Russia's northern capital is a staggeringly beautiful city that rivals many of European greats in terms of architecture, culture and that certain romantic je ne sais quoi. Located on the banks of the Neva river and the many tributaries and canals, Saint Petersburg is often referred to as the Northern Venice - a likeness which is helped by a heavy influence of Italian design on many of the city's landmarks.
Saint Petersburg sits within the Arctic circle which means that winters are bitterly cold with severe negative temperatures and copious amounts of snow and ice. It also means that at the end of June Saint Petersburg enjoys a period of white nights - a week during which the sun never sets which the city embraces as many restaurants and cafés stay open right through to breakfast. This is the perfect time to visit as you can roam up and down the Nevsky Prospect at your heart's content day and night and there is nothing quite like catching up with the news over a cup of latte in broad daylight at 4am in the morning.
Originally built by Peter the Great and modelled on many of the European cities that Peter visited, you will have to dive head first into St Petersburg's culture and visiting the various museums and cathedrals is unavoidable. Fear not, however, as the splendour and elegance of these grand structures is guaranteed to leave you breathless. You will undoubtedly notice in most places you visit the shining through of the Russian superiority psyche. The museums are always the largest housing the most expansive collections in Europe, cathedrals were always built to be the longest, largest and tallest and you might need a map to cross the street, but this collection of grandeur and opulence makes Saint Petersburg a real gem and one of Europe's most enchanting destinations.