Your journey starts with a transfer to Peterhof, also called Russian Versailles. Peterhof, the town of palaces, fountains and parks, was built by Peter the Great to rival Versailles. It lies on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, 22 miles west of St. Petersburg. The Grand Palace, built in the beginning of the 18th century, is known as the most brilliant of all the summer residences of the Russian Tsars. The estate construction spanned two centuries and upon its completion, it encompassed seven parks and more than 20 smaller palaces and pavilions. The layout of the 300-acre park and spectacular fountains was designed by Peter himself. The Grand Cascade, often considered the chief delight of the grounds, consists of three waterfalls, an avenue of 64 fountains and 37 gilded statues. Samson, the main attraction of Peterhof, is located at the base of the Great Cascade. During World War II, the estate was occupied and all the buildings and fountains were completely demolished. For many years, the palace and the Grand Cascade were under extensive restoration. Now all guests of the city can enjoy the spectacular view of the fountains and the palace. After your tour of the Grand Palace, you'll proceed to the magnificent gardens of the Low Park to admire the numerous fountains and statues of the Grand Cascade. As part of your Imperial tour experience, we have arranged a special hydrofoil boat transfer from Peterhof back to the city center, which will take you on a short 30-minute ride across the Gulf of Finland. After arriving back to town, you'll be taken to the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, where you'll enjoy views of the city including the Hermitage Museum and St. Peter and Paul Fortress, which you will tour next. Once inside the Peter and Paul Cathedral, you'll be surrounded by marble columns, glittering chandeliers and painted decor, combined with carved and gilded iconostasis to create a magnificent setting for the tombs of Romanov monarchs. In July 1998, the remains of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family were also brought to the cathedral. The tour continues along the Neva embankment.
Note: This tour is not recommended for persons with walking or climbing difficulties due to long walking distances, cobblestones and gravel paths in the Peterhof Gardens and the Peter and Paul Fortress. The Grand Palace is not wheelchair accessible due to narrow staircases and no elevators. Visit to the inside of Peterhof Palace is approximately one hour, and although you might get a glimpse of the fountains, this tour is of the palace interior. Expect congestion and waiting at attractions. Operation of hydrofoil depends on weather conditions and is subject to cancellation without prior notice. Photo/video is not allowed in the Grand Peterhof Palace.
(4 Reviews) 4
Rating Snapshot(4 reviews)
4 of 4(100%)customers would recommend this to a friend.
This tour includes the best St. Petersburg has to offer. It is absolutely worth every penny. After a visit to the spectacular Peterhof you will be brought into town by way of the Neva River in all its magnificence, which allows the visitor a wonderful view of the city's most impressive buildings dating back to the czars. The tour is crowned by a visit to St. Paul and St. Peter's church, where all of Russia's czars are buried. It is moving to see the special wing devoted to Nicholas II and his family as their final resting place, in a posthumous recognition of their role in shaping the Russian nation ---a 180 degree turnaround of its not so distant past. In all of our 9 day Baltic cruise, this was absolutely the best tour.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Share this review:
Review 2 for Imperial St. Petersburg
Date:May 28, 2012
This is an absolute must see. It's a piece of history previously obscured. The day is long with lots of walking but the Palace is unbelievable. Walk thru the halls of Russian history.
A very comprehensive tour that captures the old Imperial Russia in Peterhof and the more recent Russia in the downtown St. Petersburg area. Imperial palace and gardens are a wow. A hydro-foil transports guests from the palace to the downtown area. We had a great tour of St. Peter and Paul Fortress and then were bused around town for fly-by's. Amazing tour guides, Julia and Karina, got us in and out of lines, tourist gridlocks and knew just about everything you wanted to know about the area. There was time at tour's end for some shopping. A great 2nd day tour for St. Pete's because customs clearance is quicker.
I am so glad we went to Peterhof, it was beautiful, the fountains were lovely and the restaurant was very nice too. We enjoyed the hovercraft ride back to St Petersburg but I think we were too tired to really appreciate the Peter and Paul fortress.