4 Places Where You Can Go in St. Petersburg’s Countryside

If you have been to Saint Petersburg, you likely already know which are the most obvious places and activities, and you may want to look outwards, instead. Or visit Moscow. The near region of St. Petersburg, or Leningradskaya Oblast (Lenoblast, for intimate friends), is quite full of surprises as well. We will cover a few of the places. 

1. Vyborg

Vyborg is a small medieval town, about 1h away from Saint Petersburg, and right next to the Finnish border. The city even belonged to Finland at a few times in history. You can easily book a train from the Finlyandskiy Railway Station and spend the day walking around the cute little medieval streets in the historic center. 

A personal tradition of mine is having lunch or dinner at a great medieval-style restaurant called Taverna. If you are randomly walking around the city, you will certainly notice this place because of its unending lines of eager guests. Yes, the food is worth the waiting. Nowadays, you can book tables there, so if you plan beforehand, you will be able to enjoy the great Russian medieval food without having to wait in the cold for over one hour. Having a menu in English might be not possible, though.

Other than the great food at Taverna, though, there are a few different places to visit in Vyborg, such as the Vyborg Castle. The fortress is located right in the center of the Vyborg Bay and is likely the first medieval building you will see while walking along the banks from the Railway Station. It was built in the 13th century by the Swedes, or so says Wikipedia.

The design looks great. The realization and logistics, not so much.

There is also the Monrepo Park, with great views of the Vyborg Bay and Ludwigsburg. Ludwigsburg, in this case, is not a city in Germany, but a small castle nested over a rocky cliff at Vyborg Bay, barely seen between the trees.

You can also walk by the historic city center and visit the Hermitage Museum in Vyborg. A personal advice, though, is that if you have been to the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, you might not be impressed with the size of this one. 

2. Tsarskoe Selo, Pushkin or Catherine’s Palace and Park

If you ever heard of Catherine the Great,  you probably associate her with all the grandest buildings in St. Petersburg. You don’t? Oh, well, maybe you should read more about Russian history then, no? 

Tsarskoe Selo is just a train ride away from St. Petersburg. You can go there from the Baltiskiy Railway Station and pay less than 100 rubles for the ticket. These are prices from 2021, just in case.

The park near Catherine’s Palace. The entrance fee is really worth it.

Be prepared to spend the whole day walking around the palace grounds and admiring this beautiful park. Entrance is paid, and beware of the huge lines! Those are for entering the palace itself, not the park. 

If you are not into paying for visiting parks, not far from the palace there is a totally free of charge park with a few historical buildings that you can look. The park with paid entrance is totally worth it, though, especially during the summer and autumn. 

3. Peterhof

One of the greatest landmarks of Saint Petersburg, together with the winter palace. If you have ever looked at some tour guides for St. Petersburg, you have seen photos of its beautiful golden fountains. By the way, they were quite an engineering marvel at the time they were built.

Doing it tsar style

You can go the cheap way by bus or train and then walk around the city, which is quite beautiful and comes with lots of parks. Or you can go the expensive way via one of the Meteora boats and get there quite quickly. You’d also enjoy a great view of Saint Petersburg from the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland. 

Either way, if you want to see fountains working, make sure you go to Peterhof by late spring or no later than the first weeks of autumn. The fountains really add to the imperial atmosphere of the palace gardens, and it would be a shame to go there only to not see them working. Also, it gets very cold, windy and wet in the Gulf, so choose a warm day to go there. If you are not local, keep in mind that warm days are a rare sight in Saint Petersburg.

4. Repino and Komarovo

This one is for art lovers and beach lovers. Repino and Komarovo are two districts not far from each other, in the northwestern outskirts of Saint Petersburg.

There isn’t that much to see there, but you can still spend a good day at the beach after seeing Ilya Repin’s Dacha and walking around its grounds. A Dacha is a country house in Russia, but for some reason, Russians don’t translate it to country house, but simply say dacha, and so should you.

Komarovo and its many forest walkways

There are a lot of trees at Repin’s Dacha grounds, and they make for beautiful autumn images. I have even published a few shots from there in my Instagram. By simply crossing the street and walking a bit through the woods, you can go to the beach. If you are there during the summer, the water should be warm enough. Don’t bother to swim during the autumn, though.

Komarovo is quite analogous, as in you can look at rich people’s dachas, dream about being a millionaire, and go to the beach. Unless you are a millionaire reading my blog right now. In that case, please send me some money. And then go to the beach.

Thanks for reading! I hope you liked my suggestions for destinations in St. Petersburg. If you think I haven’t covered something, write in the comments, so I know what to talk about next!

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