A blend of rich history and fascinating culture awaits in Russia – a truly unique country unlike any other you’ll ever visit. Sample vodka at a dedicated museum, admire the colourful onion domes on top of cathedrals and wander around the unbelievable splendour of Catherine Palace in an utterly absorbing journey between Russia’s two most influential cities.
• Moscow: 3 nights
• St. Petersburg: 3 nights
Day 1: UK to Moscow Arrive in the capital city of Moscow and transfer to your hotel where you’ll be staying for three nights. On arrival, you’ll be greeted with a traditional vodka drink. Meet the rest of your group at tonight’s welcome dinner tonight. Stay: Kadashevskaya Hotel (or similar). D.
Day 2: Moscow Have a leisurely breakfast before meeting your local guide to see some of the capital’s most iconic sights. Walk through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Red Square, a site of significant political history. It remains a symbol of Russia and is bordered on all sides with beautiful architecture, including the castle-like State Historical Museum and Lenin’s Mausoleum. You’ll see the unusual St. Basil’s Cathedral, built in the 16th Century by the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, and you’ll also visit the handsome Alexander Gardens to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Eternal Flame. Unveiled in 1967, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial has an eternal flame commemorating the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II. Have a light lunch before a tour of the Kremlin, a fortified 15th-Century complex of towers, cathedrals and palaces including Ivan the Great Bell Tower and the Great Kremlin Palace. Once one of the residences of the Russian Tsars, the Kremlin is now the home of the President of Russia. Visit the Armoury Museum to see the enormous collection of artefacts that include intricate royal carriages, gold and silver relics dating back to the 12th Century and ten of the famous Imperial Fabergé Eggs commissioned by the Russian Royal Family (exhibitions are subject to change). Take a tour of Moscow’s famed metro stations, exploring grand stations known as the ‘Palaces of the People’. Learn about each miniature palace, which are complete with stained glass windows and ornate plasterwork fit for a royal residence. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure. Stay: Kadashevskaya Hotel (or similar). B, L.
Day 3: Moscow Spend the day seeing Moscow for yourself without a guide, leaving you free to spend how time however you like. Stay: Kadashevskaya Hotel (or similar). B.
**Day 4: Moscow to St. Petersburg ** Transfer to the train station for your journey in business class on board the high-speed Sapsan train to St. Petersburg. Have lunch as the train makes its smooth journey through the Russian countryside. On arrival in St. Petersburg, go on a tour of the enormous Peter and Paul Fortress. Designed to protect his newly established city of St. Petersburg in 1703, Peter the Great’s fortress now houses the remains of the last of the royal Romanov family in its cathedral. Check in to your hotel for an evening at leisure. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 395 miles. Stay: Demetra Art Hotel (or similar). B, L.
Day 5: St. Petersburg The former imperial capital of St. Petersburg is enchanting, with resplendent buildings that stand as reminders of an opulent past. Today is spent touring the city to soak up the rich history that the Romanov dynasty left behind. See the Bronze Horseman Statue, built in honour of the city’s founder, Peter the Great, and the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, a Russian-style memorial built by the imperial family for Tsar Alexander II who was fatally wounded on the site in 1881. See Palace Square, the setting for some of Russia’s most momentous historic events. Bordered on one side by the stunning Winter Palace, the main residence of the Russian Imperial Family, and the bow-shaped General Staff Building on the other, the immense square is now a relatively peaceful place to wander in among the splendid architecture of Tsarist Russia. Head out to the small town of Pushkin to experience one of the most regal spectacles in Russia,the captivating Catherine Palace. Redesigned to rival the Palace of Versailles, this lavish Rococo-style building exudes absolute splendour with its blue, white and gold façade. Named after Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great, the palace is just as impressive inside and its standout feature is the Amber Room where a mosaic of amber adorns the walls – created using six tonnes of the gemstone. The beauty of this chamber isn’t the only thing that draws interest to it – the Amber Room in Catherine Palace is a replica of an original Amber Room that was dismantled and taken by the German Army during the Nazi invasion Operation Barbarossa in 1941. Though the location of the original remains a mystery, 20 years were spent meticulously recreating the awe-inspiring Amber Room in time for St. Petersburg’s 300-year anniversary. Dinner is at the modern Korushka restaurant where you'll get wonderful views of the Neva River Stay: Demetra Art Hotel (or similar). B, D.
Day 6: St. Petersburg Spend your last full day at the Winter Palace, now home to the State Hermitage Museum. Avoid the crowds with your early start at around 9am and enter the gold and mint-green baroque palace, one of the biggest art museums in the world with over 2.7 million items. The museum was founded by Catherine the Great, the longest ruling female leader of Russia, and is a real highlight for art lovers as you spend hours viewing masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rubens and Raphael. Visit the General Staff Building for its extensive collection of French Impressionist art including rooms of Matisse and Picasso. Then head north over the Neva River and go behind the scenes as you’re cleared by security at the Staraya Derevnya Restoration and Storage Centre. This unassuming building is a secret treasure trove of art and artefacts that aren’t on public display. You’ll get a sneak peek at splendid pieces in this exclusive experience only available to small group tours. Take in the prized items that fill the 35,000-square-metre basement space as you’re guided around relics that include golden carriages and clothes worn by the Romanovs. You’ll even step inside Catherine the Great’s gifted field tent – images aren’t allowed in the centre, so this is a firsthand experience to see hidden pieces of art and history. After a culture-filled day, take in some quintessential Russian culture at the Vodka Museum where you’ll learn about the distilled spirit and try some for yourself. This evening you can return to the hotel or stay in the city and explore on your own, making your own way back at your leisure. B.
Day 7: St. Petersburg As your tour of this magnificent country comes to an end, transfer to the airport for your onward flights back to the UK. B.
Is this for you?
Ideal if you want to unlock Russia’s powerful history and intriguing culture in a relaxed and in-depth introductory tour of its two key cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Good to know
• For guests over 16, including on a private journey
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 18 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag
• Your return journey will include a connection. Speak to your Personal Travel Expert to find out more information on flight options.
What to expect
• Plenty of sightseeing at a leisurely pace
• Most evenings offer free time to spend as you wish
• Cold weather – be sure to bring plenty of warm clothes
• A visa is required for UK passport holders. Visas can be obtained in person at the Russian Embassy or a Russia Visa Application Centre. This should be done independently and at your own cost.
Accommodation on tour
We’ve chosen hotels close to main attractions and restaurants so you can make the most of your free time in each city. Kadashevskaya Hotel is located just 15 minutes from Red Square while in St. Petersburg, the early 20th-Century Demetra Art Hotel offers a modern twist on the city’s regal charm.
Single room supplement from £321.
2020 Feb 14; Apr 17; May 15; Jul 10; Sep 18; Oct 16; Dec 04
Included in price
• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour guides
• Handpicked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage & guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights.
Upgrade your tour
Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour guide on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £1720 per person, ref RU002.
Russian Ballet price on request per person.
Uncover historical intrigue and spellbinding architecture as you travel by high-speed train, and experience Moscow and St. Petersburg’s key sights including Red Square and the world-class State Hermitage Museum, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at hidden art, too. You’ll also a tour of the ‘Palaces of the People’ – Moscow’s beautiful metro system – and have plenty of free time to see both cities independently.