St Petersburg palaces: TOP 10 of the most beautiful palaces to visit

St Petersburg palaces: TOP 10 of the most beautiful palaces to visit

Here is our TOP 10 of the most beautiful St Petersburg palaces to visit, including of course the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg! There are dozens of palaces in Saint Petersburg. And on a first trip, you don’t really know which one to visit. I will list below the most beautiful St Petersburg palaces of the tsars, but also the pluses and minuses of each depending on the season.

Russian Empire. Capital for more than two centuries, Saint Petersburg and its surroundings are full of treasures. The St Petersburg palaces of the tsars then reflect the power of the Romanovs and that of the Russian Empire.

Where are the palaces located? The most impressive palaces of Saint Petersburg are located in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg, except the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg (Hermitage Museum). But there are also some very beautiful palaces in the historic center. To reach the palaces, you can take public transport or a taxi.

The most visited palaces in St Petersburg

TOP 4 of the most visited palaces in St Petersburg:

Winter Palace, or Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg

History. The State Hermitage Museum consists of several buildings, including the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, its main part. Built from 1754 to 1762 at the request of the daughter of Peter the Great, the winter palace is located in the heart of the city. Later, Catherine II added a new section to the palace, in which works from around the world were exhibited. True residence of the tsars, you will find there numerous halls, lounges, ballrooms or places of reception.

The advantages of the palace:

  • Splendid place and therefore Winter Palace the “must” in St Petersburg.
  • One of the largest museums in the world
  • Located in the heart of Saint Petersburg, and therefore convenient for visiting

The – of the palace:

  • Only positive, apart from the large number of visitors.
  • Address: Palace Square, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000
  • How to get there? The Winter Palace of St Petersburg is in the heart of the city, very easy to access.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10:30 am to 6:00 pm; Wednesday, Friday: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets: 800 rubles
  • Good to know. Every first Thursday of the month, as well as on December 7, entry is free (so many people).
  • Day to avoid. In high season, from May to September, try to avoid going on Tuesday.
  • To find out more about the Hermitage Museum, you can read our article: Hermitage Museum visit: tickets, timetables, what to see?

Peterhof Palace, the Palace of the Romanov Tsars

The “Russian Versailles”. Inspired by our Palace of Versailles, the Peterhof Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces of the Tsars in Saint Petersburg. We also find in the archives the trace of the visit of Tsar Peter the Great at Versailles. The Peterhof Palace was built on the shores of the Gulf of Finland in 1723. Its magnificent cascade of fountains overlooks a canal which then flows directly into the gulf. The park of the Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg is huge, there are water games, statues, bucolic gardens. The Palace of Peterhof moreover saw the birth of the Duchess Anastasia!

The advantages of the palace:

  • It is one of the greatest palaces of the tsars in St Petersburg.
  • Fountains and water games
  • The flower gardens of the palace
  • The possibility of arriving at the palace by water from the center of Saint Petersburg by boat

The – of the palace:

  • We must pay attention to the stopping of the fountains and the schedules of the boats. In addition, there is no boat traffic when the water in the Gulf and the Neva is frozen (6 months of the year).
  • Address: Razvodnaya ulitsa, 2, St Petersburg, Russia, 198516
  • How to get there? There is no direct transport, several solutions exist. I am describing them in the blog post about Peterhof.
  • Opening hours: The gardens: from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Saturdays. The palace: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., until 9 p.m. Saturday.
  • Fountains times: from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., until 7 p.m. on Sundays and public holidays and 8.45 p.m. on Saturdays. The palace is closed on Mondays.
  • To find out more, you can for example read this article: Peterhof Palace in Saint Petersburg

Catherine Palace in Pushkin

Baroque in style, the Catherine palace seems more charming and more intimate than that of Peterhof. Even if it can impress by its size, the palace and the park have a more feminine side, in my opinion. This is perhaps not so surprising, because the palace was built and enlarged by two great empresses of Russia: Elisabeth I and Catherine II. From the outside, the Catherine Palace is reminiscent of Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.

Read also: Prepare your visit to the Catherine Palace

Amber room. The Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg is also well known for the amber chamber. In 55 m² there are almost 6 tonnes of amber. It is a very nice gift from King Prussia to Peter the Great. During the Second World War, the room was destroyed and the amber was stolen by the Nazis. The room regained its splendor in 2003, but we are still looking for its original treasures.

The + of the palace:

  • The vibrant blue and baroque style of the Catherine Palace
  • Amber Room
  • Palace garden

The – of the palace:

  • Only positive, apart from the large number of visitors.

Yusupov Palace in Saint Petersburg

The sumptuous Yusupov Palace! Like the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, it is also located in the historic center of the city, not in the suburbs. The Yusupov Palace is interesting as much for its interiors as for its history. It is also here that the most famous favorite in history was murdered: Rasputin! It is definitely one of the interesting palaces in St Petersburg.

The – of the palace:

  • The splendor of the place
  • A magnificent palace in the center of Saint Petersburg
  • The dark secrets of the palace

The – of the palace:

  • Only positive

Majestic palaces of the tsars and the imperial court near St Petersburg

  • Pavlovsk Palace
  • Oranienbaum Palace
  • Gatchina Palace

Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg

History. Pavlovsk Palace is much less known than its neighbor, Pushkin. In Palladian style, the palace was built in 1786 by the Great Catherine of Russia for her only son Paul I. Accompanied by his wife Maria Feodorovna, the latter went to Europe, and especially to Italy, in search of paintings, furniture and of art objects to adorn his future palace of Tsar.

In the fall, the Pavlovsk Palace is the palace of Saint Petersburg that has the most coast with the locals. Indeed, the fall colors give a very special atmosphere to its large park that looks like places rather like a forest.

The – of the palace:

  • One of the most elegant St Petersburg palaces of the tsars
  • Rich and varied interiors
  • The calm of the park, far from large tourist crowds

The – of the palace:

  • Simpler park with less flowered gardens compared, for example, to the palaces of Peterhof or Pushkin

Oranienbaum Palace in Saint Petersburg

History. Also less known than the Peterhof and Pushkin palaces, the Oranienbaum palace is still worth a visit. The Oranienbaum Palace was built by the first mayor of the city of Saint Petersburg: Menshikov. Very pleasant, the forms of the palace fit perfectly into the landscape of its gardens. The interiors of the palace are also remarkable (known by its Chinese pavilion). Besides, if you want to avoid the big flows of summer tourists and take a tour outside the city, the Oranienbaum Palace will certainly please you!

Gatchina Palace

The last palace in the vicinity of Saint Petersburg that I would like to name in this blog post is Gatchina Palace. Remarkable by its singularity, this palace does not resemble at all the other palaces of the tsars. If you are staying in Saint Petersburg for more than 4 days, then you could consider visiting the Gatchina Palace.

Splendid palaces in the center of Saint Petersburg

If you have time, but you don’t want to leave the city center, you can see some very beautiful St Petersburg palaces built by the Russian nobility in the heart of the city. There is, of course, the Yusupov Palace, mentioned above, but it is not the only palace in St Petersburg that is located in the city center.

Mikhailovsky Palace, palace in the heart of Saint Petersburg

History. Also called Сhâteau de Michel or Château des Ingénieurs. Looks like a real fortress, this castle was built by Paul I or rather by his paranoia. Only, the walls of the castle could not protect the tsar who will be, finally, assassinated by conspirators.

Walk. Compared to other palaces in St Petersburg, the interior of Mikhailovsky Palace is rather unattractive. I would therefore rather see this palace from the outside.

Stroganov Palace in Saint Petersburg

History. This beautiful palace of the Stroganov family overlooks Nevsky Avenue, the main artery of the city. You will certainly not miss it. Built in 1754, the Stroganov Palace is in the Baroque style. The palace is located opposite the Anitchkov bridge.

Beef stroganoff. I can’t help saying a few words about the famous Stroganoff beef! It is, in fact, an adaptation of a French recipe: it is the French cook of the Stroganov account who is at the origin.

Sheremetyev Palace in Saint Petersburg

The Cheremetiev family followed the Romanov dynasty from start to finish. The last home of the Sheremetyev then still testifies today to the greatness of its collectors and art and music lovers.

Marble Palace in Saint Petersburg

You will certainly see this palace during a boat trip on the Neva or the island of the Peter and Paul fortress. The Marble Palace was built by Empress Catherine II to one of her favorites – the Orlov account. The facade is also remarkable. It is said to change colors, depending on the light intensity: the reason is found in the thirty-two kinds of marble that make up its facade. In addition, today the palace is an annex to the Russian museum. Many exhibitions therefore take place there.

In summary

Palaces in St Petersburg, there is something for everyone! We definitely recommend that you visit the Winter Palace in St Petersburg (State Hermitage Museum). Even if you don’t particularly like museums, this is the must see palace. In summer Peterhof is wonderful, but it is often very crowded in summer. Go there by boat! We love Pavlosk in the fall with the orange color of the trees. But the rest of the year, and especially in winter, it’s Catherine Palace, our favorite.

St Petersburg travel tips:

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