- Halfdaytour to Puschkin incl. Visit of Catherine Palace
- Visit of Peterhof Gardens and fountains (2h)
- Exterior visit of the Peterhof Grand Palace
- Return from Peterhof by hydrofoil (30 m)
- Transfer to the ship
Visit to the Peterhof Park. Peterhof, rightfully called the "Russian Versailles", and in former days "Petrodvorets", was the main summer residence of the tsars. Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland near the sea and about 30 km from St. Petersburg, it is undoubtedly one of the main centres of interest of the former tsar’s capital. Beyond the magnificent architecture of the Grand Palace, the center piece of the visit is the park, designed by the foremost architects of the time who challenged the hostile climate of the Great North to create a masterpiece of colour, greenery, and breathtaking panoramas. The Upper Gardens, designed by Leblond, and situated near the palace, feature colourful flowerbeds and manicured hedges. In the Lower Park, designed by Meders and Quarenghi, among others, many small palaces, monuments and pavilions are scattered throughout the beautiful gardens. Do not miss its famous ensemble of 150 fountains and three cascades, decorated with splendid golden statues, as well as the amazing "water play" which will surprise you during your promenade in the park.
Exterior visit of the Peterhof Grand Palace.
Return from Peterhof by hydrofoil. We will leave Peterhof from the same pier in the palace gardens where the imperial family used to leave the summer palace on their way to their capital. After the leafy forests of the shores with the magnificent houses and small palaces of yesterday’s and today’s elite will come the urban scenery, along with the port and its hustle and bustle. From the Gulf of Finland, we will enter the estuary of the Neva River and pass under its most famous bridges, arriving at the most beautiful place in the city, the Winter Palace, opposite the Strelka and the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Transfer to the ship.
Saint Petersburg is heaven for tourists in Russia. From traditional attractions like palaces, gardens, and museums to modern entertainment. But one of the most attractive and popular of all is the grand "Peterhof." The Peterhof has included a series of palaces, fountains, and impressive cascades.
The Peterhof is in 30 kilometers west of Saint Petersburg with excellent weather on the coast of Finland Gulf. The complete area of the Peterhof is around 4000 hectares. The Peterhof is both included in Russia 7 Wonders and registered as UNESCO world heritage sites. These two explain the reason behind its popularity in Russia.
The area which now Peterhof exist, in eighteen century, was only a holiday residence on Finland Gulf shore at first for Peter I. In those years, Russia was in a fight for accessing the Baltic sea with Swedish Empire. After winning the war as a victory sign, Peter the Great which was fascinated with Versailles Palace in France commanded to build a look-alike palace in Peterhof. Peter I, who planned to make Russia modern more specifically Western, put lots of efforts to expand and more glorious as much as possible, even after his death, these efforts resumed by successors. Several architects, artists, and caretakers help The Peterhof became a majestic royal palace for Tsar to rule till 1917. The only exception was Catherine I's reign as she moved the royal residence to The Catherine Palace, but after her death, his son and successor Paul I went back to Peterhof.
Unfortunately, during the second world war, after the short-time invasion of Russia by Nazi's army, The Peterhof complex and its possessions were almost ruined or gravely damaged. After the war ended, the government with the help of volunteers and the army, most of the Peterhof restored. This restoration which is still going on played an influential role in Russia restoration. During and after the war some anti-Nazi propaganda changed Peterhof which is a German phrase to "Petrodvorets" The Russian term for Peter's Palace, but in 1997 switched to its original name. The resemblance of the Palace of Versailles results in tourists to nickname Peterhof as "Russian Versailles."
Besides the variable past of Peterhof, today this place is one of the main fragments of St. Petersburg and Russia tourism. Its series of palaces became a great museum and galleries. The Upper Garden and Lower park other than its natural charm and decoration, are full of old sculptures and masterpieces. The Cascades and fountains are the most popular section of the Peterhof. So, assigning less than a day for this magical place is impolite. However, regarding the time and the places you should visit in your journey, it's understandable for agencies to consider a minor time for Peterhof in their tour of Russia. So it's good to know at least some of the main Peterhof sections for making a valuable plan for your trip.
The Peterhof divided into four main sections: The Grand Palace, The Grand Cascade, The Upper Garden, and The Lower Park.
The Grand Palace was the summer residence for the royals and Tsars, might be the most exciting part of your tour. This gorgeous structure with its majestic design has thirty rooms. The Grand Palace which is a comprehensive gallery of golden decorates, paintings, Tsars' properties, and masterpieces, is the link between the Upper Garden and The Lower Park. The design and form combined with arts and sculptures turn the palace into an astonishing museum to explore.
The Upper Garden which is the result of royal family’s years of efforts locates at the southern part of the palace. The place which had loads of extraordinary features was The Peter I's design that changed only slightly over time. Before 1730, The Upper Garden used as cultivation filed for fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants, and the big pool utilized as water storage, also breeding fishes. But then, there was a massive change at the palace. The area expanded a little, figures and decorative plants replace the farming lands, and breeding fish suspended to give the garden a royal look instead.
The upper garden has some beautiful landscapes and quite pleasant, but the real wonder of the Peterhof would be the lower park or as locals call it the Nizhny Park which required additional entering ticket, and we cover the information about it in another post. But one thing for sure, you can ask anyone who visit the Nizhny Park for confirmation, the additional ticket is completely worth the amazing scenes the park provides. So, don’t forget to check with your Russia tour administrators to add the Nizhny Park into your Peterhof’s tour program.
Peterhof is one of the main suburb attractions of St. Petersburg. While Oranienbaum is only 10 km away from Peterhof, most tourists have plans to visit only Peterhof, and most of them might have not even heard of the Lomonosov. Naturally, because of the distance and the time limits, it's only fair if someone wants to see the Peterhof completely rather than half of each place. There are also several ways to go to Peterhof, including buses, personal car, and Hydrofoils.
There are also tons of other things such as buildings, galleries, small museums, fountains, and monuments that you should explore while visiting the place. All these things combined wrote the "Peterhof" at the top of any Russia tour’s list, but, if you're traveling to Russia by yourself, don't miss the chance to visit the Peterhof, you'll have a great time in there without a doubt.
To find more about Peterhof, Nizhny Park, and other St. Petersburg attractions, you can visit our blog at Star Travel Group, including this Visit St. Petersburg short guide and other posts.
Saint Petersburg is one of the famous tourist destination cities in the world which attracts lots of tourists to itself. However, when you look on the map, you'll see that there are more cities rather than Saint Petersburg in that area which are huge tourist destinations in Russia, and if they're not as important as Saint Petersburg itself, they're not much less. One of those cities called Pushkin.
In twenty-four kilometer south of Saint Petersburg, sleeps in the Neva River plain, there is Pushkin. The city which is in the great climate by the way with an average temperature of ten degrees centigrade in total was an excellent summer residence for Tsars and their families. This small city with a population of only a hundred thousand as of today, at first was a royal property, in 1710, and was stated as a city, in 1808.
The current location of the Catherine Palace was actually in the Swedish Empire's reign from 1609 to 1702. Though back then there was just a bunch of little wooden building there and it called Sari Village. After Peter the Great took control of the Empire, he dominated the area and listed it under the Russian Empire reign. Before he gave the field to his second wife, Catherine I as a gift, he appointed Alexander Menishkov as the administrator of the area. Catherine I who will be Empress of Russia shortly hired Johann Braunstein, famous German architect to build a two-story palace, in 1717 to 1724, at the center of the state which later named Catherine Palace. At the end of Catherine Palace construction and adding a magnificent garden with two ponds in it, plus building a new village for the palace servants near there, the name of the area changed to Tsarskoye Selo.
After that Elizabeth, the daughter of Catherine succeed to the power in 1741, she assigned Italian architect Francesco Rastrelli to renovate the palace with a new luxurious appearance. Rastrelli who designed his constructions with Baroque style, formed nearly the current looks of the palace, in 1756. During these restorations, Elizabeth relocated the Amber Room from the Winter Palace to the Catherine Palace. Also, some new structures built in the expanded gardens around the palace. In the Catherine the Great era, she ordered to separate the palace from the urban area and relocate the palace servants to the nearby city Sofia.
Around 1770, another garden constructed at the west side of the Catherine Palace, and at the northeast part of this garden, Giacomo Quarenghi built another palace, this time for Alexander the first, future ruler of Russia and named it the same. Alexander I, in 1808, merged the two Tsarskoye Selo and Sofia city to form a new larger city. In the 1820 massive fire, The Catherine Palace suffered enormous damages, therefore Vasily Stasov assigned to restore the palace. He also added some new neoclassical constructions to the complex. Between 1811 to 1843, The Catherine Palace hosted the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum at the end of one of its wings which raised and developed remarkable Russian major figures such as Alexander Pushkin, Russia famous poet. In 1905, the Alexander Palace was Nicholas II's prime residence and was one of the most advanced cities in Russia at the time.
After the October Revolution, The Palaces and parks complex declared as national assets and changed to a museum. At first, the city name changed to Detskoye Selo which means Children Village, but then in honor of the 100th annual of Alexander Pushkin, Russian great poet death, it replaced to Pushkin.
During the Second World War, the Palaces and the Parks invaded by the Nazi Army and many valuables of the Pushkin either destroyed or grabbed by the German troops, for instance, one of the most major theft was the Amber Room which its decoration and materials completely vanished.
The Tsarskoye Selo with its two magnificent palaces, enormous parks and gardens, and all of its valuables were the representation of ambitious and luxury living in Russian reign. The primary palace of the Pushkin is the Catherine Palace which was the Catherine I's residence, the second wife of Peter the Great and Empress of Russia.
The Catherine Palace with its impressive and luxury interior which can fascinate any eyes included a bunch of rooms with specific usage with their particular layout. The 300m opening hall which designed with magnificent mirroring and golden look called The Great Hall which many believed that the ceiling of it, with its remarkable paintings of wars, is made entirely from gold. During the day the sunlight which glows inside the hall reflects in its mirroring and make an enjoyable show which is why some people call it The Light Room.
Another famous room of the palace would be The Portrait Room which included pictures or statues of the former rulers of Russia such as Peter I, Catherine, Elizabeth, and Alexander. However, the most popular room in the palace would be the Amber room which is the principal goal for tourists and visitors. Its walls, the floor, the ceiling, and the entire decoration of the room made out of Amber. Because of the vulnerability of this material, someone always looks after it all day long. Of course, as we told, the entire room of Amber disappeared during the second world war, but after years of restoration and recreation, the Amber room reopened for the public, in 2003, looks like its original interior. The Cameron hall, the White diner room, the green room which built specifically for Empress' son, Pavel and his wife are another part of this majestic palace.
There's a magnificent 107-hectare garden around the Catherine Palace with the same name. Vasily Nilov who was the chief designer of the Catherine Park used French Formal Gardening and British Traditional Gardening style in the park's layout. There are several ancient figures and sculptures as decorations all around the park. The remains of the Catherine Cathedral, The Small Hermitage, several Majestic Pavilion are parts of its design. At the center of the park, there's a huge pond which is a memorial of Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire in sea battles, in 1770.
Giacomo Quarenghi designed the two-story Alexander Palace with a neoclassical style, unlike the Catherine palace which was in Baroque architecture style and was Tsars and their families summer residence for years. This palace, unlike other palaces, didn't get too much damage during the second world war, only parts of its interior and the reading room damaged. After that Germans forced to leave, the Alexander Palace become Tsars' personal belongings public museum.
The Alexander Palace just like the Catherine Palace owns a 200-Hectare park which is at the west entrance of it. The park decorated with lots of sculptures, ponds, bridges, and beautiful structures. We can point at the remains of the Chinese Theater which was once a great hall for performing operas and musicals and destroyed by Nazis during the Second World War.
Antonio Rinaldi, the architect of the Chinese Theater, had visions to create a complete Chinese Village around that building but left it midway through, until Vasily Stasov execute that idea. Today, the village is restored and complete. The White Pavilion, The Arsenal Pavilion, and The Chapelle Pavilion are other fascinating structures in the park. At the far north of the park, you can also find the Feodorovsky Gorodok and the Cathedral of St. Fyodor.
Other than these four complexes of attraction in Tsarskoye Selo, there are even more tourist spots in Pushkin such as the Prince Olga's Palace, Alexander Pushkin memorial museum, Pavel Chistyakov's home studio, Fermsky Park, Olenins and Kitaev's houses which all are part of the national heritage of Russia.
Pushkin is one of the most loaded cities in Russia when you want to talk about deep history and culture. Every year lots of tourists either by booking a tour to Russia or on an individual journey take their time and visit this spectacular city and its attractions. The Pushkin railway directly connected to the main railway. With all of these museums, great weather, natural and manufactured parks, and the rich history that the city occupied, all are an excellent reason for visitants to reach and observe the grace themselves. So, alongside the Saint Petersburg attractions and Russia in general, visiting the Pushkin might be an exciting trip too. As we told before, Pushkin is only 24 kilometers far from Saint Petersburg and if you have a plan to book a flight to Russia and touring Saint Petersburg, reaching Pushkin is going to be simple for you.
Pushkin is one of the suburb palaces of the city of St. Petersburg which is quite famous and popular among people who travel to St. Petersburg. We at the Star Travel Group suggest our clients or people who visit St. Petersburg to go and see Pushkin and Peterhof, top two St. Petersburg suburb palaces both because of history and sceneries.
In other posts, we've discussed the beauty of Peterhof and the importance of visiting the place. Peterhof locates at 30 kilometers from St. Petersburg. There are many ways to reach the place. Visitors can use the public transport system such as buses and mini-buses in Peterhof routes, or reach there by personal vehicles. However, if you signed for the Peterhof tour, your tour agency would offer the best way to reach there for sure.
One of the best ways to reach Peterhof or get back to St. Petersburg from Peterhof is by riding the Hydrofoils in St. Petersburg-Peterhof route.
The hydrofoil is a type of boat that uses lifting surface technology or foils to float over the water. When the boat gains the necessary speed, the foils lift the boat over the water which makes them be able to gain more speed without encountering resistance. Traveling with these kinds of boats would create a certain type of joy and fun memory in the passengers’ mind.
Reaching Peterhof or traveling back to St. Petersburg from Peterhof by Hydrofoils will save you some time besides the fun and entertaining experience. However, the Peterhof and its tour's policies won't allow tourists to visit the Upper garden and the palace if they reach Peterhof by the Finland Gulf. The visitors can only enjoy the lower garden aka Nizhny Park, and for this very reason, the St. Petersburg tours recommend tourists to only get back to St. Petersburg by these Hydrofoils so that they wouldn't miss the chance to visit the whole Peterhof. The benefits of these Hydrofoils are one, the saved time which can be used for other attractions in St. Petersburg, and two, the unique experience of riding these boats on the Finland Gulf and the Neva River. We recommend you to sign for these boats' rides in your visit to St. Petersburg, and your Peterhof/St. Petersburg tour.
30 kilometers, south of Saint Petersburg, there's a significant, fascinating palace that caught tourists' eyes.
In 1777, Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia at the time, decided to give a palace to his son as a gift for him to live there. Since then, the palace and its territory are known as Pavlovsk. The Pavlovsk Palace, with its charming nature and fresh weather, was an amazing place for Tsars and their family to relax and hunt.
This golden Palace has seen lots of suffering and restoration in the past. The main architects of the palace were Scottish architect, Charles Cameron and Vincenzo Brenna from Italy, but Russia architect and painter, Andrey Voronikhin name was also mentioned as restoration architect. Fun fact about the palace form, from an aerial view, it looks like a horseshoe. The interior design of the palace, including offices, dining rooms, dance hall, and music hall, unlike its exterior, is noisy and antic. You would recognize Egyptian, Greek, or Romanian design in different rooms.
Without The Palace itself, there's an enormous park which attracts lots of tourists for its own in Saint Petersburg. The 600 hectares Pavlovsk Park is one of the largest public parks in the world. It splits into seven different segments with a different design on each one. You might notice a touch of Russian, Italian, British, or French design within the sections with the presence of ancient symbols and mythological figures everywhere.
Today, The Pavlovsk Palace which recognizes as one of the UNESCO's World Heritage Site has a quite differing usage from its history, like holding major classical performances or greeting tourists from all around the globe. The majority of these Classics are so high that some Russians define the Pavlovsk, the capital of classical music in Russia.
Sure Saint Petersburg has lots of attractions in it, but, The Pavlovsk Palace and the Park alone should be enough motivation for any tourist who had personal plans for traveling to Russia or desires to sign for a Russia tour to check out this marvelous place.
Pavlovsk just like Pushkin which is less than 10 kilometers away from the Pavlovsk complex is a suburb imperial state of St. Peterburg. Both of these places have their attractions for tourists and considered to be two of the three top St. Petersburg's suburb attractions. St. Petersburg has five of these suburb attractions including Gatchina, and the closest thing to a suburb imperial state you can find in Moscow would be the Kuskovo Palace which locates 20 kilometers away from the center of the city.
Unfortunately, many people don't know the Pavlovsk and its history and never visited it in their travel to St. Petersburg, but we at the Star Travel Group encourage people to visit more less-known places in their travel because the real joy in discovery is in the unknown. You can find more about places less famous than others in our blog.