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How to Enjoy a Golden Autumn in St Petersburg
Autumn in St Petersburg, dubbed ‘Golden Autumn’ by poet Pushkin, is arguably the city’s most beautiful season. The illustrious Summer Garden is transformed with colourful autumnal hues, the Russian Imperial Palaces are beautifully framed by falling leaves, and the crisp air cleanses the city after a warm summer. Autumn also means a reduction in crowds, making it one of the best times to enjoy sightseeing in St Petersburg. Follow this guide to discover why Russia’s shortest season is also its most captivating.
The first stop on any ‘Golden Autumn’ itinerary should be a stroll through the Summer Garden. When the leaves turn from green to orange and red, the landscaped park is at its most beautiful. Bright white sculptures stand out against a backdrop of rusty-coloured trees and the historical Summer Palace, with its yellow and brown façade, almost blends into the foliage. A short five-minute drive from Corinthia Hotel St Petersburg, the Summer Garden is the ideal location for a crisp morning walk.
Sightseeing in St Petersburg
While crowds flock to St Petersburg in their thousands during the summer months, autumn is much quieter. This means shorter queues and uninterrupted photo opportunities at all of the city’s highlight attractions. Visit the State Hermitage Museum to explore over three million artefacts and artworks in the stunning settings of the grand palace; discover Russian art at the State Russian Museum, housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace; or delve into history at the Peter and Paul Fortress. And, while you’re at it, why not squeeze in a few palaces and traditional churches, too? The Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Bloodlooks particularly pretty in the golden autumn light.
There’s a reason that so many postcards of St Petersburg’s grand palaces are taken during the autumn. The imperial estates on outskirts of the city are made even more beautiful when surrounded by forests of orange and red. Visit Tsarskoe Selo to discover Catherine Palace, Alexander Palace and their gardens in a new light. The neo-classical Pavlovsk – the youngest grand imperial estate in St Petersburg – is also exceptionally striking in autumn, as is the imperial residence of Oranienbaum, with its large lake, creatively landscaped gardens and impressive baroque-style Grand Menshikov Palace.
While autumn doesn’t linger for long in Eastern Europe, culinary connoisseurs in Russia make the most of it while they can. The autumn season is when Russian comfort comes into its own, and local menus are dominated by slow-cook soups (zuppe) and stews packed full of seasonal ingredients, which are traditionally cooked in ‘pechka’ ovens. As it’s mushroom season, people will scour the forests for fresh fungi, which will then appear in bountiful quantities in popular local dishes such as barley and mushroom soup.
Explorer by day, writer by night, Beau Hunter spends the majority of her time travelling around her favourite European cities. Walking the path less travelled, Beau likes to ‘hunt’ down the latest hot spots and visit the coolest places only locals know about. Beau writes for a variety of travel magazines and blogs and lives in London.
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The views expressed in comments published on Corinthia.com are those of the comment authors' alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of Corinthia Hotels or its staff. Comments that are deemed to be offensive in any manner or soliciting/promoting third party products or services will be removed. Corinthia Hotels reserves the right to remove any comment at any time.