Peterhof Palace & Garden#6 in Best Things To Do in St. Petersburg
If you're visiting St. Petersburg in the summer, the Peterhof Palace & Garden is an absolute must-see. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof was the brainchild and summer palace of Peter the Great. The palace is frequently likened to Versailles, which inspired its design.
While the palace is an impressive site, the manicured gardens and numerous fountains really steal the show, according to recent visitors. Reviewers also add that you shouldn't bother with the palace if you have time constraints, because exploring this palace can easily take an entire day.
The palace is located approximately 25 miles southwest of St. Petersburg. To get to the palace, take the hydrofoil, a boat, from outside the Hermitage. Travelers say this route is the quickest (about 30 to 45 minutes) and easiest, and provides excellent views as you cross the Gulf of Finland. If you purchased a St. Petersburg Card, the hydrofoil trip to Peterhof is covered. If you did not purchase the card, you can expect to pay between 850 and 950 rubles (about $13 to $15) for the boat cruise. You can also reach the palace via car, bus or minibus.
Tickets start at around 1,000 rubles (or about $16). Recent visitors said the experience (especially the gardens) is well worth the entrance fees. Keep in mind: You'll get much more out of a visit to Peterhof when the weather is clear since a special part of the experience is seeing the fountains, which are operational from April to October. For more information, visit the palace's website.
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#1 Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace
Catherine the Great founded the Hermitage Museum in 1764 as a place to house her private art collection. The main museum complex comprises six buildings, including the Winter Palace, which was the home of the czars for almost 200 years. It finally opened to the public in 1852, and since then has been one of the largest and most interesting museums in the world. It draws more than 4 million visitors each year – in fact, this museum is the main reason some travelers visit St. Petersburg in the first place. Recent travelers offered fulsome praise for both the art on display and the opulent building housing the works. For many, the only downside was the constant crowds.
Bursting at the seams with art from masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso, the Hermitage demands a substantial commitment of time to see even a portion of its collection, which encompasses 3 million works of art and artifacts. Some previous visitors reported spending seven hours touring the grounds. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time admiring the works, consider purchasing the two-day entrance ticket.
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