A day by the Gulf of Finland
As any local will tell you, no summer can be complete without a visit to one of the “resort towns” on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Sestroretsk, Repino, Komarovo – you name it, each of these destinations welcomes dozens of city dwellers on each summer weekend. If you want to avoid suburban trains packed to the brim, make good use of the work week, which is now blissfully free from classes. Such field trips are usually a great chance to have a picturesque picnic on the beach, bathe in the sun (remember to use sunscreen!), and enjoy the view of the water. However, if you venture out to “swim” in the Gulf of Finland, here is a little tip: don’t expect to find any kind of “deep water” unless you are venturing truly far from the shore.
Bridge watching meets white nights
The summer season in St. Petersburg invariably means two things: white nights and nightly drawing of the city’s many bridges. Some say the best way to appreciate both is to allow the drawn bridges to trap you in the city center on a white night and enjoy walking under the milky skies to your heart’s content (until the bridges come down again or the underground opens in the morning). However, if all-nighters are not your cup of tea, you can just take your walk a little later in the evening, still enjoying the lighter sky, and go bridge-watching at a convenient location before returning home as soon as you feel you have seen enough for the day. Just check the bridge drawing schedule here.
St. Pete from the water
The summer is your chance to finally explore the city’s many canals and rivers without fearing your nose will freeze off – and it wouldn’t be right to miss it. The city is truly stunning when seen from the water: after all, it was built with Venice in mind, so you are bound to discover some new angles to the doubtlessly already beloved architecture of St. Pete. We already have a detailed guide with everything you need to know before planning your boat adventure. Top tip from our editorial team: consider enjoying a dreamy sunset from the boat that sets off at Sevkabel Port.
Exploring the city on wheels
All the city’s parks and lanes are now dressed in green, which means it’s high time to rent a bike or a scooter and explore every nook and cranny. You can find many scooters parked around the city center and beyond, all of them just an app away from becoming your trusty transport for an hour or two (just search for Urent, Whoosh, Molnia, or Yandex Go in your app marketplace). A note of caution: although you might see people riding in the city center, this does come with its risks and requires some skill. That’s why parks with their designated bike lanes seem a more applicable option for your scooter rides. As for bikes, the most widespread rental in town is SmartBike, which also comes with its app and multiple parking locations throughout the city. To learn about more options, stay tuned for our upcoming article on all things bikes in St. Pete.
Into the woods for berries and mushrooms
For some of us, it is not really summer until we’ve gone to the forest for blueberries or mushrooms at least once. In order to enjoy it properly, you will need to find a friend (preferably with a car or a dacha in the Leningrad Oblast) who is practiced in the art of picking both mushrooms and berries, as well as not getting lost. Berries are a safer choice than mushrooms for amateur forest rangers, but if you are not a picker at heart, then just enjoying a walk in nature with your practiced friend, both of you covered in mosquito repellent from head to foot and watching out for ticks, might be an adventure to your liking. Just remember to never go into the forest alone without a pre-downloaded map and a fully charged phone. Another picking-less option here is to explore one of the many eco-paths found around the city, on foot or on a bike: definitely safer but equally beautiful and exciting.
These days, you can join a tour held by experienced nature explorers and spot many rare species in St. Petersburg, as well as the Leningrad Oblast. This is yet another great chance for you to explore the local flora and fauna, this time definitely without getting lost, but instead maybe even while making some new friends in the birdwatching community. Definitely an experience worth considering, especially if you feel you have already seen most of St. Pete and its surrounding palace-embellished locations. You can find tours here and here (in Russian).
Feast and fun
Believe it or not, St. Pete also boasts a number of annual festivals that are a must-visit for every foodie! The two major ones you can google and mark your calendar for are O, Da! Eda! (Oh Yes! Food!) and TheyLovetoEat. The latter organize foodie weekends regularly, so check the VK page so as not to miss one held close to you. However, summers typically see even more “smaller” festivals that you can find either in our regular weekends guides or on events websites like this one. A tip from our team is to also visit Petshop Days, a festival for all pet-owners and animal lovers that features a whole variety of events, as well as, yes, a nice selection of foods for people and their furry friends. And don’t forget to join ITMO Family Day on June 18 for an abundance of food, networking, and fun.