Peterhof, which means “Peter's Court,” is also known as Petrodvorets and the Russian Versailles. Built by Peter the Great in the 18th century, rebuilt after WWII, and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this complex of palaces, gardens, and fountain cascades is one of the most popular attractions for visitors to St. Petersburg. Guests of Peterhof will see for themselves just how lavish this Russian emperor's lifestyle was and understand that the country's monarchs' wealth and taste for luxury rivaled that of other European royalty.
Be wowed by golden fountains, decadent interior decorations, fine art, gardens and parks, and more when you enter Peterhof. It's one of the best examples of Russian palaces, a list which includes Catherine's Palace and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Use the following guide to help you plan and enjoy your trip to Petradvorets. Everyone wants to see Peter's Court, so you'll be glad you came prepared!
Visiting Peterhof has its advantages and disadvantages. The beauty of the gardens, the charm of the fountains, and the luxury of the palaces all make for a memorable experience, and photos certainly do not do Peter's Court justice. However, visitors to Peterhof will also have to deal with crowds, the somewhat confusing hours of operation held by the museums on the complex (they do not adhere to a single schedule), and the cost of seeing the most attractive sections of Peterhof.
Peterhof Hours of Operation
Hours of operation for Peterhof palaces vary and may change with the season, so if you have your heart set on seeing one aspect of the palace complex, check in advance to make sure it will be open during the time of your visit.
- Grand Palace: Open Tuesday – Sunday 10:30 am to 5 pm. Closed the last Tuesday of each month
- Monplaisir Palace: Open Thursday – Tuesday, June to September, from 10:30 am to 5 pm.
- Catherine Wing of Monplaisir: Open Friday – Wednesday, May to September from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Open weekends only October to April from 10:30 am to 5 pm
- Marly Palace: Tuesday – Sunday, May to September, from 10:30 am to 5 pm. Open weekends only October to April from 10:30 am to 5 pm
- Hermitage Palace: Tuesday – Sunday, May to September, from 10:30 am to 6 pm
- Cottage Palace: Tuesday – Sunday 10:30 am to 6 pm.
- Peterhof Fountains – Fountains are typically in operation from April to October during the hours of 11 am to 5 pm. If the weather is unseasonably cold, the fountains may not be in operation.
Peterhof Admission Fees
You don't have to be a Russian tsar to visit Peterhof, but with regards to admission prices, you should plan carefully. Visitors can see the Upper Park of Peterhof for free. Admission to the Alexandria Park is also free. However, to see the Lower Park and the palaces, admission prices are charged. Admission prices are steep – to view the Lower Park alone, expect to pay about 8 USD. To see the Grand Palace, you will pay almost twice that. Monplaisir, the Catherine Wing of Monplaisir, Hermitage Palace, and the Cottage Palace all charge separate admission fees.
If you are on a budget, choose carefully which structures in the complex you wish to see.
Getting to Peterhof
Visitors can get to Peterhof using several options. Hydrofoils run from St. Petersburg to Peterhof - this may be the least confusing route, though this will also be one of the most expensive options. You may also take a bus, minibus, train, or the metro. If you are uncertain about how to get to Peterhof via one of these methods, ask for help from your hotel concierge.
Dining at Peterhof
If you get hungry during your visit to Peterhof, two restaurants are located on the grounds of the complex – one in the Orangery and one in the Lower Park. You may also visit one of the restaurants that do business outside the complex grounds. If you don't want to stop and eat while you explore Peterhof, or if you would rather spend your money on admission to the palaces, pack a snack.
Tips for Visiting Peterhof
- Choose a warm summer day for visiting Peterhof to get the most out of the complex grounds.
- Book a tour to avoid lines and secure transportation to and from Peterhof.
- If you want to attempt to see everything at Peterhof, go on a weekend when all buildings are open.
- Wear walking shoes and dress for the weather for your visit to Peterhof. Much of Peterhof's beauty exists outdoors - you don't want to miss it because you are uncomfortable.