Top 5 things to do in St Petersburg during the White Nights

Top 5 things to do in St Petersburg during the White Nights
14 June 2018

Top 5 things to do in St Petersburg during the White Nights

“It was a miraculous night…the sky was so starry and the sky so light” – Belye Nochi, F.M. Dostoevsky

The White Nights/белые ночи are a magical time in St Petersburg when the days draw out and the dark nights almost completely disappear. This special time of year is an ideal time to visit St Petersburg, not just because it is very beautiful, but because there are many special events that run throughout the summer. So, if you are looking for a break from the football fever, look no further. Here are our top 5 picks of things to do during the White Nights:


  1. Stars of the White Nights – «Звёзды белых ночей»

During the White Nights the Mariinsky Theatre puts on a special programme of events. This year will be the 26th year of the festival, attracting some of the most famous performers and musicians in Russia. With over 200 performances and concerts from 23rd May – 29th June 2018, this month is an ideal time to see some of the most popular works of music, opera and ballet. A full timetable is available in English on the Mariinsky website.


  1. The White Nights of St Petersburg – “Белые ночи Санкт-Петербурга”

Russia is not only famous for its classical composers, but also has a unique contemporary music scene. The White Nights of St Petersburg is an international music festival for modern soloists and bands that will take place 20th – 22nd June 2018 in Ledovoy Dvortse. During the festival popular performers from all over the world come to compete in what is one of the most important dates in the calendar of contemporary music in St Petersburg. For the music lover, this festival will prove to be the perfect night out – think Eurovision without the cheese!


  1. The Scarlet Sails – «Алые паруса»

Named after the soviet tale written by Aleksandr Grin, this is a spectacular yearly event held on the Neva river to celebrate the graduation of school and university students. The tradition began in the Soviet Union 28th June 1968, but was interrupted in 1979. It was then revived again in 2005 with a format that remains largely unchanged since its Soviet beginnings. A ship dressed in scarlet sails travels down the Neva against the backdrop of an explosive multimedia show involving pyrotechnics, fireworks and projection. The festival now attracts visitors from all over the world and even won a Best European Event Award! This year the festival will take place on 23rd June 2018.



  1. Swing of the White Night – “Свинг белой ночи

Swing of the White Night is an international Jazz Festival (29th June – 2nd July 2018) which showcases the some of the best virtuosic talent from Europe and America. The festival is organised by the State Philharmonic of Jazz Music in collaboration with the St Petersburg State Committee for Culture and aims to preserve the popularity of Jazz as a serious musical art. This festival is a must-see for all Jazz lovers!


  1. Take pictures of the sunset/sunrise

Finally, aside from all the exciting cultural events around the city, you’d be foolish to visit St Petersburg and not catch a glimpse of the sunset during the white nights. A popular activity during the White Nights is to go to a bar, stay up all night and walk home along the bank of the Neva to see the rising of the bridges. I did this on my first trip to St Petersburg 4 years ago and I now look back on that time with only fond memories and nostalgia. Don’t forget your camera! You will definitely want to spruce up your Instagram with a shot of the magical Petersburg sky.

This post was brought to you by James, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg

Posted by James Tibbles

Привет! My name is James and I'm am a student at Liden & Denz. From the dreaming spires of Oxford to the glittering rooftops of St Petersburg I am super excited to write my next chapter in Russia's literary and cultural capital.

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