Though not as convenient and comfortable as train travel, travel by bus from St. Petersburg can be a good way to go as long as it's not the height of summer, when buses can be exceedingly stuffy. Buses or minibuses run on direct routes to almost all of the suburbs, as well as to Kronshtadt. Tour companies also operate their own, rather scruffy coaches, to Kronshtadt.
Although all the palaces are theoretically within walking distance from their respective train stations, there are often buses linking the two. Bus 1, 5, 7, 431, or 525 will take you to Gatchina from the station for 20R. You can also get to Gatchina Palace taking Bus 18 or 100 from the city's Moskovsky metro station for 50R. For Pavlovsk, should you for some reason not want to walk from the station through the lovely park to the palace, Bus 370 or 383 will take you directly there for 20R.
Minibuses (called marshrutka) from the city to the suburbs are more convenient than commuter trains (called elektrichka) because they usually take you directly to the sights. Minibuses 299, 286, and 545 will take you from St. Petersburg's Moskovskaya metro station to Pavlovsk for 30R. The same buses can take you to Pushkin for 30R. Bus 287 leaves Moskovskaya for Pushkin as well. Yellow double-decker buses marked "Peterhof" and minibuses 340 and 404 leave from outside St. Petersburg's Baltic station (Baltiisky Vokzal) for Peterhof, charging 40R. From Avtovo metro station you get to Peterhof train station by minibuses 424, 420, 300, 224 (for 30R); then take Bus 350, 351, 351a, 352, 353, 354, or 356 to the palace park for 20R. The ride lasts 10 minutes. Minibus 300 will take you to Lomonosov/Oranienbaum from Avtovo metro station as will Bus 340 from Baltic station (also Baltiyskaya metro station) for 30R.
To catch a bus to Kronshtadt, take the subway to St. Petersburg's Chernaya Rechka metro station; walk across ulitsa Savushkina to the embankment of the River Chernaya Rechka and catch Bus 405 or 406 for 40R to the very end. Buses leave every 3-5 minutes from 5:40 am through midnight and take about an hour.
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