In the colder months, St Petersburg becomes the quintessential winter wonderland. The Neva River freezes to ice beneath elegant bridges, thick snow carpets great parks and pastel-hued palaces are frosted like elaborate cakes. As the mercury can drop to an average of -8°C between November and March, these temperatures call for a snug wardrobe. Here are some essential items to pack for St Petersburg in winter.
While you wander the city’s snowy streets, a thick coat will help keep the chill at bay. St. Petersburg fashion tends to strike the perfect balance between elegance and cosy practicality. Ladies, opt for a heavy faux fur number, or knee-length down with a cinched waist. Men, meanwhile, should invest in woollen or shearling-lined leather to blend in with the stylish locals.
Be sure to include plenty of layers in your luggage. A turtleneck jumper will banish most of the wintry air on the streets, while blouses and shirts fit easily underneath. Plus, layers are perfect for quickly peeling off once you’ve to fled the frost and entrusted a couple of clothing items to the cloakroom. Consider thermals too; try silk or cashmere blends that will be both toasty and chic.
Stay cosy on the rinks and slopes of St. Petersburg with a faux fur hat, lined gloves and chunky scarf. An afternoon spent skating at Moskovsky Victory Park, or on the frozen pond at Yelagin Island, is guaranteed to leave you a little pink-cheeked. On the obligatory Troika ride across Pavlovsk Park – a Christmassy jaunt in a sleigh pulled by three horses – some sophisticated and warming earmuffs will keep out the cold.
Whether you’re popping out of the hotel for a spot of window-shopping and café crawling along the glittering Nevsky Prospekt, or joining the jubilant New Year celebrations at Palace Square, a pair of warm, lined leather boots with plenty of grip will come in handy. The streets can be icy as late as April, so be sure to pack a pair with a thick sole if you’re planning to visit in winter or early spring.
A winter’s evening in St. Petersburg is a glamorous affair. Within the walls of the Mariinsky Theatre, visitors can sample all manner of cultural performances from dance to opera. Be sure to look the part; chic attire is a must for outings to any of the city’s theatres and opera houses, so spare enough space in your luggage for a dark suit for him or evening dress and twinkling jewellery for her.
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.