I personally preferred the city of St-Petersburg compared to Moscow as it kept a charming historic aspect and very much European oriented. It is a museum city, but also living in the present, which has a lot to offer.
St-Petersburg, between past and present
I travelled in end of May, there was a heat wave which made the trip particularly nice and warm! I think it is worth mentioning as it must be completely different to visit the country in the middle of winter! It was also the opportunity to see the beginning of long spring-summer nights (which are at best in end of June during “White Nights” where it is not completely dark even after midnight)
St-Petersburg, very north city, has very short nights around the summer solstice end of June. Indeed, the sunset is very late and the sunrise is very early. I was there end of May so the phenomenon was not at its maximum but it was also interesting to assist to a part of it. What is funny as well is that many sites are opened until very late hours to enjoy free entry to museums and churches, but also other many cultural centers. The rich and fashion your Russian boys and girls are also enjoying this moment of the year to party hard!
A city between past and present which would please to everyone, but be prepared to read the Cyrillic alphabet
A very charming city
Last day in St-Petersburg, with strong European roots brought by the tsars during hundred of years but looking for a better integration in a modern Russia looking more towards Asia. A city with an incredible history and an impressive culture visible in many monuments and museums throughout the city. Visiting and walking around the city takes at least one week to discover every place and spending one full day at the Hermitage museum or a night out to see a ballet at Mariinski theater are mandatory if you go there. Either you go on winter to feel the traditional cold Russian weather where you can immerge better into the local culture or in summer to go out and visiting easily the numerous things to see, you will love St-Petersburg. Only negative point: From my personal experience, I felt that meeting local people and talking to them was not super easy, because of the culture or the language barrier.
Peterhoff, the Tsars home
A bit far away the town center, you can access sailing to the home of Tsars, Peterhoff palace. A beautiful cruise from S-Petersburg, the Russian “Versailles”. Even if it was really hot when I went there, it is worth noting the city can be very windy with the proximity of the sea and the Neva river. Very nice weather to visit all the cultural sites actually, many of them being grouped near the Nevski Prospekt near the center..
Next stop Moscow!
Then next stop is Moscow! Very happy as the two sisters cities are very different and complimentary. I booked my night train thanks to my hotel, almost mandatory as everything is in Russian on the website, and they will usually take you a very cheap commission to book it for you.