Saturday. Welcome to Russia and the start of your holiday! You will be met at the airport in Moscow upon arrival and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Later tonight our welcome meeting takes place, where you’ll meet the rest of the group and your tour leader. Remainder of the evening at leisure – your tour leader can recommend some local bars and restaurants for you to try out.
First thing this morning we will hop on the Moscow Metro and make our way to legendary Red Square. As the historical, political and social heart of Moscow, this famous square is home to some of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. Within the Red Square we will find the iconic domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, the imposing red brick walls of the Kremlin and the glitzy Neo-Russian facade of the GUM shopping mall.
Also in Red Square, housed within a red and black marble building, is Lenin’s Mausoleum. If open, we can enter the mausoleum free of charge and pay our respects to the grandfather of Communism whose embalmed body has lain in state here since his death. The rest of the day is free for you to further explore the area. Cultured out? Moscow’s restaurants and clubs are open until very late!
During our stay in Moscow there will be the chance to join one of our optional evening excursions, such as a night at the the famous Moscow Circus (Oct – May), a traditional Cossack Show or a Moscow by Night coach tour.
Overnight: Moscow | Breakfast
Today we journey back to Red Square via the Moscow Metro to undertake a guided tour inside the grounds of the mighty Kremlin. Highlights include the Assumption Cathedral, Ivan the Great Bell Tower and monumental Tsar Bell. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to explore on your own or there is the option to join us for a tour inside a Soviet Bunker – book and pay locally.
Heading 65 meters underground, you will be able to explore what was once a Stalinist-era bunker and a top secret symbol of Soviet Power. Cleverly hidden beneath an ordinary apartment building, on a busy street the heart of Moscow, 18 floors below ground level, this mighty 75,000-square-foot facility was constructed in secret in the 1950s, to protect a select few against a US nuclear attack. Join us on an interactive tour of this bunker turned museum. Later this evening, we will head to the train station for our overnight journey to Pskov.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Pskov – St Petersburg. Early this morning our train will bound in Pskov, one of the oldest towns in Russia and located just 30 kilometres away from the Estonian border. After a stop for breakfast we will continue on to the town’s Kremlin, where the long history of Pskov will come alive.
Later a short drive will bring us to the beautiful 14th century Pechory Monastery, where we will explore the peaceful grounds and if monastic law permits, head underground for a tour of the burial caves of this fascinating and still-working cloister.
Leaving the monastery behind, its time for a traditional Russian banya (sauna) where we will work up our appetites for a vodka and lunch. Later this afternoon we travel by road to St Petersburg arriving in the late evening.
Overnight: St Petersburg | Breakfast, Lunch
This morning, we will embark on a city tour of St Petersburg. Travelling by mini bus we will drive along Nevsky Prospekt, past the museum and university district and Admiralty End, with stops to view the exterior of magnificent St Isaac’s Cathedral and The Bronze Horseman. Later, we will enjoy a guided visit of the Hermitage at the Winter Palace – which houses one of the biggest and best art collections on earth.
During our time in St Petersburg there will be the chance to join one of our optional evening excursions, such as a canal cruise (May to September), a traditional Cossack’s performance or a night at the Russian Ballet.
Overnight: St Petersburg | Breakfast
Today’s sightseeing includes the beautiful and iconic Church on Spilled Blood, Peter & Paul Fortress and the SS Peter & Paul Cathedral in Peter & Paul Fortress, which houses the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. We’ll also enjoy a tasty traditional Russian lunch and head out of the city to the garden of Peterhof Palace which are famed for their golden statues and fountains (in summer) or Catherine Palace at Tsarkoe Seloe (in winter) with its spectacular Amber Room. Our final stop of the day is a visit to the Vodka Museum. Here we enjoy a tour explaining the history of vodka in Russia, followed by a tasting session in the museum bar!
Overnight: St Petersburg | Breakfast, Lunch
Friday. Our tour comes to an end today after breakfast and hotel check-out.