Boutique small group tour to Russia
Two Great Cities and Ancient Golden Ring Towns
23rd August – 9th September 2019
There’s so much to discover in this 18-days boutique small group tour to Russia in including its two major cities and the Golden Ring of ancient towns which link them.
Over one thousand years of history from the riches of the Tsars to the revolution which ended their reign and the current vibrant commercial and cultural life on display.
We’ll visit magnificent palaces, museums housing centuries of cultural and artistic history to cold war bunkers, ancient monasteries and onion-domed cathedrals.
We’ll enjoy a master culinary class and visit the famous Moscow food markets. The experience will be intimate and relaxed including a private viewing at The State Hermitage Museum.
We’ll have time to look beyond the fantastic rich facades and delve deeper into the history, culture and psyche of this remarkable country and its people.
Ideal for those wishing to go beyond the usual tourist hot spots.
HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS of this boutique small group tour to Russia
- 6 nights in Moscow
- 6 nights luxury lakes cruise through the Golden Circle
- 5 nights in St Petersburg
- Fully escorted tour with English speaking guide and Australian tour director
- 17 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 10 dinners
- Backstage tour of Bolshoi Theatre
- Visit to the Kremlin and State Tretyakov Gallery boasting the largest collection of Russian fine art in the world
- Culinary master class and visit to foodie heaven, the Danilovsky market
- The walled Orthodox monastery of Sergiev Posad
- Bunker 42 – Stalin’s Bunker
- Lakes cruise visiting Rybinsk, Onega & Ladoga Lakes; Volga, Svir & Neva Rivers
- Faberge Museum and private visit to Hermitage Museum
- The 1,000-year-old Novgorod Kremlin and Sofia Cathedral
- Yuriev Monastery, Russia’s oldest monastery
- Catherine’s Palace and Amber Room
- Optional tickets to attend performance at Mariinsky theatre
- Spilled Blood Cathedral with its stunning floor and wall-covered mosaics
- Group transfer to St Petersburg airport
- All tips and gratuities for group excursions
Itinerary for this boutique small group tour to Russia
Day 1: Check-in at hour hotel (pictured) and meet the rest of the group for pre-dinner drinks and dinner. D
Day 2: We’ll take a morning tour of the city to orient ourselves including Arbat, one of the most popular places in Moscow and Sparrow Hill, high above the city providing a perfect panoramic view. In addition, we’ll visit the fabulous halls of the Bolshoi and go backstage to see what audiences never see. Originally opened in 1856 it has recently undergone six years of renovations. Afternoon and evening at leisure. BL
Day 3: After a leisurely breakfast our first destination today will be the Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum and Heritage Site incorporating the Armoury Chamber and the architectural ensemble of Cathedral Square, including cathedrals, churches, the Patriach’s Palace and the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower complex. Red Square remains, as it has been for centuries, the heart and soul of Russia. The 16th Century St Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world. The square is also home to the constructionist pyramid of Lenin’s Mausoleum. Our day will conclude with a culinary master class and dinner. BLD
Day 4: Travelling a short distance from the city this morning we’ll reach the small town of Sergieve Posad, famous worldwide for the beauty of its monastery. A visit to Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is not to be missed. With its churches and cathedrals it is considered the heart of the Russian Orthodox faith. BL
Day 5: Today we explore a more recent history with a visit to Bunker 42, and its role in the Cold War. A nondescript neoclassical building on a quiet street in the centre of the city looks very ordinary. However, the building was just a shell and served as an entry to a 7000 sq-metres space – one of the major secret objects of the USSR. An underground complex was built here in the 1950s as the threat of nuclear war became a reality. Up to 30000 people could live and work there for 90 days without assistance from the outside world. After lunch we’ll take a ride on the Moscow Metro, generally acknowledged to be the most beautiful underground transport system in the world. We’ll discover why. BLD
Day 6: Our last full day in Moscow, we’ll visit a renowned bakery and learn some of the tricks of the trade. You’ll have time at leisure to further explore the city there’s so much more to see and experience. GUM is a not to be missed site. Directly opposite the Mausoleum, on the eastern side of the square, lies the building housing Russia’s most famous shopping mall – the State Department Store, GUM. Since the fall of communism, several other shopping centers and hypermarkets have sprung up to rival it in prestige, but GUM retains its status as a consumer Mecca for visitors to Moscow. In the Soviet Union, the top floor was home to Section 100, a secret clothing store only open to the highest echelons of the party. Nowadays the rows of exclusive boutiques are accessible to anyone with a platinum card. That said, the building itself is glorious, and there are still a few more interesting relics of a bygone era on the higher floors that make it well worth exploring. BD
DAYS 7 – 12
Day 7: Late morning we’ll check out of our home for the last 6 nights and be transferred to the pier to board our cruise ship. We’ll join the Captain at a welcome dinner tonight. BD
Day 8: Stopping today at Uglich we’ll visit the renowned green-domed Cathedral of Transfiguration and the Church of St Dimitry on the Blood, built on the site where the son of Ivan the Terrible was murdered. Dating back to the 10th century, Uglich has been the scene of some of the most remarkable events in Medieval Russian history. BLD
Day 9: Our next port of call is Yaroslavl, among the oldest of Russia’s provincial cities and home to the 12th century Savior Transfiguration Monastery. BLD
Day 10: Arriving in Goritsy we’ll visit nearby Kirillov to discover why for 6 centuries it was a centre of pilgrimage for people searching for peace and enlightenment. The beautiful countryside alone provides the perfect spot for some quiet contemplation. BLD
Day 11: At the northern end of Lake Onega is the tiny island of Kizhi home to the open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture. Which, not only houses an interesting collection of restored 18th century wooden buildings but also, a 17th century 22-domed church which was built without the use of a single nail. BLD
Day 12: On to Mandrogi, a picturesque village and romantic vision of the past located on the River Svir. Here, we’ll find items of Russian handicrafts including matryoshkas (painted wooden dolls), remarkable pieces of embroidery and pottery utensils. A wonderfully relaxing spot to enjoy a picnic on the riverbank. Tonight the Captain will host our farewell dinner. BLD
DAYS 13 – 18
Day 13: Disembarking in St Petersburg, our guide will meet us and escort us on an orientation tour of the city. Following some time to relax and settle into our hotel we’ll head to the Stroganoff Steak House, located in what was the barracks and stables of the Horse Guards before the Revolution. BD
Day 14: What could be more exquisite than the stunning creations of Carl Faberge? The Faberge Museum, a privately owned museum, is houses in one of the most beautiful palaces in St Petersburg. Among other jeweled works here are nine of the famous Imperial Easter Eggs. Later, a canal cruise through the city’s network of rivers and canals will provide access to parts of the city inaccessible by land. It’s impossible not to marvel at the architecture and monuments of the imperial age. BL
Day 15: A full day tour to Novgorod, one of the most important historic cities in Russia. “It is the only place where you can touch the living history more ancient than Russia itself, and see for yourself from when the Russian land came to be: its Orthodox practices, literacy, democracy and statehood.” (Source: local official guide) BL
Day 16: Following a tram tour of the city we’ll head to the Russian Vodka Museum for lunch – vodka optional ! Later, we’ll enjoy a private visit to the State Hermitage Museum, the second largest museum of art and culture in the world. BL
Day 17: Catherine’s Palace and Park, the summer residence of the Russian tsars, is our destination today. This magnificent white and gold palace surrounded by parkland is also famous for its Amber Room. Stolen by Nazi troops during WWII, it took 24 years for local Russian craftsmen to recreate it. We’ll be privileged to enjoy a very special insight into how this ‘proposed ninth wonder of the world’ was created. Tonight, our farewell dinner will continue the theme of royalty with dinner at Tsar Restaurant. Enjoying gastronomic traditions of the royal cuisine where each dish was a masterpiece will provide the perfect farewell to 17 days discovery of this fascinating country, its history, culture and traditions. BLD
Day 18: Group transfer to the international airport for onward or home-bound flights.
Boutique small group tour to Russia(Per person)
- (Reduction available for twin share)
- Not included: International airfare into Moscow and out of St Petersburg