There are several places around St.Petersburg that can be visited as a day trip on your own or with a tour. Visiting royal residences is one of the must-do things in St.Petersburg and it’s understandable some of them are incredible; massive parks, fountains, palaces, churches, natural wonders, and interesting history. In this guide, we gathered all the interesting places that will be interesting for tourists and are easy to reach from St.Petersburg as a day trip.
Accommodation in St.Petersburg
- Budget | Soul Kitchen Hostel | Christopher Hostel | Hostel Feelin na Konyshennoy |
- Middle price | Belvedere Nevsky Business Hotel | Nevsky Grand Hotel | By Hermitage Hotel |
- Luxury | The Bridge Hotel | Angleterre Hotel | Belmond Grand Hotel Europe |
If you have more time and would like to explore more of the country and visit some off the beaten track places that are difficult to get on your own G-Adventures and Intrepid Travel offer some great tours;
- Backroads of Russia; St.Petersburg – Moscow (G-Adventures)
- Epic Trans-Siberian Journey; Moscow to Vladivostok (G-Adventures)
Travel insurance for your trip
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Where to go on a day trip from Saint Petersburg?
We always have a problem of choice when traveling it’s never enough time to see and do everything. There are many interesting places around St.Petersburg; Peterhof, Tsarskoye Selo, Novgorod, Marble Quarry, and many more. For a first-time visitor, we’d suggest choosing one of the royal residences; Peterhof or Tsarskoye Selo and Novgorod, the oldest town in Russia.
If you have time to visit only one park in the summertime we’d recommend going to Peterhof its fountains are incredible. Off fountain season (from mid-September to May) we’d suggest Tsarskoye Selo both the park and the palace look amazing any season. Tip! If you are a student always take your ID card students get discounts.
Join a tour or go on your own?
It depends on your budget and preferences if you’re a bit worried that nobody speaks English and you can get lost then take a tour. They will drive you all the way to and back, buy your tickets, explain everything and probably even take to a restaurant. It sounds great but it will be expensive especially for an English tour and you’ll be limited in time. If you prefer to explore places on your own and be independent go alone it’s not that difficult. The only place we’d recommend to do a tour is the Marble Quarry it’s quite difficult to get there without a car.
Another option is to rent a car for a couple of days and visit the suburbs on your own. It might be worth it if you’re a couple of people, prefer to have more freedom and flexibility than with a tour and commuting by public transport sounds too complicated.
Best day trips from Saint Petersburg
The most famous and visited royal suburb, it was inspired by Versailles but made with more pompous. I’ve been here many times and it always impresses me; stunning beauty and incredible work of many people; architects, engineers, artists, etc. In my opinion, Peterhof is one of the most beautiful royal residences in the world. With more than 150 fountains and 4 big cascades, the Grand cascade consists of 75 fountains and 255 bronze sculptures you can continue with impressive numbers forever!
Interesting fact! The fountain system has no pumps all water is supplied naturally using different levels of the terrain, it’s difficult to believe if you think of the highest fountain Samson which jet of water is 20m high!
Tip! If you’re traveling with young children make sure to pack a swimming costume or an extra set of clothes and a quick dry towel I’m quite sure they’ll be very keen on getting soaking wet in one of the trick fountains.
Visit Peterhof with a tour from St.Petersburg
- Peterhof Private Tour with a Hydrofoil Option
- Peterhof Palace and Gardens Half-Day Tour
- Private Peterhof Palace Tour with Pick-Up
- Peterhof Palace Group Tour by Bus
- Peterhof Lower Park; Mon – Fri and Sun from 9am to 8pm, Sat from 9am to 9pm.
- Fountains are on Mon-Fri from 10am to 6pm, Sat from 10am to 8.45pm and Sun from 10am to 7pm.
- The Grand Peterhof palace (for individual visitors); opened for entrance Tue-Fri and Sun from 12pm to 2pm, from 4.15pm to 5.45am, Sat from 12pm to 2pm and from 4.15pm to 7.45pm. Closed Mon and last Tue of every month.
The cost of the day trip
- Transport: RUB115/US$2 – metro + marshrutka (commercial bus), one way; RUB800/US$13 – a speed boat, one way. You can combine both and go on a speed boat/back by bus.
- Entrance fee: park – RUB750/US$12 adults, RUB450/US$7,5 students; palace – RUB700/US$11,5, students RUB400/US$6,5, children under 16 years visit both for free (for children 14-15 years we’d recommend having a document).
- Food: from RUB300/US$5 pp depending where you eat
Highlights of Peterhof
- The Grand Cascade, absolutely stunning composition with Samson wrestling the jaws of a lion in the center.
- Chess or Dragon Hill cascade
- Lion cascade
- Water Road trick-fountain. It is on for 15 seconds every day at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. Located between the Chess cascade and Monplaisir palace, check for small pipes on both sides of the road and billboards.
- Golden cascade
If you’re not on a tight budget in the pond near Marli palace you can catch a sturgeon. Price RUB3900/US$65 for one and RUB6000/US$100 for two (3-4kg each), it includes delivery to the nearby restaurant and cooking.
If you visit Peterhof with children they will love fountains-shutikha (trick-fountains) they involve getting wet so will be good to bring some extra clothes to change in.
How to get to Peterhof?
Option 1. The fastest way of getting to Peterhof from the city center is to take a hydrofoil (Meteor), they depart from Dvortsovaya emb., 39 (in front of the Hermitage), every 30min., from 9.30am till 3pm, travel time 30min. Price RUB800/US$13 one way, RUB1500/US$25 return.
Option 2. Metro, bus/marshrutka. From Avtovo metro station (by the way one of the most beautiful stations in the world) take marshrutkas T-224, T-300 or buses №200, 210. From Leninsky Prospect metro station take marshrutkas T-103, T-420. The whole journey will take you between 1h to 1h15min.
Option 3. Metro, train, and bus. From Baltiisky railway station (m Baltiiskaya) take a train to Novy Peterhof (New Peterhof), from there take a bus №344, 348, 350, 351, 352, 355, 356. It will take you between 1h to 1h15min.
Accommodation in Peterhof
| Hotel Marli | Truveller House F&F | New Peterhof Hotel | Samson Hotel |
Catherine Palace and Park
I’ve been living all my life in Tsarskoye Selo and spent a lot of time in Catherine Park. It looks beautiful any season be it green summer or white winter. In my opinion, Catherine Palace is the most beautiful palace not only in St.Petersburg but in the whole of Russia. The palace is a classic example of Russian Baroque style, with its multiple windows, fake columns and bas-reliefs it reminds a wedding cake.
If you have to choose one palace to visit I’d suggest the Catherine palace its Ballroom with big windows and mirrors looks stunning especially at sunset and here is the famous Amber room quite impressive due to the combination of amber, gold and lights.
Visit Tsarskoye Selo with a tour
- 4-Hour Private Tour to Pushkin by Car (note the price per person displayed is for a 10+ group of people, if you’re less it gets more expensive pp.)
- Tour to Catherine Palace and Amber Room in Pushkin
- Bus Tour to Pushkin
- Peterhof and Pushkin Full-Day Tour
- Catherine park opened daily from 9am till 10pm (11pm May – June), after 7pm entrance is free.
- Catherine palace opened (for individual visitors) June – August; Mon, Wed-Sun from 12pm to 7pm. September – Mon, Wed-Sun from 12pm to 6pm. The rest of the year – Mon (except last Monday of the month), Wed-Sun from 10am to 6pm.
There are many small pavilions most of them opened till 7pm, you’ll have to buy separate tickets for each.
The cost of the day trip
- Transport; RUB85/US$1,5 (one way) – metro (RUB45) + marshrutka (RUB40) or train (RUB43) + bus (RUB40).
- Entrance fee: Catherine park – RUB120/US$2, under 16 years free; Catherine palace – adults RUB1000/US$16,5, students RUB350/US$5,8, under 16 years free. Alexander park – free, Alexander palace – closed for renovation.
Food: from RUB200/US3.
Highlights of the Catherine Park
- Cameron gallery, here you can go upstairs to the hanging gardens, the view from here is very nice.
- A big pond with the Chesme Column in the middle
- Hermitage used to be a dining room with a special elevator mechanism, it’s actually a table that goes up to the dining room from the kitchen. A few years ago it was reopened and now four times a day (12pm, 12.30pm, 3pm and 3.30pm) you can see it working.
How to get to the Catherine Palace?
Option 1. Take a train from Vitebsky railway station (metro Pushkinskaya), get off at Tsarskoye Selo station (Pushkin) and take a bus to the park, there are many buses going there just ask Catherine palace to make sure. You can walk as well it’s about 2km. The whole trip will take about 1h.
Option 2. Go to Moskovskaya metro station (exit Bus to the airport), from there take a murshrutka (№545, 347) all the way to the park. Ask to stop at Catherine Palace. It will take between 1h-1h15min.
Accommodation in Pushkin
| Hotel Patkul house | Friedental Hotel | Hotel Natali | Ekaterina | Pevcheskaya Bashnya |
A day trip to Veliky Novgorod, the oldest Russian town, offers a real journey in time, after busy and European St.Petersburg you’ll find yourself in a quiet old town that perfectly represents the old Russia. Novgorod will be especially interesting for those who like history and are interested in architecture, some buildings, mainly churches here were built between XI and XVII centuries, they perfectly represent the development of Russian architecture.
Besides many churches and monasteries, Novgorod has its own Kremlin or Detinets how it’s called here. The local Kremlin is older than the one in Moscow and looks quite a bit different. If you have time visit Vitoslavitsy, a museum of wooden architecture just outside of the town, 5-10 minutes by public bus. Here you can see traditional Russian wooden houses, learn more about the lifestyle and customs of Russian people of the XVI-XVIII centuries.
Visit Novgorod with a tour from St.Petersburg
- Full-Day Tour to Velikiy Novgorod
- 12-hour tour to Velikiy Novgorod (all-inclusive)
- Private Full-Day Trip to Velikiy Novgorod from St. Petersburg
Not to miss
- Novgorod Kremlin
- Yaroslav’s Court
- Monument of the Millennium of Russia
- Cathedral of St.Sofia
- St.George’s Monastery
How to get to Novgorod?
A fast train Lastochka, St.Petersburg – Veliky Novgorod, every day at 7.16am (confirm time at the railway station), from Moskovsky Railway station. It takes 3 hours to get there. Ticket RUB580/US$10 one way. Train back to St.Petersburg leaves at 6pm.
Accommodation in Novgorod
| Home Hostel | Hotel Welcome inn | Boutique-Hotel Truvor | Mini-hotel Tri Kota |
Ruskeala mountain park, Karelia
If you already have seen enough palaces and cathedrals you might enjoy a trip to Ruskeala, an old marble quarry turned into a mountain park. The marble excavation started here in 1769, many palaces and cathedrals in Saint Petersburg were built partly from local marble; St.Isaac cathedral, Marble Palace, New Hermitage, Kazan Cathedral, etc.
In the XX century due to the usage of dynamite for excavating marble some quarries got cracks, it wasn’t safe anymore to continue exploitation of the quarries and they were inundated. Nowadays the marble pools filled with crystal clear water became a popular tourist attraction. You can walk around the quarries or rent a boat and row on the main lake. The place is stunning especially on a nice sunny day when you can appreciate the turquoise color of the water surrounded by shining grey and white marble walls.
Visit Mountain park Ruskeala with a tour from St.Petersburg
- Mon-Sun from 10am to 9pm.
- Adults – RUB250/US$4, students – RUB150/US$2, children – RUB100/US$1,5.
How to get to Ruskeala?
Most people get here by car or take a tour there is no public transport going all the way to Ruskeala. Ruskeala is quite far from Saint Petersburg, 290km, a trip will take the whole day.
This park is a real paradise for squirrel lovers, there are really many and they are used to people you can buy special food in the park and enjoy feeding these little cuties. Pavlovsky park is a very nice place to visit in the winter you can rent a sledge or skis and enjoy the park in a very different way. The park is definitely less impressive and touristy than the previous two but it has its own charm; tranquility and the illusion of wilderness.
Visit Pavlovsk with a tour
- Pavlovsky park opened daily from 6am till 11pm.
- Pavlovsky Palace opened daily (except every first Monday of the month) from 10am till 6pm.
The cost of the day trip
- Transport; metro+ train RUB90/US$1,5, one way.
- Entrance fee; park – RUB100/US1,5 for adults, RUB50/1 for children and students, from 6am-9am and 7pm-11pm entrance is free. Palace – RUB500/US$8,3 adults, RUB200/US$3,3 under 18 years, children under 7 years – free.
How to get to Pavlovsk?
The easiest suburb to get from St.Petersburg. Take a train from Vitebsky railway station (m Pushkinskaya) and get off in Pavlovsk. The park entrance is across the road from the train station. The journey takes 30min.
Accommodation in Pavlovsk
| Modern History Apartments | Hotel Zamok BIP |
The Konstantin palace and park, Strelna
For many years the complex was closed for visitors due to restoration and was reopened to the public in 2003. Nowadays it’s the official State residence The National Congress Palace and museum. It is located between St.Petersburg and Peterhof if you have time you can stop here on the way to or back.
Visit Strelna with a tour
- Constantine Palace – Official Residence of the Russian President – and Traditional Russian 3-course Lunch with Russian Vodka
Konstantin park and palace; Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun from 10am to 6pm (ticket office till 4pm). During the official events, the complex is closed for visitors. For the upcoming events, you can check on the website.
The cost of the day trip
- Transport; metro+bus – RUB100/US$1,5, one way.
- Entrance fee; Park and palace (including excursion) RUB330/US$5,4 adults; students RUB200/US$3,3 children under 7 years free.
How to get to Strelna?
Metro + bus/marshrutka. From Avtovo metro station marshrutkas T-224, T-300 or buses №200, 210. From Leninsky Prospect metro station marshrutkas T-103, T-420. It will take you between 40min.-1h.
Accommodation in Strelna
| Usad’ba Strelingof | Baltic Star Hotel |
The complex looks quite different from any other royal palace in St.Petersburg, it more reminds a castle. Here you won’t see golden domes, bas-reliefs, bright colors but its restrained decoration makes this palace unique.
Visit Gatchina with a tour
- Gatchina park opened 24 hours.
- Gatchina palace opened daily (except every first Tuesday of the month) from 11am to 6pm.
The cost of the day trip
- Transport; metro + train RUB150/US$2,5, one way and metro + marshrutka RUB115/US$2.
- Entrance fee; Gatchina park is free, the palace – RUB350/US$6 adults, RUB200/US$3,3 students.
How to get to Gatchina?
Option 1. Take a train from Baltiiskaya Railway station (metro Baltiiskaya), get off at Gatchina station from here it’s about 5-10min. walk to the park. It will take about 1h15min.
Option 2. From Moskovskaya metro station take a bus №431 or marshrutka №18, 18A get off in Gatchina. It will take about 1h.
Accommodation in Gatchina
| Varshavsky Guest House | Gatchina Hotel | Spa Hotel Ingerburgskiy |
It’s a seaport town about 30km west of St.Petersburg. The highlights of Kronstadt; the cathedral, it’s absolutely stunning; multiple forts (to visit them you’ll have to take a tour); the Dam which is quite big and impressive.
Visit Kronstadt with a tour from St.Petersburg
- Half-Day Private Tour to Kronshtadt
- Peterhof and Kronstadt tour
- Kronstadt-fortress and the sea gates of the city
- Kronstadt cathedral opened daily from 9am to 7pm, operating cathedral, entrance free.
- To visit the forts you’ll have to take a tour, ferries leave daily at 1pm, 3.30pm, and 5.30pm from the Winter Pier of Petrovsky park. You visit 5 different forts including fort Konstantin where you’ll have time to walk around. Price RUB550/US$8, the price includes shuttle back from Fort Konstantin to the town.
How to get to Kronstadt?
From Chernaya Rechka metro station marshrutka K-405, RUB79/US$1,3, takes about 40min. From Prospect Prosvesheniya marshrutka K-407.
If it sounds like too much of a hassle you can take a tour from St.Petersburg, buses leave from Gostiny Dvor metro station (ticket offices are there as well). Price from RUB1000/US$16 includes transport, bus excursion in Kronstadt, visit the cathedral and Konstantin Fort. The main drawback of the tour very likely it will be in Russian.
A town with a very long and interesting history, the main attraction is a medieval castle that was built in 1293. Yes, Vyborg is much older than St.Petersburg and it more reminds Western-European than Russian towns.
Vyborg castle opened daily from 11am to 7pm, entrance fee RUB100/US$1,6 adults, under 16 years free.
How to get to Vyborg?
Option 1. By train/express train from Finlyandsky Railway station (metro Finlyandsky Vokzal), train costs RUB300/US$5 one way, it takes 2h15min, express (Lastochka) costs RUB330/US$5,5 and takes 1h15min.
Option 2. By bus from Nothern Bus station in Murino (metro Devyatkino) or from the bus station at Parnas metro station. Takes about 2h, costs RUB250/US$4 one way.
Accommodation in Vyborg
| Pikhta Hostel | Atlantik Hotel | Viking Hotel | Viсtoria Hotel Vyborg |
Probably one of the quietest royal parks in St.Petersburg not many tourists get here, it’s difficult to compete with famous Peterhof located nearby. Interesting fact! Oranienbaum is the only royal suburb that wasn’t destroyed during World War II.
Menshikov Grand palace (for individual visitors) opened Mon, Wed-Sun from 12pm to 2pm and from 4pm to 4.45pm. Entrance fee RUB400/US$6,6 adults; RUB250/US$4 students; free under 16 years old.
How to get to Oranienbaum?
Option 1. Bus/marshrutka. From Avtovo metro station marshrutkas T-424A, T-300. From Prospekt Veteranov metro station marshrutkas T-343, RUB120/US$2 one way, will take you about 1h20min.
Option 2. Train. From Baltiisky railway station (m Baltiiskaya) take a train to Oranienbaum station (5min. from the park). It will take you 1h.
Accommodation in Oranienbaum
| Pierhouse Hotel |
Useful items to take for a day trip
Weather in St.Petersburg is unpredictable, it can change from warm and sunny to cold in windy in a day so my advice, bring some warmish clothes (hoodie, jeans, trainers) as well as summer clothing.
- Comfortable shoes/sandals for walking – you’ll be walking a lot; around the city, in the museums and parks make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes.
- Umbrella – it can rain at any time in this city.
- Hoodie/sweater – even if it’s warm during the day you’ll need something warm to wear in case of bad weather.
- Jeans (ladies’ option) – for the same reason as a hoodie.
- Travel backpack – for hand luggage (to pack your laptop, phone, documents etc.) and to use as a day pack in the city.
- Cap or hat for sun protection, especially if you’re going for a whole day trip.
- Sunglasses – yes, it can be sunny in the city and if you do any water excursion sunglasses will be quite handy.
- LifeStraw – tap water is not good for drinking (at least nobody I know drinks it unless there is a filter) bringing a LifeStraw bottle of just a filter is a good idea.
Recommended books and guidebooks
- Lonely Planet St Petersburg. Kindle & Paperback, 2018
- Lonely Planet Russia. Kindle & Paperback, 2018
- Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook & Dictionary. Paperback, 6th edition.
- St. Petersburg: Madness, Murder, and Art on the Banks of the Neva by Jonathan Miles. Kindle & Paperback
- St.Petersburg city guide and 3-day itinerary
- Best places to visit in St.Petersburg
- 29 Awesome and quirky things to do in St.Petersburg
- Climbing Mt.Elbrus complete guide
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.
Saturday 25th of July 2020
Wow, a lot has changed since I visited in 2000 (I lived in Pushkin). Fast rail to places that definitely didn't have it then and even a change of place names. I really look forward to coming again sometime from Canada. : ) Thank you for all the tips!
Tuesday 30th of July 2019
Hi....thanks for a detailed post. Have a few queries. 1) Is October a good month to visit Moscow and St.Petersburg? 2) Will the natural fountains work in case the temperatures fall?
Tuesday 30th of July 2019
Hello! Thank you for the comment! It usually gets quite chilly and rainy in October in both cities. As for the fountains, they are on only during the summer season, from May to mid-September, outside this period they are turned off. Regards
Wednesday 15th of August 2018
Hi!would like to know the Catherine Palace ticket, it shows no ticket online, can we buy online in somewhere ?I saw most blogger said queue for ticket around 2-3 hours? Is it true in Aug 2018?
Wednesday 15th of August 2018
Hello, Ray! Thank you for your comment! Unfortunately there is no way to buy online tickets to the palace unless you book a tour. As for the queue last week we saw a long queue of group tourists as the majority arrives here as a part of a tour they waited for long to enter the palace (there are different entrances for groups and individual tourists). We would suggest not to come on Monday many tourists come here because the Hermitage is closed on Mondays. Catherine palace closed on Tuesdays for this reason Wednesdays are quite busy as well. You can try to visit the palace late afternoon after the most visitors. Ticket offices are opened from 12pm to 6.45 pm (from 12pm to 7.45pm on Mondays and Wednesdays). Come earlier and walk in the park till the queue reduces and then visit the palace - buses and trains back to the city run till late. August in not the peak season compare to June and July there are less tourists in general. Enjoy St.Petersburg! Cheers!