Sights & Attractions in St. Petersburg Environs
St. Petersburg Environs Sights
The area around St. Petersburg is one big monument to the city's history as Russia's Imperial capital, from the time of Peter the Great (1672-1725) to the ill-fated Nicholas II, whose execution in Ekaterinburg in 1918 brought the Romanov dynasty to an end. The palaces at Lomonosov, Peterhof, Pushkin, and Pavlovsk—the status symbols of the royal elite—are at the heart of any trip outside St. Petersburg. But even Russians who have already visited these tsarist residences in the suburbs find themselves returning time and time again, drawn by the acres of beautiful parks and gardens, which are wonderful places to wander through and relax. Unlike Moscow's Golden Ring, monasteries and churches are not much in evidence, with the exception of Valaam on Lake Ladoga, which is dominated by the 14th-century Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery.
Except for Kronshtadt and Valaam, all of the destinations in this section can be reached by commuter train (elektrichka), but the simplest way to see the palaces is to book an excursion (available through any tour company). The cost is reasonable and covers transportation, a guided tour, and admission fees. An organized excursion to any of the suburban palaces will take at least four hours; if you travel on your own, it's likely to take up the entire day. But whichever plan you opt for, you'll enjoy numerous sights filled with splendor and magic.
Note that the sights in this region do not make up one easy circuit. In a few cases—notably Gatchina—you have to return to St. Petersburg to find direct rail transport. Of all the places, the ones that make the most sense to do in tandem would be: Pushkin and Pavlovsk, Peterhof and Lomonosov, Peterhof and Kronshtadt, or Lomonosov and Kronshtadt.
Because this region is so close to St. Petersburg, hotels are few and far between, and are completely unnecessary for the typical day-tripper.
Browse St. Petersburg Environs Sights
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- ASAP Tickets Sale! Flights to Saint Petersburg From 497 R/T ASAPTickets.com
- Explore St. Petersburg For Less! Book Fr $104+/Nt Save with Hotels.com, $25/night less
- Nevsky Central in May: $250 & Up Expedia
- Last Minute Vacation Sale! 6 Nts St. Petersburg + Air Fr $1,573 Travelocity
- Hot Deal on a 27 Nt Cruise! Seabourn Cruise Line Fr $5,499 Expedia