Saint Petersburg: Russia's Most European City

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Google “Russia’s Most European City” and the answer that pops up will inevitably be Saint Petersburg. Ask an expat in Moscow what Russia’s most European city is and the answer will be Saint Petersburg. Considering that Russia is on the continent of Europe, that statement might sound a bit odd. But given that a lot of Russia is covered with Soviet style architecture, or countryside homes (dachas) when you get away from the big cities, it makes sense. Most of the rest of Russia is not like Saint Petersburg and does not feel European. Given its proximity to the Baltic states, as well as the easy access to those nations, it’s easy to see why Saint Petersburg is more European than the rest of Russia.

The sun behind the Peter and Paul Fortress dips slightly below the horizon on one of the last of the White Nights
The sun behind the Peter and Paul Fortress dips slightly below the horizon on one of the last of the White Nights

A visit to Saint Petersburg, or St. Pete as it’s sometimes referred to, should be on everyone’s must see list for many reasons.

The food

People don’t generally go to Russia for the food. Certainly not in the same way they would travel to Greece or Italy for the food. But if you find yourself already in Russia and would like a wider choice of good (and affordable) food, then make your way up to St. Pete. Here you can find food from all over the world, and at considerably lower prices than in Moscow.

One of many delicious dishes at King Pong.
One of many delicious dishes at King Pong.
How beautiful are these cake slices at Schastye Cafe?
How beautiful are these cake slices at Schastye Cafe?
Another beautiful cake slice at Schastye. It was yummy, too!
Another beautiful cake slice at Schastye. It was yummy, too!

The history and art

Russia has had a long and intriguing history, and St. Petersburg offers a glimpse into the past with places such as the famous Hermitage museum and the Peterhoef.

The various buildings and fountains around the grounds of the Peterhoef are incredibly ornate and impressive
The various buildings and fountains around the grounds of the Peterhoef are incredibly ornate and impressive

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One of dozens of fountains around the Peterhoef. This was one of the more interactive ones.
One of dozens of fountains around the Peterhoef. This was one of the more interactive ones.
The Peterhoef must be visited on a trip to Russia!
The Peterhoef must be visited on a trip to Russia!

The architecture

Russian architecture is unique and beautiful. The huge cathedrals and churches are often incredibly ornate and one of the most famous cathedrals in the world is found in Saint Petersburg.

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood goes by many different names, or variations of this name, and is one of the most famous sights in St. Petersburg
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood goes by many different names, or variations of this name, and is one of the most famous sights in St. Petersburg
Kazansky Sobor, or Kazan Cathedral, is another impressive cathedral in St. Petersburg
Kazansky Sobor, or Kazan Cathedral, is another impressive cathedral in St. Petersburg

White Nights

Saint Petersburg is the world’s most northernmost city with a population of over 1 million. Because of its northern location, it enjoys long hours of daylight in the early summer. These days are referred to as the White Nights and during this period of around 3 weeks, it never gets completely dark outside. To celebrate these long days, there are festivals and carnivals and musical performances around the city. Saint Petersburg is the place to be during the White Nights of summer!

One of many random musical performances that were taking place on the pedestrian streets near Nevsky Prospekt.
One of many random musical performances that were taking place on the pedestrian streets near Nevsky Prospekt.

The enjoyment

You just never know what you will see or find in St. Petersburg. Go and be surprised!

We saw so many random and funny sights around the city when we were there!
We saw so many random and funny sights around the city when we were there!
Just two ladies out enjoying some time with their horses in the middle of Saint Petersburg
Just two ladies out enjoying some time with their horses in the middle of Saint Petersburg
A man dressed up as an old Soviet arcade game invites passersby to enter the Soviet Arcade Game Museum.
A man dressed up as an old Soviet arcade game invites passersby to enter the Soviet Arcade Game Museum.
When you all want to watch the game but your apartment isn't big enough.
When you all want to watch the game but your apartment isn’t big enough.

Russia is a fascinating country! And Saint Petersburg is a fascinating city. While it is more European than the rest of Russia, in both visitors, food and architecture, it still very much carries the flavor of Russia. It is an easy city for first time visitors to visit in that you will find English much more widely spoken here than anywhere else in Russia. And it’s easy to access from the Baltic states by either a short plane ride or a longer ferry ride. With so many reasons to visit, why not put it on your bucket list?

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