- Welcome to St Petersburg Essential Guide -

PETERHOF
Breathtaking Waterscape & Landscaping
in russian VERSAILLES style


Peterhof is the most spectacular place to see in your entire trip to St Petersburg Russia.

Peterhof's Grand Palace and Park and Gardens are an hour west of St. Petersburg on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. A preeminent attraction, this grand estate was not only the summer residence of the Imperial family, it was, and still it is, a testament to the powerful legacy of Russia's most influential Emperor, Tzar Peter Alexeyevich and Peter the Great.

Celebrated as one of the finest architectural masterpieces worldwide, Peterhof has become one of Russia's number one tourist attractions. Undoubtedly, visitors planning to go here will embark on a journey through the imperial world of yesteryear.

Many say it's breathtaking to behold the gilded splendor in the palace's pageantry of rooms, such as The Ballroom, where masquerade balls and receptions were held and The White Dining Room, where state dinners took place. Yet it's often Peter's charming Oak Study, with its simple aesthetics, that is favored by visitors.

A tour of the Park and Gardens is no less impressive, with a panorama of European landscapes manicured to perfection. But it is the Cascade of Fountains that separates these palatial grounds from all others.

This world-renowned ensemble of 64 fountains producing bursting sprays, cascading flows and trickling ripples through 225 statues, sculptures, masques and formations is an unprecedented achievement, with the Grand Cascade stretching from the palace all the way to the Marine canal.

Visitors say they return time after time because Peterhof is their favorite attraction in all of St. Petersburg. Hence, if you plan a trip to St Petersburg Russia, make sure you plan a visit.

a look inside peterhof


Interested to visit Peterhof?  If so, click on the links below or scroll down the page to learn more.

the grand palace


The Grand Palace is a large and elegant building in Petrine Baroque style stretching for almost 300 meters. It occupies the dominant position of the Peterhof ensemble complex, connecting the Upper garden and the Lower park, in a single outstanding artistic entity.

Built between 1709 and 1724 under the directions of Peter the Great, the Grand Palace was used by the tsar and tsarinas as their main summer palace. The focal point of the whole essemble is the jaw-dropping cascade fountain leading down from the palace.

A tour to the Grand Palace will take you into the following rooms: The Oak Study of Peter the Great,The Blue Sitting Room, The Chesma Hall, The Drawing Room of the Imperial Suite, The Western Chinese Study, The Ballroom, The Throne Room, The White Dining Room, The Portrait Hall, The Dressing Room, and The Audience Room.

Among all of these amazing rooms the ones not to miss are the following one:

  • The Audience Room - A room for small receptions for Empress Elizabeth.
  • The Chesma Hall - A room for guests waiting for receptions to begin in the Throne Room.
  • The Throne Room - A spacious room of gilded splendor for receptions, balls and concerts.

other top BUILDINGs


Peterhof is also home to The Marly Palace, The Cottage Palace, the Peterhof Hermitage and Peter's original mansion, Monplaisir, which was his favorite place to withdraw and entertain his most trusted entourage. His personal art collection decorates the walls and it is rumored that Catherine personally prepared homemade meals in the cozy Dutch kitchen.

These are other interesting museums worth visiting within the grounds.

For more details keep reading below.

  • Marly Palace - A private retreat built to resemble Marly Le Roi, a royal hunting lodge on the outskirts of Paris. After Peter's death in 1725, the building was refurbished in keeping with the way it was when Peter walked the halls. Many of his personal belongings are kept there.
  • Monplaisir Palace - Peter's original mansion and favorite place to withdraw and entertain his most trusted entourage.
  • Peterhof Hermitage - Overlooking the shores of the Gulf of Finland on its own moated island, this small building was designed to be a private and informal dining place for Peter and his closest associates.
  • The Cottage Palace and Alexandria Park - English-style cottage and home farm belonging to Tzar Nicholas I, his wife Alexandra Fedorovna and their children.

the parks and gardens


The Peterhof parks comprise two main ensembles - the Upper Garden and the Lower Park. The latter divides roughly into the central part with the Great Cascade and an alley of fountains - a canal flanked by identical small fountains, the Marly and Monplasir parks.

In addition to that there is also a wide range of trick fountains of different stunning size and shape to see, such as The Samson Fountain, Oranzhereiny Fountain, Menager Fountain, the Neptune Fountain, the Sun Fountain, and the Pyramid Fountain together with the Voronikhin Colannades.

Many of these fountains were designed specifically to soak visitors. Your kids will love it!

You might think of the complex as being comparable to our modern water parks. The children just love it! The gangly trees in the lower garden are rigged with jets activated when someone approaches. A table within the grotto holds an artificial bowl of fruit. If you reach for the fruit, you will be rewarded with a refreshing squirt. That particular fountain was designed by Peter, himself.

However, the top attraction of the whole essemble is definitely the decorative Grand Cascade, which includes 225 sculptures made out of bronze, marble and lead and is considered the largest memorial of its time.

GO UP

interesting facts


The name Peterhof is German for “Peter’s Court”, but the palace is often called the Russian Versailles, in reference to how the structure resembles the Palace of Louis XIV in Ile de France. The complex is now established as the Peterhof Museum-Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Peter I was inspired by the Palace of Versailles during a visit to France, so in 1709, he contracted Domenico Trezzini to build his palace in the same baroque design. It later became affectionately known as The Russian Versailles.

In 1740, after Empress Elizabeth ascended the throne, she hired Italian architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli to expand the original property in combination with the neoclassical design of the times, giving completion to the regal grandeur that Russian aristocracy is famous for.

The gardens with their fresh-water fountains that cascade all the way down to the sea are among the most beautiful sights in the entire world.

HOW TO GET THERE


To go there you can take a train to Peterhof from Baltiyskaya station or the bus N. 350, 351, 352, 356, or marshrutka N. 404. If you want to go by Metro you have to go to Avtovo and then go outside and take one of the following minibus also known as Marshrutka: N. 424, 224, 300, or from Leninsky Prospekt station you should take the N. 103.

Alternatively, you can also take the Hydrofoil and travel to Peterhof across the Gulf of Finland in less than 30 mins. This option is faster and exciting, but very touristy and a bit expensive.

If you choose to go by sea please remember that Hydrofoils work in the spring only, and the museum does not allow access to the Upper Garden if you arrive at the Lower Park by water and exit the same way.

A trip to Peterhof is about an hour or so by car, depending on how you travel there. If you don't want to drive yourself we recommend hiring a car with driver. This way you will travel faster, safer, and stress free.

where to buy tickets


You can buy the tickets at the ticket office (not really recommended during the tourist high season), or through the official website of the museum (highly recommended). One thing to know is that there are many ticket types to buy and this can be confusing, so knowing in advance what you want to see would be crucial.

For example, you have one ticket for the Lower Park, one ticket for the Main Museum and other tickets for the remaining museums. First you need to buy a ticket outside to enter the properties. Then get on another line to buy tickets to tour the palace and the parks.

If you want to avoid the hassle to buy the tickets yourself and you wish to skip the line at the entrance your best option would be to hire a tour guide, which will take care of your tickets and everything else you need for your visit. 

GO UP

practical information


INFO ABOUT THE GRAND PALACE

Open: Daily 10:30 am to 7 pm. Last admission is at 5:45 pm. Thursday: 10:30 am to 9 pm. Last admission is at 8 pm.

Closed: Mondays

Admission: Rubles 550.00. Audio-guide: Rubles 500.00

Photo and video: not allowed

Accessibility note: Partial wheelchair access is available. Free wheelchair rental is available.

INFO ABOUT THE PARKS AND GARDENS

For visiting the Upper Garden:

Open: Daily 9 am to 8 pm

Admission: Free

Photo and video: Free

Accessibility note: The garden is wheelchair accessible.

For visiting the Lower Park with Fountains:

Open: Daily, 9 am to 8 pm. Last admission at 7:30 pm. Fountains operate from 10 am to 6 pm (Saturday and Sunday till 7 pm).

Admission: Rubles 500.00. Students and children: Rubles 250.00

Photo and video: Photo (without tripod) is allowed

Accessibility note: The garden is wheelchair accessible.

Website: https://en.peterhofmuseum.ru/

*For more information for each site entrance please visit their website.

tips & recommendations


Our Tips

If you only have time to make one trip out of St. Petersburg during your stay, then it should be Peterhof, the greatest of all the city's imperial estates.

Make sure you wear walking shoes and dress for the weather for your visit to Peterhof. Much of Peterhof's beauty is outdoor - you don't want to miss it because you are uncomfortable.

  • Peterhof is worth visiting any time of the year but the best time to plan your visit is from late May to middle October, when the 147 fountains are turned on. However, during the white nights is the definitely the best ever time to come to Saint Petersburg and visit Peterhof or any other imperial residence.
  • Keep in mind that the opening of the fountains at 10 am is well worth seeing – it’s not only spectacular but the music enhances the spectacle!
  • The tourist high season starts in June and end in August, so if you are visiting Peterhof around this time be ready to face long queues and large group of tourists from all over the world, especially cruise ship tourists. Remember as well that getting tickets at the main entrance can be a real problem on weekends when ticket lines can get longer.
  • If you want to attempt to see everything at Peterhof, go on a weekend when all the buildings are open and spend a full day.
  • If you arrive on the hydrofoil tickets to the park and palace are available right on the dock when you arrive.
  • If you are thinking of visiting Peterhof on your own we recommend that you go by taxi at early hours to get there around opening time to skip the lines at the ticket booths.
  • Remember that you can buy a ticket to the Grand Palace only at the Palace itself and not at the entrance to the park.
  • Plan on touring with a private guide to avoiding the long lines and to get a significant contribution to your experience.
  • Please pay attention that if you buy tickets online from third parties agency such as Tripadvisor, Getyourguide, Viator, or similar platforms your tickets do not work as they have to be exchanged at the cash desk for the usual ticket.
  • Take note that most museum tickets offices close one hour before the official closing time. Also remember most museums ask you to buy an extra photography ticket if you would like to take photos or videos.

accommodation near peterhof


Our picking list of hotels near Peterhof Grand Palace & Parks

must-have travel resources


Our picking list of essentials travel resources for your trip to Russia

LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE TOUR?

Book a guided city tour with one of our professional tour guides, and get the most out of your visit to Saint Petersburg, Russia.

BOOK NOW

GO UP
Click on the Links

From Peterhof return to St Petersburg Attractions or go to the Homepage

DO YOU LIKE ST PETERSBURG ESSENTIAL GUIDE? HAVE YOU FOUND THIS PAGE HELPFUL?


If you do, please help others to find out about it. If you have a blog or website, or know someone who does, consider linking to us. Share the link on Facebook, Tweet it... you get the idea. Every link helps!