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Traveling in Russia

Peterhof Palace

The “Russian Versailles” and the symbol of Russia’s elevation to a position of power within Europe, the Peterhof Palace is, without a doubt, one of the most sumptuous palaces within Russia (and I’m a high standards person).

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (9)

The very first aim of Peterhof was to spread Russian art and culture throughout Europe and of course to symbolise Russia’s accession to the rank of a great European maritime power. That’s why the Palace is dedicated to the god Neptune and the fountains are some of the greatest curiosities. As a result, Peter the Great ordered a stunning European-style palace on the shores of the Finland Gulf. Peterhof is therefore highly influenced by Versailles but developed a peculiar architecture to please the Tsar and its court.

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (3)

Peterhof’s interior ornaments are amazing, but the most impressive thing, the real treasure of this imperial summer residence, are the gardens. They aren’t something in addition, but are a real part of the palace and thought as it. The Upper and Lower gardens, the fountains, the labyrinth, the pavilions, the canal, all of these are creating a marvelous park that increase even the beauty of the palace.

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In the summer, you can travel to the palace by hydrofoil, and let yourself be sprayed by the fountains, some having been designed for this very purpose. For its interiors and its sumptuous gardens, the Peterhof Palace is an essential visit for any stay in St. Petersburg!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (8)

 

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 7: Russian palaces

Russia is known for many things, and one of them being its glorious and shiny imperial past. Who wouldn’t be astonished by the luxurious golden palaces, the huge parks and masterpieces exhibited in these imperial residences? But more (because I know why you’re reading this top), who wouldn’t dream of being the Anastasia of the 21st century? (I personally didn’t lose hopes). I already wrote about all the imperialist things we can do in Russia and especially in St Petersburg (here). But I know that most of you would rather focus on the palaces and enter the intimacy of the Russian Tsars (cheeky). So here it is! A top to know which, when and at which price you can visit imperial palaces!

 

  • Peterhof Palace (St Petersburg)

Peterhof Palace is probably the most famous palace in St Petersburg after the Ermitage. And to be honest everyone knows why. The Russian Versailles was the summer residence of Peter the Great. But above all, it has been built as a symbol of the Russian imperial power and as a way for Russia to appear as a European Great Power. That’s why the palace is absolutely stunning on the inside and even more on the outside! A definite must-do!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Peterhof - Jardins et fontaines (6)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday: 10.30-17.45

Saturday: 16.15-19.45

 

How much?

Full price (Grand Palace): 1000 RUB (16 USD)

Full price (Lower Garden): 900 RUB (15 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

  • Pavlovsk Palace (St Petersburg)

As I already explained, Paul Ist isn’t the best nor the most appreciated Russian Tsar. Nevertheless he had a beautiful palace. And especially and huge and awesome park to explore. An estate to discover and admire on the inside as on the outside (in summer of course).

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When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-17.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

Children (from 7yo to 18yo) & Student: 200 (3 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Yusupov Palace (St Petersburg)

When we think palaces and Russian Empire, we often only think about the Romanov. Which to our defence is normal due to the kind of Russian autocratic, hyper-personalised, tradition. But still the Russian Empire has been also dominated by powerful, rich and influential families such as the Yusupov. Enter their main residence on the Moika and discover about them (yesterday and today)…and discover where Rasputin has been killed!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - 2e Palais Youssoupov

When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 11.00-17.00

 

How much?

Full price: 700 RUB (11 USD)

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Tsarskoye Selo (St Petersburg)

Tsarskoye Selo is the imperial village. Why? Because it hosts two amazing palaces, the Catherine palace and the Alexander palace. If the second is under reconstruction and so close to public access for some years (you know what I mean), the first one is one of the most beautiful palace of St Petersburg. Probably because it hosts the Amber Room (well a copy since the real has been stolen, but still)!

Dreamstime © - Saint-Pétersbourg - Tsarskoe Selo - Ensemble

When?

(ticket office)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 12.00-19.45

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 12.00-18.45

 

How much?

Full price: 1000 RUB (16 USD)

Students: 350 RUB (6 USD)

Children (under 16yo): Free

 

Looking for a guided tour? Check it here!

 

 

  • Kuskovo Palace (Moscow)

Another powerful family were the Sheremetev. Their country estate in Moscow, Kuskovo, is one of the last remaining imperial palace around the Russian Capital. The palace and the estate are beautiful and you definitely should visit it!

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When?

(ticket office)

Everyday: 10.00-19.30

 

How much?

Full price: 200 RUB (3 USD)

Student: 50 RUB (0,8 USD)

 

 

  • Tsaritsyno Palace (Moscow)

Tsaritsyno is another palace close to Moscow. To be honest it’s more famous for its park, but the palace worth the visit because of its architectural style and its history!

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Tsaritsyno (3)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Weekdays: 11.00-17.30

Saturday: 11.00-19.30

Sunday: 11.00-18.30

 

How much?

Full price: 350 RUB (6 USD)

 

 

  • Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov Palace (Moscow)

Last but not least this wooden-palace is impressive. Far from the huge, goldish and European-style palaces of the Imperial Russia and St Petersburg, the Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov Palace is a true representative of the Russian style. More it explains and shows the beginning of the Romanov accession to power.

Dreamstime © - Kolomenskoe - Palais du tsar Alexis Mikhaïlovitch (4)

When?

(ticket office)

Monday: Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00-17.30

 

How much?

Full price: 350 RUB (6 USD)

Children (under 18yo) & Student: Free

 

Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 5: Amazing Russian Instagram accounts

Russia is a wide and amazing country full of diversified and outstanding landscapes. However traveling through the whole Federation can be costly and kind of time consuming. For the greatest pleasure of all, Russian photographers are travelling and posting on Instagram marvelous pics. Adding tips, recommendations, they make us travel with them and give us ideas for our next vacations. That’s why I made a short list of my favourites (of course Tsar Visit’s Instagram account is the best, but it wouldn’t be fair to add it here).

 

  • Elena Krizhevskaya

Based in Moscow and taking pics of the Russian Capital, Elena Krizhevskaya is an amazing photographer! Even if I live in Moscow, I always enjoy her posts outstanding pics. I don’t know about you, but it’s my daily shot of muscovite beauty. On the plus side, Elena always gives informations on the places she photographed. You definitely need to follow her!

Her Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenakrizhevskaya/?hl=en

Her website: https://moscow-photos.ru/

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  • Alex Mazurov

Alex Mazurov travels Russia and bring with him stunning pics of Russian landscapes and wildlife. Light colors with a recurring dark blue, these pics are my favourites. Alex’s Instagram account is another insight on Russia and its amazing landscapes. Alex Mazurov shows the beauty of Russia, of a natural and preserved Russia. His pics makes you travel instantly!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex.mazurov/?hl=en

His website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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  • Andrey Belavin

Another Moscow-based photographer. But Andrey Belavin’s Instagram account mixes perfectly the beauty of the Russian capital city with natural landscapes. Andrey gives to its followers a great view on what is the current Russia. From cities to remote natural areas, from mountains to seasides, Andrey Belavin pictures Russia in all its diversity and wonderfulness!

His Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ted.ns/?hl=en

His website: https://www.filterhero.ru/tedns

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  • Piter Life Style

If Piter Life Style reached about 532k followers on Instagram, it’s definitely thanks to its stunning pics. Focused on the Venise of the North, Piter Life Style gives us informations, tips and advices on the most beautiful corners of St Petersburg. This account is amazing! However don’t look at it too much if you’re not living in St Petersburg…or you would travel there almost every week!

Its Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piter.life.style/?hl=en

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  • Russian Explorers

Russian Explorers is a team of amazing, smart and skilled photographers (and among them Alex Mazurov). All of them with a peculiar style or focus, they make us travel through Russia thanks to wonderful shots. Follow this account and embrace what can be considered as one of the most beautiful Instagram account on Russia!

Their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/russianexplorers/?hl=en

Their website: http://www.russianexplorers.ru/

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!

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Top 10: Natural Capitals

Moscow and St-Petersburg are big cities with cars and peoples everywhere. Noises, grey buildings, pollution, crowds are all usual aspects of living in a city. Moreover, being an inhabitant or a tourist, you spend your days walking (if not running) in city centers, public transports and famous sights. So why not taking a deep and relaxing breath in one of Moscow and St Petersburg’s amazing parks? Indeed these two cities hosts absolutely stunning parks and gardens that you must have a walk in!   

  • Gorky Park (Moscow)

My favorite so far…and all year around! In winter (i.e almost all the time) Gorky park, covered of snow (and ice), is magical. For the time of a walk you’re escaping Moscow city center and enjoy a timeless moment in a snowy and welcoming forest. But above all, in winter Gorky park allows you to walk along the iced Moskva river, which is absolutely priceless (and freezing). Hopefully there is also lots of caffé and restaurants! When summer finally comes out of the corner, Gorky park becomes more crowded than the Red Square but the friendly atmosphere (and the sun!) worths the walk…or ride one of the available bikes! And when fall arrives, Gorky park wears is absolutely stunning orange and yellow outfits which makes you understand why Russians call autumn the “golden season”.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - Parc Gorki

  • VDNKh Park (Moscow)

As Gorki park, the VDNKh Park has the greatness of being interesting all year around. Which to be honest is not a small thing when you try to go outside during a fierce winter. The VDNKh park was a an exhibition center to show the efficiency of the Soviet economy. That’s why today VDNKh is more of a recreational complex attracting thousands of people each year. It’s one of Moscow’s most famous and popular park mainly due to its skating-rink in winter, the largest of Russia, and its pavillons, celebrating the USSR glories.

Dreamstime © - Moscou - VDNKh

  • Teply Stan Park (Moscow)

Huge landscape reserve located south of Moscow, the Teply Stan Park is a famous and very popular park in Moscow. Preserved as a mixed Russian forest, it offers to its visitors some very needed fresh air. It also takes you to typical Russian woods, and allows you to, for a day, feel somewhere else…which is a relief when you’ve been staying in Moscow for a while. But more, in the Teply Stan Park you can walk alongside it’s tiny river, rest near its pound, discover the paleontological institute or even, in summer, go sailing! And who doesn’t like to pretend to be a pirate?

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  • Sokolniki Park (Moscow)

Sokolniki park is one of the oldest park in Moscow and one of the largest in Europe (of course). Sokolniki park is considered as one of the oldest park in Moscow because before being a public one, it was a hunting ground for Princes and Tsars. A bit later it became a traditional meeting point for gatherings and festive events. The park benefited from public founding which gave Sokolniki a new youth. Currently the park is divided in 9 sectors, each hosting pavillons and a specific biodiversity. Plus, if you’re kind of a bird-fanatic (aka amateur ornithologists) Sokolniki park also has an ornitary with exotic birds to admire!

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  • Neskuchny Garden (Moscow)

Another “one of the +superlative” park in Moscow (ie one of the oldest). Neskuchny Garden is located closer to the city center than the previous ones. In line with the famous Gorky park, the Neskuchny Garden is beautiful (especially in autumn). You should go there. It’s great. And beautiful.  

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  • Botanical Garden (St-Petersburg)

Being the oldest botanical garden of Russia (seriously, again?), the Botanical Garden of St-Petersburg is now quite significant and hosts numerous plants. It first has been used as the Tsar Apothecary’s Garden, but later transformed in a center for horticultural research. As a result you can explore charming indoor and outdoor gardens and learn more about various plants and biodiversities.

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  • Yusupov Garden (St-Petersburg)

St Petersburg is a lot about canals, tiny streets and palaces. But as a result there isn’t much of green spaces to chill, play or picnic on. That’s why the Yusupov Garden is very popular and important. Located in St-Petersburg city center, the Yusupov garden was a significant part of the Yusupov Palace and so remains today a piece of history. This gem really worth the visit and you definitely have to take time to picnic in this imperial garden!

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  • Summer Garden (St-Petersburg)

St-Petersburg’s summer garden comes straight from the Imperial Russian standards of the 18th century. Similar to French gardens of that time, the Summer Garden has been built on geometrical principles. It also hosts many marble statues representing antic subjects, fountains and rare plants. The summer garden is a real breath of fresh air in the city!

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  • Pavlovsk Palace’s park (St-Petersburg)

The Pavlovsk Palace’s park is a famous park close to the city. I already wrote a lot about it but this park worth the visit (even more than the Palace itself?). Stroll along the tree-lined avenues of this English park, and enjoy the various pavilions dotting it, and be transported to the Imperial Russia!

Tips: take a good camera and you’ll manage to shoot stunning pics of the park and the palace

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  • Tavrichesky park (St-Petersburg)

As the Pavlovsk Palace’s park, the Tavrichesky park is an English-style park…but in the city center! Built by Catherine the Great around the Tavrichesky manor, it includes pavillons, greenhouses (to take care of rare and uncommon plants) and ponds. It’s a famous park for those who (unlike me) spend their weekends playing chess or doing sport!

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Want to book a guided-tour? Check out Tsar Visit!