A Romantic Weekend in St. Petersburg
Celebrating Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular in Russia, but they still have their own way of doing things! With its classical architecture and historical intrigue, St. Petersburg - often named one of the most romantic cities in Europe - is an ideal backdrop for inspiration.
For the traveling couple, staying in hostels in Russia can be a perfect way to spend a romantic weekend, immersed in this city’s unique culture, without breaking the bank.
Things to Do:
Writing a love letter is essential if you want to get Valentine’s Day right in Russia. Find inspiration by spending the morning on a walk around the city center and its palaces, remarkable monuments, tree-lined avenues and dramatic bridges.
Later, take in the bustling streets full of cafes and shops. The city's festive main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, provides the perfect opportunity to pop into a boutique or stop by the infamous hay-market to buy flowers. A dozen red roses costs around $20.
Sidewalk stands are also a good place to buy treats and are abundant with heart-shaped candies and cards, nicknamed valentinkis which are available for as little as 15 cents.
No Valentine’s Day is complete without chocolate so next head to Dominique’s Chocolate, located within the Grand Hotel Europe, which allows customers to create personalized selections. Traditional Russian fillings include Pepper vodka and banana, Mandarin vodka and chestnut or Lemon vodka and cherry. In Russia, women are not expected to give gifts as the men like to be known for their generosity!
For an afternoon break, go to Black and White, a coffee house located on the main pedestrian street of Vasilevsky Island. Enjoy light snacks such as Russian pancakes; the extensive terrace is perfect for people watching. Alternatively, try Chainaya Lozhka, a very reasonably priced tea-house with an extensive selection found in trendy Nevsky.
After dark, find a local show or music concert (jazz and rock are very popular on Valentine’s Day) or for a quieter night out, simply take in the dazzling lights of the many buildings adorned in celebration.
For an added touch, break open a bottle of champagne; Sovietskoye is reasonably priced and popular with locals.
More adventurous travelers could also book a horse-drawn troika, or splash out and visit the world-famous Mariinsky Ballet for a performance of the Nutcracker or Le Corsaire. Tickets start around $50 -60 per person, although they’re cheaper on Sunday.
Where to Stay:
For travelers on a budget, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options in the city. A number of hostels in St. Petersburg can be found in the city center, offering the perfect base for a romantic Valentine’s weekend.