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Grand Tour of Russia

11 days
10 nights

Rates

Dates

Rates:

PER PERSON IN USD:

$ 3,690.00 (double occupancy)
$ 1,250.00 (hotel single supplement)
$ 220.00 (train single supplement)

 

Dates:

Oct 06, 2017 - Oct 16, 2017 
May 11, 2018 - May 21, 2018 
May 25, 2018 - Jun 04, 2018 
Jul 20, 2018 - Jul 30, 2018 
Jul 27, 2018 - Aug 06, 2018 
Aug 10, 2018 - Aug 20, 2018 
Aug 24, 2018 - Sep 03, 2018 
Sep 07, 2018 - Sep 17, 2017 
Sep 21, 2018 - Oct 01, 2018 
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Hotels:

Moscow: Intercontinental Tverskaya 5*
Suzdal: Pushkarskaya Sloboda 4*
St. Petersburg: Domina Prestige 5*

Listed hotels will be used on all tours. If changes become necessary for any reason, substitute hotels will be similar to those listed.

 

Included:

3 nights in Moscow
1 night in Suzdal
5 nights in St. Petersburg
"Grand Express" overnight train from Moscow to St. Petersburg ( 1st class)
Tours described per itinerary with entrance fees
Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
Transfers: airport-hotel-train station
Russian Visa is included!

 

Highlights & Experience:

City Tour of Moscow
Visit to Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Visit to Novodevichy Monastery
Tour of Red Square and the Kremlin
Visit to the Armory
Visit to St. Basil's Cathedral
Moscow Metro tour
Visit to Tretyakov Gallery
Visit to Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics
Tour of Vladimir and Bogolyubovo
Stop in Yuriev Polsky 
Tour of Suzdal and Wooden Architecture Museum
City Tour of St.Petersburg
Visit to St. Isaac Cathedral
Visit to Peter-and-Paul Fortress
Hermitage tour
Pushkin: Catherine Palace and Amber Room
Yusupov Palace with Grigory Rasputin Chambers
Peterhof: Palace and Park with Fountains
Visit to State Russian Museum
Visit to WWII Museum and St. Petersburg Siege Memorial
Visit to Spilled Blood Church
Visit to Faberge Egg Museum

Optional Services:

Novgorod extension:  $390.00 per person (min 2 people)
1 additional night in St. Petersburg
12-hour tour to Velikij Novgorod including Kremlin, St Sophia cathedral, Yaroslav Court, Yurjev Monastery, Museum of Wooden art and lunch.

Kizhi extension: $690 per person (min 2 people)
Roundtrip train from St. Petersburg to Petrozavodsk
Transfers train - hydrofoil terminal
Boat tickets Petrozavodsk - Kizhi - Petrozavodsk
Escort guide on a boat
Entrance fee to Kizhi Museum
English-speaking guide on the city walking tour and Kizhi walking tour

Itinerary:

Day 1  : Moscow

On the first day of this tour of Russia, upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and transfered to the hotel. Your day is free to rest after the flight or you can explore on your own.

Day 2  : Moscow

Our Russian tour starts with sightseeing in Moscow. The circular city of Moscow radiates out from the Kremlin fortress. It helps to understand that Moscow is a round city and there are several circular roads called rings. You will drive through the famous areas of Moscow within the boundaries of the Garden Ring and the Boulevard Ring. They afford excellent views of the Kremlin, the Red Square and Kitay Gorod area, Tverskaya, Arbat, and the Zamoskvorechje area with the fascinating Church of Christ the Savior. You will enjoy the best panoramic views of the city from the Sparrow Hills, topped by the Moscow University skyscraper built in 1953.

The tour will include a visit to Novodevichiy Convent founded in 1524 and proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004. The convent has a fascinating history as it has sheltered many famous Russian ladies such as Irina Godunova (the sister of Boris Godunov), Sophia Alekseyevna (the sister of Peter the Great), Eudoxia Lopukhina (the first wife of Peter the Great), and others.

In the afternoon we will visit the Tretyakov Gallery, one of the most celebrated and extensive collections of Russian art and artifacts in the world. It is located in Zamoskvorechye - one of the oldest districts of Moscow. The collection contains more than 130,000 masterpieces of Russian art created throughout the centuries by many generations of Russian artists. (B)

Day 3  : Moscow

After breakfast we will walk to the historic Red Square to visit the Kremlin and the Armory. You will discover the golden domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral, the elegant arcades of the GUM department store, the State Historical Museum, and other landmarks around the Red Square area. Inside the Kremlin you see the three famous Cathedrals of the Assumption, Annunciation, and Archangel, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Among other landmarks are Ivan the Great Bell Tower, Tsar Bell, Tsar Cannon, Hall of Facets, and Terem Place.

Armory is known for its stunning collection of royal treasures such as regalia, Faberge Easter eggs of precious metals and jewels, the jewel-studded and sable-trimmed gold Cap of Monomakh, the throne of Tsar Alexey decorated with 800 diamonds, the coronation dresses of the 18th century empresses, and Elizabeth's sleigh which she rode from St. Petersburg to Moscow for her coronation. The sleigh was pulled by 23 horses at a time. The Great Kremlin Palace, (the official residence of the Russian president) is between the Armory and the Annunciation Cathedral.

In the afternoon you will ride the famous Moscow Metro and visit its finest stations decorated with granite, marble, bronze, statues and other pieces of art making it look more like a museum than a subway. Moscow Metro is one of the most efficient and beautiful transportation systems in the world carrying over 10 million passengers daily, more than the New York and London systems combined. It was designed by prominent Russian architects and artists whose goal was to create not just a transportation system but a showcase to glorify socialism and its achievements. This goal was undoubtedly achieved and today residents and guests of the capital enjoy the world's best underground metro. (B)

Our next stop is one of a kind Cosmonautics Memorial Museum situated inside an enormous monument to the explorers of cosmos. We will learn about the history of space exploration and the details of astronauts' life conditions during a space flight. The exibition is very impressive and interesting to both adults and children.

Day 4  : Vladimir - Suzdal

On the fourth day of our Russian travel adventure, we begin a guided trip to Russia’s ancient Golden Ring cities. We drive 124 miles east of Moscow to tour Vladimir, the medieval capital on the Klyazma river. Vladimir’s three main monuments are on the UNESCO World Heritage List: the magnificent five-domed Assumption Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. Demetrius, and the Golden Gate. You will see all three of them, as well as the Museum of Crystal, Lacquered Miniature, and the Bogolyubovo (Pokrov-on-Nerli) Church - an urban settlement located 10km outside Vladimir. Bogolyubovo was built between 1158 and 1165 by the order of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky where the Nerl River flows into the Klyazma River. Andrei Tarkovsky’s film, “Andrei Rublev,” about the 15th century icon painter, was shot on location on the Nerl River and in Vladimir and Suzdal.

In the late afternoon we continue to Suzdal - another Golden Ring town with numerous monasteries and a remarkable ratio of churches to citizens (at one point, forty churches for four hundred families). This may have been due to the princely families' spirit of competition. Many of the churches are the finest examples of Old Russian architecture. We will visit the Kremlin with Krestovaya Chamber and the Wooden Architecture Museum. Overnight and dinner at the hotel in Suzdal. (B, L, D)

Day 5  : Suzdal - Yuriev Polsky - Sergiev Posad - Moscow

Today our journey takes us to one of the oldest towns in Russia - Yuriev Polsky, on the Koloksha River. It was founded by Yury Dolgoruky in 1152. The town's main landmark is the Cathedral of St. George  built in 1230–1234. It is the latest pre-Mongol construction in Russia, famous for its stone sculptures, and also the model for first stone churches in Moscow Kremlin. 

Lunch at a local restaurant is followed by a trip to Sergiev Posad. The town was built around the Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, and is one of Russia's most important religious and historical landmarks, a place of pilgrimage of the Russian Orthodox Church and one of the most important museums housing the icons of Andrei Rublev and other famous masters of the 15th to 18th centuries. Later you will transfer to Moscow and eat dinner at a local restaurant. Our Russian travel adventure continues on board the luxury "Grand Express" overnight train to St. Petersburg. (B,L,D)

Day 6  : St. Petersburg

Upon arrival you will meet your guide as you step off the train in St. Petersburg. Since the train arrives around 8:00am, too early for hotel check-in,  we will start the day with a sightseeing tour of St. Petersburg. We will drive by the elegant buildings on the Nevsky Prospect, Kazan Cathedral, Admiralty, Strelka, Rosstral Columns, Fontanka, Canal Griboyedova, the Palace Square, Winter Palace, Summer Gardens, and other remarkable landmarks. The tour includes inside visit to Yusupov Palace with Grigory Rasputin Chambers

Yusupov Palace is located on a quiet stretch of the Moika River. One of two surviving St. Petersburg residences of the wealthy Yusupov family, it has retained many of its original interiors and is most famous as the scene of the murder of the notorious Grigory Rasputin, a peasant who had gained control over the tsar's family due to his alleged supernatural powers. (B)

Your tour includes a visit to the Faberge Museum at the Shuvalov Palace with the biggest collection of Faberge works including famous Easter eggs.

Day 7  : St. Petersburg

We begin our day with the morning tour of the Hermitage Art Museum, one of Russia’s main treasures. Occupying six stunning buildings along the River Neva, the Hermitage is not to be missed. The museum is one of the oldest and largest in the world and has a wide range of art on display (over three million pieces!) by artists such as Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rembrandt, Degas, and Gauguin. Later in the afternoon, you have the choice of either continuing to explore the Hermitage by yourself, or heading over to stroll or shop along the Nevsky Prospect. (B)

Day 8  : St. Petersburg

After breakfast you will visit Peterhof, located on the southern shores of the Finnish Gulf 14 miles away from St. Petersburg. Often referred to as "the Russian Versaille," it is one of St. Petersburg's most famous sightseeing attractions. Inspired by Versailles, Peter the Great wanted to build an imperial palace in the suburbs. As a result, the Monplaisir Palace and the Grand Palace were erected. The Grand Palace with its lavish interiors, gilded decorations, mirrors, and paintings dominate the estate. The Park outside the Grand Palace is a splendid kingdom of 144 unique fountains, all operating by a combination of naturally generated water pressure and magic. The outwardly-modest Monplaisir Palace which Peter I preferred to the Grand Palace has a nice sea view and several interesting rooms, such as the State Hall where Peter would force his guests to drink huge quantities of wine until they passed out. The nearby Hermitage Pavilion, which also has nice views and artwork, is a two-story dining room where guests sitting on the upper floor ate and drank in peace, occasionally lowering the table to the ground floor where servants refilled wine glasses, replaced dirty plates, and spat in the beef stroganoff. (B)

Our next visit is to one of the world’s largest and most splendid St. Isaac Cathedral. Beautifully decorated inside with marble of 13 colors, malachite, lapis-lazuli, paintings, mosaics, and stained glass made by the most famous Russian artists, it can accommodate about 10,000 people at a time. The Cathedral was designed by then unknown architect Auguste de Montferrand and opened in 1858. (B)

 

Day 9  : St. Petersburg

After breakfast we will begin an all day tour to Pushkin and Pavlovsk. Both towns are located 18-20 miles from St. Petersburg. Pushkin's original name is Tsarskoye Selo (Tsar's Village). It was renamed in 1937 after Russia 's famous poet Alexander Pushkin who used to study here. Its palaces and parks were created under Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great between 1744 and 1796. The main landmark is the Catherine Palace designed by Rastrelli and the famous Amber Room inside the Palace. The centerpiece of Pavlovsk is the Great Palace designed by Charles Cameron on Catherine the Great's orders for her son Pavel, the future Paul I.

On our way back to St. Petersburg we will stop by an impressive memorial dedicated to the struggle and hardship of the residents living in the city during WWII. The Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad and St. Petersburg Siege Memorial was built to be the main focal point of Ploshchad Pobedy (Victory Square) in the early 1970s. A special bank account was opened to take donations and many people took part in the construction including volunteers and famous artists of the Soviet Union such as Mikhail Anikushin, Sergey Speransky, and Valentin Kamensky, all of whom participated in the defense of Leningrad. (B)

Day 10  : St. Petersburg

Our tour of St. Petersburg continues today with three important visits: Peter and Paul Fortress, The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and State Museum of Russian Art.

Peter-and-Paul Fortress was built in 1704 to defend the city from naval attacks, however it never served its primary purpose. Instead, its historical mission turned out to be rather gruesome: thousands of workers died while building the fortress, many political prisoners, including Peter's own son Alexi were kept and tortured in its cells. The tombs of the Romanov family are also in its Cathedral.

The stunning Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donors. Both the interior and exterior of the church are decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day 

Later on, you’ll visit the State Russian Museum which holds the largest collection of Russian art in the world. The museum is in the former Mikhailovsky Palace which was designed by the famous Carlo Rossi. The Palace was built for the Grand Duke Mikhail, the brother of Tsars Alexander I and Nicolas I as a compensation for not being able to have his own time on the throne. There are over 400,000 works of art in the collection and it covers everything in Russian history from the 10th century and up to the present day.

In the evening you will enjoy a delicious Russian Cuisine dinner at one of the local restaurants in the city. (B,D)

Day 11  : St. Petersburg

Today marks the end of your Russian tour. Transfer to the airport. (B)

Notes:

GROUP SIZE: max 15 people