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St Petersburg - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for St Petersburg

				The Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, reflected in the beautiful blue waters of Bolshaya Neva

When to Go to St Petersburg

St Petersburg is a year-round destination. The city's northern latitude means long days in summer and long nights in winter. In winter, hotels and tourist attractions are less crowded and, while some describe the weather merely as 'dark', there's a twinkling magic about the winter sky. And while the White Nights in mid-summer are undeniably beautiful, some people find it disconcerting to look out of a window and think it's about 8pm when it's really 3am.

Climate-wise, St Petersburg is much milder than its extreme northern latitude would suggest. January temperatures average -8C (17F); a really cold day will get down to -15C (5F). It's a windy city though and in some areas the wind chill is quite fierce, so bring a good warm hat and scarf. Summer is cool and takes a while to get going: snow in late April is not uncommon and the warm weather doesn't really start until the period between June and August, when temperatures reach 20C (68F). During these months the city is packed with foreign and Russian tourists.

St Petersburg Events

During the last 10 days of June, when night never falls, many St Petersburgers stay out celebrating White Nights all night, particularly at weekends. There's a White Nights Dance Festival with events ranging from folk to ballet, but the main Kirov company doesn't always take part, more often its students do.

Festivities during the Russian Winter Festival, 25 December to 5 January, and Goodbye Russian Winter, late February to early March, centre outside the city, with troyka (horse-drawn sleigh) rides, folk shows and performing bears. Less known are the Christmas Musical Meetings in Northern Palmyra, a classical musical festival held during the week before Christmas. The St Petersburg Music Spring, an international classical music festival held in April or May, and the mid-November international jazz festival, Osenie Ritmy (Autumn Rhythms), are built around St Petersburg's jazz clubs.

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