Russia has such an interesting and at times brutal history, which is one of the reasons I suppose I find it so fascinating. Before heading back to visit this time I read a lot about the last Tsar and his family. While reading I learnt about some of the palaces in which they lived...they seemed to be endless! There were a few in particular that I wanted to visit.
The Winter Palace in St Petersburg is so accessible and worth a half day or full days visit as it houses the Hermitage museum. It is enormous and my favourite parts were the rooms of the palaces which were as they were during the times of the Tsars.
We did a daytrip to Peterhof, which is very easy to get to from the city by hydrofoil. It is very formal and what I imagine Versailles to be like. It gives you an idea of the riches of the Royal family. The grounds are huge and you can get a little train around them if you are feeling a bit lazy like we were. Otherwise you could spend a whole day wandering around here and bring a nice picnic to eat on the river or in a pasture.
The palace I most wanted to visit was he Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selowhere the last Tsarina was captured and taken from. Unfortunately we didn't make it there because some of our travel party were sick of palaces ;p Hopefully I'll get the chance to go back and finish my tour of palaces...St. Petersburg is a wonderful European/Russian city and now it is possible to visit from Finland without a visa it will make it easier to get back there.