If ancient walled fortresses, glittering palaces and swirly-spired churches are what you’re after, focus on European Russia. Here, Moscow and St Petersburg are the must-see destinations, twin repositories of eye-boggling national treasures, political energies and contemporary creativity. Within easy reach of these cities are charming historical towns and villages, such as Veliky Novgorod, Pskov and Suzdal, where the vistas dotted with onion domes and lined with gingerbread cottages measure up to the rural Russia of popular imagination.
Russia, a country of enormous social, political and geographic proportions, remains one of the great undiscovered destinations for travel in the 21st century. An incredible diversity of customs, culture and wildlife lies between the Gulf of Finland and the Pacific Coast’s Kamchatka peninsula. Russia remains the biggest country in the world, covering an eighth of the Earth’s land area. Travelling 9,200 kilometres overland from west to east takes six days on the Moscow – Vladivostok train, a route that crosses a fascinating landscape across eight time zones.
Russia is a country of great composers, musicians, ballet dancers and artistic traditions. Concert halls such as the Tchaikovsky Conservatory are ever popular and the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theatres are among the most important ballet and opera stages in the world.
Best time to go to the Russia
There is a very popular, but somewhat unfair, joke that there is no summer in Russia, just nine months of expectations and three months of disappointment.
The best time to come to Russia is during the summer when days are generally warm, sunny and ideal for sightseeing. The end of May and beginning of June is a very special time in St. Petersburg, with “white nights” when it practically never gets dark.
Winter time has its charm too. Cold Russian winters are known all around the world, but in recent years the temperature has rarely gone below -5°C in Moscow and St. Petersburg. A famous Russian fur hat will keep the head warm and shot of vodka will warm you from the inside whilst you admire the palaces and onion-domed churches glittering with snow and icicles.
Upon arrival at the Moscow airport you will be met in the arrivals hall by your local English speaking assistant and privately transferred to your hotel in the city centre. Your Guardian Angel will meet you there, welcome you to Russia and assist with check-in procedures.
Once settled, your local guide will take you on a walking tour of Red Square where you will see many remarkable sights including the colourful St. Basil’s Cathedral and the vast Gum Department Store.
Today enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Moscow with a private vehicle and your English speaking guide. The tour starts at the Moscow Kremlin, where you will visit the State Armoury museum. The museum dates back to 1485 and has a great collection of rifles and ammunition, horse ware, carriages, royal dresses, jewellery, silverware and world famous Faberge Eggs. Also, visit the Assumption and Archangel or Annunciation cathedrals.
Proceed to Aleksandrovsky Garden to see the changing of the guards by the Eternal Flame.
After lunch, visit the Moscow metro, considered to be the most beautiful in the world with its chandeliers, mosaics, paintings and bronze statues. Make a wish at the station “Ploshad Revolutsii” (Square of Revolution). This is where all schoolchildren and students go for good luck in passing their exams. Your guide will also tell you many mysterious and intriguing stories about this huge underground city.
Travel by subway to visit Moscow Planetarium. Today it has two observatories, exhibitions (the “Lunarium” and “Uranium” museums), a 4D cinema, a Sky Park, Big and Small Star Halls. In the Star Halls you can examine stars and planets, travel through black holes, learn about the Bing Bang theory and see the sun at arm’s length. In “Lunarium” and “Uranium” you can touch objects and see various physical phenomena in real time. 4D cinema is a real attraction for children. Stereoscopic system, dynamic seats and special effects give the feeling of flight and fall during watching an astronomy movie.
If the weather is good you can visit a Sky Park located on the roof. There is a collection of astronomical devices made for research the Universe. It includes giant globes, sundials and other unusual instruments.
Educational and fun, this exciting and interactive museum will appeal to children and adults alike.
Today, continue your space adventure as you travel to the newly opened Interactorium Mars-Tefo. The exhibition is devoted to Mars and space exploration. During the tour you will learn about the solar system and Mars explorations, see the most recent images of outer space and the Martian surface with control models of Mars rovers, etc.
On the Martian base, you will learn how life and work are arranged on the research base on another planet.
Afterwards travel to the Experiment, an interactive museum of puzzles, games and physics sure to fascinate curious children with the wonders of science. Visit the musical room with its electric guitar and drum kit, find out how tornadoes are formed, discover how magnets work and be perplexed by optical illusions.This evening, enjoy a unique chance to explore the backstage world of the famous Moscow Circus before seeing the cast in action during the live performance. As private, invited guests of the circus company you will be able to see the acrobats and clowns warming up and practicing before the performance. See the circus animals being groomed for the performance, step into the circus ring and enjoy a master class in juggling with the circus performers.
In the morning you will be privately transferred to Moscow airport with English speaking guide assistance for your flight to St Petersburg. Upon arrival into St Petersburg you’ll be met by your guide at the arrival hall. On the way from the airport, drive to the village of Pushkin (formerly known as Tsarskoye Selo), renamed in 1937 on the centenary of the famous Russian poet’s death. Visit the grounds and the sparkling Catherine Palace. This palace was built in the mid-18th century for Tsarina Elizabeth, who named it the Catherine Palace in honor of her mother. The yellow and blue façade with its snowy white columns is one of the most famous examples of Russian baroque architecture.
Enjoy lunch in a rustic country restaurant with traditional folk entertainment. Afterwards, have fun while riding a brightly painted Russian Troika, harnessed with 3 horses, through the magnificent Park at Pavlovsk.
On the way to St. Petersburg make a stop at the Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad. The monument, built in the shape of a huge broken ring and lit with gas torches, represents all the efforts it took to break the 900-day Siege of Leningrad. Inside the monument, in a vast underground memorial hall, there is an exhibition devoted to the Siege. Your guide will escort you to your hotel and assist with check-in.
Today you will have full day sightseeing with your English speaking guide and private vehicle. Begin with a visit to the Peter & Paul Fortress which is the oldest building in the city and sits on its own island on the Neva Delta. At the heart of the fortress at the cathedral is the burial site of most of the pre-revolutionary leaders of Russia. Visit prisoners’ cells of the fortress from which nobody managed to escape.
Afterwards, visit the Museum of Artillery that displays an enormous collection of arms and heavy artillery from the middle Ages to the present day.
Have lunch at leisure before travelling by private boat across the Neva River. You will pass by the Cruiser Aurora built at the end of 19th century for battle in the Russian-Japanese War. Subsequently used for training, and later turned into a museum, the ship was decorated with the Order of the October Revolution. Continue your boat tour along the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg which will end at St. Isaac’s Square.
Visit near-by Yusupov Palace, which belonged to Prince Felix Yusupov, who organized the assassination of the infamous Siberian monk Gregory Rasputin. Also visit the room where the assassination took place. On your journey you will see other famous sites: The Winter Palace, Admiralty, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the monument to the city founder – Peter the Great.
Today you will have a full day sightseeing with your English speaking guide and private vehicle. First visit the Museum of Water. Everything here is dedicated to water: water as the great mystery, water as medicine, water as destructor, water as standard, water as music. Multimedia technologies and effects are combined with exhibits that are permitted to be touched with hands. The sounds, pictures and light surrounding visitors is as changeable as the water itself.
This afternoon you will learn the Russian traditional art of Matryoshka doll painting under the guidance of professional masters. These colourful dolls have become a symbol of the country and today you will have the chance to decorate one yourself.
Today travel with your private vehicle and guide to the Hermitage museum. The museum is situated in the lavishly decorated Winter Palace and occupies six magnificent buildings with 3 million pieces of artwork from the Stone Age to modern times. The main building and largest part of the museum is the rococo-style Winter Palace, residence of the Tsars from 1762 to 1917. The museum was commissioned by Catherine the Great and she and her successors built the Hermitage collection in large part with purchases of private collections from the Western European aristocracy and monarchy.
This afternoon is at leisure to explore the city independently.
This morning drive out to the countryside of Peterhof, the great summer estate and artistic gem of Peter the Great, nestled on the shore of the Gulf of Finland (part of the Baltic Sea). After his victory over the Swedes at Poltava in 1709, Peter decided to build a palace “befitting to the very highest of monarchs” and a visit to Versailles in 1717 furthered these ambitions. This magnificent estate was officially opened in 1723. A prominent highlight is the Grand Cascade, a delightful sequence of 37 gilded bronze sculptures, 64 fountains and 142 water jets descending from the terraces of the Great Palace to the Marine Canal and the sea. The park features numerous palaces, summer houses and pavilions.
Enjoy a hydrofoil ride back to St. Petersburg where your day and evening is at leisure.
Today you will be privately transferred to the airport to take your flight back home.
- Walking tour of Red Square
- Moscow: The Kremlin, Planetarium and Moscow Metro
- Moscow: Interactorium Mars-Tefo, Experimentarium, Private Tour of the Moscow State Circus
- Moscow to St Petersburg, Catherine Palace, Troika Ride and Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad
- St Petersburg: Peter and Paul Fortress, Museum of Artillery, Yusupov Palace
- St Petersburg: Museum of Water, Matryoshka doll painting
- St Petersburg: Hermitage Museum and time at leisure
- Visa fees
- Tips for guides, escort, drivers etc.
- Optional shows and meals mentioned in the itinerary, which will be added up if the clients desireto take the activities.
- Personal expenses such as excess luggage fees, laundry, postage, communications and beverages.
- Travel insurance
- Any other changes caused by the acts of god, natural disasters, fires, weather,
- governmental and local authority orders, political change , strikes, war, riot, quarantine,
- custom regulations, damages or injury caused by accident.