What can I say about Peter the Great? He was...well...Great! And a great king deserves a great palace. Peterhof was Peter's response to Versailles. The mansion is not quite on the the same level as Versailles although I still imagine that anyone arriving via the Gulf of Finland would be impressed when their boat pulled up to the dock.
Peterhof's defining feature is it's Grand Fountain at the base of the palace. The fountains are all powered without pumps, instead relying on a series of pressure gauges trapping water that was redirected from the hills nearby. It's an impressive show today, let alone 300 years ago. The water from the fountains flows out to the Gulf of Finland. The fountains start at 11am.
Prior to entering the palace grounds, I walked around the upper park. This park is free to enter and is actually quite nice and less crowded than the lower park.
The upper park has several fountains and pools. Gardens provide nice framing for photos of the palace's backside.
The lower park opens at 9am. I showed up at 9am and purchased my ticket without waiting in line. I walked along the lower parks waterway that connected the palace with the Gulf of Finland.
From the banks of the Gulf of Finland I could see The Lakhta Center a.k.a the Gazprom Tower. When it opens, hopefully by the end of 2018, it will the tallest building not only in Russia but in Europe standing 87 stories / 1,516 feet tall.
The lower park has several sculptures and fountains beyond the Grand Fountain. There's also several smaller museums, some of which require an additional admission charge, in the lower park grounds. See all the lower park has to offer would take the entire day.
A view of Peterhof walking through the lower park.
Crowds along Peterhof's promenade. I was a bit nervous about entering the palace. Times for foreigners are not clearly posted nor followed. I saw a short line waiting outside an entrance to Peterhof. I followed some people inside. Found my way to the ticket counter and purchased a ticket without an inquiry or hesitation. Entrance to the lower park and the palace was about 1,000 RUB each.