Peterhof St. Petersburg Russia

7 812 420 0073

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Located 20 miles west of St. Petersburg, Peterhof was the summer residence of the Russian royal family, built by Peter the Great to rival the palaces of Versailles. It is one of the most popular of the out-of-town excursions, but the sprawling, beautifully manicured gardens leading down to the Gulf of Finland ensures a welcome feeling of space.

Cotton shoe covers are given to all visitors to protect the exquisite, intricately carved wood floors (beware the accidental ice-rink this creates) that extend from room to room, each displaying more jaw-dropping extravagance than the last. Best known are the Throne Room with portraits of the royal family and the colorful Imperial Suite, both of which were completely destroyed by fire during the Nazi occupation and were painstakingly restored to their original glory over 20 years.

Outside, the spectacular dancing fountains of the Grand Cascade are a big hit with children who can marvel at the enormous gold sculptures and water jets. Here, you can pick up the hydrofoil for a fun, half-hour-long journey back to St. Petersburg, arriving just outside the Winter Palace.

Written by Nikki Ridgway

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