Peterhof, (probably) the best palace in the world

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The View of Grand Cascade. (photo: IO/Mita)

IO – Saint Petersburg (Russia) is famous for its bridges. This city has nearly 600 bridges, which 22 of them are drawbridges. But now, I will take you to a royal palace in Saint Petersburg, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, named Peterhof.

Getting to Peterhof is easy. If you travel in a group of three or four, you can take a taxi and split the fare. I went there by boat (hydrofoil) because I solo travelled. There are some ports in the city centre that provide boat services to Peterhof. The one I chose cost 850 Rubles one way, but only 1500 Rubles for return tickets.

The view at the garden. (photo: IO/Mita)

After less than an hour journey, I finally reached Peterhof. There is a bridge that will take you to the ticket booth. Unfortunately, the information is in Russian but I had read what I needed online. Besides the garden as the main attraction, there are museums you can enter too, and each museum has its own fee. I decided to just enjoy the garden. I purchased a ticket to the Lower Garden, which cost 900 Rubles.

Make sure you arrive in Peterhof before 11 am, it is when they turn on the fountains (yes, the palace has a lot of fountains) together with some Russian music playing. It did feel like I was an important guest entering a royal palace when the tunes started and I was walking along tidy lines of trees! One fact about the fountains is that they are operated by the force of gravity instead of pumps. Also, there is one area where you have to watch your step; if you step on the right spot, you will activate a mechanism that turns on the fountain. I laughed many times when I saw some passers-by got sprayed.

Samson Fountain. (photo: IO/Mita)

The next thing we visitors did after enjoying the start of the fountains was to take pictures of the Grand Cascade with a yellow-painted museum as the background. Grand Cascade is a terrace where water flows. Several fountains and statues decorate the Grand Cascade and the sight will make you gasp. There will be a lot of tourists wanting to take pictures and selfies so be patient if you want to get some great shots! In my opinion, the Grand Cascade is the highlight of the Lower Garden, so of course after you take pictures of its sight, you need to come near and enjoy it closer.

Having a stroll in Peterhof is such an experience. The garden, the fountains, the structures, and even the beach (there is one at the back part) truly made me feel as if I were in a Summer Palace (another name of Peterhof). You can rent a royal Russian costume for 1,000 Rubles and have fun taking pictures for 15 minutes. For a moment I imagined the life of the Tsars and family a long time ago… How lucky they were to have (probably) the best palace in the world. (Mita Yulian Sasmita)