St. Petersburg’s Breathtaking White Night Drawbridge Tour

It was midnight on Monday, July 5th, 2010, and we were on a boat tour in the middle of the night, in St. Petersburg.  I was unprepared for beauty such as this.


The sun takes a very long time to set during this time of year, in St. Petersburg, and they call these the White Nights.   We’d heard that the thing to do was to take a night tour of the drawbridges, so we booked it.  I’ll admit, I felt a little careless about the whole thing.  I mean, bridges, yay, what’s the big deal?  That’s kind of where my mind was at.  I didn’t say these words though… because I guess the way I process new places and experiences is like this: every place has something to offer, and if I think it’s no big deal, then I’m ignorant and I should just shut up and give it a chance.  Not like, drugs or weird stuff with strangers.  But just… stuff like this boat tour of bridges.

And anyway, I do like boat tours.

Also, I was curious to see what everyone loved so much about these bridges.


Warship, that is now a floating museum.

IMG_7111Winter Palace

IMG_7124Check out that amazing half-moon.  WOW.  *sigh*

It was astounding.  Just being out on the Neva River… the sky was unreal.  The water, unreal.  The atmosphere was electric, magical.  It was one of the most romantic tours I’ve ever been on.  It was like a dream.


I wrote in my journal: “After napping from 7-11pm, we went out to catch the boat tour, and now we have just returned.  It was fantastic to see all the lights of St. Petersburg and gorgeous buildings, fortresses, cathedrals, and palaces lit up against the deep blue sky.”

At one point, we looked behind us to see a bridge twinkling, sparkling, like it was made up of fairy dust.  Maybe I’m making it sound lame, but it was NOT lame.  It was MAGICAL.  Honestly.  I wrapped my arms around Andrew a little tighter as we watched the twinkling bridge become smaller and smaller in the distance.


Peter and Paul Fortress

We noticed there were more and more boats collecting by the bridges, and there were actual crowds of people forming along the banks of the Neva.  And then, it happened: the bridges began to raise…!



It was actually pretty spectacular to see… and part of the fantastic spectacle was the enormous cheer that went up from the crowds along the banks.  It echoed over the water.  Surreal.


And then it was over.  The crowds dispersed, and we were brought back to where we had began our tour.

As we walked back, I noted how many people were out and about at 2am.  Tourists and tour guides and people that just flat-out love the White Nights.

The sun was beginning to rise.  After we disembarked, Andrew turned around and captured this shot: where our tour had begun… and come to an end.


If you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg in June or July, I strongly suggest you take a boat tour of the Neva in the middle of the night.  I don’t know, maybe it would suck for you.  Not everyone has the same experiences, and we all process things differently.  But I found the evening to be magnificent.  Just my two cents.

This is why, to this very day, every time I find myself looking at a map of St. Petersburg (what? don’t most people find themselves often gazing at such maps?), I see the Neva River, and sigh fondly.


2 responses to “St. Petersburg’s Breathtaking White Night Drawbridge Tour

  1. That’s a pretty awesome experience. I love that the crowds cheered at the raising bridges.

    Does the sun really rise at 2am in Russia?? Because the nights are just so short??


    • Well it begins to rise that early in July in St. Petersburg anyway, because of how far north it is — just like any place on the same latitude… they just celebrate it specifically, which is pretty cool. 🙂
      Yeah I think I teared up a little when the people cheered, it was unbelievable and I found it strangely moving.


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