So, you’ve got a couple hours of free time in St Petersburg and are wondering how to spend your time. Well there’s no need to worry, as the City of the Tsars has plenty to keep you busy, whether you are an culture vulture, adventurous foodie, vodka connoisseur or serial sightseer.
For culture vultures: Watch the ballet
The Russian ballet is renowned around the world for the extraordinary talent and discipline of their ballerinas, and has created some of the most notable dancers in history. As such, if you have a free evening in St Petersburg a trip to the ballet is an absolute must and is sure to impress. The Marrinsky Threatre in St Petersburg dates back to 1859 and has played an important role in the development of the Russian ballet. Today it shows a number of ballets and operas throughout the year, including big names such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker in winter months.
For foodies: Try borsh, stroganoff and blini
For a taste of traditional Russian cuisine head to the Marketplace in St Petersburg. Situated in the heart of the city on Nevsky Prospekt this trendy cafeteria serves up a choice of international cuisine, including some hearty Russian favourites – like borsh soup, beef stroganoff and tasty sweet pancakes for dessert, in a modern setting. An open-plan kitchen, fresh farm produce and a relaxed homely feel make it the perfect place to pop in for lunch or an early dinner.
For vodka connoisseurs: Learn about Russia’s national drink
No trip to Russia would be complete without sampling some of the country’s favourite tipple, and the Vodka Museum in downtown St Petersburg is the perfect place to do just that. After a short and sweet lesson in the history of vodka and how it grew in popularity in Russia continue into the museum bar for a tasting session. Try three shots of vodka, each of different distillation, accompanied by three traditional Russian snacks – smoked salmon on a slice of bread, a lightly salted cucumber, and a pastry.
For serial sightseers: Visit Yusupov Palace
After you’ve ticked the Hermitage Museum at the Winter Palace, the Church on Spilled Blood and Peter and Paul Fortress off your bucket list, why not make a stop at Yusupov Palace. This grand building dates back to the 19th and early 20th centuries and is best known as the site of the murder of Rasputin, a man alleged to have mystical powers who influenced the family of the last Russian Tsar. Today the Palace has been converted into a museum, offering insight into the lives of the aristocracy at the time.