Top 10 Attractions And Must-Dos In Peterhof, St. Petersburg - Updated 2021

things to do at peterhof st. petersburg
Vivian
Vivian
Updated

Are you ready to step outside St. Petersburg’s centre, and see what its beautiful suburban estates have to offer? The saying goes the same for all travellers to this grand city, that most of the best attractions are actually outside of the centre. Peter the Great not only founded St. Petersburg, he also established the magnificent series of palaces and gardens along the Gulf of Finland, called Peterhof.

Also known as the “Russian Versailles,” due to the similarity to its opulent, royal French counterpart, Peterhof is a popular destination amongst locals and tourists and is recognised as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The best time to visit Peterhof is between late May and early October. Read on to find out how to get there and the ten sites you have to visit in this grand suburb.

1. How to get there

RUS-2016-Aerial-SPB-Peterhof Palace 02
Source: Photo by user Godot13 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The most convenient way to get to Peterhof is by taking the hydrofoil, a jet-speed boat that travels across the Gulf of Finland, from the city centre to Peterhof. The hydrofoil takes you directly there and the staff are able to speak to you in English. You can catch it from the pier, located on Admirateyskaya Naberzhenya. This route, operated by Astra Marine, will take you to Peterhof’s Lower Park. You can buy the hydrofoil tickets on the pier, however, I advise you to book them in advance online, especially if you are travelling during the summer, because the trip is very popular and can be sold out! You will also save 300 RUB (5.30 USD) if you book online. The duration of the trip is 30 minutes and note that these tickets do not include the entrance fees to Peterhof’s parks and gardens.

Hydrofoil

Address: Mooring: 2, Admiralteyskaya Naberezhnaya

Website: Astra Marine

If you are bold enough to try to communicate with the locals, or on a budget, another way to travel to Peterhof is by taking the train and minibus. Take the suburban train from Baltiyskiy Station (come out of the metro station) to Novy Peterhof (New Peterhof in Russian, and it looks like Новый Петергоф). It takes approximately 40 minutes to get there. When you arrive, most buses go to the park, but there will be several stops along the way.

Train

Address: St Petersburg, Russia, 198095

Website: Baltiyskiy Station

But WAIT! Before you begin your journey, please check your calendar, as Peterhof is closed on the last Tuesday of every month. Although there are cafes and food stalls, pack enough snacks and water, especially if you are on a budget.

2. See the fountains in action at the Grand Cascade

PeterhoffFountains
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under CC SA 1.0

Peterhof boasts more than a hundred fountains and waterfall cascades. But the water fountains at the Grand Cascade are the main attractions, where you can see high-speed water shoot in multiple directions from the golden statues and the fountain bases. You will notice the Samson fountain, a statue of a Greek God opening a lion’s jaws, situated in the centre of the Grand Cascade – this is Peterhof’s crown jewel. It was built in honour of Russia’s victory against Sweden, during the Northern War in the early 18th century.

You cannot leave Peterhof without taking photos with Samson and the Grand Cascade. Please note that all fountains are usually turned off from mid-autumn until the end of May when there is an annual, ceremonial opening of the fountains, which marks the beginning of summer. The fountains are currently operating until October 9th this year, so don’t delay your visit!

The Grand Cascade

Address: Pravlenskaya ul., Petergof, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 198510

Website: The Grottoes of the Grand Cascade, Lower Park

3. See the interiors of the Grand Palace through the State Museum Preserve

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Grand Palace was reconstructed after the end of World War II and the architects attempted to keep the interiors in their original state. As a summer residence for Peter the Great and his daughter, the Empress Elizabeth, the Grand Palace is a lavish, architectural ensemble that combines Neoclassical and Neo-Renaissance facades. It appears modest from the outside, but when you enter the palace, you will get a different impression. The interiors of the ballroom set an atmosphere of a luxurious life, and you will see that the walls are finely sculpted in golden-gilded, artistic detail.

Despite the narrowness of the 30 rooms within the palace, each of them is cleverly designed. The elegant chandeliers illuminate the White Dining Room, which in effect, makes the room appear more spacious than it is. Today, the palace is now a museum and has been well-kept to the finest standards.

State Museum Preserve

Address: Razvodnaya ulitsa, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 198516

Website: Peterhof Grand Palace

4. Visit the secluded Marly Palace

Дворец-Марли-(Петергоф)
Source: Photo by user Aleks G used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Marly Palace is situated on the west side of the Lower Park and was one of Peter the Great’s favourite places. It was his sanctuary, and you will notice that it is isolated from the rest of the buildings of Peterhof. The building originates back to Peter’s trip to Marly Le Roi, France, in 1717, when he was in awe with the idea of a retreat and decided to build one at Peterhof. He enjoyed peaceful stays in this charming, modest house. Marly Palace is currently a museum, which preserves Peter the Great’s beloved treasures and personal belongings.

Marly Palace

Address: Razvodnaya ulitsa, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 198516

Book Tickets Now

5. Have a pleasurable experience at Monplaisir Historical Palace Museum

Monplaisir palace in the Lower Park of Peterhof 01
Source: Photo by user Florstein used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another favourite place of Peter the Great’s is Monplaisir Palace, which welcomed his advisors and closest friends for informal gatherings and entertainment. From fountains that would suddenly trigger their waterworks when someone comes near them, to the exquisite gardens that boast colourful, diverse flora during the summer, it’s no wonder that the name derives from “my pleasure,” in French.

This palace is also a cultural symbol that represents Peter the Great’s exposure to multicultural backgrounds, as you will see Dutch Colonial motifs within its exteriors, a Chinese Garden, and the Assembly Hall, that is ornate with African and Asian influences.

Monplaisir Palace

Address: Razvodnaya ulitsa, 2

Website: Monplaisir Palace

6. See the Bath Block

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Right across from Monplaisir Palace is the Bath Block, where the royal family relaxed and enjoyed their bath therapies, just like how we enjoy our spa treatments today! You can imagine what everyday life was like for the Russian emperors and empresses.

Please note that you are not allowed to take pictures and videos of the Bath Block.

Bath Block

Address: GМЗ, Peterhof, St. Petersburg, Russia, 198510

Website: Bath Block - Official Peterhof

7. Get soaked at Water Road

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Peterhof is filled with trick water fountains, which only operate during the summer. One of the most famous waterworks is at Water Road, which is not far from Monplaisir Palace, in the Lower Park region. The building of Water Road was one of the most challenging projects in the area and was restored after the Second World War. The trick-fountain, with a body sensory trigger, was the brainchild of Peter the Great and his architect, N. Michetti. If you want to surprise your friends, head over there and enjoy getting soaked from head to toe!

The Water Road

Address: Razvodnaya ul., d. 2, Peterhof, St. Petersburg 198516, Russia

Website: Where to find it

8. Enter the Gothic Chapel

Gothic Chapel Peterhof tonemapped
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pavlikhin used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

As the name suggests, the architecture of this chapel is ornate with neo-Gothic motifs. It was the family church for Russian emperors, across four generations. A service for the reburial of Russian and Danish Empress, Maria Feodorvna, was held here in 2006. Today, it continues to be an Orthodox chapel and is currently open to the public.

Gothic Kapella

Address: Razvodnaya ul., d. 2, Peterhof, St. Petersburg 198516, Russia

Website: Official Peterhof

9. Walk around the Upper Park or Garden of Peterhof

Gardens of Peterhof IMG 4013
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deror_avi used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you walk uphill and exit the Lower Park, you will immediately find yourself at the Upper Gardens. Unlike the Lower Park, the Upper Gardens are open to the public, for free. These gardens are landscaped with lush greenery, Greek statues and gorgeous fountains, such as the Mezheumny Fountain. Experience a quiet stroll around this charming park.

Please note that once you exit the Lower Park, you will need to buy another ticket if you want to enter it again!

Upper Park

Website: Official Peterhof

10. Get a glimpse of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pedro Szekely used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you have taken the bus to Peterhof, you will see this beautiful, Orthodox cathedral, opposite the entrance of Peterhof’s Upper Park. Its architecture resembles Saint Basil’s Cathedral. More importantly, it is also the burial site of Peter the Great and his family.

Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

Address: Sankt-Peterburgskiy Ave., 4/32, Peterhof, St. Petersburg 198510, Russia

Website: Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral

11. Learn the history of watch-making at the Raketa Watch Factory (from USD 210.0)

As Russia’s oldest factory still in operation, the Raketa Watch Factory is a must-visit for those curious about clock manufacturing and how this business withstood financial struggles, during the Soviet era. It was established in honour of Russia’s first cosmonaut and pilot to journey into outer space, Yuri Gagarin.

Some of Raketa’s watches are available in stores, but what better way to learn their history and buy a genuine watch than to join a private tour through Viator. The tour is not only conducted in English but also includes quick access to Peterhof’s Lower Park and some of its museums.

Private: Peterhof Early Admission and Raketa Watch Factory

Duration: 6 hours

Peterhof awaits

Your visit to Peterhof will definitely be a memorable experience! From admiring the sheer grandeur of its palaces to learning the importance of each historic site and getting soaked by the trick fountains, there is an endless list of activities here. I hope you will spend at least half a day at this gorgeous suburban estate – it is, after all, a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A travel and life enthusiast, Vivian has lived in China, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Russia. You may wonder how a lady of Generation Y deals with culture shocks, packing and moving beyond her...Read more

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