Top Parks and Gardens in St. Petersburg
You’re never far from nature in St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s greenest cities. From the landscaped gardens of Peterhof to the urban greenery of Maritime Victory Park, here are our top picks of parks and gardens around Russia’s second city, including options for out-of-town trips.
Once the summer residence of Catherine the Great, this 18th-century estate just outside St. Petersburg is a must-see for any first-time visitor. As well as a peek inside the ornate palace, tours typically include access to the wider park’s paths, ponds, and landscaped gardens—keep an eye out for the elaborate outdoor sculptures, pavilions, and monuments commissioned by the former empress herself.
If you like a spot of hiking with your history, don’t miss this 1,500-acre (607-hectare) park, encompassing deep forest, boating ponds, and the imperial residence of Paul I. Located on the outskirts of Pushkin, less than an hour from St. Petersburg, this 18th-century oasis is worth a full day’s attention—though if you’re tight on time, consider booking a combo tour to check it off along with neighboring Catherine Park.
Peterhof Park and Gardens
As Russia’s answer to the Palace of Versailles, the Peterhof boasts fanciful fountains, spectacular structures, and bountiful blooms over 500 acres (200 hectares) of outdoor space. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site between May and October to see the gardens in all their glory, taking advantage of early access packages to avoid the major crowds.
St. Petersburg Botanical Garden
No need to travel outside the city to be immersed in nature—you can discover flora from across the world in the St. Petersburg Botanical Garden, just north of the modern center. Join a greenhouse tour for an intimate glimpse of tropical and subtropical species, including giant water lilies, or take a relaxing stroll through the outdoor grounds to see perennial herb gardens and regional flora.
Maritime Victory Park
Situated on Krestovsky Island, Maritime Victory Park offers a slice of seclusion in the city, making it a favorite among locals. The 600-acre (243-hectare) haven boasts bike-friendly paths, plus plenty of rest stops, play areas, and wildlife-laden lakes, making it a top choice for families—especially in winter, when the on-site amusement park opens its annual ice rink.
Summer Garden and Field of Mars
As symbols of St. Petersburg, these two parks feature on most city tours, with their close proximity making them a convenient sightseeing combo. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a romantic stroll along the statue-lined avenues of the Summer Garden toward the Neva River, nor the chance to visit the Field of Mars memorial—guided experiences are particularly useful here, as information in English is limited.
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