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White Nights in St Petersburg

Every year in Summer, the White Nights (Beliye Nochi) festival sees millions of tourists descend on St Petersburg for this annual celebration.

What is it?

Beliye Nochi is the period in high-summer when the northern-most parts of the northern hemisphere experience 24-hour sunlight. Even in the middle of the night, the sun can still be seen above the horizon, lighting these northern locations as if it were day.

When is it?

Usually, this occurs from around June 11 to July 2nd.

What happens?

As you can imagine, for a city that experiences such cold, bleak winters, the celebration of 24-hour sunlight - and simply summer itself - St Petersburg's summer festival is a very joyous occasion!

Russians descend on St Petersburg and celebrate in various ways.

Many revellers party in the street, but the main tradition (especially for couples), is to head to the the river, (or the many canals), to watch the raising of the bridges. (In St Petersburg, the bridges are raised between 2am and 5am to let boats pass through. Whilst this is a major inconvenience if you're trying to get somewhere by car at this time... it is a wonderful sight to see, particularly during this summer period.)

Official Celebrations

To mark the occasion, there is also an annual festival - Stars of the White Night Festival - consisting of a series of ballet, opera and music performances.

It's also a time of year when students across the country celebrate the end of the school year! So, you'll also see many graduates dressed up in style for their school / college formals.

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