I enjoy spending a part of the weekend away from the city. Given the surroundings of St. Petersburg with its picturesque suburbs, it is always a perfect combination of the beauty created both by nature and mankind. My most beloved one is Pavlovsk.
Founded by Ekathrina’s the Great son Paul at the end of the 18th century, it is one the biggest landscaped parks in St. Petersburg. There is so much harmony and peace in the park, maybe because Paul was one of the Russian tsars who really loved his wife and enjoyed a family life with 10 kids.
I like doing cross-country skiing during the season (a bicycle can be rented close to the entrance next to the palace) passing by the beautiful palace and enjoying the views over the hills. If you are not so sporty, rent a Finnish sled (can be rented close to the entrance next to the palace) or just keep walking. A toilet and inexpensive cafe is available in the palace.
Another bit of entertainment available all-year-round is feeding the squirrels. In order to meet these locals it is a must to come in the morning between 10 and 12:00 and use the entrance close to the train station. You can buy the nuts there as well. Very funny and friendly creatures, believe me.
The entrance fee on weekends is 100 RBL.