Top Day Trips from St. Petersburg
As Russia’s former capital, St. Petersburg is an ideal jumping-off point for visiting some of the country’s must-see imperial sights and historical towns. From the lavish Peterhof to Pushkin’s baroque Catherine Palace and even mighty Moscow, here are our top picks for day trips from St. Petersburg.
Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo) and the Catherine Palace – about 19 miles (30 kilometers) away
Just south of St. Petersburg, Pushkin, also known as Tsar’s Village (Tsarskoe Selo), was a summer base for Russia’s rulers. Its star turn is Catherine Palace, an 18th-century blue-and-white baroque residence built for Catherine I, distinctive for its lavish interiors and dazzling Amber Room. The palace is a popular road or rail day trip from St. Petersburg, often combined with a visit to nearby Pavlovsk Palace.
Peterhof Palace – about 24 miles (39 kilometers) away
Commissioned by Peter the Great and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this series of palaces and parks is sometimes dubbed the “Russian Versailles” for its beauty. Just west of St. Petersburg, the complex centers on the Grand Palace—a onetime summer royal residence—and its fountain-studded gardens. The complex’s proximity to St. Petersburg makes it easy to visit on day trips by hydrofoil, boat, or road; some tours also include a visit to Pushkin.
Pavlovsk Palace – about 22 miles (35 kilometers) away
Fringing Pushkin, the 18th-century Pavlovsk Palace and Park was built by Catherine the Great for her son, Paul I. Tours focus on the palace’s opulent interiors—in striking contrast to the plain, neoclassical exterior—and the landscaped gardens, with their streams, copses, and follies. Some day trips also incorporate a visit to Pushkin.
Veliky Novgorod – about 149 miles (240 kilometers) away
Russia’s oldest city, Veliky Novgorod straddles the River Volkhov and boasts many medieval sites, making it ideal for history buffs. In and around the historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stand Russia’s earliest Kremlin—housing the 11th-century Cathedral of St. Sophia—and gems such as the riverside St. George’s Monastery.
Moscow – about 440 miles (708 kilometers) away
With sights ranging from Red Square to the Kremlin, Moscow is a must for those wanting to cover another of Russia’s great cities while in St. Petersburg. With just a day to spare, it’s best to explore with a tour guide on a high-speed rail trip—the most convenient way to visit in a day—to ensure you see the highlights with ease.