Peterhof Palace & Garden

#5 in Best Things To Do in St. Petersburg
Peterhof Palace & Garden picture
fhwrdh/Flickr

Details

Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

If you're visiting St. Petersburg in the summer, the Peterhof Palace & Garden is an absolute must-do. Frommer's says, "Unquestionably the number-one day trip from St. Petersburg, Peterhof lures visitors with its Versailles-inspired palace, which overlooks a cascade of fountains and gardens opening onto the Baltic Sea." A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peterhof was the brainchild and summer palace of Peter the Great.

While the palace is an impressive site, the gardens really steal the show. According to one TripAdvisor user, "the best part of Peterhof is its enormous gardens and the hundreds of fountains," but you shouldn't bother with the palace if you have time constraints.

To get there, take the hydrofoil from outside the Hermitage. Travelers say this route is the quickest (about 30 minutes) and easiest, but you will find that the trip along the Neva River doesn't offer much in the way of views.

Admission is not cheap, ranging between $10 and $30 dollars (or about 300 rubles to 520 rubles) depending what exhibits you see. Still, recent visitors say that the experience (especially the gardens) is well worth it. You'll get much more out of Peterhof if the weather is clear, since a major part of the experience is seeing the fountains (Apr-Oct) and wandering the grounds." -- Frommer's

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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 massive complex has six buildings, including the Winter Palace, which was the home of the Tsars 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 on the globe. It draws more than two million visitors each year -- in fact, this museum is the main reason some travelers visit St. Petersburg in the first place. Recent travelers are full of praise, with one TripAdvisor user claiming, "This place makes other museums look unimportant."

Bursting at the seams with art from masters like Da Vinci and Picasso, the Hermitage is "virtually wallpapered with celebrated paintings," says Fodor's, who goes on to suggest you budget a substantial amount of time to explore. "It has been estimated that in order to spend one minute on each object on display, you would have to devote several years to the museum," they write.

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