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Essential Russia - Small Group Tour: Moscow to St Petersburg

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,040

From Moscow to St Petersburg, delve into the history and culture of Russia. This is the perfect tour of Russia's glorious past. Surround yourself with culture, history and breathtaking architecture and get beneath the surface of a country that for so long guarded their treasures from the west.


Spend 8 days exploring the world’s largest, and arguably most enigmatic country. A trip through Russia is one you’ll be talking about for years, yet this can also be a difficult country to explore on your own. Let this small group tour take care of the hassles, letting you enjoy the journey between Russia’s two greatest cities.

Overwhelmingly vast, and containing some of the world’s loveliest treasures, Moscow is an awesome city in every sense of the word. Take a briefing meeting with your group on your evening of arrival, which will familiarise you with the rules and quirks particular to travel in Russia. If you do arrive early, consider visiting colourful St Basil’s Cathedral, the Bolshoi Theatre, or Pushkin Art Museum, or even taking a tour of the famous Moscow Underground. Don’t feel like you have to cram in your sightseeing. You’ll be coming back here for a couple of days during your trip.

Take the high-speed train to Vladimir, then take a short drive to Suzdal, part of the legendary Golden Ring. These are key cities in Russia’s history, either serving as former capitals, or playing a key role in shaping the nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church. Suzdal feels almost surreally beautiful with its fairy tale domed monasteries. You’ll have time to explore, try the local cuisine, and take a walking tour before returning to Moscow.

Moscow is one of the world’s legendary cities with good reason, and if Russia were a little less complicated to visit, it would probably be swarming with tourists. As it stands, you’ll enjoy Red Square, St Basil’s Cathedral, GUM Department Store, and the museums of the Kremlin with relatively few other outsiders around you, giving a sense of true immersion in Russia’s culture and history. The afternoon is yours to explore as you wish, so feel free to swing back and pick up some sights you missed when you first arrived.

Zip up to Russia’s other legendary city, Saint Petersburg (after paying a visit to the mausoleum of Lenin, for whom Saint Petersburg was formerly named Leningrad). This is the most European, and, many say, tourist-friendly of Russia’s cities. It’s almost certainly the most beautiful, built on a vast system of waterways, with the incredible Hermitage Museum as its centrepiece. Don’t rush, however. The museum is included in your sightseeing, followed by a cruise on the river Neva. The following day, take a hydrofoil trip out to the Summer Palace and Peterhof, the park of Peter the Great. Modelled on Versailles, it’s a stunning taste of imperial Russia in a country that tried so hard for many years to bury its imperial past. Return to Saint Petersburg to enjoy some free time, perhaps booking tickets for the famed Bolshoi or Marinsky theatres before you depart.


 

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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,040

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Moscow

Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia. The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and tumult, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Beneath its modern veneer - a sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism - Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of sights to see. There's so much to see and do in Moscow, and you'll have plenty of time to explore on Day 4.

You will be collected from the airport on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm today, where your insurance and next of kin details will be collected. Please also have two copies of your passport, visa and migration cards ready. Your leader will collect one; the other is for you to keep on you at all times whilst on the trip. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where the meeting will take place. After the meeting, your leader will organise an optional meal so you can enjoy your first taste of delicious Russian cuisine with new friends.

Optional Activities
Moscow - Victory Park Museum
Moscow - Tretyakov Art Gallery
Moscow - St Basils Cathedral
Moscow Urban Adventure- Moscow Underground
Moscow Urban Adventure - Moscow Behind the Icons
Moscow Urban Adventure - Modern Moscow
Moscow Gorky Park
Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre
Moscow - River Cruise
Moscow - Pushkin Art Museum
Moscow - Izmailovo Vernisazh Markets

Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Marco Polo Presnja Hotel Moscow

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel Moscow



    The hotel in Moscow is the 4 star rated boutique Marco Polo Presnja, built in 1904 and retaining its grand sense of history. Marco Polo Presnja is located approximately 10 minutes walk from the central Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya Metro Station and around 30 minutes on foot from ...

    The hotel in Moscow is the 4 star rated boutique Marco Polo Presnja, built in 1904 and retaining its grand sense of history. Marco Polo Presnja is located approximately 10 minutes walk from the central Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya Metro Station and around 30 minutes on foot from Red Square.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Restaurant
    • 24 Hour Room Service
    • Banquet Hall
    • Bar
    • Conference Hall
    • Gym
    • Sauna
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 2

Moscow to Suzdal

Transfer to the train station and take the Strizh high-speed train to Vladimir. These trains reach up to 250km/h, with the journey taking just under two hours. You will need to be able to carry your own bags through the train station and onto the train.

From there you will transfer by private minivan to Suzdal (approximately 30 minutes). The town is a main stop on Russia's legendary Golden Ring, the circle of ancient and former capitals that played an important part in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church and hold the memories of significant events in Russian history.

The fairytale-feel historic small town of Suzdal is filled with contrasting examples of early Russian architecture, where onion-domed monasteries stand next to decorated little wooden cottages. Here there are opportunities to drink mead by the riverside with a symphony of cathedral bells in the air, and peek inside the crumbling churches that line the narrow streets and alleys. Tonight you'll make new friends down one of the city's quiet streets when you share a meal of hearty regional flavours with local friends.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel Suzdal

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel Suzdal



    Modern spa and recreational facilities, international cuisine, and rooms with panoramic views of the River Kamenka and Suzdal Kremlin are available at this 4-star hotel.

    Modern spa and recreational facilities, international cuisine, and rooms with panoramic views of the River Kamenka and Suzdal Kremlin are available at this 4-star hotel.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Baggage storage
    • Bar
    • Business Facilities
    • Free WiFi
    • Gift Shop
    • Heating
    • Laundry Facilities (Surcharge)
    • Parking Facilities (at cost)
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service
    • Spa
    • Wellness facilities
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 3

Suzdal to Moscow

Get to know the Suzdal a little better today with a walking tour of this 'open-air museum'. Take in the sights - the grandeur of the Kremlin, the opulent frescoes of the Cathedral of the Nativity, the trading square, market and monastery (approximately 3 hours). This tour is made even more memorable by the sight and sound that will greet you when you enter one of the main cathedrals - the angelic, clear and ethereal voices of a local choir.

The beautiful sound will fill and transform the space like the sunlight that streams through the windows. You will leave Suzdal in the afternoon and return to Moscow by train, arriving at approximately 8pm (expect approximately 3 hours total travel time back to Moscow).

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Marco Polo Presnja Hotel Moscow

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel Moscow



    The hotel in Moscow is the 4 star rated boutique Marco Polo Presnja, built in 1904 and retaining its grand sense of history. Marco Polo Presnja is located approximately 10 minutes walk from the central Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya Metro Station and around 30 minutes on foot from ...

    The hotel in Moscow is the 4 star rated boutique Marco Polo Presnja, built in 1904 and retaining its grand sense of history. Marco Polo Presnja is located approximately 10 minutes walk from the central Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya Metro Station and around 30 minutes on foot from Red Square.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Restaurant
    • 24 Hour Room Service
    • Banquet Hall
    • Bar
    • Conference Hall
    • Gym
    • Sauna
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 4

Moscow

Today, with a local guide by your side, enter cobbled Red Square, surrounded by the brightly coloured domes of St Basil's Cathedral, the opulent GUM Department store, the fairy-tale building of the State Historical Museum, and the imposing walls of the Kremlin. From the days of Ivan the Terrible to the military parades of the Cold War, the square has long been at the heart of Russian history. We have the option of travelling to begin the tour by Metro (1 station, plus approximately 10 minutes walk to and from the station) or on foot (approximately 30 minutes walk total), which takes you through interesting historic streets.

Enter the Kremlin grounds, home to the oldest and most important churches in the country, and the tombs of Tsars and Tsarinas. Walk through the soaring towers and cathedrals of the political and spiritual heart of Russia before entering the Armoury Museum, home to an eye-bulging former royal collection of Faberge eggs, coronation robes and glittering jewels. This afternoon is a free for you to explore the city's wonders. Perhaps take the metro to see elaborately decorated stations unlike any other - the fascinatingly decorated 'Palaces of the People'.

Otherwise you might relive the nation's turbulent past at Victory Park, travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery, or pick up some souvenirs at the Izmailovo Markets. Maybe step inside the colourful St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square. Legend has it that tsar, Ivan the Terrible, had the two architects blinded so that they couldn't build anything as beautiful.

NOTE: On occasion Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning. As Moscow's premier tourist attractions, tickets for the Kremlin and Armoury are in high demand, and the Moscow Tourism Administration sets strict quotas to control visitor numbers. Time in each area is also limited to 90 minutes, with any exceptions possibly resulting in the guide losing their license. We ask for your understanding that the guide is under pressure to keep to the schedule. The Diamond Fund isn't included in your tour, but after the Kremlin and Armoury there may be time to visit. Entrance tickets can be purchased in the ticket office at the Armoury. The Diamond Fund is open for visitors from 10am-1pm and from 2pm-4pm. Thursday it is closed. Please talk to your leader at the Group Meeting if you are interested in this option so they can investigate pre-booking tickets.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Moscow to St Petersburg by high speed train

Before leaving Moscow today, visit the Mausoleum of Russia's most famous revolutionary - Lenin. The initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution that ushered in the era of communism, you will join the sometimes long queue lining up to visit his austere eternal resting place on Red Square. Then you will board a high speed train once again to race through the Russian countryside to one of Russia's most celebrated cities (approximately 4 hours). Arrive in the beautiful centre of former imperial capital St Petersburg, where your private transfer will take you to your hotel.

A living museum, St Petersburg is a blend of baroque European architecture and Russian royal history, built by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, whose legacy can be felt in its enigmatic streets and showcase cathedrals and museums.

Optional Activities
St Petersburg - Catherine Palace Pushkin
St Petersburg - Pushkin Park
St Petersburg - Russia Model Museum
St Petersburg - Peterhof Big Palace (Summer Palace)
St Petersburg - Erarta Modern Art Museum
St Petersburg - Kazan Cathedral
St Petersburg - Mariinsky Theatre Perfomance
St Petersburg Urban Adventure - St Petersburg like a Local
St Petersburg - Peter's Walking Tour (4-5 hours)
St Petersburg - Matryoshka Painting Workshop (reservation required)
St Petersburg Urban Adventure - St Petersburg Discovery
St Petersburg - Russian Art Museum
St Petersburg - Saint Isaac's Cathedral
St Petersburg - Saint Isaac's Cathedral Colonnade
St Petersburg - Boat Trip
St Petersburg - Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Accommodation

Marco Polo Hotel Saint Petersburg

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Marco Polo Hotel Saint Petersburg



    Located 2.3 km from Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Hotel Marco Polo St.Petersburg features a restaurant, bar and free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.

    Located 2.3 km from Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Hotel Marco Polo St.Petersburg features a restaurant, bar and free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.

    Facilities

    • 24 hour Front desk
    • Heating
    • Room Service
    • Wellness facilities
    • WiFi

    More Details

Day 6

St Petersburg

St Petersburg is truly one of Europe's, and the world's, finest cities. Take the day to explore this beautiful city brimming with historic centres. Today you will explore one of Russia's most spectacular sights - the stunning Hermitage museum. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and houses one of the world's premier art collections. Your tour will begin around 10am and continue until around 2pm, however you are then of course free to continue any independent exploration. There is a cafe inside for when you need a break to recharge!

The Hermitage boasts over 2.7 million exhibits and displays a diverse range of art and artefacts from all over the world and throughout history (from Ancient Egypt to the early 20th century Europe). The collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, a unique collection of Rembrandts and Rubens, many French Impressionist works and several sculptures by Rodin. Expert have calculated that, if you watch each item for no longer than a minute and spend 8 hours in the Hermitage daily, it will still take you almost 15 years to view all the museum's exhibits.

Perhaps take a boat to see landmarks from a Neva river cruise, browse the Udelnaya flea market or climb the belfry of Smolny Cathedral for a rare high view of the city. Then of course there are the world class performances at the Mariinsky and Bolshoi theatres to occupy your evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 7

St Petersburg

This morning you travel a short distance out of the city (40 minutes by hydrofoil) to uncover the opulence of the stunning Summer Palace and Park of Peter the Great, known as Peterhof or Petrodvorets. Your memorable arrival will be a special moment, much like that of the esteemed guests and European royalty of history. Disembarking at the pier and walking up the Fountain Alley, the magnificence of the water features and the splendour of the Big Palace will all be spread out before you -a breath-taking sight.

The Tsar was heavily influenced by European styles and customs and so the place is roughly modelled on Versailles. Built to impress on guests the ruler's wealth and taste, the grounds of the park are filled with fountains, cascades and landscaped gardens, and the location right on the Gulf of Finland makes for beautiful views. The palaces (of which there are three - Great Peterhof Palace, Marly Palace and Monplaisir Palace) are fascinating not only for the elaborate halls and galleries, but also for the fact that they have been so accurately restored after being almost completely destroyed during Nazi occupation in World War II.

Return to St Petersburg at 2pm, and use any free time to visit the last minute sites you might have missed. Tonight is your final night with your new travel companions, and so your leader will organise an optional farewell dinner at one of the city's great restaurants.

NOTE: Please note that your tour includes entrance to the main park, but does not include entry into the Palace itself, which requires an additional ticket (optional). If you would like to remain at Peterhof and see the Summer Palace you will need to make your own way back to St Petersburg. Some other optional sights in the park may also attract additional entrance fees.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Depart

Your Russian adventure will come to an end today after breakfast. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. An airport transfer is not included, however your leader or hotel staff can help you book a taxi for your flight. St Petersburg has much to offer, so we recommend that those that wish to see more extend their stay a day or two.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2018: May 18, 25; Jun 1; Jul 20, 27; Aug 17, 24; Sep 7
Group size is a maximum of 16 passengers

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 dinner
  • Transportatiopn by Private Vehicle, Taxi, High Speed Train and Public Bus
  • Suzdal: Russian Dinner and Traditional Pastry Baking, Guided Walking Tour
  • Moscow: Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour, Lenin's Mausoleum
  • St Petersburg: Hermitage Museum,Peterhof Park and Fountains

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB INTREPIMOS0118SG: PCRH
7 Sep 2018
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