Peter the Great’s imperial capital has the flair and style of Paris and the museums to rival New York, Paris and London. Characterised by its sumptuous and grand architectural diversity, the city feels like a jewellery box stuffed to bursting with bewitching jewels like the Amber Room in Catherine’s Palace, the Versailles-inspired Peterhof with gardens full of fountains and sculptures, the delightful Fabergé Museum, the striking golden dome of St. Isaac’s, and the vast collections of art within the magnificent Winter Palace. And when compared to the stark Soviet brutalism of Moscow, St Petersburg is an unfathomably colourful, fairytale city, with vibrant architectures, a pretty network of glittering canals and a legion of ornate bridges.
St Petersburg is home to a surprisingly large collection of beaches in and around the city, all looking out across the Finish Gulf, as well as more than a hundred islands to explore. And an overlooked gem of these islands is the mostly residential Krestovsky Island that boasts an impressive collection of waterside restaurants, a yacht club and a delightful 18th-century German brewery and restaurant set in a stone windmill amongst idyllic gardens, made all the more blissful by its dreamy sea views.