Join in local life and customs in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal as you share a traditional meal in a Russian home and take part in a pastry making demonstration.. Soak up the atmosphere of Moscow’s Red Square and Kremlin, and marvel at the opulence of Peter the Great’s grand palace, gardens and fountains in Peterof.. Discover treasure-upon-treasure at the incredible art collection housed in St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, with the expert guidance of an art historian.. Enjoy an elegant feature stay in a prestigious location – your hotel sits on the beautiful grounds of the Konstantin Palace, former home of the Romanov Tsars.
Russia’s story is big enough to burst a bookshelf. This 8-day Premium adventure will guide you through the country’s multi-layered history and deep-rooted culture. Get to the heart of Russia’s heritage in Moscow, marvel at diverse architecture in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal, walk in the footsteps of Tsars in Strelna and experience old-world opulence in St Petersburg. Travel with an experienced local leader who will help to solve the riddles of a country that for so long guarded their treasures from the west.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 2
Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia. The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and tumult. 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. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel, where your adventure begins with a 6pm welcome meeting. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the city on Day 3 and 4, but if you arrive early you may like to head to historic Arbat street and peruse its elegant cafes and shops. After your meeting, join your leader and fellow travellers for dinner at a local restaurant that feels like stepping into the welcoming home of a Russian grandmother. Delight in an array of traditional dishes made with recipes passed down from generation to generation, such as beef stroganoff, borsch and Olivier salad.
Head to the train station and take the Strizh high-speed train to Vladimir. From there you will transfer to Suzdal, 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. The 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. For lunch, join one of our local friends for a special home cooked meal featuring classic Russian dishes, then enjoy a Russian pastry baking demonstration to learn the tricks of the trade. In the afternoon, your local guide will introduce you to more of Suzdal. Echoes of the city’s history are everywhere – take in the grandeur of the Kremlin, the opulent frescoes of the Cathedral of the Nativity, the trading square, market and monastery. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.
Take the train back to Moscow this morning. In the afternoon, get beneath the surface of Moscow’s fascinating metro system during a short tour with your leader. So much more than a simple means of transport, luxuriantly decorated stations show off the best of Soviet architecture and serve as an underground museum of Moscow’s history. Travel to some of the most beautiful stations, learn the stories behind their intricate designs and hear the myths, legends and superstitions of Europe’s busiest metro system. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. Perhaps take a stroll around the always lively Gorky park, or watch a performance of classical or contemporary ballet. Speak to your leader for tips on how to spend a perfect night in this animated city.
Today, with a local expert on all things Moscow by your side, enter cobbled Red Square, surrounded by the brightly coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, the stylish 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. 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. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city’s wonders. You may like to travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery, or step inside the colourful St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square.
Take a high-speed train from Moscow to St Petersburg, then transfer to the elegant town of Strelna. Overlooking the Gulf of Finland, Strelna is dotted with grand buildings, estates and palaces. In the afternoon, arrive at the illustrious Baltic Star Hotel, your feature stay accommodation for the evening. Built in 2001 on the grounds of the State Complex and next to the historic Konstantin Palace, the property offers a unique glimpse into Tsarist Russia. A favourite with foreign leaders and politicians, the Baltic Star has a prestigious roster of guests passing through its doors. Spacious rooms blend the aesthetics of a Russian estate with 21st-century amenities. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover the magnificent grounds of your hotel, perhaps taking a look inside the Konstantin Palace and the Russian Congress Hall. You may like to hire a bicycle to explore the surrounding area, or enjoy a marvellous dinner at one of the hotel’s two gourmet restaurants.
This morning, visit the stunning Peterhof Palce, summer home of Peter the Great. Built to impress guests with the Tsar’s wealth and taste, the grounds of the park are filled with European inspired fountains, cascades and landscaped gardens. Your local guide will regale you with stories of the ruler and explain how the palace was accurately restored after being destroyed during Nazi occupation in World War II. In the afternoon, make the journey to St Petersburg and arrive at your centrally located hotel. After settling in, head to the opulent Polovtsov Mansion. A pot of gold in the heart of the city, step past its unassuming façade and uncover resplendent furnishings and eclectic architecture. Discover the rich history of this incredibly decorated building during a guided tour, followed by a private concert and champagne. Listening to classical Russian music under glorious gold ceilings is a magical memory that will surely stay with you.
Wake up in St Petersburg, a glorious city brimming with history. Today you will visit the famous Hermitage museum, built by Catherine the Great in 1764 and home to one of the world’s premier art collections. With nearly three million items, exploring the museum on your own only reveals half the story. Today you will tour the museum with an art historian who will offer expert insight into the stunning building, the stories behind it and the exhibits within it. Marvel at the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rodin. Enjoy a free afternoon in this beautiful city before regrouping for a final dinner together. Russia has wholeheartedly embraced the flavoursome cuisine of Georgia, a former Soviet country. Head to a cheerful Georgian restaurant and enjoy a chicken chakhokhbili, spicy lobio beans or a cheesy khachapuri, then raise a glass of wine to toast the end of an adventure.
Your Russian adventure will come to an end today after breakfast. An airport transfer is not included, however you can arrange one in advance, or 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.