Scarlet Sails: Celebrating the Magic of White Nights in Saint Petersburg June 28, 2024

Scarlet Sails: Celebrating the Magic of White Nights in Saint Petersburg June 28, 2024

The Scarlet Sails (Алые Паруса) celebration is one of the most anticipated events during the White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg. This spectacular celebration, which marks the end of the school year and honors graduates, is held annually in June. In 2024, it takes place at night on June 28, and promises to be as enchanting and unforgettable as ever. Here's how you can make the most of the Scarlet Sails celebration in Saint Petersburg.

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Background: A Brief History

The Scarlet Sails tradition dates back to 1968 and was inspired by the beloved children's book "Scarlet Sails" by Alexander Grin. The celebration features a breathtaking nighttime show on the Neva River, including a tall ship with scarlet sails, fireworks, and a concert. It symbolizes hope, dreams, and the start of a new journey for high school graduates.

Evening: Festivities Begin

The Scarlet Sails celebration usually takes place on a Saturday in late June. The festivities kick off in the evening with a grand concert at Palace Square, featuring performances by popular Russian and international artists. The energy is electric, with thousands of people gathering to enjoy the music and celebrate together.

Night: The Main Event

As night falls, make your way to the embankments along the Neva River or find a spot on one of the many bridges for the best views. The highlight of the evening is the arrival of the tall ship adorned with glowing scarlet sails. As the ship glides along the river, a magnificent fireworks display lights up the night sky, synchronized with music for a truly magical experience.

Best Viewing Spots

To fully appreciate the spectacle, here are some of the best places to watch the Scarlet Sails:

- Palace Embankment: Close to the action, offering a clear view of the ship and fireworks.

- Dvortsovaya Embankment: Another excellent spot near the Winter Palace, providing a panoramic view of the river.

- Peter and Paul Fortress: Offers a unique perspective with the fortress in the background.

- Troitsky Bridge: A central location with fantastic views of both the ship and the fireworks.

Tips for a Memorable Experience

1. Arrive Early: The celebration attracts large crowds, so it's best to arrive early to secure a good spot.

2. Dress Warmly: Even in June, the nights can be chilly, especially near the water. Bring a jacket or blanket to stay comfortable.

3. Stay Hydrated and Bring Snacks: The festivities can last several hours, so be sure to have water and snacks on hand.

4. Public Transport: Use public transport to get to and from the event as many streets will be closed to traffic. The metro runs extended hours during the White Nights Festival.

5. Respect the Event: The Scarlet Sails is a celebration for graduates. Be respectful and mindful of the significance of the event for the students and their families.

Alternative Activities

If you prefer a more relaxed experience, consider a river cruise on the Neva. Many boats offer special Scarlet Sails cruises with dinner and live music, providing a comfortable and unique way to enjoy the celebration from the water.


The Scarlet Sails is more than just a celebration; it’s a symbol of hope, dreams, and new beginnings. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, experiencing this magical event is a must. The combination of music, lights, and the iconic ship with scarlet sails creates an unforgettable atmosphere that captures the essence of Saint Petersburg’s White Nights. Join the festivities, immerse yourself in the celebration, and create lasting memories of this enchanting night.

С праздником! Enjoy the Scarlet Sails!


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