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8 Great Day Trips From St. Petersburg, Russia Recommended by a Local

posted by Liza 27th October 2019 0 comments
beautiful places near St. Petersburg
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Last updated on November 9th, 2019

Hey guys, in this post, I would love to share with you some great day trips from Saint Petersburg, the second most famous city in Russia. There are many beautiful places near St. Petersburg that you can visit including Novgorod, Pskov, Repino and many more!

I’m originally from St. Petersburg and I love helping my fellow travellers out, especially when it comes to travelling to Russia. Even though I don’t live in Saint Petersburg anymore (I call London my home now), I still visit my family and friends a couple of times per year.

Saint Petersburg is a very beautiful city, however, if you’re visiting it for 5 days or longer, you might want to explore the surroundings of the city as well. These day trips from St. Petersburg would be a great idea if you have a spare day or two and want to travel around Russia a bit more. With the new e-Visa to St. Petersburg, travelling to Russia it’s now easier than ever! If you haven’t applied for your free e-Visa yet (or you don’t know if you’re eligible), read this post about things you need to know about the free e-Visa to St. Petersburg here >>>

Moscow vs St. Petersburg - if you can only visit one city in Russia...

Make sure to check out my ultimate guide to St. Petersburg here >>> 

Without further ado, let’s get started! 

Check the prices and the availability of the flights to St. Petersburg now! 

St. Petersburg has a very rich and interesting (and somewhat tragical) history and if you want to learn a bit more about the city, you can get one of these guides. 

Best day trips from St. Petersburg, Russia & beautiful places near Saint Petersburg

Peterhof Palace and fountains 

The first must-do day trip from Saint Petersburg is definitely the small town called Peterhof. With the expansion of the city, it lays now within the city borders, however, it does take about 1.5 hours to get there from the city centre. In some of my previous posts about St. Petersburg, I did recommend visiting Peterhof just for 1/2 day, as you don’t need to stay there for many hours. However, in summer, the queues can be massive, plus add to this 3 hours for transport (return, of course) and voila, it’s already a proper day trip. Peterhof is especially pretty in May to end of September when the fountains work. Otherwise, the park looks a bit sad, so I would recommend going to Peterhof Fountain park in late spring – early summer. The actual Palace is absolutely stunning inside and outside, however, there will be a separate queue for the palace as well. 

Besides Peterhof palace and it’s upper / lower parks, there’s also a lovely park called Alexandria in Peterhof town. If you have some time left, you can go for a walk there as well and perhaps have a picnic on the Baltic Sea coast.

You can totally head to Peterhof by yourself (and I explain how in this post), but if you prefer a tour that will take care of all your tickets and will help you to skip the queues as well, you can check this tour here >>>

Check my post on how to get to Peterhof from St. Petersburg – the detailed guide >>>

Best museums in St. Petersburg, Russia

Veliky Novgorod

One of the most popular day trips from Saint Petersburg is the trip to Veliky Novgorod. Veliki Novgorod used to be a capital of Russia for quite some time and it’s a very small and traditional Russian city with while stone dome-shaped churches and a Kremlin (sorry to disappoint you, but not only Moscow has a Kremlin, there are actually quite a few Kremlins all around Russia, as Kremlin is basically a fortress that surrounds the city and protects its from the enemies (think fort or castle). 

Veliky Novgorod is an absolute must if you want to see how the real Russia looks like (well, St. Petersburg or Moscow aren’t really the best representatives of the country) and if you have some free time, why not.

You can either buy a tour to Veliky Novgorod (check the availability and the prices here) or go to the Avtovokzal 2 (Second main railway station near Obvodny Kana) and take a bus to Veliky Novgorod. The bus ride takes approximately 3-4 hours depending on the traffic, so get there very early. The earliest bus departs at 7 am.

Have you booked your accommodation in St. Petersburg yet? Read my post about the best areas to stay in St. Petersburg >>>

Veliky Novgorod - Best day trips from St. Petersburg
Novgorod – my mum’s photo

Catherine Palace and Tsarskoe Selo

Another day trip idea from Saint Petersburg is Tsarskoe Selo (or how it’s also called Pushkin Town).

You can also do it in half a day, however, if you want to stay longer and enjoy it properly, you might as well take a day. Catherine Palace is my favourite palace from the inside and the outside. I visited it at least 10 times and every time it had this ‘wow’ effect on me. Catherine Palace is located in the town called Pushkin (named after the famous Russian poet and author Alexander Pushkin), but it also has the name Tsarskoe Selo – they are the same, however, the palace is located in the Tsarskoe Selo part. 

As always, you can buy a tour (check the prices and availability here) or get there by public transport. Head to Moskovskaya metro station and take a minibus that says Trarskoe Selo from the back of the square (behind the huge Lenin statue).

Read my post about the 10 things you MUST do in St. Petersburg, Russia >>>

St Petersburg travel tips blog
Inside the palace

Pskov, the city of old white churches

Okay, this one is not a day trip, but rather a weekend trip from Saint Petersburg, if you want to visit everything in Pskov. You can, of course, also visit Pskov on a day trip from Saint Petersburg. Pskov is an old Russian city that is often referred to as a city of white stone churches. There are so many of these old churches, that you can see them around every corner. Pskov also has a Kremlin (not as flashy as the one in Moscow) and quite a few things to visit around the city. 

How to get to Pskov – just head to the main bus station (or bus station number 2) and hop on a bus to Pskov. It’s not so close, so prepare to be super tired by the end of the day, however, it’s definitely worth it! 

Pskov - Best day trips from St. Petersburg
Pskov – my mum’s photo 🙂

Old (Staraya) Ladoga and Zelenets Monastery

One of the most important places in Russia is actually the place called Old Ladoga or Staraya Ladoga. Old Ladoga used to be the absolute first capital of Russia and it was founded in 753! It also used to be one of the most important trading cities of its time. Later, the capital was moved to Veliky Novgorod, then to Kyiv (Ukraine) and then to Moscow. The importance of Staraya Ladoga declined in the 14th century and now it’s just an old (although very impressive fortress). It’s hard to visit it without a car, so I recommend taking a tour. 

If you take a tour, you also have a chance to visit Zelenets Monastery.

Spa-day in Repino and Zelenogorsk

One of my favourite day trips and one of some really beautiful places near St. Petersburg is the town Repino and also the town of Zelenogorsk. You can get there by yourself – all you need to do is to head to the Finlyandly Railway station and buy a ticket to the Repino station. 

The coast is full of pine trees (it’s a proper forest) and there are also a couple of spa hotels you can visit (and even stay for a night). I used to go to Repino for a week almost every year when I was a kid – the air is fresher there, you can hire a bike and ride around and on the warm days, you can swim in the see.

In Repino, you can also find the house of the famous Russian painter Ilya Repin (hence the name of the town) – it’s a mansion surrounded by a big park. Zelenogorsk is a bigger town where you can go for a walk in a central park or equally spend the day at sea or in the forests or enjoy a night in a spa hotel.

Best day trips from St. Petersburg
Repino – my mum’s photo
Best day trips from St. Petersburg
Zelenogorsk – my mum’s photo

Moscow

As you probably noticed looking at the map of Russia, distances in Russia are huge! Hence, it’s really hard to do any day trips in Russia! Nonetheless, since the new Sapsan speed trains were introduced, you can get to Moscow in 4 hours. Many business people come from St. Petersburg to Moscow (or vice versa) and back just within one day! So if you want, you can do it too. I would say that one day in Moscow or day trip to Moscow from St. Petersburg is a little ambitious, as Moscow is one of the biggest cities in Europe. However, you can visit Moscow in 2 days and in this post about the best way to spend a weekend in Moscow, I will show you how! 

If you still want to come to Moscow for a day trip, you head to the Red Square right away, skip the museums and just walk around the city centre. You can eat in one of the panoramic restaurants like White Rabbit, which is the best restaurant in Russia. At 7 pm, you should be back at the platform, as the last speed train to St. Petersburg departs around this time. For more ways to get to Moscow and a detailed explanation on how to get to Moscow from St. Petersburg, read this post.

Best day trips from St. Petersburg
Moscow

Ski break (in winter) in Okhta Park

If you’re visiting Russia in winter or early spring, you can ski! While St. Petersburg doesn’t have any tall mountains, it does have some ski slopes in dedicated Ski resorts. One of them is Okhta park. It’s probably the easiest to visit as it has an English website and there is a chance that someone actually speaks English there. In Okhta Park, you can find a hotel, a spa and even a sports complex with a huge ice skating ring! I spent 2 days in Okhta Park in December and it was great! You can go there for a day just to ski as well! 

To get there, you need to take bus 627 from Devyatkino metro station or bus 674 from Parnas station. Alternatively, you can ask for a taxi. It should be no more than 1200 rub one way (that’s about 18 EUR). You can also pre-order the taxi online here (the page is also in English) or you can use Yandex Taxi. 

Banner StarayaLadoga 002 3481

Visit Mandrogi Russian Village

I’ve heard controversial reviews about Mandrogi Russian Village, however, it’s one of the decent day trips from St. Petersburg, Russia, so I had to feature it here. Mandrogi Russian Village is an artificially created Russian village, where you can try vodka and experience banya, however, it’s not authentic. It’s something that existed in the 19th century, however, nowadays, even in villages, nobody lives like that. So if you want to experience something fun from the past, go for it! Don’t expect it to be authentic though, it’s more like a Disneyland of Russian villages. 

To get there, you need to rent a car and drive for 3 hours. You can also visit the village if you buy a Ladoga cruise (which is for 7 days minimum, I think). Alternatively, I found this agency which might be worth contacting regarding this tour. Below you can find the official Instagram of the village.

I hope that this post about the best day trips from St. Petersburg and most beautiful places near St. Petersburg was useful for you! I have over 30+ posts about travelling in St. Petersburg and Russia, so make sure to check my Russia posts category in you are looking for useful information such as the most beautiful metro stations in St. Petersburg, the best museums in St. Petersburg, where to see the ballet in Russia and way more!

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