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During the summer months, Russia's 24-hour daylight sets the stage for nightlong revelry.

A high point in every Russian insomniac's diary, St Petersburg's White Nights festival in July takes advantage of the long days when the sun scarcely sets on the city. Ballet and opera are formal festival events at the Mariinsky Theatre – and the midnight sun also provides an excuse for carnivals and riotous, vodka-fuelled nightlife that can carry on until residents clock in for work the next morning. An important site in the 1917 October Revolution, the Palace Square is now known to stage music concerts: these days it's the Rolling Stones, Faithless and Madonna rousing the masses.

How to
Visit the Mariinsky Theatre for the White Nights festival taking place until 24 July, which features opera, ballet and classical music performances.

St Petersburg is served by Air France, Austrian, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss airlines.

Not far from Nevsky Prospekt is lovingly renovated B&B Sovetskaya 5. The apartment retains its historical features but with contemporary furnishings (from £75).

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