Pack a picnic and everything you need for a hike and enjoy the Northern beauty of Russian forests, parks, lakes and rivers.
1. Pavlovsk (Павловск)
Pavlovsk Park although carefully designed for the tsars in the English landscape style by Scottish architect Charles Cameron and the Italian Pietro Gonzaga, looks like a forest in many parts. Beautiful alleys are surrounded by picturesque lawns. You will encounter old statues and pretty bridges over ponds made by river Slavyanka.
You can easily walk in the 600 hectares park for hours and meet only a couple of mushroom pickers. If you are bored of hiking in the forest, drop by the Pavlovsk Palace area.
There are a couple of cafes, shops, and ice cream vendors closer to the Palace area. Public toilets are also available.
Pavlovsk is also a nice place for cross-country, Nordic skiing. Ski rentals available in the park.
Pavlovsk is only about 40 mins by commuter train electrichka from St Petersburg. Here is How to Get to Pavlovsk from Saint Petersburg. Once you get off the train, the entrance to Pavlovsk Park is just across the road from the train station.
There is a small fee to enter the Park. It is free before 9 am and after 9 pm.
Here is a youtube video with the aerial views of the Pavlovsk Park.
2. Gatchina (Гатчина)
Gatchina is a park known for its clean air and gorgeous landscapes.
In 1765, Catherine the Great made a gift of Gatchina land to her favorite Grigoriy Orlov to thank him for his help in the coup which led her to the Russian throne in 1762.
The forest was initially used as a hunting estate, and later a palace was constructed and the English garden was created in Gatchina around two beautiful lakes (Beloye and Chernoe).
The park is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm. The entrance to the Gatchina park is free. Doors are open till 7 pm.
Gatchina is about 1 hour away by commuter train (elektrichka) from Baltiysky Vokzal train station in Saint Petersburg. Your stop is either Gatchina Baltiyskaya (Гатчина Балтийская or Gatchina Varshavskaya (Гатчина Варшавская).
Minibus marshrutka К18 and К18а from Metro Moskovskaya to Gatchina Baltiyskaya.
3. Gatchina Eco Trail (Гатчинская эко-тропа)
This eco-trail was first built by the locals in 2016. The trail is only 2.5 kilometers long
The eco-trail begins at the source of the Tyoplaya river. The trail will lead you through the forest, through swamps, meadows, and along the coast – right up to the marvelous valley on which four rivers (Tyoplaya, Kolpanka, Paritsa and Izhora) wander through the meadows. Particularly interesting are the ruins of the old mill.
4. Shuvalov Park (Шуваловский парк)
The Shuvalov Park is 15-minute walk from the Pargolovo train station. It is also reachable from Metro Prospect Prosveshenia (bus 167, minibus 199 and 271) or from Metro Ozerki (by bus 109 and minibus 259 and 673) .
Shuvalov Park is known for its odd-shaped ponds, the former mansion of the Shuvalov family, and the church of Peter and Paul.
There is an equestrian center in the park.
5. Semiozerje (Семиозерье)
Located between St Petersburg and the town of Vyborg, Semiozerje (seven lakes) is famous for its hilly forests and beautiful lakes surrounding the villages of Semiozerje and Polyany.
You can get there by elektrichka commuter train from Moskovsky Vokzal train station to Polyany station in the direction of Volhovstroj-1 (Волховстрой -1).
6. Petajarvi (Петяярви)
About 80 km from Saint Petersburg Priozersk Region is a land of pine forests and calm lakes.
The are several lakes not far from the Petajarvi (Петяярви) train station. You can swim and fish in some of these lakes.
There are cottages for rent, which may be a good idea if you are looking for a quiet place away from everything.
Petajarvi can be reached from Finlandsky Vokzal, trains in the direction of Kuzhnechnoe (Кузнечное).
7. Komarovo Eco Path (Эко-тропа Комаровский берег)
A short 2.8 km trek in near picturesque Komarovo and the Bay of Finland. Walk for 40 minutes along beautiful forest and beaches, and see wildlife and enormous anthills.
The trail is a wooden walkway and quite well equipped with information stands, benches, etc.
Only 50 minutes by commuter train from Finlandsky Vokzal to Komarovo station.