St. Petersburg’s Hidden Gems: Day Trips to Nearby Treasures

In November, when autumn gives way to the first hints of winter, St. Petersburg serves as an excellent hub for day trips to nearby destinations that offer a glimpse of this beautiful seasonal transition. Here are some places that are easily accessible by train and perfect for enjoying the end of autumn and the onset of winter:

Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo. Photo by Helen Ast (@helenaast) on Unsplash

1. Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo)

Pushkin, also known as Tsarskoye Selo, is a historic town located just 24 kilometers (15 miles) away from St. Petersburg, Russia. It's a delightful destination to explore the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. Renowned for the Catherine Palace (the Summer Palace) and its beautiful gardens, Pushkin offers a rich cultural and natural experience during this transitional season.

Distance from St. Petersburg: Approximately 24 kilometers (15 miles), a short train ride.


  • The Catherine Palace is the crown jewel of Pushkin. Its striking blue-and-white façade and ornate Baroque architecture are a sight to behold. Inside, you can explore opulent rooms, including the famous Amber Room, which is a masterpiece of craftsmanship and artistry.

  • The park surrounding the Catherine Palace is vast and features meandering pathways, elegant sculptures, and the Big Pond. The park's landscape design and classical architecture make it a perfect place for a leisurely stroll.

2. Peterhof

Peterhof, often referred to as the "Russian Versailles," is a magnificent palace and garden complex located in the west of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Distance from St. Petersburg: Approximately 29 kilometers (18 miles), accessible by train.


  • The Peterhof Palace is renowned for its stunning architecture, grand interiors, and the grandeur of the Grand Cascade fountains. Although the fountains are usually turned off in winter, the palace's historical significance and breathtaking design make for a captivating visit.

  • Peterhof's location on the Gulf of Finland adds to its charm. The Marine Canal, which connects to the Gulf, offers a tranquil and scenic setting. Walk along the canal or simply enjoy the view of the water, especially as winter begins to make its mark.

  • Enjoy Russian cuisine and seasonal delights at local cafes and restaurants in Peterhof. Warm up with traditional dishes like borscht, pelmeni, and hearty soups.

Photo by Dimitry B (@dimitry_b) on Unsplash
Photo by Dimitry B (@dimitry_b) on Unsplash

3. Vyborg

Vyborg is a historic town located in the northwest of St. Petersburg, and it's a wonderful destination to explore the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. With its medieval charm, picturesque surroundings, and proximity to the Baltic Sea, Vyborg offers a unique experience during this transitional season.

Distance from St. Petersburg: Approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles), accessible by train.


  • Vyborg is a charming medieval town with a castle, cobblestone streets, and a picturesque harbor. The Vyborg Castle, also known as the Vyborg Fortress, is the town's iconic attraction. This medieval fortress, originally built in the 13th century, is a captivating piece of history.

  • The town's location on the shores of the Vyborg Bay adds to its charm. Stroll along the waterfront, breathe in the fresh sea air, and enjoy the view of boats and ships in the harbor.

  • Vyborg offers several cozy cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Russian and local Finnish cuisine. And, don’t forget to try dishes like Karelian pies (karjalanpiirakka), fish soups, and other regional specialties to warm up in the cool weather.

The Clock Tower, Vyborg. Photo by Alexey Elfimov (@ikocs) on Unsplash
The Clock Tower, Vyborg. Photo by Alexey Elfimov (@ikocs) on Unsplash

4. Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk is one of the most popular destinations in suburban St. Petersburg. The city is a treasure of cultural sights and heritage, ranging from its magnificent railway station to the very outskirts of this beautiful park. A visit to Pavlovsk in November allows you to enjoy the end of autumn and the beginning of winter in a picturesque setting.

Distance from St. Petersburg: Just 30 kilometers (19 miles), accessible by train.


  • Pavlovsk Palace and Park are delightful places to visit during this time. This neoclassical palace, once a royal residence, is known for its elegant architecture, grand halls, and a remarkable art collection.

  • The park surrounding Pavlovsk Palace is extensive and picturesque, featuring a variety of landscapes, including forests, meadows, lakes, and the winding Slavyanka River. The park's classical and romantic elements make it perfect for leisurely strolls and outdoor activities.

Photo by Elina Sitnikova (@elpan_19) on Unsplash
Photo by Elina Sitnikova (@elpan_19) on Unsplash

5. Kronstadt

Kronstadt is a fascinating island town located on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland, in the west of St. Petersburg.

Distance from St. Petersburg: A short bus ride of about 30 kilometers (18 miles).


  • Kronstadt is an island town with a maritime history. You can visit the Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas and stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the brisk sea air as winter begins to set in.

  • The Konstantinovskiy Palace, also known as the Big Palace, is an impressive neoclassical structure. Though it's not always open to the public, it's worth admiring from the outside, especially its scenic location on the waterfront.

  • The Island of Kotlin itself is a fascinating place to explore. It offers a mix of historical sites, fortifications, and scenic views. Enjoy a walk on the island's shores while taking in the early signs of winter along the Gulf of Finland.

Photo by Aleksey Turkin (@aerofly) on Unsplash
Photo by Aleksey Turkin (@aerofly) on Unsplash

6. Shlisselburg (Oreshek Fortress)

Shlisselburg is the home to the historic Oreshek Fortress. It is a small town located to the east of St. Petersburg. This fortress is a significant historical site and a compelling destination to explore.

Distance from St. Petersburg: Approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) by train.


  • The Oreshek Fortress is the town's main attraction and holds a rich history dating back to the 14th century. Explore the fortress, which played a significant role in Russian history, and enjoy the quiet beauty of the surrounding landscape.

  • Located on the banks of the Neva River adds to the town's charm. You can enjoy a walk along the river, and watch the water flow and the early signs of winter.

Photo by Siarhei Palishchuk (@smeshny) on Unsplash
Photo by Siarhei Palishchuk (@smeshny) on Unsplash

These destinations offer a delightful mix of history, nature, and seasonal charm, making them perfect for day trips from St. Petersburg in November. As you take the train (or bus) to these locations, you'll be treated to scenic views of the changing landscape, making the journey itself part of the experience. Don't forget to dress warmly and savor the unique beauty of the autumn-winter transition in northwestern Russia.

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