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Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

Level Contributor
66 posts
16 reviews
Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

I usually avoid group tours because I prefer to go on at my own pace. When I went to Versailles in Paris I saw bus loads of people show up and everyone on the bus had to go at one pace while a guide had a megaphone or headset. It seemed so inefficient and unpleasant.

Is it better for people to goto Peterhof on their or with guides?

If guides are better, what company do people suggest? Or, if there is not a guide/company you suggest, how much time should I allocate? Knowing how much time will help me pick a tour company because different companies spend different amounts of time. When I went to Versailles I spent all day there because I saw the equestrian performance, went to all of the little houses(which were not spectacular), saw the interior and the fountains.

Are the little buildings at Peterhof worth seeing?

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
709 posts
86 reviews
1. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

Sabrina L – Peterhof you can do it yourself, there is no need to use a tour guide or tour group. You need to allocate 1 full day for Peterhof including travel to and from Saint Petersburg to Peterhof. For me personally this is what I saw at Peterhof and I don’t think other attractions where worth visiting as you need to pay individually to see each of them inside.

This was my schedule for Peterhof Palace:

d.1) Lower Park first – Open from 9:00 AM. Fountain starts at 10:00 AM. Entrance fees is 750 Ruble.

d.2) The Grand Peterhof Palace second – first session from 12:00 NOON to 2:00 PM. Stand in ticket queue at 11:30 AM to get the ticket. Entrance fees is 700 Ruble [no photo inside the museum].

d.3) The Royal Church Museum third – open from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Entrance fees is 500 Ruble.

d.4) Upper Garden fourth – Free entry.

New York
Destination Expert
for Moscow
Level Contributor
4,285 posts
40 reviews
2. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

Go on your own - it is an easy and somewhat fun trip by boat from in front of the Winter palace.

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
159 posts
187 reviews
3. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

We are also solo travellers and always love to visit places at our own instead of joining any group. We did the same at peterhof as well. Reached comfortably with hydrofoil and in return we booked the cab via yandex app. Only problem was the long queues, which might be avoidable if u join any group (although I am not sure on this)

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,150 posts
48 reviews
4. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

I went there by myself by public transport and enter through the upper park, which is free and amazingly good in itself. I purchased ticket online and printed it out. It has a bar code that you can enter the lower park with without queuing for tickets. I returned on hydrofoil at the pier in lower park.

If you use hydrofoil both ways you won't get to see the upper park which is really worthwhile.

Holt, Missouri
Level Contributor
621 posts
60 reviews
5. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

KCH - yes, that's the best way to do it.

Take Metro 1 to the Avtovo station (which is worth seeing in itself!). When you exit the station, look across the street, and you'll see a line of mini-buses with placards that say "Fountains." Pay the (very low) fare, tell the driver "Peterhof," or "Fountains," and he'll let you off right at the entrance to the Upper Gardens. The ride takes about an hour. I can't say it's very scenic - you might want to take a book to read on the way.

The upper gardens are lovely and open to the public for free. Then you use your ticket to enter the lower gardens, with the grand cascade - truly one of the wonders of the world. If you have a special interest in palace interiors, you can pay extra for admission to the Grand Palace, Montplaisir &c - but, honestly, they don't compare to the Catherine Palace. Then take the hydrofoil back.

If you take the hydrofoil both ways, it's not that you can't exit to the Upper Gardens - you can. The problem is that, if you do, you have to pay full admission again to get back into the Lower Gardens!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
29,106 posts
95 reviews
6. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

I really loath bus tours and my recent experience with a few of those as part of a cruise between Moscow and Petersburg reminded me why. Most of the people on our cruise group took an optional bus tour to the Peterhof. They were very grumpy about it when they returned. We chose to go ahead to the hotel. At the hotel I got a car to the Peterhof that the hotel arranged; we were taken in a lovely air conditioned leather seated new BMW. We bought tickets and toured the palace and then spent the afternoon in the gardens which are lovely when the fountains are running and we got lunch at one of the little restaurants in the garden. When we were done, we took the hydrofoil back to Petersburg. I can't remember how much it costs specifically, but it was cheap. All in all we paid about two thirds what couples on the tour paid for a shorter herded about trip on a bus from the cruise company.

In Petersburg the year before, we hired a guide with a car through tours by locals to go to the Catherine Palace as we didn't want to hassle with public transport to do it. We are old, it is worth it to us to hire a private car when the cost is not too high. I had looked into a bus tour and it cost more than our private guide, required us to go to a hotel to meet the tour etc etc. The guide came to our apartment and picked us up, managed ticketing so we didn't have lines, helped us avoid groups within the palace, went at our pace (slow we actually like to look at things, ) and then took us to a good casual local place for lunch and delivered us to our door step. You can see the experience in my photo journal.

so a private guide is occasionally useful especially when it helps with transport, but I would not to a group bus tour if you have other choices.



Edited: 27 September 2017, 17:09
St. Petersburg...
Level Contributor
359 posts
7. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

@ Sabrina L, @vinteui

Or take a train from the center of SPB (Baltiyski Railway station), than bus for 5 min and spent less than 50 min in total. BTW, Peterhof Railway station is also worth to see it :)

I really don't understand the reasons, why all forum people here advice to take a bus that, in general, would be much longer time to spent en-route.

P.S. I'm not a great fan of trains. I just like to use _appropriate_ means of transport to avoid any extra time spending and maximize pleasure time.

I.e. take a bus to Pushkin from the _city center_ using Moskovskaya metro station - it is just spending time - nothing else! If calculated from city center (where most of tourists are staying) it is about min. 1 hrs to 1.5 hrs to reach it comparing with 30 min train + 7 min local bus (or just walk for 20 min).

Edited: 27 September 2017, 18:44
St. Petersburg...
Level Contributor
359 posts
8. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

Just one note: I'm not the fan of trains. I just prefer to use appropriate means of transport to minimize the transport time itself.

Holt, Missouri
Level Contributor
621 posts
60 reviews
9. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

@eduardtibet - thanks for the tips. I think I will try the train to Pushkin next Summer.

Colorado Springs
Level Contributor
15 posts
14 reviews
10. Re: Peterhof on your own or with a group tour

The chief advantage of a guided tour is that you can enter the palace directly without waiting in line for tickets and would be assured of entry into the main palace. Also, they would know which days are palace closing dates and what times are available for tours. The palace complex is not open every day during the week and tour times are restricted for various categories of tourists. A guided tour to the Peterhof doesn't have to be a group tour. Lots of individual guides are available including from the larger tour firms. Check the listings here on Trip Advisor things to do. Otherwise, if you go on your own during the summer season and some holiday periods, you are assured of standing in a long line and possibly not being able to enter. During these times, once inside, everyone is herded through in a continuous crowd in order to be able to accommodate the most people possible. It is easy enough to get to the palace by hydrofoil boat, Yandex taxi (there is an ap), private car arranged through your hotel, public rail/bus combination or metro/bus combination. The fountains and gardens and exterior architecture of the main palace are the chief attractions. However, the fountains are turned off in the fall and not back on until May. I recommend you check out the Peterhof website - tickets dot peterhofmuseum dot ru/en/ as that will give you a better idea of the various special tours and secondary buildings available to tour and you can see if they are to your taste or not. You can also purchase tickets to the gardens, the secondary buildings and one or two special tours but not the main palace on line. Some say this costs a bit more but it is a time savings and also you can leave your wallet securely in your waist belt!

Edited: 28 September 2017, 20:59