Get ahead of the crowds to explore the magnificent Peterhof Grand Palace and Gardens on this 5-hour tour from St Petersburg. Travel to Peterhof, sometimes dubbed the ‘Russian Versailles’, and enjoy early admission to the Grand Palace before it opens to the public. Tour the opulent interiors originally designed by Peter the Great, and roam the Lower Gardens to see some of the spectacular 100-plus fountains, including the gold Grand Cascade, that are Peterhof’s crowning glory. Enjoy personalized attention from a guide on this small-group tour, limited to six people.
Begin your small-group tour with a pickup from your central St Petersburg hotel, and board your minivan with your guide. Then, drive to Peterhof, the UNESCO-listed palace complex often called the ‘Russian Versailles.’As you travel, hear how Peter the Great personally designed the Peterhof Grand Palace, along with its 300-acre (121-hectare) park and fountains, in the early 1700s.Hear, too, how Peter’s daughter, Elizabeth I, extended the palace in the mid-1700s. The empress commissioned court architect, Bartolomeo Rastrelli, to expand the residence, turning it into the masterpiece of classical and Baroque architecture that it is today. After a roughly 1-hour drive, arrive at the palace and enjoy early admission, entering with your guide before the doors open to the public. As one of the first visitors of the day, it’s a great opportunity to admire the interiors in crowd-free surroundings.Enjoy a guided tour of various rooms, admiring such opulent chambers as the Throne Room, White Dining Room and Merchant's Hallnas your guide recounts how the palace was used and details the colorful lives of Peter and Elizabeth.Then, head into the Lower Gardens to admire Peterhof’s crowning glory: its fountains. Partly designed by Peter himself, they were added to by his successors, culminating in today’s eye-popping displays.With luck, see the fountains as they switch on, and then admire some of the incredible creations, including the remarkable Grand Cascade, with its gold statue of Samson wrestling a lion. As you walk, hear about the ingenious engineering that allows this unique fountain system to operate without pumps or engines.After, return to St Petersburg and end your tour with a hotel drop-off.Please note: The order of sightseeing as described above may be subject to change on the day of your tour.