If you are afraid winter in Russia would be too much to stand – only four hours of daylight, temperature reaching -30 degrees Celsius, slippery snow everywhere – just keep in mind that, despite the minuses, there are countless things you could do in winter here. Ice skating being one of the most exciting.
Being a winter sport, ice skating has always been a pretty popular activity in Russia, where pirouetting on the ice on a cold Sunday afternoon seems to be a quite common habit. Funny enough, as many western trends, ice skating was actually brought to Russia by Peter The Great himself, who saw it for the first time while in Europe.
No surprise this sport is remarkably present in Russian literature as well: how can we fail to mention the lovely scene in Pushkin’s Onegin? Where Onegin follows with his eyes his beloved Tatyana, gently skating on the rink just opposite the Winter Palace, back in 19th century.
(here’s a scene from the movie adaptation of Pushkin’s Onegin)
If you really want to feel the Russian wintery spirit, then follow our guide on some of the best ice skating rinks in Saint Petersburg.
This artificial island in the very heart of Saint Petersburg was originally built in the 17th century by Peter the Great, mostly for naval needs. After years of being closed to the public, the place finally reopened in 2016. Now home to parks, boutiques and fancy cafés, New Holland also has one of the newest and best maintaned ice rinks in the city: its 2,000 square meters surface is cleaned every hours, and just in front of it there is a big wooden stage, where music events and shows take place in the winter time. Close to Christmas, you could also take a break in the nearby Christmas market, where warm spiced wine and coffee are usually served. Watch how our students learn to skate on our YouTube channel.
Location: 2 Admiralteyskogo Kanala, Saint Petersburg
Price: varies depending on the day and time. Usually from 100 to 450 roubles
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm; Weekend 11am-10.30pm
Moskovsky Viktory Park
This 68 hectares park is located in the south of the city: in the winter time, its lakes, well-kept gardens and small forests are covered by a thick snowy blanket, making it the best location for ice skating. Its family-friendly ice rink usually opens on December the 2nd, but the park also offers many other snow activities during the winter.
Location: 25 Kuznetsovskaya Ulitsa, Saint Petersburg
Price: varies depending on the day and time. Usually from 150 to 300 rubles
Opening hours: Opening hours vary everyday. Check them on their website.
If you are already counting down the days to Christmas and your spirit is longing for Christmas lights and gingerbread, you cannot miss Laplandia Park. This park, located at the entrance of Primorsky Victory Park on Krevstosky Island, will offer you the ultimate Christmas experience: it looks like a legit Santa’s village, with reindeers markets and Christmas songs playing. The outdoor ice rink is not as big as others in the city, and it is perfect for young or less confident skaters. Plus, a visit to the reindeer park is the perfect alternative entertainment for kids, who will have the opportunity to feed and pet Santa’s favorite helpers.
Location: 9 Ryukhina Ulitsa, Saint Petersburg
Price: from 300 to 400 rubles depending on the day and time of visit
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-10pm; Weekend 11am-11pm
Kirov central Park
Kirov central Park is located on Yelagin Island, a natural complex accessible through bridges that you can reach through the purple metro line, up to either Krestovsky Ostrov or Staraya Derevnya. The huge ice rink in the park is only open when the right temperature is reached, in order the ice not to melt (we recommend to check their site for further information about the opening).
Kirov central park is a magical place throughout the year, but especially in winter, where the white snow creates the perfect atmosphere for some winter activities. In fact, the wide ice rink with the twinkling Christmas tree in the middle, is not the only attraction the park offers: in Kirov central Park you can also hire some skis or a sled and go down the gentle slopes, enjoying the perfect wintery atmosphere.
Location: Elagin Island, St Petersburg
Park Opening hours: in winter 6 am-12 am
If the hustle of the city has got you sick and you want to spend a weekend outdoors, Ohta Park might be the answer for you. This resort has everything you need to relax and enjoy unique winter activities, just 30 km outside the city center: you can snowboard, ski, relax in the spa complex – which includes an authentic Russian banya – and, of course, ice skate in the outdoor ice rink.
However, if you are expecting the classic skating-in-circles experience, you might be disappointed (or pleasantly surprised): the ice rink consists in a mile long ice path through the forest, where you can slide through snow covered pine trees enjoying the magic of the Russian winter.
Location: Vsevolozhsk district, Syargi, Leningrad region
Price: from 350 to 650 roubles depending on the day and time of visit
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-10.30pm; Weekend 9 am-10.30 pm
Udelny Park is house to the biggest ice rink of the city: during the year, its 4,000 m2 ice surface is used by the Russian Olympic champions for training, but don’t let this put you off: when not used by professionals, Udelny Park is open to the public and you can skate there even if you have never got a medal. Being the largest ice rink in Saint Petersburg, Udelnky Park is very popular, hence it can get quite busy during the weekend: if you are not a fan of skating in a crowdy environment, we would recommend to go there during weekdays.
Location: 7A, Akkuratova Ulitsa, Saint Petersburg
Price: 200 rubles for adults; 100 rubles for children
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11am-10pm; weekend 11am-11pm
Once a ship-cable factory, Sevkabel is now one of the most trendy and creative spaces in the city. In the 19th century this former Soviet factory founded by Siemens, contributed to the electrification of the city. After being closed down for many years, it reopened in 2018 welcoming visitors with its huge rusty gates and impressive graffiti by famous Russian street artists. During the winter time a big ice rink is installed in Sevkabel, enabling people to pirouette on the while enjoying the amazing view on the Gulf of Finland and the recently built cable-stayed bridge. If you need a break from skating, you can drop by the food court and refresh with handcrafted coffee, pitas and burgers.
Location: 40E, Kozhevennaya Liniya, St Petersburg
Prices and opening hours may vary: check their website www.sevcableport.ru to know more!
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