With its snow-covered boulevards, magnificent historical palaces and ardent arts scene, St Petersburg is a city built for lovers. Whether you’re escaping for a romantic mini-break or planning that big proposal, there’s something to inspire romance at every turn. From early morning literary tours to charming afternoon troika rides and captivating Imperial palaces, here’s how to spend a day soaking up romantic St Petersburg.
Start your day with an early morning stroll down Nevsky Prospect, one of the city’s most famous roads. The grandiose State Hermitage Museum is the street’s most acclaimed attraction. With over three million artworks and artefacts on display, if you have even a single creative bone in your body, the ancient palace will steal your heart. It’s often said that there’s nothing more romantic than the written word, but if writing doesn’t flow easily, let Russia’s greatest authors do the work for you. Many prolific writers have had a love affair with Nevsky Prospect. Follow in their footsteps at the apartment museums of novelists Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Vladimir Nabokov or discover all of your favourite authors in one place at The National Library of Russia, a grand library founded by Catherine the Great featuring more than 17 million literary works. Once you’ve had your fill of literature, break for lunch at the nearby Literary Café, where poet Alexander Pushkin last dined before his fatal duel.
After enjoying a decadent lunch, head off into the Russian countryside and spend a leisurely afternoon exploring Tsarskoye Selo, the former residence of the Russian royal family. It’s difficult not to fall in love with the estate as you walk through the magical snow-covered grounds and venture inside beautiful Imperial palaces whose walls creak with the weight of stories. Make sure to save time to see the colossal late-Baroque Catherine Palace, used by Empress Elizabeth as a summer palace, as well as Alexander Palace, which was commissioned by Catherine the Great for her favourite grandson, Alexander Pavlovich.
While in Tsarskoye Selo, book one of the romantic troika rides for two through picturesque Alexander Park. Not only is the ride wonderfully exhilarating, it’s also an essential romantic St Petersburg experience – the perfect excuse to snuggle up together and enjoy the idyllic scenery.
Back in central St Petersburg, treat your loved one to an opera or ballet performance at the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre. Sure to be a night to remember, this stage has hosted some of the greatest Russian talents of all time, including prima ballerina Anna Pavlova and opera singer Feodor Chaliapin. When the curtains close, put the cherry on top of a romantic St Petersburg retreat with a late dinner at Imperial Restaurant followed by live jazz and digestifs at Nevsky Bar & Lounge, before returning to the comfort of your Corinthia suite.
Murder, intrigue, crime and punishment… St Petersburg has it all. Those fascinated by the more ghoulish side of history will love these significant spots from fiction, and real life.