Firstly, the famous White Nights can be experienced during roughly the first two thirds of July. During the White Nights, people take advantage of the extended daytime hours to visit the parks, have parties, go swimming and revel in the heady atmosphere. The White Nights of St Petersburg have inspired countless poets, writers and other artists – and visiting in July gives you the chance to see why.
As well as the informal parties, summer in St Petersburg is full of cultural events. The renowned Mariinsky Theatre is the venue for the Stars of the White Nights festival, which includes ballet and opera performances, as well as classical concerts. There are also film festivals, parades, and much more. Although the ?official’ end dates of these festivals are usually around the 15th – 20th of July, there are plenty of associated events held later in the month too. July is also a good month to catch major Western artists – if attending a pop or rock concert is more your scene than ballet, check the listings before you book.
Aside from the cultural events, visiting St Petersburg in July gives you the opportunity to make the most of the city’s outdoor attractions. These include the Peterhof Fountains, the parks and the gardens in and around the city, the Piterland Aqua Park and walking tours of the city. Because July is a very good month to be out of doors in St Petersburg and generally coincides with the school holidays, this is the best month to visit with a family.
The temperature in July is also the hottest of the St Petersburg year. You’ll have the best chance of experiencing wonderful sunshine, and be able to do day trips in shorts, t-shirts and sandals rather than jeans and fleeces. If you’re visiting St Petersburg as part of the Baltic Cruise, then the other destinations on your route should also have the best weather of the year. However, when you’re packing, remember that the St Petersburg summer should be changeable, and take some items that you’ll be able to wear if the temperature dips or it rains.
However,there are some downsides to visiting in July. Hotel and restaurants tend to increase their prices for the peak season; staying on a cruise ship can actually work out better value than sleeping and eating in the city itself. If you’re particularly interested in the Hermitage, the churches or historical attractions, then you might prefer to visit St Petersburg during the shoulder season, when you’ll be able to visit the museums when they are more peaceful. All key attractions get crowded during July and you are likely to have to spend at least some time in queues, although St Petersburg private tour guide will be able to provide you with queue-jump passes for many of the busiest attractions.
Overall though, if you are coming to St Petersburg for a hedonistic break where you can enjoy the best of the city nightlife, want to sample the famous White Nights for yourself, or are travelling with your family, then July is a great month to visit.
Did you know you can enter Russia visa-free if you are travelling by cruise ship?