Komarovo is a charming village in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg. It stretches along the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Komarovo attracts tourists by pristine forests, sand beaches, and picturesque dunes. Let’s take a look at this place which is often considered as a green museum under the open sky.
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WHAT IS KOMAROVO?
Komarovo is a small village 40 km away from Saint Petersburg. Situated on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, this place has always been loved by Russian VIPs. This is not surprising as Komarovo is recognized as a natural monument. It has everything for a great chill-out: amazing forests, sand beaches, and the gulf shore.
Though the village of Komarovo is quite small, it is worth a one-day escape from Saint Petersburg. The main “treasure” of Komarovo is its nature. I am sure that you would enjoy charming northern landscapes as I do.
KOMAROVSKY STRAND — GREEN MUSEUM UNDER OPEN SKY
In Komarovo, there is a special area — an ecological path — that makes visiting forests easy, safe, and entertaining. This area is called Komarovsky Strand (or Komarovsky Bereg, in Russian)
Since 1992, Komarovsky Strand has been a protected area, a natural monument. This is a pristine forest area in the suburbs of Saint Petersburg that remained almost untouched. In summer 2014, an ecological path was opened there.
An ecological path is a tourist route that goes through a natural area: forests, mountains, swamps, etc. It is a great place for environmental education.
Unlike wild natural areas, ecological paths are specially equipped. Often, there are special boardwalks, information boards, maps, and road pointers. As tourists follow predetermined boardwalks, they don’t damage vulnerable ecosystems and don’t disturb birds and animals.
Thus, an ecological path is a sustainable way to explore nature.
The route of Komarovsky Strand is about 3,5 km long. The main part of the itinerary lies in the forest. Spines in this area are amazingly high and straight. Here and there we see anthills. Some of them are the size of humans!
In the forest, there are many ponds and small streams. Water in them is clear and cold. If you look closer, you will see that this photo is… a reflection of trees in one of the ponds!
Before the Revolution of 1917, the village Komarovo was a place where wealthy inhabitants of Saint Petersburg loved to spend vacations. You have probably heard the Russian word “dacha”. Dacha is a suburban house (often located in the countryside or in a small village) where Russians spend summers. So Komarovo was THE place where rich people built their dachas.
For instance, famous jeweller Carl Faberge had a dacha in Komarovo. Ballerina Matilda Kshesinkaya (who is known as a lover of young Nicholas II) spent her vacations in the dacha of Youkhnevich. In general, before the revolution, there were over 400 dachas in Komarovo. Many houses were remarkable by intricate architecture: high figured roofs, spacious verandas with multi-coloured glass, carved platbands, and weathercocks.
Unfortunately, this beauty didn’t survive in the XXth century. And even if some buildings still exist, they are in an extremely poor condition. When we walk along Komarovsky Strand, we can see the rest of the former decorations. For example, there are cascade ponds (which were certainly created by humans), a picturesque semi-ruined staircase, and the rests of fountains.
You will need 1-1.5 hours to wander in the forest of Komarovsky Strand. The area is not very big but it is so peaceful that you may not want to leave it too fast.
Now let’s continue your path along the shore of the Gulf of Finland. It lies close to the forest, you just have to cross the road (Primorskoe Avenue) — and you are already on the beach.
The Gulf of Finland has wonderful sand beaches. Though the water in the gulf remains cold even in summer (~15-17°C), on a sunny day many people dare to bathe. If you are not so brave, you will certainly enjoy walking along the shore, sunbathing and collecting seashells.
The beach is very long so it’s possible to spend there a couple of hours: the sea on one side, spines and rosehips on the other side. When you’re tired and hungry, head to one of the multiple shore cafes which have cosy verandas with a beautiful view of the sea.
Don’t forget a windbreaker when you go for a walk to the shore of the Gulf of Finland. Even in summer, the weather is often windy and chilly.
HOW TO GET TO KOMAROVO
The fastest way to get to Komarovo is a suburban train. It departs from Finland railway station in Saint Petersburg. You go to station Komarovo. The road takes 1 hour and costs ~90 Rub (~1.5 USD per a one-way ticket). You can by tickets at the railway station (in ticket offices or ticket machines)
When you leave the train on Komarovo station (which is actually just a platform), cross the railways and then a highway. Then just follow Morskaya Street which goes down and leads to the shore. In the middle of the road you will see the entry to Komarovsky Strand. Turn to the right and enjoy!
The entrance to Komarovsky Strand is free.