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Discover the splendour of St. Petersburg and the majesty of Moscow

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Itinerary Highlights

  • Enjoy an authentic meal at a traditional Russian dacha
  • Admire the incredible works of art housed in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg
  • Absorb St. Petersburg from a fresh perspective during a private canal cruise
  • Marvel at the majestic landmarks that populate Moscow's Red Square
  • Take a trip down into the fascinating realm of a Soviet Cold War nuclear bunker

What's Included

  • Luxury accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Private tours and experiences focused around Russia's history and culture
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
  • Our help with restaurant recommendations and reservations
  • Expert guides in each destination
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

A political and geographical powerhouse, the world’s largest country is filled with everything from fascinating history and culture to stunning natural landscapes and an intriguingly mysterious enigma, ensuring that Russia proves an unforgettable destination. In a country so vast, where days can be required to travel from one city to another, it’s more than fortunate that Russia’s two most splendid cities are divided by just a four-hour train journey.

St. Petersburg, the capital of Imperial Russia, and Moscow, the country’s modern-day capital, are two of the world’s most extraordinary cities. Both located in Russia’s European west, St. Petersburg is defined by its incredible palaces, grand cathedrals and snaking canals, while Moscow lends itself to a boisterous and enigmatic character, dotted with breathtaking sights and landmarks of power and austerity – both are equally unique and fascinating cities.

Starting your exploration in St. Petersburg, you’ll spend four nights in this remarkable city, discovering the imposing Peter and Paul Fortress, the beautiful Yusupov Palace and the breathtaking Faberge Museum as you gain your bearings of the city. The incredible artwork found at the Hermitage Museum and the Hermitage Collection at General Staff Headquarters Buildings will inspire you, before a relaxing canal cruise will further reveal the beauty of the city.

After a day exploring the stunning grounds and splendour of Peterhof and its palace, you’ll take a high-speed train to Moscow where you will stay for three nights, experiencing the elegant graves of Novodevichy Cemetery and the turbulent history of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour as an introduction to the capital. The magnificent and striking surrounds of Red Square will dominate your second day in Moscow, before exploration of Russia’s space programme and relics of the Cold War will bring your Russia adventure to a fascinating close.

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-5

St. Petersburg

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in St. Petersburg

Accommodation in St. Petersburg

Four nights in St. Petersburg Four nights in St. Petersburg

Gazing west across the blue of the Baltic Sea, Russia’s second city was created by Peter the Great in 1703 to function as a window into Europe. The 'Venice of the North', as it has been historically known, has become one of the largest economic, cultural and scientific centres of Russia and the world. It's a cultural hub too, home to more than 250 museums, while its mesmerising historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During your stay here, experience its museums, galleries, ballet shows and opera performances, as well as its incredible beauty, defined by its majestic architecture, winding canals, baroque bridges, striking plazas and verdant parks and gardens.

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Introduction to St. Petersburg Introduction to St. Petersburg

Enjoy a rewarding first impression of the grand city of St. Petersburg with this introductory tour, beginning with a drive near the Neva River which will welcome you to the heart of Peter the Great's beautiful city. Next, visit the spit of Vasilievsky Island with its beautiful view across the river to the Winter Palace and the Peter and Paul Fortress, before driving by imposing Palace Square, framed by the Winter Palace and the General Staff Headquarters. Other highlights include the façade of St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the statue of Peter the Great, named the Bronze Horseman.

Welcome dinner at a dacha Welcome dinner at a dacha

Spend your evening outside of the city and experience the essence of Russian dacha life. A dacha is a city-dweller’s country cottage and can vary from a summer cabin with no running water to a fine home suitable for living year-round. Dacha gardens were responsible for a significant portion of the produce grown during Soviet times, and this experience will allow you to enjoy a traditional meal with a Russian family in their home.

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Peter and Paul Fortress, Yusupov Palace and the Fabergé Museum Peter and Paul Fortress, Yusupov Palace and the Fabergé Museum

Start your second day with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Set across the Neva River from the Hermitage, the fortress was one of the first structures built in St. Petersburg, with Peter the Great laying the cornerstone of the earthen fortress in May 1703. The intention was for it to be used to repel a Swedish invasion, and after the Swedes were defeated, the fortress was transformed into a prison in 1718. As you'll discover during your visit, the most important feature of the fortress is its role as a burial place for the majority of the Tsars, including Peter the Great. Your next stop will be Yusupov Palace, boasting on incredible interior decorated with the likes of crystal chandeliers and beautifully painted ceilings, before finishing with a stop at the Fabergé Museum to witness the largest collection of Fabergé eggs in the world.

winter-palace-st-petersburg-russia
Hermitage Museum Hermitage Museum

This tour will allow you to experience one of the most famous museums in the world. Built from 1754-62 as the principal home of the Tsars and a portion of the Winter Palace, the structure was rebuilt to it lavish modern-day appearance in 1839 after being destroyed by fire. The museum originally held a private palace gallery, but today the Hermitage houses one of the largest museum collections in the world.

Here you can see works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens, as well as stunning decor and architecture, with the inlaid floors and gilded woodwork and the grand double entry staircase are works of art in themselves.

Hermitage Collection at General Staff Headquarters Building Hermitage Collection at General Staff Headquarters Building

Giving you another flavour of the spectacular exterior and interior of the Hermitage and its collection, the neoclassical yellow General Staff Headquarters encircles the southern side of Palace Square across from the Hermitage's main site, and was designed in the early 19th century.

The east wing of the building belongs to the Hermitage, housing several permanent exhibits there including the museum’s renowned collection of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings. Here you can see works by the likes of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Picasso to name a few.

Canal cruise by private boat Canal cruise by private boat

The perfect tour experience for recognising St. Petersburg's former title of the 'Venice of the North', you'll take to the rivers and canals of this beautiful city for a fresh angle on its architecture and layout, enjoying a cruise along the waterways. Like Venice, St. Petersburg was originally built on many islands, and hundreds of bridges span the city. Enjoy the cool breeze as you pass by the likes of pre-revolutionary palaces along the Fontanka embankment.

Peterhof tour Peterhof tour

Peter the Great built his estate, Peterhof, on a ridge by the Gulf of Finland, 19 miles outside St. Petersburg. The former imperial residence is surrounded by extensive parks and gardens intended to rival Versailles, complete with an array of gilded statues, magnificent palaces and gravity-fed fountains. The exterior of the massive Grand Palace with its parquet floors, lavish rooms, and grand galleries was designed by Rastrelli, who also designed the Winter Palace. Peter's first and favourite palace, the more modest Monplaisir, sits directly on the bluff above the Gulf, where Peter could observe passing ships. Peterhof’s main attraction are more than 150 glistening, gilded, sculpted marble, granite and limestone fountains and cascades in the Lower Park. The pools, located in Peterhof’s Upper Garden, discharge their waters nearly 50 feet down to the Lower Park’s cascades and jets, creating enormous force and powering fountains all over the park.

Catherine's Palace Catherine's Palace

Located outside of St. Petersburg in Pushkin, the royal residence of Catherine's Palace was originally built in 1717 by Catherine I. The palace was then enlarged in 1752 under the guidance of famed architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli who extended the facade to its current splendour. Despite experiencing damage during World War II, the estate and palace buildings have been carefully and expertly restored into a brilliant architectural monument, something you will come to appreciate during your visit.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to St. Petersburg train station

Transfer

High-speed train from St. Petersburg to Moscow

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Moscow

Days 5-8

Moscow

Accommodation in Moscow

Three nights in Moscow Three nights in Moscow

During your time in Moscow, you will discover a city with a fascinating history that stretches back over 800 years, dotted with grand landmarks and intriguing museums as well as a striking character that can be attributed to its Soviet past. After ticking off some of its most impressive sights, such as The Kremlin, Red Square and Novodevichy Convent, you can discover a city with famed art and history collections, theatres and film studios, as well as an endless stream of luxury shops, superb restaurants and glitzy bars.

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Introductory tour of Moscow Introductory tour of Moscow

Begin your experience of Moscow with a drive beside some of the city's most famous sites and attractions, starting with the Duma building where Russia's governing body meets. You'll also see the Bolshoi Theatre, the imposing Lubyanka prison where the KGB was previously headquartered and Moscow State University beside the Sparrow Hills, for some stunning views of the city. You'll finally experience the World War II Memorial and Victory Park before driving along the Sofiyskaya Embankment, past the 16th century Novodevichy Convent and by the Moscow 'White House'.

Novodevichy Cemetery Novodevichy Cemetery

In many ways, the striking cemetery found at Novodevichy Convent is just as famous as the convent itself, home to beautifully decorated graves that belong to some of the most iconic Russians of the last 150 years. Including not only artists and poets, but also political leaders, at the cemetery you can stumble across graves belonging to Khrushchev and Yeltsin, countless cosmonauts, the anarchist Peter Kropotkin, female sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko and Stalin's second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

Upon discovering Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, you'll be faced by a landmark with a long, fascinating and tumultuous history. Originally built between 1839-1883 as a commemoration of Russia's victory over Napoleon in 1812, upon Stalin's orders, the cathedral was destroyed by the Soviets in 1931 in order to make way for a new structure known as the Palace of the Soviets. However, the soft ground on the original site could not support the foundations of the colossal building, and today, this area is instead home to the world's largest outdoor swimming pool. Throughout the 1990s, the cathedral was reborn, as the Moscow government meticulously rebuilt the structure across the decade. Today, you'll find the massive golden-domed church on the northern banks of the Moskva River.

Dinner at a private home with a Russian family Dinner at a private home with a Russian family

Enjoy some delicious authentic Russian cuisine during a dinner with a local Russian family, allowing you to experience a sense of every day life for a family living in Moscow.

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Red Square and its stunning landmarks Red Square and its stunning landmarks

Start by discovering arguably one of the most recognisable symbols of Moscow and the entirety of Russia, the Red Square. It is home to some of the country's most iconic landmarks, including the Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral. You'll get the opportunity to learn more about St. Basil's Cathedral, even entering the complex to marvel at the striking interior. Your next stop will be the GUM Department Store, a glass-topped 1980s arcade lined with boutique stores, before having the chance to discover the Kremlin, including its fascinating Armoury Museum.

Museum of Cosmonautics Museum of Cosmonautics

Moscow's Space Exploration Museum, or the Museum of Cosmonautics, is housed in the base of the monument named 'To the Conquerors of Space'. You'll be blown away by the incredible monument, showing a huge upright titanium contrail behind a rocket taking off into the sky. The museum itself celebrates the Soviet Union's exploits in space, among them sending the first man into space, the first woman into space, executing the first space walk and launching Sputnik, the first satellite. Some of the exhibits you'll see include artefacts like Yuri Gagarin's spacesuit and the first rocket engine.

VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Center VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Center

Your next stop will see you discover the All-Russian Exhibition Center, better known as VDNKh, which was opened in 1959 to exhibit and celebrate the modern achievements of Soviet science, industry, culture, transport, and engineering. Ironically, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the site became a large centre of capitalist trade with numerous shops and kiosks lining the pedestrian walkways. On the edge of the complex, you can observe the titanium Sputnik Rocket Monument, which rises 315 feet into the air.

Moscow Metro tour Moscow Metro tour

This interesting tour will give you the chance to discover one of the largest metro systems in the world, consisting of over 200 stations and 210 miles of track. Serving nearly 2.5 billion travellers every year, the metro's first station opened in 1935, and many of the stations in the city centre are true showpieces of Socialist art, decorated with the likes of statues, frescoes and mosaics, as well as marbled and gilded walls and ceilings. Of the more elaborate stations include Kievskaya Station, with its mosaic-clad walls, Ploshchad Revolyutsii with its bronze sculptures and Mayakovsky Station with its graceful arches forming domes filled with mosaics.

Cold War Museum - Bunker 42 Cold War Museum - Bunker 42

Located more than 200 feet below the city of Moscow, you'll discover Bunker 42, an abandoned relic of the Cold War which was built under orders of Stalin in 1951 to withstand a nuclear attack. Stocked with food and provisions, the 75,000-square-foot space was built to sustain 5,000 people for a period of three months. After completion in 1956, the area functioned as a secret communications bunker and allegedly a missile control centre. During your tour of the bunker, you'll enjoy some informative insights into the Cold War.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Moscow Airport

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The History and Grandeur of Russia's Finest Cities

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