The Fascinating Palaces of St Petersburg

St Petersburg in Russia is home to some absolutely stunning palaces, both within the city itself and in the surrounding area. For me, these should form a key part of any holiday itinerary here, simply because they’re so impressive and contain so much history.

As such, today I’m going to be introducing you to a few of the most exciting palaces in and around the city. I won’t really be going into detail about the practical side of organizing a holiday to St Petersburg, but I will just mention that there are some great cruise options if you fancy travelling in style. They won’t necessarily cost the Earth either – look for P&O cruise deals for ways to save.
Anyway, back to the palaces. Below, you’ll find some of the absolute must-visit buildings in St Petersburg; don’t miss them!
Petrodvorets
Let’s begin with buildings in St Petersburg itself and work our way outwards. In my opinion, Petrodvorets (which is also known as Peterhof) is the number one palace to explore during your visit. Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, this sprawling complex is incredibly grand and packed with history. That said, much of it was destroyed in World War II, which means that a lot of what you see today is a reconstructed version of the original.

 

However, you can still see plenty of original features, such as the chandeliers and paintings in the Grand Palace. One of the great things about Petrodvorets is that there’s so much more to see than the main palace alone; for instance, the site is famous for its stunning fountains and extensive gardens. As you stroll around, keep your eyes peeled for the other spectacular buildings dotted about the grounds, including Peterhof Hermitage, Marley Palace and Monplaisir.  (image by suraark)
Tsarskoye Selo
My next suggestion is in the town of Pushkin. Actually home to two grand palaces, the site of Tsarskoye Selo can easily take a whole day to explore, so be prepared to take a little time over it.
The first site to visit is Catherine Palace, which was commissioned by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I and dates back to 1717. However, the building you see today is actually far grander than the original, with their daughter Elizabeth having extensively renovated the site into a huge palace that’s almost 1 km in circumference. It really is a wonder to behold and is definitely worth seeing, but I should warn you that since this site is so popular, you should arrive prepared to queue.

The other building you can explore at Tsarskoye Selo is Alexander Palace, which was finished in 1796. A wedding present for the future Alexander I from his grandmother Catherine the Great, this palace is one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings you can see in Russia. By the way, both of these attractions are closed every Tuesday and the last Sunday of the month, so make sure you factor this is when sorting out your itinerary. (image by appaloosa)
Pavlovsk
Not far from Tsarskoye Selo is Pavlovsk, a palace named after Tsar Pavel. What I like about Pavlovsk is that it’s got a real understated beauty; most of the palaces you’ll see in this part of the world are quite ostentatious, but this has a quiet neoclassical elegance that’s truly charming.

 

Construction of this building began in the late 1700s, so it’s one of the newer Imperial buildings in the area. If you do come here, I’d recommend spending some time exploring the gardens, since these are ranked among the finest English-style gardens outside the UK. (image by alexxx-malev)Related post:        Visit Coventry, UK on a Budget – Is it Possible?

Header image by saxmax

 

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