18 | Er Srbija » Air Serbia The former capital of the Russian Empire was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703, in order to showcase the country’s imperial might. It is today Russia’s cultural capital and a burgeoning tourist centre, filled with galleries, museums, palaces and cathedrals. However, in November you will also need to find ways to stay warm, so try these six great activities and enjoy your time in this great city. 1. Visit a banya When it’s extremely cold outside, you can take shelter from the negative temperatures in a very hot place – a traditional Russian sauna called banya. This experience is pretty unique. Visit the one on Degtyarnaya Street, which has been refurbished and looks great. 2. Eat at Banshiki restaurant After you’ve visited this traditional Russian banya, you can have a traditional meal Stay warm in the November cold complete with vodka tasting. There’s an amazing restaurant in the same building as the Degtyarnaya Street banya called Banshiki. You’ll find great quality and well-presented food, while it’s also inexpensive, making it a perfect place to try traditional Russian cuisine. 3. Visit theHermitageMuseum When it’s very cold and miserable outside, you won’t feel bad about spending the entire day inside a museum. The Hermitage Museum is among the world’s biggest, and you can easily spend a full day exploring its permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Hermitage is not just a museum, but a former palace. As such, some of the chambers are quite opulent and very impressive. Queues to enter the Hermitage can be quite long even during the winter months. However, you can buy a skip-the-queue ticket with a tour that enables you to enter the museum without waiting. 4. Go skiing If you see snow outside in St. Petersburg, you can go skiing! Even though St. Petersburg doesn’t have mountains, it does have a few hills and a few artificial slopes. There are three or four ski resorts in the countryside around St Petersburg. The Igora and Ohta parks have proper hotels where you can spend the night and use spa, swimming pool and sauna facilities. 5. Skate throughout the city One fun activity in St. Petersburg during winter is ice skating, and the city has plenty of outdoor skating rinks. There is a fun outdoor rink at the St. Petersburg Christmas Market, in front of the TUZ theatre near Pushkinskaya metro station, but you can find places to skate outdoors and indoors all over the city, because Russians simply love skating. 6. Visit Village Shuvalovka Another fun activity in St. Petersburg during winter is to visit the traditional Russian village of Shuvalovka, located between Strelna and Peterhof (Peterhof Palace is a must). The Ethnographic Park Village Shuvalovka is an artificial settlement built as an attraction intended mostly to familiarise children and young adults with Russian village life in the past and how Russia looked in the 19th century and prior to the Revolution. If you have kids, they can participate in a couple of workshops here, such as painting or moulding clay figures. On the whole, Shuvalovka is a fun place to spend a couple of hours. FOTO: Depositphotos FOTO: Depositphotos smarttravel