Whatever you say, the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve can surprise anyone. And all because Peterhof in St. Petersburg is not just another of the numerous palace parks, it is the quintessence of imperial ambitions. Once Peter I wanted to build his own Versailles in the Russian Empire. The king said, the king did.
Now tourists from all over the globe (and the citizens of St. Petersburg too) do not get tired of admiring the luxury, losing the power of speech from the scope and ideas of Peter and being surprised at the engineering solutions of this in every sense of the royal project . Sights in Peterhof can be seen at least annually, and preferably twice a year: in the summer during the season and at other times – in peace and quiet.
In this article I will try to tell you how to appreciate Peterhof, and what to see first of all, so as not to experience a glut of beauty and not get tired of walking ahead of time.
How can I get to Peterhof? Opening hours of the parks
The content of the article:
Peterhof in St. Petersburg is administratively a district of the city, but is located at a decent distance from it. Therefore, when planning a trip to the famous fountains, set aside a whole day for this event.
So, how to cover 50 kilometers from St. Petersburg to Peterhof?
Method number 1 – independent.
- City bus or fixed-route taxi.
Municipal buses No. 200 and No. 210 run daily from the Kirovsky Zavod stop.
Minibuses go from the stops Avtovo Metro Station (K-300, K-424 and K-224), Leninsky Prospekt (K-420), Prospekt Veteranov (K-343 and 639B) and from the Baltic Station (K- 404).
The fare is 80 rubles. Travel time is an hour and a half. The required stop is Razvodnaya Street.
- Electric train from the Baltic Station.
Choose directions Kalishe, Oranienbaum.
The price of a ticket in 2022 for an electric train is 62 rubles. You need to buy it before the New Peterhof station (do not confuse it with Old Peterhof!). Travel time – 35 minutes.
- Private car or car sharing.
In the latter case, there are many restrictions and prohibitions regarding parking. They say that in Peterhof you can find open free parking lots near parks. We have never been able to do this, so here is a point with a large paid parking lot (50 rubles per hour) at the entrance to the Lower Park.
Method #2 — with a tour.
Very convenient for those tourists who are limited in time, but at the same time want to do everything to the maximum.
- Bus tours.
Prices start from 1500 rubles per adult. The cost of such an excursion (700+ reviews!) includes the road to Peterhof and back, the guide's story on the way, the entrance to the Lower Park and the entrance ticket to the Grand Palace in Peterhof with a skip-the-line pass.
- Trip on Meteora.
If the weather in St. Petersburg allows, you can (and should!) ride with the breeze on a meteor – a hydrofoil. From the very center of the city, across the Gulf of Finland, the boat will take you to the pier in the Lower Park. What is very convenient is that you went ashore, and you are already on the territory of Peterhof, going up to the fountains.
The meteor leaves for Peterhof daily from the Admiralty and Palace Embankment.
The fare is 1980 rubles round-trip, one way 1180 rubles. By water, you can get to Peterhof on your own without the services of a guide, entrance to the park is paid separately. And you can buy a complex ticket for 2500 rubles on Sputnik – the largest site for excursions in St. Petersburg (round-trip on a meteor + entrance to the Lower Park). As you can see, they are even cheaper:
By the way, the district of St. Petersburg, the center of which is Peterhof, is called Petrodvortsov. Petrodvorets is the previous name of the city. Until now, it can be heard from local guides and tour barkers, as well as seen on bus signs or on board taxis. Don't let that confuse you: Petrodvorets=Peterhof.
The main tourist places of Peterhof are the Upper and Lower parks, the Grand Peterhof Palace and Alexandria park. These are museum objects that have certain opening hours and paid entrance (except for the Upper Park).
There is also Alexandria Park (no, this is not the same as Alexandria), English, Kolonistsky and Lugovoi parks, as well as Sergievka park. You can get into them around the clock and absolutely free of charge, as in ordinary city squares. Therefore, I’ll tell you more about the main attractions in Peterhof.
In 2022, the museum-reserve has the following opening hours and prices:
— Upper Park—closed for reconstruction until 2024
— Lower Park — 09.00–20.00 (ticket office closes half an hour before closing), entrance ticket 600 rubles;
— Alexandria Park — 09.00–20.00 (the box office is open until 18.00, the next hour and a half admission is free), entrance ticket 300 rubles;
— pavilions, palaces and museum buildings — 10.30–18.00 ( ticket offices work differently, the Grand Palace, at 16.45, stops selling tickets before everyone else).
Until April 22, 2022, all parks are open to everyone for free.
What to see in Peterhof for 1 day?
I'll say right away: it's definitely impossible to see EVERYTHING in one day. Therefore, you need to choose for yourself a couple of interesting museum objects, between which you can safely walk in the park.
And yet, what to see in Peterhof in 1 day?
While the Upper Park is under reconstruction, you can see it only in words. They promise that after the renovation there will be a central pond with a statue of Neptune, taken out during the war to Germany. This composition will meet everyone from the main entrance.
The accent of the whole complex is, of course, fountains. How do fountains work in Peterhof? In 2022, the season starts on a daily basis from April 23 and lasts until October 17, tourists are expected from 10.00 to 19.45. Additionally, every year they do not just open/close water taps, but arrange whole holidays with a costume show, fanfares and volleys of cannons – Peter I would appreciate it. The dates are floating, the program and themes are kept intriguing to the last. In 2022, the solemn day of the X opening of the season fell on May 21, but Peterhof's website has not yet published official confirmation.
There are four fountain cascades in the parks of Peterhof (Big Cascade, Chess Mountain, Golden Mountain and Lion Cascade) and about 150 fountains and fountains. Most of them are in the Lower Park.
My route in the Lower Park
The path of all tourists begins from the box office of the Lower Park. There are already several options for what to see in Peterhof on your own in 1 day in order to get to know this place as best as possible. It does not hurt to draw up a clear plan of action to get around and see more of everything. I offer the most convenient route around Peterhof to wander properly in a limited time.
1. Immediately after the ticket office you will get to the Great Peterhof Palace. Those wishing to see his rich collections should do so right at the beginning of their stay in Peterhof. If you only intend to walk, your path lies deeper into the Lower Park.
2. The first thing you will meet in the Lower Park is The Grand Cascade of Fountains led by the famous Samson. Recognized throughout the world, the figure of an ancient hero tearing apart the mouth of a lion is an allegorical depiction of Russia's victory over Sweden. In any case, you will not pass by them. But going down to the foot of the Cascade, you can, like in a fairy tale, find yourself at a crossroads: you will go to the right, you will find the Chess Mountain, you will go to the left, you will reach the Lion Cascade.
3. My advice is to go left along Birch Alley to the Lion Cascade. This building with lion muzzles, more reminiscent of some Greek temple, does not sparkle with excess gold, but looks solemn and stern.
4. Further, all along the same Birch Alley we reach the Marley Palace and the Marly Pond. Marly is a very small two-story building, which seems very modest compared to other grandiose structures. But that's the beauty of it, in my opinion. And in the pond in front of the palace, rainbow trout are bred. You can meditatively watch the fish and see how they are fed.
5. After Marlin Pond we go for a walk through the gardens of Venus (they are located around the palace), we reach the Golden Mountain cascade and climb the Marly Wall. From here you have a great view of the Gulf of Finland. Beautiful in any weather.
6. Having caught the zen on the shaft, we go further to the Hermitage pavilion (now closed for reconstruction). The place, built by Peter I for special audiences, is famous primarily for the table-elevator, which rose from the first floor to the second completely covered. This allowed important negotiations to be held without the presence of servants.
7. From the Hermitage, along one of the paths, first we go down to Marlinskaya Alley and reach Eva Fountain. This is part of the composition, symmetrically located on both sides of the Sea Canal. The second part – the Adam fountain – will meet us a little later.
8. We return towards the Hermitage to the Sea Alley and walk along it to the Monplaisir Palace. At the same time, you can make a photo stop on the bridge across the Sea Canal: on one side you can see the Grand Palace and the Grand Cascade, and on the other side, the pier and the Gulf of Finland. Monplaisir – “my pleasure” – was the favorite resting place of Tsar Peter. His personal belongings are stored here, and there is also a small exhibition of paintings from that time.
9. Near Monplaisir there are Ekaterininsky and Banny buildings. You can walk around, or you can, if you wish, go inside.
10. From Monplaisir along the Great Road we go towards the Roman fountains. And along the way, you can see the Sun Fountain and the bird aviaries adjacent to it. Songbirds were once kept here for the pleasure of royal ears.
11. Having reached the monument to Peter I, you can briefly turn onto Marlinskaya Alley to look at the fountain Adam (we have already seen Eva). And then we return to the Big Road and go past a series of crackers, small fountains that children like so much. Oak, Umbrella, Herringbone, Water Road – approaching any of them, you run the risk of being unexpectedly doused with water and participating in the competition of wet T-shirts. They say that this is the ingenious mechanism of Peter the Great's times. I personally know a few people who have been trying to find the right rock that supposedly powers the Crackers. You can also search. But I’ll tell you a secret that pebbles are pebbles, and there are also specially trained uncles who quietly press buttons. Probably in case the ancient mechanism fails!
12. After having fun and refreshing near the Crackers, we reach Roman fountains. These are two water pyramids, replicating the fountains in St. Peter's Square in Rome. Around them grow arborvitae and cypresses trimmed with the same pyramids. And ahead is a view of the black-and-white cascade of Chess Mountain. In general, not a view, but a perfectionist's paradise!
13. Next, two options. For those who are tired, you can turn right and past the Triton fountain return to Palace Square to the park exit. Or you can turn left. And walk along Nikolskaya Alley to the entrance to Alexandria Park.
Reading the reviews of tourists about Peterhof, references to Alexandria can be found many times less than about Peterhof. This is understandable: a rare tourist who came here one day will reach this park. They go all the same primarily for the sake of fountains. Combining two parks in one day is hard, you need to go to Alexandria separately. Therefore, I will write the route along it briefly and give it as a bonus at the end of the article, scroll through. For the most part, it is for those who come to Peterhof not for the first time, but only now decided to get to Alexandria.
The cost of entry to the places mentioned along the route in Nizhny park:
(in addition to the ticket to the park)
|Grand Peterhof Palace||600 rubles|
|Marly Palace||350 rubles|
|Monplaisir Palace (open May 28)||350 rubles|
|Catherine building||350 rubles|
|Bath building||350 rubles|
Prices for the best excursions in Peterhof
It is not always possible to travel on your own, sometimes it is much more convenient to take a ready-made excursion and trust yourself experienced guide. Sightseeing tours from St. Petersburg with a transfer to Peterhof beauties are different: cheaper – group tours by bus or Meteora, more expensive and more comfortable – individual tours by car.
The most popular and interesting options for excursions to Peterhof from St. Petersburg:
|🚌 Bus tour with a visit to the Grand Palace||Group tour,
1500 rubles per person
|🛳 Meteor from St. Petersburg (+ ticket to the Lower Park)||Group tour,|
2500 rubles per person< /td>
|🛳 Meteor to the Lower Park with a visit to the Grand Palace||Group tour,
4400 rubles per person
|🚗 To Peterhof by car||Private tour,
12,000 rubles for 1–3 people
|🏰 “Unknown Peterhof” (Alexandria, parks and estates)||Individual tour< br> 12,000 rubles|
|✈️ Flight over Peterhof by plane||Individual up to 3 people,
12,500 rubles per excursion
|🚁 Helicopter flight over Peterhof||Individual up to 3 people,
29,900 rubles per excursion
In addition, those who come to the park on their own can diversify their walk with an excursion to the Grand Palace, as well as visit the Grottoes of the Grand Cascade (look at the famous fountains in the literal sense of the word from the inside) and the Fountain Museum. And also walk through the “Museum Court”, where 4 museums gathered at once – the House of Playing Cards, the Benois Family Museum, the Museum of Collectors and the “Tsar's Fun”. True, to get there, you need to go beyond the Lower Park and go up to the Palace Square (opposite the ticket office of the museum). So it's better to go there either at the beginning of the trip, before buying a ticket to the park, or vice versa, leave these museums for dessert.
Where to look for excursions?
Excursions to small park museums can be bought in place. For the rest, there are trusted sites like:
- and Tripster
Moreover, the prices for excursions to Peterhof are among the most loyal there. In general, by going to the mentioned services, you can not restrain yourself and book two, three, or even more excursions. Somehow our schedule for a week-long trip to St. Petersburg went like this:
- excursion to the museums and parks of Peterhof,
- outing on the roofs in St. Petersburg (our review + the best excursions, see here ),
- a ticket for a boat on the Neva, but it is also possible on numerous rivers and canals (we have collected all the boat trips in a separate article),
- and a whole list of 30 attractions, where else you can go to St. Petersburg.
Separately, I will note Tsarskoye Selo – another St. Petersburg masterpiece, for which it is worth mentally thanking Peter I, and where you need to go for the whole day. I propose to first fall in love with our article, and then find time on vacation and go for sure!
My review of Peterhof
I think it would be redundant to write that you should definitely come here. Therefore, my review of Peterhof will consist of a few tips:
1. It is quite difficult to solve the problem of food in Peterhof, especially if you travel with children. In the park itself there is a Shtandart restaurant, a couple of small cafes, you can find ice cream stalls. And everything costs like a wing from a Boeing! In the city itself, of course, there are catering points, but there are also few of them. Everything outside the park, which will be inconvenient for those who came with a tour, for example. Therefore, stock up on sandwiches and a thermos with tea/coffee. You can take ready-made food to Vkusvill. If you still have the opportunity to go to the city, I advise the network cheburek “Cheburza” on Marine Landing Street. And their signature cheese pasties.
2. Do you like to not only see the sights, but also learn new things about them? So, you will certainly want to take an audio guide. It is better to do this in advance by paying for the application on the same Tripster and downloading it to your phone. The price for excursions in the application starts from 690 rubles, you just need to charge your phone better and don't forget your headphones.
3. The entire route mentioned above will take about three hours. This is if you just walk in the parks without going into museums, palaces and pavilions. But if you still really want to see exhibitions or expositions, add a couple more hours to the time and find out in advance the prices for tickets to Peterhof. An online purchase for the Lower Park, Alexandria Park, museums, pavilions and small palaces can be made on the official website of the museum-reserve. If you don't like buying tickets online, you can do it the old fashioned way – at the box office on the spot.
Is Peterhof open in winter?
The parks are open, but the fountains, of course, do not work, and the park statues and other decorations are mostly mothballed until spring in special boxes. But, nevertheless, a winter walk around Peterhof takes place. Because, firstly, it is free (all parks without exception), and secondly, there are no crowds of tourists. But the silence of the park alleys and the Gulf of Finland are fully guaranteed! In late autumn and winter it is good to devote a trip to Peterhof to museums and exhibitions. But riding cheesecakes or sledding with children is still not about Peterhof.
But you can walk around the city of Peterhof itself. There is something to see besides parks, for example:
- Museum of the Raketa watch factory, one of the most famous watch brands in the USSR and Russia
- The old railway station of Peterhof, now the New Peterhof station. A beautiful building with a covered gallery through which trains pass. For the sake of this station, it is worth coming to Peterhof by train!
- The Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, the main church of Peterhof, is literally across the street from the main entrance to the Upper Park. Under the dome of the temple there is an observation deck overlooking the parks of Peterhof and Kronstadt.
Bonus: Alexandria Park route
So, what to see first of all in Alexandria Park:
- Palace Cottage is a summer vacation spot for the family of Emperor Nicholas II. The most comfortable of all the palaces of Peterhof.
- The Farm Palace is also a summer residence, but of a different ruler – Alexander II. The theme of out-of-town recreation is reflected in the exposition “Peterhof Summer Residents” located here.
- The Gothic chapel was once the house church of the imperial family, and now it is a bright accent of the entire park. At the same time, it is still a functioning church, in which services are periodically held.
- The Palace Telegraph Station is a real station of the 19th century, serving the first telegraph line of the Russian Empire (between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt).
- Mini-hotel “Nadezhda” – from 5000 rubles for a couple living all for two nights. It is located in a convenient location, close to parks – everything is within walking distance.
- 3* “Alexandria Peterhof” – from 8600 rubles for two (two nights), breakfast included. It is located a three-minute walk from the entrance to the park of the same name.
- 4* “New Peterhof” is a more expensive option for relaxation with relaxation (there is a swimming pool) – from 15,000 rubles with breakfast for two nights for two. Located a 5-minute drive from the Peterhof Museum-Reserve.
|Palace Cottage||350 rubles|
|Farm Palace||350 rubles|
|Special pantry||350 rubles|
|Palace Telegraph Station||250 rubles|
Where is the best place to stay in St. Petersburg?
You can search and book hotels, hostels and apartments not only on Booking and Airbnb, which currently do not show options in Russia and do not accept Russian bank cards. We have written an entire cheat sheet where you can now book accommodation in Russian cities and abroad, read reviews and receive discounts.
According to St. Petersburg, we collected budget accommodation options here. By the way, we also wrote about how to navigate the northern capital: we have collected sights, routes, the most delicious cafes, tips from locals and a bunch of useful information in one bottle.
And for those who will look for housing in the very Peterhof, my little hint: