HOLIDAYS BY BA
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Good for either a city break or the start of a longer journey through Russia, St. Petersburg holidays offer historic and natural beauty in a city that’s both the largest and liveliest anywhere this far north in the world.
Home at various times to Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Lenin, this city of five million still boasts the best of Russian culture, with exquisite architecture, superb opera and ballet. Built to a grand urban plan, from the Russian Revolution to the Nazi siege of what was then Leningrad, St. Petersburg has witnessed some of the most dramatic world events of the past century. It’s not all art and history in here, however. Children love trips on the city’s rivers and canals, while bohemian bar areas such as Dumskaya Street often pulse with life until morning. Russia’s new wealth is clearly visible in the designer shops and boutique-filled passages of upper Nevsky Prospekt, and more down to earth Maltevsky Market is a great, largely tourist-free spot for watching locals. Outside the city are suburban palaces such as Peterhof and Gatchina, the little visited expanse of Lake Ladoga, and Pskov and Novgorod, among Russia’s oldest, best preserved small cities. While visitors arrive year round, holidays to St. Petersburg are especially popular during late June’s white nights, when mild weather and almost total day-round sunlight brings Petersburgers onto the streets to socialise 24 hours a day.
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