If it’s your first time in Peterhof than you better read this post: One day trip to Peterhof – country residence of the Russian tsars, where I describe the must-visit places. If you’re up to see a bit more than the regular tourists in Peterhof than this post will be definitely interesting for you.
How to get to Peterhof?
There are 2 most comfortable ways (I won’t tell you about the train, as the train stop is very far from the palace.
Meteor. This is the fastest and most beautiful way to get to Peterhof from the city center. A meteor is a speedboat. Meteors depart from the pier near the Winter Palace and go directly to the pier in the Peterhof Park. One way drive takes 40 minutes and costs 950 rubles per person.
Metro + minibus or bus. This is the cheapest way. It will take a little over an hour. By the metro, you need to get to Avtovo station. Cross the road and take the minibus labeled “fountains” (in Russian its “ФОНТАНЫ”). On the way, you will pass the Konstantinovsky Palace, Peter I’s Palace in Strelna, Alexandria. You have to ask the driver of the minibus to stop after passing the Grand Peterhof Palace. The whole one-way trip will cost around 150 rubles.
Must-visit places in Peterhof
1. Grand Peterhof Palace
The Grand Peterhof Palace was the center of social life. Here were held all the official parties, receptions, balls, and masquerades, to which up to three thousand guests were invited.
The palace began to be built during the reign of Peter I. Then it was rebuilt during the reign of Elizabeth and was finished under Nicholas I.
There are regular excursions around the palace (you have to wait until the group is gathered, which is not a problem during the summer). And it is very beautiful inside.
By the way, I would like to note that the guided tours in all Peterhof palaces are really very interesting. All the guides are the locals, and they are very keen on the history of their city.
Monplaisir” means “my pleasure“ in French. This is the favorite palace of Peter I, built overlooking the Gulf of Finland, Kronstadt, and St. Petersburg. In Monplaisir are preserved the interiors of the times of Peter I, of course, restored.
Under Elizabeth was built the Catherine Block – a yellow one-level building. The building is named exactly in honor of Catherine II palace coup. It was from here that she went to Petersburg to take the crown.
The Bathhouse Block and the Chinese garden were built for the wife of Alexander II. The museum tells about household and sanitary manners in the 18-19 century. Entrance to the Chinese garden is for an additional price and it doesn’t worth it.
In each of these museums, excursions are conducted separately. And since we only have one day to inspect the entire park, I recommend going on two excursions instead of three: in Monplaisir and the Bathhouse.
3. Marly Palace
Another palace of the Lower park.
This palace was also built under Peter I in a very simple style and named after the palace of Marly De Roi in France. Marly Palace was used as a guest house for dignitaries, and after the Peres Epoque, it became the memorial museum of Peter I.
On the tour you will learn about the everyday life at the beginning of the 18th century. For example, why did people sleep in a sitting position and how did Peter I introduce mirror fashion in Russia and abolish beard fashion.
4. Cottage Palace
The Cottage Palace is the main palace of another residence – Alexandria. It was built in a rural house style – very popular in the beginning of 19th century. Emperor Nicholas I named this residence after his wife, Alexandra. And it was a personal intimate space of the royal family
This place is must-visit as the most unusual royal palace, which looks more like a an English country villa
Check the working hours and prices on the official website.
5. Farm Palace
Another palace in Alexandria residence.
To create a rural atmosphere first there was built a Farm with a cowshed, shepherd’s rooms, kitchens, and pantries. Later, the building began to grow and turned into the Farm Palace of Alexander II. The Farm Palace, as well as the Cottage, are unique in their architectural style.
But, also interesting, that it is the only palace in Russia, built specifically for Alexander II.
6. Alexandria park
Alexandria Park is designed in the style of a landscaped English park (a park built in a style of imitation of nature). It’s truly romantic place. There are 3 more museums in the park:
- Gothic chapel
- Palace telegraph station
- House of Courier Service
Islands is a complex of 2 pavilions that were built on artificial islands in the Kolonistsky park (this park is located opposite the exit from the Upper Garden) by Nicholas (I) as a gift to his wife and daughter.
For me, these are the most romantic buildings in Peterhof. The architectural style of the pavilions resembles Italian villas from antiquity, and in the gardens on the islands, is created a real floral oasis, in the summer peacocks walk here.
Museums of island pavilions operate only in the summer. Check the opening time and prices on the official website.