The best of Russia’s three most fascinating cities and includes entrances to the key monuments of this fascinating country. Free time is also essential to absorb the atmosphere and make the most of other optional visits, such as the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, or a hydrofoil ride out to the stunning Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg. A short stop in Novgorod, the birthplace of Russia, completes this cultural experience and offers a peaceful break in a busy itinerary.
A visit to Russia today is an encounter with an undiscovered land. Russia is the largest country on earth, with enormous tracts of land that have been opened to travellers only in the last few years. Russia’s rich cultural heritage has once more come to life, its natural heritage too is a new country waiting to be discovered. For most westerners, Russia is associated with its European cities – Moscow and St.Petersburg. This is the heartland of Russia, and these great and ancient cities often become the focus for most guests.
Velikiy Novgorod is one of the oldest of Russian cities, the cradle of Russian democracy, medieval center of trade and crafts, a boundless field of investigations for the historians, architects, and archeologists. The first reference to Novgorod as a fortified settlement is found in the chronicle of 859, t is only Russian city that has preserved so many amazing cultural monuments included in list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The historical, cultural and archaeological heritage of Velikiy Novgorod is century long and cannot be matched anywhere else in Russia. It is the first Orthodox stone church and the first book in Russian; the world’s renowned collection of icon; the most ancient example of all Russian Kremlins; the majestic Monument of Millennium of Russia, or Russian history in bronze; and the unique ensemble of the Yaroslav’s Courtyard. This is all Velikiy Novgorod.
Pushkin and Pavlovsk has unique region of the activity- the brilliant suburbs of St.-Petersburg decorated with parks and palaces, region, where more than three hundred objects are included in World heritage of UNESCO. Pushkin is one from the most favorable cities for development of tourism not only in Russia, but also in Baltic region and all Europe. Hereafter it can become one from the most dynamic developing places of tourism in Europe. The town of Pushkin with number of the 100 thousands inhabitants is visited annually on the average by more than 1,6 million tourists.
Arrive & start from Moscow
Morning orientation tour of Moscow including Red Square and Lenin’s Tomb. Free afternoon to explore St Basil Cathedral or one of the many galleries
Today we explore central Moscow on foot and on the marvellously efficient and ornate metro system. We enjoy a guided walk across Red Square, past Lenin’s Mausoleum visiting visit the infamous leader’s tomb. After we have our bearings, there is free time to visit the magnificent St Basil’s Cathedral, which was built by Ivan the Terrible and remains an outstanding piece of Russian architecture, more reminiscent of a fairy tale castle than a religious building. There is also plenty of time to see Moscow’s premiere art collection at the Tretyakov Gallery, where the priceless Russian Icon collection is held along with other highlights. The Circus & Bolshoy Theatre is a popular choice – however live animals are used in some acts so may not be to everyone’s taste.
The Kremlin grounds and Armoury Museum, Free afternoon for shopping or sightseeing
This morning we head straight the highlight for many who visit Moscow, the Kremlin – a city within a city. It is still the seat of much political power and contains many of Russia’s greatest treasures. We visit the magnificent Cathedrals of St. Michael the Archangel, the Annunciation and the Assumption, as well as the Tsar Bell and the golden domes of Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Also included is a visit to the famous Armoury, a museum of opulent treasures including the famous Faberge eggs which are a real highlight. There is some free time in the early evening before we meet at the hotel for the short transfer to the train station. There is time to visit the shops to buy some snacks and drinks for the journey.
Morning walking tour including visits to Novgorod Kremlin, St Sofia’s Cathedral and Yaroslav’s Court; optional afternoon to visit St George Monastery or relax at the public banya (Russian sauna)
No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. Also known as an ‘open air museum’, thanks to the vast amount of historical buildings and sculptures that line the streets of this important city, many of which are among the oldest in Russia. We arrive early from Moscow, but the hotel will allow us to leave our belongings. After breakfast at the hotel our walking tour will take us to the Kremlin Grounds, St Sofia’s Cathedral, Yaroslav’s Court and the Millennium Monument, created to celebrate 1000 years of Russia. Our afternoon is free to visit St George Monastery, shop for souvenirs – which are much cheaper than in Moscow and St Petersburg, or simply relax at the public banya (Russian sauna) This is perfect opportunity to enjoy one of the smaller less visited cities of Russia.
Pushkin; visit Ekaterinsky Palace and Park including the Amber Room; optional Matryoshka Dolls workshop
Transfer to Pushkin and visit ‘Tsarskoe Selo’ to see Ekaterininsky Palace and the stunning Amber Room. The room was dismantled by the Nazis during the war, and sent to the East Prussian capital of Konigsberg where it was lost. The room has been recreated from photos, complete with carved reliefs and mosaic panels. After walking around the beautiful palace and its gardens, there are a variety of options on offer including a unique chance to create your own souvenir by participating in a Matryoshka painting workshop run by local artist, enjoy a Russian banya or simply enjoy a cycle around Pavlovsk Park (all optional).
Early departure to St Petersburg and explore the historical city centre. Free time to enjoy Russia’s cultural capital
After a short transfer, we arrive in one of the finest and most extravagant cities in Europe. St Petersburg is a relatively young city, which only celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. It was the vision of Peter the Great, and was part of his desire to bring ‘old Russia’ into the modern European age. Much of its design and work was contributed to by foreign designers and craftsmen – the result being some of the finest 18th and 19th century buildings to be found in Europe, but with a strangely Russian influence. Our hotel is located just off Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s most famous street, full of fine mansions, cathedrals and shops, all with a story to tell. We enjoy an orientation tour before free time for an optional visit inside the Peter and Paul Fortress and the famous cathedral that contains the tombs of the Romanovs, St Isaac’s Cathedral or the Church of the Split Blood.
Morning tour of the Hermitage, Free afternoon to see more of the sites of St Petersburg & Art lovers can choose to stay in the Hermitage
We make the most of our final full day in Russia, with a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world founded in 1764. Here every room is a piece of art in its own right, you will marvel at the Pavilion Hall, Peacock Room, and Hanging Gardens and that’s before you’ve even seen any art! Our afternoon is free. Why not take in the sites of the city by boat on a relaxing canal trip, or visit the beautiful Peterhof Palace by hydrofoil.
End St Petersburg.