August is one of the busiest months for foreign tourists in St Petersburg. And for good reason – the weather is amongst the best you’ll find all year, the city has plenty of family-friendly activities that will be a highlight of any child’s school holidays, and nearly all of the city’s attractions are open for visitors to enjoy.
Many of St Petersburg’s attractions close down during the autumn or winter. However, in August, you will be able to take a canal cruise, view and play in the Peterhof Fountains, and get the most out of the city’s parks and gardens – there are said to be more green spaces here than in Paris. There are also the museums and churches that St Petersburg is famous for, and August is one of the best months to take a walking tour of the city to see them. You won’t get stuck in a traffic jam and will hopefully enjoy some fine weather as well as the city’s beautiful architecture.
However, not everything is accessible. After the cultural highlights of the White Nights, many of the city’s famous theatres take a break. For example, the Mariinsky is closed for the whole of August. If you want to take in a ballet, opera or a classical concert, then you should either visit during the White Nights, or at any other time between September and May. It is not just the theatre performers who are on holiday in August, either. Many locals head to the countryside to visit dachas, or for vacations further afield. This means that St Petersburg can feel rather dominated by tourists. This can be a plus if you are happy taking excursions to key sites, but it can be a drawback if you want to get an idea of how people in St Petersburg live.
When you’re planning what to pack, bear in mind that the average temperature will be around 20-25C during August, although it may be getting cooler towards the end of the month. Take shorts and t-shirts, but also take warmer items like a fleece in your backpack. At any time of year, the weather in St Petersburg can be somewhat unpredictable. Even if the morning appears to be gloriously sunny, you should stow a lightweight raincoat or folding umbrella in your backpack, as you may need it by lunchtime!
When you’re considering accommodation, you may find that a Baltic cruise is good value. Hoteliers and restaurateurs hike up their prices during the peak season for foreign tourists, and staying on board can be a better option. You will also get to see other cities around the Baltic Sea at their best.
St Petersburg in August can be busy, however, and you will need to plan carefully to maximize your time in the city. A cruise stop combined with a private tour of St Petersburg will often allow you to skip queues at key attractions like the Hermitage, and will move you around the city as efficiently as possible.
August may not have the immediate appeal of St Petersburg during the White Nights. However, for many travelers, it remains the best month to visit this amazing city.
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