Despite the chilly climate, when it comes to romance the magic of St. Petersburg can warm even the coldest heart. Nothing will put you and your partner more in the mood for love than strolling along its scenic canals, floating in a pleasure boat past its dazzling monuments as you sip flutes of fine champagne or dine on oysters and caviar like Russian royalty in a former Imperial Palace.

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To achieve maximum romantic ambiance schedule your visit during “White Nights,” the period of 80 days stretching from late May to early August when the sun almost never sets and when it finally does the city basks in the rosy glow of perpetual twilight until dawn. Charter a boat for a late night cruise up and down the city’s canals, past its architectural masterpieces and under its fabled bridges stopping at the Bridge of Kisses (Potseluev) across the Moyka, considered the most romantic spot in St. Petersburg.

For an especially memorable end to the evening join the mass of water crafts in the mouth of the Neva River at 2 am to witness the raising of the drawbridges, one of St. Petersburg’s most iconic and impressive sights. You can join a canal tour or arrange a private boat on Griboyedov Canal at Nevsky Prospekt or on the Fontanka River at Nevsky Prospekt. Try Anglotourismo Boats at 21 Fontanka Embankment where they specialize in English language tours.

While the winter temperatures can fall to impressively icy levels, the city dressed in a coat of freshly fallen snow provides the ideal backdrop for kindling the embers of romantic love. With the rivers frozen a boat trip is out of the question so wrap yourselves in heavy coats, join hands and set out for a stroll along the canal embankments, particularly the Fontanka, which is lined with breathtaking Baroque palaces along its banks.

Stay warm any time with a visit to a traditional spa known as a “banya” where you can experience in tandem the Russian national pastime of relaxing in a hot sauna while being slapped with birch branches, said to unclog the pores, improve the circulation and increase the libido among its many miracles.

Summer lovers must stop by the farmer’s market at Kuznechny Pereulok, just outside Vladimirskaya Metro Station and across from the Dostoyevsky Museum, to pick up provisions for an al fresco lunch. Then follow the Fontanka River to Peter the Great’s magnificent Summer Garden where you can picnic on manicured grounds surrounded by classical statuary and bubbling fountains.

Stop by the Grand Hotel Europe, the city’s most elegant hostelry, to enjoy a glass of champagne, shot of vodka or a cup of tea in the stately lobby. Lounge on gilded settees as you gaze into each other’s eyes and toast your luck that you wound up together. For those with the urge to splurge, check into one of the plush suites.

Enjoy a meal fit for a Czar at Palkin, Saint Petersburg’s must romantic restaurant. Set inside a sumptuous marble palace with a menu culled from actual dishes that were served to the Russian Imperial rulers like wild mushrooms with truffle, filet of sole in champagne and a salad of black caviar, smoked salmon and fresh oysters, complete with service that anticipates your every need, no dining experience will leave you feeling more indulged and ready for an evening of romance.

Only those immune to the passions of the heart can resist the attractions of St. Petersburg. There truly is no better way to fully appreciate the city than beside someone you love.

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