St. Petersburg is a city that is rich not only in history but also in cultural and architectural attractions. However, the surroundings of the city can serve as a source of even more inspiration. The palaces, many of which were built in the 18th century at the will of the tsar's family, deserve special attention and we will get acquainted with them on this trip. **Recommendations:** - It is important to keep a social distance when visiting public places, and to use personal protective equipment. - It is also worth remembering that when checking into hotels and visiting museums, a valid QR code or a negative PCR test is required for a maximum of 72 hours.
Today we will plunge into the atmosphere of the XVIII century, visiting some of the main palaces of the Leningrad region, as well as visit the highest point of St. Petersburg.
Great Gatchina Palace is one of the main architectural landmarks of the Leningrad region. It was built in the 18th century by order of Catherine II for her favourite, Count G.G. Orlov, but after his death the palace was purchased by the Empress for her son and future Emperor Paul I. Afterwards the owners of the Palace were only members of the Tsar's family until the February Revolution in 1917, after which it was decided to turn the Palace into a national museum. Inside the Palace you will be welcomed by an exhibition which will tell you about the history and the owners of the place, you will be able to see personal belongings and rooms of Pavel I, visit the Signal Tower of the Palace, which offers an incredible view over the park, and even visit the underground passage of the Palace, the total length of which is 130 meters! **Warning! *From October 30, 2021 the entrance to the museum is provided by valid QR-codes, more details on [website](https://gatchinapalace.ru/pressa/izmeneniya_v_rezhime_raboty_s_30_oktyabrya/) of the museum.
Next we will go to the Priory Palace, which is certainly not as luxurious as many others, but because of that is no less attractive, and what's more, it is the hallmark of Gatchina. The unique thing about this building is that it is the only monument of earthwork construction of the XVIII century in Russia. The name of the Palace goes back to the knightly rank of the Great Priory which was approved by Paul I in 1797. The Palace was built by the Emperor for the Prince Conde who was in exile. It is hard to believe, but once on the place of the palace there was a perennial bog, which had to be drained and ditches and ditches dug in order to erect the Earth Palace, as it is often called. Today the building hosts an exhibition of Eastern art, an exposition devoted to the history of the palace, the technique of earthwork construction and the architect N.A. Lvov. *closed to the exposition from 8 to 24 November 2021!
Then we will go for lunch to Podvorye restaurant, which is considered to be "the most Russian restaurant in Russia". This institution is loved not only by locals, but also by foreign guests. The menu of the restaurant offers a large variety of dishes of the native Russian cuisine, as well as an extensive children's menu. Here you can taste homemade pelmeni, homemade borshch, Tsar's soup, pancakes with caviar or pirozhki with lingonberry. The restaurant interior won't leave you indifferent either: stuffed bear holding a tray with two glasses of vodka, accordions, balalaikas and wooden furniture.
The next place of our visit is Pavlovskiy Palace Museum-Reserve, which is an example of Russian culture of the XVIII century. Pavlovsky Palace here is the main attraction of the whole ensemble. Some centuries earlier the Palace served as a summer residence of Paul I. Great composers often gave concerts there: Mikhail Glinka performed in the Pavlovsk Concert Hall, and Johann Strauss also gave his concerts. Today in the halls of the Pavlovsk Palace you can see collections of paintings, books, furniture and sculptures of those times, see the apartments of the royal family, concert and gala halls. You can see the exposition on your own or in the company of an experienced guide, who will be happy to acquaint you with the history and secrets of the palace. **Attention! *From October 30, 2021 the entrance to the museum is carried out by valid QR-codes, detailed on the [website](https://pavlovskmuseum.ru/visitors/mode/) of the museum.
Dudengof Heights is a unique natural monument where the highest point of St. Petersburg is located. From here you have the best panoramic view of the nearest fields and the outskirts of the city. The park has wooden stairs to climb steep ditches, cleared paths and a 2.5-kilometre eco-trail. Here you can enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings, peace and tranquillity.
Our journey is coming to an end and it's time to head to the Nordic restaurant for dinner. The interior here is a complete reflection of the Nordic style: panoramic windows, spacious shapes, small bright accents and even an open kitchen equipped with the latest technology. Only the freshest farm products are used in the preparation of the dishes, which inspires confidence. Here you can taste such Scandinavian dishes as lamb tartare with roasted aubergine, boletus soup, pizza on rye dough with seafood, ice cream with flax, porcini and cornflower flavours, and the restaurant has an extensive bar list with strong drinks rich in aromas of herbs, berries and cones. Opening hours: 12:00 to 23:00 daily.