Why You Should Visit St Petersburg in Autumn
With the gradual changing of the leaves from green to ochre and russet, St Petersburg looks increasingly attractive as it approaches autumn. Esteemed Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin considered it his favourite time of year; one that sees its parks come alive with rich bursts of colour. With clement temperatures right through until November, autumn is a spectacular time to visit this captivating imperial city.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Enjoy balmy temperatures and bask in the beauty of Summer Garden, St Petersburg’s oldest and most beguiling park. Sitting on the banks of the Neva River, with elegant pavilions and pretty fountains, its baroque beauty shines at this time of year. Equally enchanting, the Alexander Garden is another great place to visit in autumn. Located right in the centre of the city, it features noble statues and tree-lined pathways perfect for afternoon ambles.
In autumn, the imperial palaces and their estates are at their finest, their landscapes decorated with shades of vermillion and gold. Visit the grand Mikhailovsky Palace to explore its attractive gardens, before strolling along the boulevards that run alongside the Neva River.
One of the highlights of the seasonal calendar is the stunning ceremony that heralds the closing of the Peterhof fountains. Taking place in September, the dazzling event sees ballet performances, a light and water show, and a spectacular fireworks display.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Each autumn, the Message to Man International Film Festival showcases the finest Russian filmmaking with a series of screenings. One of the city’s most respected film events, it also hosts inspiring exhibitions, theatre and musical performances.
Home to the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg offers some of the best operatic and ballet performances in the world, set within the opulent surroundings of this iconic theatre. The ornately gilded auditorium stages a spellbinding autumnal programme of ballets such as Romeo & Juliet and The Four Seasons, as well as classical operas like Carmen and Aida.
Autumn is also the perfect time to delve into St Petersburg’s rich history by visiting its many museums, galleries and cathedrals. There are generally fewer visitors at this time of year, so you can expect shorter queues at leading attractions like the stately Hermitage Museum. Visit to admire its vast collection of exquisite works and antiques from all over the world, before taking in the majesty of Saint Issac’s Cathedral. The city’s largest Russian Orthodox basilica, its striking pure gold dome looks particularly attractive in the autumn sunshine.
For some retail therapy, browse the new season collections at Babochka + Nevsky 152 Concept Store. You’ll find beautiful pieces from Fendi, Lanvin and Valentino, as well as the latest gadgets and accessories at this exceptional department store. Bolshoy Prospekt also presents an abundance of chic boutiques stocking clothing by Russian designers like Iya Yots and Ianis Chamalidy.
An increasingly popular culinary destination, the harvest brings outstanding local produce to St Petersburg. You’ll find sumptuous seasonal dishes at Hotel Astoria’s Astoria Café, like the grilled deer fillet with grand veneur sauce, pumpkin and pear.