Celebrate the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg

Every summer a strange phenomenon occurs in St Petersburg. From end of May to end of July the city doesn’t get dark, even during the night. This gives the residents plenty of reason to celebrate.

Due to this phenomenon, the White Nights Festival began. It’s a collection of events including art, music, opera, ballet, film, and huge outdoors celebrations. While visiting St. Petersburg during the summer you can expect a lively, romantic and friendly atmosphere, and streets just as crowded in the evening as they are during the day.

Scarlett Sails

The oldest and most famous event at the White Nights festival is the Scarlet Sails celebration. This is a massive public event with millions of people coming to watch every year. It’s a celebration of the end of the school year in June. Tradition since after World War II, the event is a tribute to the Russian children’s tale ‘Scarlet Sails’ and was started when several Leningrad schools united to celebrate the end of term. You can expect extraordinary fireworks, a concert and a massive water show while an incredibly illuminated boat with red sails pass through. This has become the main event during the festival and is definitely worth going to if you’re in town in June.

Scarlett Sails St Petersburg

Stars of the White Nights

Performing daily at the Mariinsky Theatre during the summer months, you’ll have a good chance to go watch the Stars of the White Nights. This is Russia’s premier arts and classical musical festival, which was started in 1993 as a ‘musical gift’ to the city. Come and watch the performances in classic ballet, opera and classical music, all of which focus on classical masterpieces from around the world, in addition to some rare treasures you probably never heard before.

Mariinsky Theatre Main Hall St. Petersburg Source Valentin Baranovsky State Academic Mariinsky Theatre

© Valentin Baranovsky/ State Academic Mariinsky Theatre

Join in the carnival celebrations

The White Nights Festival also offer a series of carnivals. The largest and most famous one takes place in the Peterhof suburb of St. Petersburg. This one is based on re-enactments of historic events from the times of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. The streets are filled with a party atmosphere and actors are dressed up in period costumes from that time. You will also find old-fashioned carriages being led around the local park by horses and it will feel as if you have just taken a step into the past.

Water show and fireworks during the Scarlet Sails St Petersburg

A summer in St. Petersburg offers you a wide range of art-inspired events, and these are only some of them. Complete your time at White Nights Festival with a stay at Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky St. Petersburg and you’re guaranteed to be close to all the events.