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St Petersburg, Catherine’s Palace & Peterhof

We plan on visiting Catherine’s Palace and Peterhof on our own, Rick S. has many useful tips in his book , asking if anyone has any additional info or tips that would help getting to and from those sites.

Posted by
436 posts

I'm sorry, but that's not too much info to go by - for instance, I don't have Rick's book and have no access to his helpful tips... Also, getting to and from those sites - to and from where? When? How many people?
What do you want to see at Peterhof?

Both sites are easily accessible, with Catherine's palace perhaps a little less so.

Posted by
145 posts

You might want to mention when you are planning to visit. Peterhof is amazing in summer months with its splendid park with fountains, but they don’t operate during colder months. I’ve been to peterhof probably three times and never visited the main palace. The biggest draw is the park and the smaller palaces (sauna, Russian banya palace for example).

Posted by
436 posts

It appears the OP is going to be heading back relatively soon. An update would be appreciated :-)

Posted by
6669 posts

We visited both places while on a tour/river cruise of Russia. These are the two top sites to visit in St. Pet.
My Son used a Russian tour company named Red October while on a cruise. It wasn't that expensive and the tour was excellent.
Both sites are several miles outside of St. Pete. Not sure how you would get there on your own.

Posted by
436 posts

Both sites are several miles outside of St. Pete. Not sure how you would get there on your own.

For Peterhof, the easiest way is to take a hydrofoil (the pier is right in front of the Hermitage) at ₽1950 ($30) return. An easy and somewhat interesting ride, even though you might end up spending some time queueing in high season.
Taxi/rideshares for Pushkin, even though public transit options are also available.

Hi Jeff,

will you arrive in Russia on a cruise ship? Do you have a visa? how long are you staying in St Petersburg? what time of year will you be there?

Posted by
7205 posts

Catherine's Palace was AMAZING! But we had a toursbylocal guide to take us there by his own car.

Posted by
7376 posts

Our hotel provided a car to Peterhof and we took the hydrofoil back -- we were mostly interested in the gardens and it was a lovely trip.

for the Catherine palace which is difficult for individuals since they have restricted hours for admission if you aren't in a tour group, we used Tours by Locals and our guide picked us up at our apartment and drove us there and then to lunch and back to the apartment. He was not intrusive as a guide, but did help us avoid tour group crowds and totally handled the ticketing process so we didn't have to deal with it.

St. Petersburg itself is easy to tour on your own -- and most of the key sides are walkable along Nevsky Prospect -- we had a central apartment walked to the Mariinsky, the Hermitage, Church on Spiilled Blood, Faberge Museum etc.

Posted by
99 posts

We visited St.Petersburg on a Baltic cruise, but prior to arriving we booked our tours with a local agency, Anastasia Travel.

We took the hydrofoil to and back to Peterhof Gardens. It was about 45 minutes ride. You can get there by train or a bus, and it will be cheaper, but the hydrofoil was a better experience and much more comfortable for a little bit more money.

If traveling on your own, you can find tickets to purchase behind the Hermitage Museum.

Getting to Catherine's Palace is also easy, depending on where you are located. Since our guide was waiting for us at the pier, all we had to do is get in the van. The ride to get to the Palace was about 50 minutes.

If traveling on your own, you can take the subway from Nevsky Prospekt station to Moskovskaya station. At the station you have to get on to a minibus 342 or 545 to Catherine Palace Park.

If you are someone like me, a person who can't find their way around easily, I would book a tour and have everything organized for me.

We really enjoyed having someone taking care of us.

Posted by
17 posts

Visiting the Catherine's palace on your own might get really tricky. I have researched it before, and you will need something like 3 transfers to get to the palace, and about 2 hours of your time. (These estimates are right if you are staying around Nevskiy) There is a whole bunch of busses that go to Catherine's palace from Moskovskaya metro station. Me and my family attempted to go on our own in 2018 and we had a bad time. The place was overly crowded, we waited more than 2 hours to get into the palace! The museum workers don't let you stay in any given room for more than 4-6 minutes, you must constantly walk. I am not exaggerating(!), look at this blog article. This was upsetting! Looking back, we should have gotten on a tour that takes people into the palace before the museum officially opens.

Peterhoff is easy, take a hydrofoil there and back.It is cheap and efficient, no traffic jams. Hydrofoils leave from the Hermitage. Park is wonderful. If you want to get into the palace you'd have to be there at a particular time. They only let people in in small groups, at particular time. Do not expect a walk-in situation! Expect to spend some time in line to enter.

Frankly, we found Catherine's palace and Peterhoff palace quite similar. I guess after hours of waiting in lines nothing looks special. We accidentally popped into one tiny palace in the Peterhoff park, something like Marly palace, and we loved it. So if you give up the main Peterhoff palace you can always get into one of the small palaces scattered around the park.