Visiting St Petersburg in April can be very rewarding. April weather is much milder than for the six preceding months of winter. Spring is very much in the air, and the last of the ice and snow has disappeared by the end of the month. There are other advantages too.
The main one is that you’ll be able to visit the Hermitage, museums, churches and other attractions in relative peace. The visitor season gradually gets busier throughout May and June and is at its peak in July and August, where you can find yourself jostling for space at major sights. However, visiting St. Petersburg in April means that you’ll have plenty of time and space to see everything you want to see, and won’t feel herded around with a crowd.
Another advantage of visiting St Petersburg in April is that hotels, restaurants and some visitor attractions hike up their rates during the summer. By visiting earlier in the year, your holiday will be much more affordable as well as more relaxed.
Your April visit may coincide with the Russian Orthodox Church’s Easter celebrations – in the Russian calendar, Easter falls later than in the Western calendar. Perhaps because of the long Russian winter, Easter is celebrated more enthusiastically here than in the West. Kulich, a type of fruit cake, and pashka, a cheese cake, are eaten everywhere – both decorated with the initials “XB”, which stands for “Christ is risen”. Families gather together to eat elaborate meals, preparations for which last for days in advance.
Eggs are important too; as seeing children rolling their own hand-painted eggs, you should also see the beautiful Imperial Easter Eggs, made by Faberge. You can also attend a traditional Orthodox Church Service, of course, which is a unique experience and could be a highlight of your visit.
Another festival you may experience if you visit St Petersburg in April is Cosmonaut Day. This is a holiday held to commemorate the first manned space flight, completed by Yuri Gargarin on 12th April, 1961. Wreaths are laid in most Russian towns and cities, and some also have special events. If you are visiting St Petersburg over 12th April, then check online to see if there is anything interesting planned.
The main disadvantage of a trip to St Petersburg in April is that the weather can be changeable and unpredictable. Cold and rainy days are definitely not unknown – but then, it can also be relatively warm and sunny. Pack light clothes that can be worn in layers, and take a fleece or a cardigan in your day pack even if the weather is favourable in the morning. A small umbrella and a lightweight raincoat may also be useful.
Whatever time of year you choose to visit St Petersburg, you’ll have a fabulous time. And although April may not allow you to experience the famous White Nights or best of the weather, visiting at this time will mean you have a relaxed St Petersburg vacation at very good value.
By Natalia Rogachyova on Google+
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