Peterhof was the first of the great Imperial ensembles to be established outside St Petersburg and is definitely “a must-see” for any first time visitor to St Petersburg.

Completely dedicated to the Russian victory over Sweden in the “Northern War”, it is often called the “Russian Versailles” but actually it has surpassed Versailles in many respects: it is a real “kingdom of fountains” with amazing cascades, a variety of unique and playful fountains, Grand Peterhof Palace, and other small palaces.

Peterhof is located approximately 30 km to the south of St Petersburg on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

It is probably the most famous summer residence of the Russian tsars – and the only official marine residence. Peter the Great wanted to highlight the importance of the fact that Russia now had the access to the Baltic Sea that is why the location was chosen by the Tsar himself.

The façade of the residence faces the sea as most of the guests arrived by sea. Nowadays it is also possible. In summertime, if the weather permits, you can get to Peterhof by hydrofoil. The half an hour journey takes you straight from the Winter Palace to the Summer Palace.

In Peterhof apart from the park which is gorgeous, you can also visit one of the small museums, such as Mon Plaisir (the favorite palace of Peter the Great which he preferred even to the Grand Peterhof Palace) or Marly Palace (inspired by the residence of the French kings) or explore one of the many museums located in the area.

New museums are opened in Peterhof every year, among them being the treasury of Peterhof or the Palace Church.
One of the latest museum’s to be opened is the Tsar’s Amusements. This museum is not very typical of Peterhof because there are a number of new multimedia technologies used in the exhibition. Here you can learn about the receptions that took place in the residence with thousands of guests and as many servants famous even in Europe, about the fountains, the Peterhof theater and many other entertainments.

Even just walking through the gardens is a bright adventure with beautiful statues, fountains, and watery tricks at every corner. Children will enjoy the various trick fountains that abound in Peterhof and this is a nice opportunity to cool off on a hot summer day.

See our Peterhof Video Here…

The Palaces of Peterhof

Peterhof is one of the most famous former residences of Russian Tsars around St Petersburg. It is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland and was from the very beginning meant for gala festivities of the court. Most people know Peterhof for its stunning fountains. However it is not all! The resident also includes numerous palaces and pavilions. The huge Grand Palace is the compositional center of the ensemble. And there are also smaller palaces, which are also absolutely worth visiting. Here are the most important palaces and pavilions of the Lower Garden that have always been a true attraction for the visitors.

The Grand Palace

The Grand palace is one of the oldest palaces on the territory of Peterhof. It was started by Peter the Great in the early 18th century. The first palace, which got the name of the Upper Palace, was a rather modest building located on the top of the hill with a fine view of the Baltic Sea. However already under the daughter of Peter the Great Elizabeth the palace became a gala residence and in such a way it was used by the Russian emperors till the Revolution of 1917. Since all the Tsars used the Grand palace, there were re-decorations in the building carried out by the most outstanding architects. You will see the Oaken study of Peter the Great and the Oaken staircase, which remind us of the very first Upper palace, as it was called under Peter the Great, Baroque style rooms dating back to 1750’s, the Chesma hall designed in the times of Catherine the Great, which was the favorite room of Catherine and of Nicholas I.

During the WWII Peterhof was occupied by the Nazis who blew the palace up when they were retreating. Whatever they could lay their hands on was plundered, dispatched to Germany or deliberately destroyed. The palace we see today was reconstructed by the Soviet restores. Its interiors help us to imagine how the court lived in those days and actually illustrate all the stages of the life of the palace – from the early 18th century to the turn of the centuries.

Peterhof was the first of the great Imperial ensembles to be established outside St Petersburg and is definitely “a must-see” for any first time visitor to St Petersburg.

Completely dedicated to the Russian victory over Sweden in the “Northern War”, it is often called the “Russian Versailles” but actually it has surpassed Versailles in many respects: it is a real “kingdom of fountains” with amazing cascades, a variety of unique and playful fountains, Grand Peterhof Palace, and other small palaces.

Peterhof is located approximately 30 km to the south of St Petersburg on the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

It is probably the most famous summer residence of the Russian tsars – and the only official marine residence. Peter the Great wanted to highlight the importance of the fact that Russia now had the access to the Baltic Sea that is why the location was chosen by the Tsar himself.

The Hermitage Pavilion

Everybody know the Hermitage museum with its huge and vast collections. However, it is not the only Hermitage in Russia – almost every summer residence of Russian emperors had a Hermitage pavilion for smaller receptions.

The word “Hermitage” comes from the French word “ermite” and means “a place of solitude”.

The detached atmosphere of the Hermitage is emphasized by a deep moat running around the building. In the 18th century the moat was filled with water and only a small drawbridge was used for admission. The most important attraction of the pavilion apart from the paintings decorating the hall is a lifting table for 14 persons. It was made in 1725. At a bell signal the central part of the table with handwritten requests from the guests was lowered to the ground floor and then raised to the upper floor with ordered dishes.

So that the guests could enjoy their feast without the presence of servants. What we can see now is an imitation of Peter’s table. Until Paul I came to power a special armchair was used to lift a monarch to the second floor. The armchair got stuck between the floors when Paul took it. After that it was not used anymore.

The Catherine Block

This small palace is of great historical importance. It was from here that in 1762 Catherine the Great rushed to St Petersburg to dethrone her husband, hence the name – the Catherine Block. In the second half of the 18th century the palace was used for balls and receptions. In the 19th century it was not used for anything. Only in summer on the graduation day at the Smolny and other institutes (July 1) the Emperor received here the graduate students. The Classical Style is expressed in the interior decor, and first and foremost in the color scheme.

This palace is for visitors with exquisite taste. If you like the Classical or the Empire style, you will definitely enjoy the design of the block.  What is more, on display in this palace is one of the most valuable service sets of the entire collection of Peterhof – the Guriev service set, one of the best Empire style service sets produced on the Imperial Porcelain Factory in St Petersburg.

The Pavlovsk Park and Palace ensemble is among the finest royal residences in the environs of St Petersburg. Unlike other famous royal residences Pavlovsk has the unique charm of a private estate. The palace was designed in reserved classical style and will be highly appreciated by true art connoisseurs. During a tour of Pavlovsk Palace you will not only be able to witness stunning state rooms used for official ceremonies and festivities in the palace, but also some private rooms where the family could gather together in the evening.

An interactive museum of Soviet arcade machines that are the core of the collection. There are over fifty of them on display. The ticket includes some tokens to play. The museum will help you to go back in time and learn more about the Soviet Russia. As for your kids, they will be curious to learn what was interesting for their fathers and grandfathers.

One of the coziest and most hospitable museums of our city.

Museum has 12 halls of art space. Interior dolls, theatre dolls, fairy-tale dolls, dolls depicting customs and traditions are on display there. All in all, the museum has over 40000 exhibits. It is guarded by purring spirits – 3 cats that appear when the museum is closed and dolls wake up… The only disadvantage is that you can’t play with the dolls, you can only look at them.

A unique and the first one in Russia art space where exhibits of shadow art are on display. You will learn the history of our city in light and shadow language there, meet Peter the Great, its founder, and even face your own shadow. Are you ready to look at everything and even yourself from a different angle?

Unique monument of the XV century built in Western gothic style. The only civil building in this style that survived in our country. There ambassadors were received, the Novgorod parliament and court sat and the grand dinners took place. Now the Novgorod jewelry collection of VI-XVII centuries is on display there.

Enjoy 14 halls with over 250 Novgorod icons of XI-XIX centuries. Novgorod is one of the centers of icon painting in our country. This exhibition is one of the best collections of Russian icons as it allows to follow the history of icon painting in our Russia.

Stretch your legs and enjoy the public boat ride. You will see views of the Volkhov river and the lake Ilmen which is called the Slavonic Sea because the area round is so flat. It takes 1-1.5 hours.

Kremlin is the heart of the city, the fortress in its center. During the tour you can see St Sophia cathedral, the oldest temples of our country made of stone, the monument to the Millennium of Russia and the place where merchants used to trade which is called “Yaroslavovo Dvorische” – Prince Yyaroslav court.

A functioning Russian orthodox monastery. It was founded in the XI century by Yaroslav, the grand duke who was baptized by St George, hence the name. St George cathedral, a gem of Russian medieval architecture, has unique frescoes and even an ancient graffiti.

Kazan Cathedral  one of the grandest churches in St Petersburg with its colonnades of 96 columns embracing Nevsky prospect like the outstretched wings of a gigantic eagle; it  was built between 1801 and 1811 to house a venerated icon Our Lady of Kazan by Andrey Voronikhin (a serf of Count Stroganov).

Divo Ostrov (the name means Wonderful Island in Russian and the attraction is really located on an island) is the best amusement park in Russia. It was founded in May 2003 and had 17 attraction rides then. Now there are 46 of them. Some of the amusement rides are for adults, some for families and some for kids. Divo Ostrov gives unique impressions to people of all ages. Every adult gets a ticket to his childhood and every child finds himself in the world of his dreams and fantasies.

If you are a passionate train lover, this place is your paradise: it’s the biggest railway museum in Europe, a sort of “Technical Hermitage”.  You can practice driving a train with the help of the simulator here: enjoy 6 real life scenarios! If you come with small ones, there are game zones especially for them. If you finally get bored of trains, you can take a selfie with a sad peasant  in the cold carriage or to practice Morse code with a plaster telephone operator.

Russian museum is the biggest museum of national art in the world and a unique architectural ensemble of the historical center of Saint Petersburg. With its 400000 exhibits it covers the history of Russian art from X century icons  up to XX-XXI century avant-guard art  and soviet  painting. You can see Ilya Repin, Mikhail Vrubel, Mark Shagal, Vasiliy Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich and many others there.

An annual festival of sand sculptures on the territory of Peter and Paul Fortress; international team of sculptors from different European countries create sculptures from special sand on the given subject which varies every year; the exhibition will be of great interest for you and your little ones

St Petersburg boat tours offer a perfect way to see the city under a bit different angle – sailing under numerous bridges along rivers and canals, and listening to curious stories from your guide. St Petersburg boat tours are especially majestic during the White Nights season in St Petersburg.

This private museum is a model of Russia made at the scale 1:87. The model is 800 square meters and symbolically shows all regions of our country. It’s the biggest model in Russia and second biggest in the world (after Minjatur Wunderland in Hamburg). It took 100 people 5 years to complete it. The model is interactive, so your children will be delighted to press buttons there.

It’s a museum inside the other museum. This section has 2400 exhibits which makes it one of the most prominent collections of this kind. Our country had the biggest Jewish population in the world at the end of the XIX century. So, this exhibition shows how the Jews lived in the Russian empire. You will know everything about traditional costumes, books, things used in everyday life, holidays, crafts the Jewish took part in, holidays they celebrated, etc.

These stunning pavilions were created in 1830-40 for the wife and daughter of Nicholas I (the daughter’s name was Olga). There the tsarina could relax after grand receptions.  They are located on manmade islands and decorated in the style of Pompeii and XVIII century Italian country houses. These pavilions are dreams about Italy, an oasis of Southern paradise in the North of Russia. Only the chosen ones could come here. Join them!

Agate rooms are a two-storied bath house. The first floor was used to take a bath and the second one had famous rooms where guests could relax afterwards. Their walls were decorated with agate – hence the name.

This unique complex was built by Charles Cameron for Catherine II in the 18th century and was restored only after WWII. It managed to preserve almost intact. Fortunately, this treasure is not as popular with mass tourism as Catherine palace, so if you want to enjoy something truly authentic and not overcrowded, this is definitely your choice.

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The Faberge Museum has the world-class collection of Faberge Masterpieces (including 14 Easter Eggs), gift boxes, Russian enamels etc.The collection is situated in 9 beautiful rooms of Shuvalov Palace. It was opened in November 2013 and founded by the “Link of Times” Cultural Historical Foundation, established by Russian entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg to repatriate lost cultural treasures to Russia.

The fourth tallest dome construction in the world. St Isaac’s Cathedral used to be the main Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Russian Empire. The enormous decoration of the interior of the cathedral, was created in the Russian Academy of Fine Arts.Gilded bronze, malachite and lapis lazuli together with countless paintings, columns, mosaics, will take your breath away.

One of the best private palaces in the Europe .Its real gem is a home theater. Outstanding Russian singers and dancers performed there.In this palace young Felix Yusupov, the heir of the family, and other conspirators assassinated Grigory Rasputin.  During a visit to the palace you will learn about the plot of Felix and how it was brought to life.

Peter and Paul Fortress here our city was founded in 1703.Peter the Great started a fortress to protect the lands won back from Sweden. Now it is one of the most important 18th century fortresses in Russia and Europe.St Peter and Paul Cathedral is the burial place of almost all Russian Tsars from Peter the Great up to the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

Many metro station vestibules and platforms are adorned with marble, granite, bas-reliefs and mosaics which makes them look like underground palaces. The very first 10 stations appeared after WWII and have various military and Soviet symbols reminding visitors about the glorious victory over Nazi Germany. Owing to the city’s swampy subsoil, most of the lines were built extremely deep underground.

Peterhof is definitely “a must-see” for any first-time visitor to St Petersburg.It is often called the “Russian Versailles”: it is a real “kingdom of fountains” and true paradise for little children (as well as adults) with amazing cascades, a variety of unique and playful fountains, Grand Peterhof Palace, and other small ones.

Catherine Palace Is a must to visit. Inside you will find a succession of interconnecting rooms in Baroque style and somewhere in the middle of that enfilade is the famous Amber Room which was called by contemporaries “the eighth wonder of the world”. The palace was badly damaged during WWII and amber panels were stolen by the Nazi. But they started restoration in 1979 and finished it in 2003.

St Petersburg Siege Memorialcommemorates the hardship that Leningrad‘s (the soviet name of our city) citizens endured during the siege which lasted 900 days (1941-1943) and took away about 1.5 mln lives. The most striking part of the memorial are the tableaux of soviet citizens facing south towards the enemy. It was designed to be viewed from a distance. In the subterranean memorial hall are relics from the siege.

Offers fresh food from all over the former Soviet Union: melons, tomatoes, farmhouse honey, pickles, sour cream, ham and gherkins, not to mention imports such as kiwi fruit. Most vendors offer the chance to taste a sliver before buying. Outside the market are “babushkas” (pensioners) who sell things they have grown at their dacha (summer cottage) or gathered in the forest.

Hermitage Museum one of the most important and oldest museums in the world. It has one of the largest collections of paintings. If you spent one minute viewing each exhibit of the Museum it would take you11 years to see everything. The collection of the French Impressionists is exhibited in the General staff building which is located opposite the Winter Palace.

Most famous for almost 21,000m² of mosaics that cover both the interior and the façade of the building. The mosaics were created in Russia, which makes them even more valuable. It is the only building in our citybuilt in the style of Moscow churches. The church was built on the place where Alexander II was assassinated, hence the name.

St Petersburg boat tours offer a perfect way to see the city under a bit different angle – sailing under numerous bridges along rivers and canals, and listening to curious stories from your guide. St Petersburg boat tours are especially majestic during the White Nights season in St Petersburg.

Alexander Palace was commissioned by Catherine II for her grandson, future Russian tsar Alexander I and later became the summer home of a succession of Imperial heirs, each of whom left their mark on the building.