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An Introduction to Skating in Russia
Skating in St. Petersburg

by Kathie Fry

Inline Skating in St. Petersburg
Cone Skaters in Front of the Hermitage Museum
Copyright © Kathie Fry

[More Photos of Skating in St. Petersburg]

More of This Article
1. Introduction
2. Moscow
3. St. Petersburg
4. Pushkin
5. Peterhof
6. Novgorod
7. Kotlin Dikes
8. Sosnovy Bor
9. More Information
Photo Galleries
St. Petersburg
Kotlin Dikes
Sosnovy Bor
Video Clips
Me Skating in Moscow
My Fall in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg (formerly called Leningrad) is a beautiful city on the banks of the Neva River in Northwest Russia on the Gulf of Finland. Moscow architecture is very Russian, but St. Petersburg was built in a Western European style. The city is very picturesque, with views across the Neva River and a series of canals crisscrossing the center of town.

St. Petersburg was built on 50 islands connected by 300 bridges, and it is great fun to skate back and forth across the bridges, hopping from island to island. You can skate past many famous and historic sights including the Hermitage Museum, Palace Square, the Statue of the Bronze Horseman, the Church of Blood and Tears, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Neva River embankments, and many other famous landmarks.

The best time to visit St. Petersburg is during the White Nights of June, when it stays light 24 hours a day, but there are two things you need to remember when you are skating at night in St. Petersburg. First, the subway system shuts down at midnight, and second, many of the bridges in the city open about 2:00 a.m. to allow ships to pass through. That means you need to plan carefully to avoid being stranded on the wrong island when the bridges are up. But really, if that ever does happen, it is not such a disaster. You can spend the rest of the night skating up and down the river embankments, watching the bridges being lifted and lowered.

You will see occasional skaters all over St. Petersburg, but if you really want to meet the local skaters, there is one place you will always find them: Victory Seaside Park on Krestovsky Island. This park is the best place in the city for skating, because of its lovely tree-lined roads and beautiful views across the Baltic Sea. Every time I visit St. Petersburg there are more and more skaters in this park. There are cone skaters, artistic skaters, and aggressive skaters in the large open area below the stadium, speed skaters and roller skiers on the auto racing track that surrounds the stadium, and recreational skaters on the tree-lined roads that run all over this vast island park. Another place the local skaters gather is in front of the Hermitage Museum in the evening, but you are more certain to find skaters in Victory Seaside Park.

Skating Day Trips from St. Petersburg
A wonderful way to see the countryside around St. Petersburg is to take a train, bus or boat to one of the towns outside the city and skate back to St. Petersburg. Here are some of my favorite day trips from St. Petersburg:

The Parks and Palaces of Pushkin
The Parks and Palaces of Peterhof
Novgorod Kremlin and Volkhov River Trail
Sosnovy Bor Biathlon Trail and Kotly
Kronstadt and the Dikes of Kotlin

Part 4: Skating in Pushkin -->

More of This Article
Part 1: About Skating in Russia
Part 2: Skating the Streets of Moscow
Part 3: Skating St. Petersburg
Part 4: A Day of Skating in Pushkin
Part 5: Skaters Visiting a Palace at Peterhof
Part 6: Skating Novgorod Kremlin and River Trail
Part 7: Skating the Dikes of Kotlin Island
Part 8: Sosnovy Bor Biathlon Loop Trail

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