re looking to just listen to some classical music, the St Petersburg Philharmonic will have you covered with a wide range of performances ranging from solos to full orchestras.

Scene from the ballet Swan Lake

Find the hottest bars in town

St Petersburg has a vibrant nightlife scene, so you’ll definitely not run out of options for a late night out. Wine bars keep their doors open until late, inviting guests to explore their wine list and perhaps have some tapas on the side. If you’re in the mood for something more lively, jazz clubs will spice the night up with some exciting tunes performed by local musicians. If you’re in St Petersburg during White Nights, then you’re in luck – even in the early hours of the morning it will be light enough to wander through the city’s empty streets while there’s nobody else around.

Peter and Paul Fortress at sunset

For more accommodation options in Russia, why not head to Yekaterinburg for these places to stay, now bookable on Culture Trip.

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