Join our Peterhof tours:
Book the Cessna Air Tour and see the aerial views of Peterhof, Kronstadt, Oranienbaum, Gulf of Finland and Saint Petersburg surroundings.
On the Saint Petersburg Helicopter Tour, you will be soaring along the Neva River enjoying some of the city’s greatest landmarks, including Peterhof and Kronstadt.
Peterhof (Rus: Петергоф) or Petergof (German for “Peter’s Court”), also known as Petrodvorets (Rus: Петродворец) is a major St. Petersburg tourist attraction. Peterhof is a town located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea), 29 km/18 mi west of St. Petersburg.
The town is famous for a luxurious palace and a series of parks, gardens and fountains – hence the other Petershof’s names – “the Russian Versailles” and “the capital of Russian fountains”. The palace ensemble and the city center are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The estate was founded by Peter the Great who apparently was captivated by beauty of Versailles. However, each subsequent ruler marked his/her own reign by adding another palace or fountain to the grounds. Changes in the park’s appearance continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
As many other St. Petersburg’s estates Peterhof could not avoid German occupation during World War II. After the war, the city was heavily damaged. In 1944, Authorities renamed Peterhof to Petrodvorets because of anti-German sentiment. However, in 1997, it was renamed back to Peterhof.
Nowadays, the entire palace ensemble of Peterhof includes Great Peterhof Palace, Marly Palace, Monplaisir Palace, Upper and Lower parks, and numerous architectural elements: cascades, fountains, marble sculptures, etc.
The Great Palace is the former summer residence of the Russian monarchs. It is located on top of the ridge separating the upper and lower parks and stretches for about 300 m. The Palace represents a symmetrical baroque composition. However, during the reign of Peter the Great, the palace looked somewhat different from what is seen now. A small royal mansion was erected at the site in his time. Because of peculiarities of the terrace soil the mansion started to subside. Its reconstruction was carried out by the French architect Le Blond and after his death, by the Italian architect Niccolo Michetti. Works were halted after Peter’s death and the royal mansion was almost abandoned until Peter’s daughter Elizabeth acceded to the throne. The chief architect of the royal court Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli was the one who enlarged the Great Palace to its present size and remodeled it into a masterpiece of Baroque art.
Apart from being impressively beautiful on the outside, the Great Palace also boasts its interiors. Major highlights include:
- The Oak Cabinet of Peter the Great, which has almost fully retained the design of the Petrine time.
- The Crown Room that upholstered with original Chinese silk of the 18th century, and painted with water colours.
- The lavishly gilded Ballroom with abundance of the mirrors and the painted ceiling.
- The Chinese Studies, two small studies that decorated like fancy Chinese boxes.
- The white-and-turquoise Throne Room, the biggest hall in the palace.
- The Picture Gallery with 368 paintings that set in the system imitating carpets.
Despite the fact that the palace was heavily damaged during World War II, it was carefully restored and to this day amazes visitors with its magnificence.
Opening hours of the Great Palace: Open daily from 10:30 to 18:00, on Saturday from 10:30 to 21:00. However, foreign visitors are only allowed to access from 10:30 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 16:15.
The Great Palace closed on Monday and on last Thursday of each month.
Accessibility to the Great Palace:
Partial wheelchair access is available.
Free wheelchair rental is available.
Entrance fee to the Great Palace: 550 rub
The admission ticket gives you the right to enter the museum through the turnstile only once!
Tips and Hints:
In summer, long queue at the palace is a common occurrence. We recommend you to spend the first half of the day walking around the parks, visiting museums, while the Great Palace is supposed to be seen at the end of your visit to Peterhof. Better time to buy tickets and avoid queues is 20 minutes before the opening of the ticket office or 30-40 minutes after its opening. By the end of the day, queues at the ticket office gradually decreases.
The Lower Park (the Lower Gardens) is the centerpiece of the whole Peterhof ensemble. Its area stretches from the Great Palace to the Gulf of Finland. The fountains ensemble of the Lower Park is one of the largest in the world and includes about two hundred fountains. Most of them were constructed under Peter the Great. Numerous fountains and pavilions are scattered all over the park. The largest fountain with the statue of Samson tearing open a lion’s jaws symbolizes Peter’s victory over the Swedes.
Opening hours of the Lower Park:
Open daily from 09:00 to 20:00. On Saturday from 09:00 to 21:00.
Operation hours for the fountains: from 10:00 to 18:00, on Saturday from 10:00 to 20:50. Sunday and holidays from 10:00 to 19:00.
Daily opening ceremony of the fountains starts at 11:00 AM.
The fountains work from May to October
Entrance fee to the Lower Park: 500 rub.
100 Rub after fountain closing in the evening.
Tickets to the Lower Park can be purchased online on the official website of Peterhof.
Tips and Hints
The most popular time for visitors is June – July because of White nights, when St. Petersburg stops to sleep and sinks into the constant daylight. There are especially a lot of people during opening and closing ceremony of fountains. These days are the busiest in the year. The largest number of tourists in Peterhof is around 11:00, when the daily opening ceremony is starting, while after 17:00 number of visitors decreases significantly.
It is also noteworthy that Saturday is the busiest day of the week, because parks, fountains and the Palace have extended opening hours. By 7 o’clock, there are less visitors in the parks that means less chaos and no queues.
As a majority of the museums are closed on Monday, this day is ideal for those who want just to walk in the park and see the fountains.
The Upper Park (the Upper Gardens) is the area that separates the Great Palace from the St. Petersburg-bound highway. The paths of the upper park are decorated with ponds, fountains, statues and arbors. The admittance to the Upper park is free.
Opening hours of the Upper Park: Open daily from 09:00 to 20:00. On Saturday from 09:00 to 21:30
Entrance fee to the Upper Park: free
How to get to Peterhof
In the summer time the fastest way to reach Peterhof is by hydrofoil that will take you from the Winter Palace pier to Peterhof in just 45-50 minutes. However, this way is the most expensive. You can purchase tickets behind the Hermitage museum (the Winter Palace) on the Neva River.
In Saint Petersburg take the train from Baltisky railway station (Baltiiskaya subway station Red line) to New (Novyi) Peterhof.
Commuter train (electrichka) from Baltiisky Railway station of Saint Petersburg to Noviy Peterhof Train timetable here (to fill in the form and check the timetable use SANKT-PETERBURG-BALTII as Departure and NOVYI PETERGOF as Arrival). Travel time is 40-45 min. Then take bus 344, 348, 350, 351, 352, 355, and 356 to get to Peterhof.
From Metro “Avtovo” (Rus: Автово): Buses 200, 210 and minibuses 224, 300, 424, 424-A
From Metro “Leninskiy Prospekt” (Rus: Ленинский Проспект): Minibuses 103 (K-224), 420
From Metro“Prospekt Veteranov” (Rus: Проспект Ветеранов): Minibuses 343, 639–б
Travel time is around of 40-60 min, depending of traffic jams.
Other St Petersburg attractions:
Tsarskoye selo, a former country residence of the royal family, the UNESCO’s World Heritage site and the object of cultural heritage of the Russian Federation.