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- 21 Feb 2020, 3 nights
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Witness the spirit of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg, an Imperial capital steeped in over 300 years of history. Walk its streets to take in the kaleidoscopic colours of its Soviet, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. There's plenty to admire indoors too, from art galleries to Russian ballet performances. After dark, the city has a variety of nightlife to discover, such as the dive bars on Dumskaya Ulitsa.
You can stay in a St Petersburg hostel overlooking the peaceful Fontanka River, in a hostel that doubles up as an art space, or in retro-themed dorms that take you back to the '60s and '70s. Several St Petersburg hostels have their own bars and nightclubs, so you can socialise after a day in the city. Some hostels in St Petersburg come with fully equipped kitchens for making your own meals, while others offer free activities like city tours, where you can mingle with other travellers.
St Petersburg's neighbourhoods each have their own unique charm. Vasilievsky Island makes up the historic centre, and is within easy reach of Imperial-era attractions such as St Andrew's Cathedral. Nevsky Prospect is also very central, with bustling streets filled with restaurants and bars – perfect for foodies. Head out for some peace and quiet and stay on the artificial island of New Holland, an up-and-coming neighbourhood with plenty of green spaces, cafés and summer festivals.
A typical St Petersburg visit combines art, history and culture. History buffs can explore the halls of the baroque-style Winter Palace, the former home of emperors. The 19th-century Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, with its iconic onion domes, is also a must-see. For a bird's-eye view, go up the Aerolift, a stationary air balloon that overlooks the city. Other top spots include the Street Art Museum for works by modern Russian artists like Kirill Kto, as well as Kabinet, an atmospheric jazz bar reminiscent of 20th-century St Petersburg.
Getting into St Petersburg from Pulkovo Airport is simple. Take bus 39Ex or 39 to Moskovskaya underground station (about 20 minutes), then the metro into the city. Alternatively, a taxi will take you directly into downtown St Petersburg in 30-60 minutes. Travelling via train? Moskovsky Rail Terminal is right in the centre of St Petersburg, with lines running to other cities. Within the city centre, the metro or tram is the easiest way to get around, while the bus is a great option if you plan on visiting neighbourhoods a little further out.
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