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Peterhof or Petrodvorets is situated on the bank of the Gulf of Finland and is a world famous Park and Palace ensemble, well known for its unique fountain system. The best time to take a tour to Peterhof is summer, when you can enjoy a most pleasant walk around the grounds and see the huge cascade systems with the highest water spray rising up to 23 meters, single fountains decorated with magnificent marble and gilded statues, jester fountains with children having fun running through the pouring water. And if you are especially lucky you will manage to see a rainbow in some of the fountains.
A usual route of the tour includes the visit to the Grand Palace of Peterhof. And though it is one of the richest and most interesting summer palaces in Russia, which is no doubt worth seeing, we still recommend an alternative option. Directly on the bank of the Gulf of Finland you can find a small but unique palace called Monplaisir*. It was a favorite place of Peter the Great and it still bares the trace of personality of its first owner. Also it is an extremely rare example of architecture of Peter's times. If you choose to visit this place it saves you a lot of time for the Park and makes your tour much more relaxing and not less interesting.
You can find more information about Peterhof here.
The usual tour to Peterhof takes about 4 hours including an hour long drive to and from the residence**. However you can spend a day there. If you have such a possibility, we can also offer to visit:
The Catherine's Block - a small but exquisite palace constructed for Empress Elisabeth I and redesigned for Alexander I in empire style.
The Barth House - a little pavilion near Monplaisir palace where a Russian bath and a dining hall was designed for the Russian Tsars.
The Hermitage - a little entertaining pavilion designed for the guests of the Royal family to have fun.
The Marly palace - one more little private palace that dates back to the time of Peter the Great.
The Cottage*** - a private Palace of Tsar Nicholas I and his family which is situated in Alexandria park. A quiet and charming place which is of the main tour route and it is just 5 minutes drive from the Park of Peterhof.
NB! The entrance to the Park is no problem, but if you intend to visit the Palaces in high season it is essential to have a guided tour booked in advance.
* In rainy weather the Monplaisir is closed, but in this case we can replace it with a visit to Catherine's Block or The Barth House, which are also very interesting.
** It is a very good way to go by hydrofoil. It takes you directly to the Park and reaches it in 30 minutes. Notice that hydrofoil does not go in case of high wind or mist.
*** We strongly recommend this option. Despite it is not as famous as Peterhof itself it may turn out to be the best experience of the tour.
From our clients' reviews:
Guided tour to Peterhof
...Elena was a great private guide. She and the driver Vasily met us at our hotel and on the way to Peterhof, we were able to stop at the Trinity Cathedral and St. Nicholas Cathedral. Our tour of the Peterhof Palace was unrushed, informative and very pleasant. The palace and gardens are just absolutely amazing, it was one of the highlights of our trip! Private tour is definitely the way to go. (Anne B)
Half day tour of Peterhof Petrodvorets
...We had a amazing tour of the Peterhof Grand Palace and the Fountains. I highly recommend arriving by hydrofoil. Our guide Anna was the best and gave us great information and tailored the tour for us! I plan to use this tour company again. (Jenna B., Houston)
Tours to Peterhof from St Petersburg
...Anna and Vasily a terrific team for our beautiful day in Peterhof! The car was on time, clean, and a smooth ride. Anna was incredibly knowledgable, spoke perfect English, and knew how to maneuver the crowds. Would for sure recommend for anyone looking for a nice day trip from St. Petersburg. (Andy Lopes, Columbus, Ohio)
Peterhof Grand Palace tour
...I highly recommend this tour. I had Elena for my trip. Elena was very professional and wanted to know where your interested lie and than customize my tour. My interests were more with palace inside vs outside. The driver we had was excellent. Elena brought to history of Russia and culture of Russia to life. Simple wonderful! (George H)