Pavlovsk Palace (Pavlovskiy Dvorets)
Built by Catherine the Great in the 18th century for her son, Emperor Paul I, Pavlovsk Palace is a notable example of the era’s neo-classical architecture. Set amid 1,500 acres (607 hectares of landscaped parks and woodlands, a visit to the estate provides insight into the life of one of Russia’s most enigmatic rulers.
Admire the palace’s classical gold and white façade, then head inside to explore the State Rooms, decorated with an impressive collection of furnishings, fine china, and paintings. Highlights include the Charles Cameron-designed Italian Hall and Grecian Hall, the lavish Throne Room, and Paul’s Library, home to a series of tapestries gifted to the Emperor by Louis XVI. You can also peek into the chambers of Maria Feodorovna, where her personal items are still on display; admire works by Tiepolo and Rubens in the Pavlovsk Picture Gallery; and walk through the grandiose Dining Hall.
Things to know before you go
- Active types can enjoy walking and cycling in Pavlovsk Park—bikes are available to hire in the summer months.
- There are separate admission fees for the palace and park. Admission is included with the St Petersburg Card.
- There is a restaurant at the palace and a number of cafés dotted throughout the park.
- The park is largely accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, although access to the palace itself is limited.
How to get there
Pavlovsk Palace is located 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of St. Petersburg; about a 1-hour drive. Trains run from St. Petersburg’s Vitebsk station to Pavlovsk Station (a 40-minute journey), from where it’s a 10-minute bus ride or 20-minute walk to reach the palace entrance. Many visitors opt to visit as part of a day tour from St. Petersburg with transport included.
When to get there
The palace and park are open daily. Avoid visiting on a Friday or the first Monday of each month, when many of the main palace exhibitions are closed. The park is particularly captivating in the spring and autumn months when blooming flowers and fall foliage provide a colorful backdrop for photos. Winter visitors can admire the snow-covered palace on a troika ride (horse-drawn sleigh) around the estate.
Tours of Pavlovsk Palace are often combined with a visit to the nearby Catherine Palace, one of St. Petersburg’s most popular attractions. Originally built by Catherine I in 1717, the Rococo-style palace was redesigned under the direction of Empress Elizabeth in 1756 and inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France. Highlights of a visit include the opulent Amber Room, covered in gilded amber wall panels; the Grand Hall; and Catherine Park, which has landscaped gardens, a grotto, and more than a dozen pavilions.
- Catherine Palace and Park
- Tsarskoe Selo State Museum and Heritage Site
- Grand Maket Russia
- Alexander Nevsky Lavra Monastery
- Planet Neptune Oceanarium
- Senate Square (Senatskaya Ploshchad)
- Dostoevsky Museum
- St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral (St. Nicholas Cathedral of the Epiphany)
- Mariinsky Theatre
- Monument to Catherine II (Pamyatnik Ekaterina II)
- Alexandrinsky Theatre
- Anichkov Palace
- Nevsky Prospekt
- Fabergé Museum