Meet your private guide at your central St. Petersburg hotel, and receive a city map, bottled water, a raincoat in case of rain, and a souvenir gift. Your guide will accompany you throughout your tour.
Travel to the pier on the River Neva for the high-speed hydrofoil to the Peterhof, the palace and garden complex masterminded by Peter the Great between 1714 and 1721. Board with your guide and enjoy the views of passing landmarks such as the Winter Palace as you speed across the Gulf of Finland to the waterfront palace.
After around 40 minutes, dock at Peterhof pier, and skip the main entrance lines with your pre-booked ticket, enjoying priority access to what’s known as the ‘Russian Versailles.’
Stroll through the gorgeous lawns and parkland of the Lower Gardens, and see some of their celebrated fountains and water features. Marvel at the Grand Cascade, the showpiece terraced fountains that were partly designed by Peter the Great. Admire the gold-coated sculptures, including the central statue of Samson and a lion, and delight in the playing fountains, only operational between May and September.
Take in the Baroque exterior of the Grand Palace, largely the work of architect Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli for Peter’s daughter, the Empress Elizabeth, in the late 18th century. Then, tour the opulent interiors, richly decorated in Baroque and Rococo style, and adorned with paintings and gilded furnishings.
View the highlights as your guide tells stories of the Tsars and empresses who lived here, and then continue to Monplaisir, a waterfront palace in the gardens. Explore this villa-style residence, a favored summer retreat of Peter the Great, who often stayed and entertained here.
Later, ride the hydrofoil back to the city center, where your tour concludes.