Russian Winter Wonderland
Take in the beauty of Moscow and St Petersburg when kissed by winter as you spend 6 days exploring the sights and history of these fantastic cities.
Russia is a country awash with proud traditions, centuries of history, unique architecture and fascinating politics - and what better time to discover its two great cities than as it flourishes amidst the flurries of winter snow.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail and coach travel throughout
- Flights from London to Moscow and from St Petersburg to London
- 5 nights' hotel accommodation
- 8 meals including 5 breakfasts and 3 dinners
- City tour of Moscow including the Kremlin, Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre, Victory Park and Teatralnaya Square
- Tour of Catherine's Palace and Park and a troika ride
- Sightseeing tour of St Petersburg including the Hermitage, Nevsky Prospect, St Isaac's Square and the Peter and Paul Fortress
- St Petersburg vodka museum and tasting
- The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
Day 1 - London to Moscow
Following our flight to Moscow, we make our way to our hotel, the Marriott Tverskaya, for the first two nights of the tour. On arrival we experience a traditional Russian welcome ceremony, being presented with bread, associated with hospitality, and salt, representative of a long friendship. (D)
Day 2 - Exploring Moscow
A huge, frenetic metropolis, Moscow has the largest population of any city in Europe. No other Russian city offers quite the enormous range of cultural heritage that Moscow has, having played a pivotal role in both the country's political and industrial history since the 13th century. Moscow in the winter is like a novel brought to life, and today we discover it's many delights on a full-day's sightseeing tour by coach. These include the Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage site that lies at the very centre of the city and is arguably the most famous landmark in all of Russia. The walled citadel is home to the Russian government and every leader, from the Tsars to Stalin and the current president, has issued orders from within its walls. Today the Kremlin also serves as the official residence of the country's president.
We see the iconic Red Square, home of the vast State History Museum and the final resting place of Lenin, whose remains have been carefully guarded in the square since his death in 1924. We also pass by the Bolshoi Theatre, home to the well-known ballet company, as well as many of the city's distinctive cathedrals, the most famous of which is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour's. (B)
Days 3 & 4 - Onwards to St Petersburg
After breakfast at our hotel, we board the high-speed Sapsan train this afternoon to make the journey to Russia's former, Imperial capital - St Petersburg. The train reaches speeds of over 150 mph as it darts through the vast landscapes, allowing glimpses of traditional Russian towns and villages from its windows. This evening we arrive at our hotel, the 4-Star Helvetia Suites Hotel in St Petersburg. Located close to Nevsky Prospekt, the city's famous thoroughfare, this elegant hotel in located in a historic building dating from 1828. We sit down at our hotel tonight to sample a delicious 3-course traditional menu.
On Day 4 we pay a visit to the Tsarskoye Selo or the 'Tsar's Village', the impressive estate of the former Russian royal family, whose crowning glory is the baroque style Catherine Palace and its adjacent park. Afterwards we get a true feeling for a Russian winter with a horse-pulled troika ride through the snow-filled palace grounds. Your evening is at leisure in St Petersburg, one of Russia's best-loved cities. St Petersburg is a delight to explore, with its grand boulevards and open squares boasting a plethora of attractions and historical areas of interest. Why not enjoy dinner in one of the cities many fantastic, traditional restaurants?(Day 3 - B, D, Day 4 - B)
Day 5 - Tour of St Petersburg
Today we discover the rest of St Petersburg on a guided coach tour. Surprisingly for such a large city, the vast metropolis of St Petersburg was only developed about 300 years ago. The city developed after a defensive garrison was constructed in order to reduce the threat of Swedish attack. After the St Peter and St Paul fortress was completed, the Tsar decided to relocate the capital here, and the glorious new city was built with an almost unlimited supply of money. The city was completed in 1712, and further flourished under the reign of Catherine the Great in the latter half of the 18th century, as she financed some splendid architecture and the arts. After the successful 1917 revolution, Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow, and St Petersburg (now renamed Leningrad) was largely neglected. Ironically, this did much to preserve it; the city generally missed out on Soviet buildings and street planning. When communism fell in 1991, St Petersburg regained its name, and its wonderful historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Today this magnificent city, with its grand boulevards and open squares, is a delight to explore - boasting a wealth of historic monuments and celebrated cultural attractions. We explore these attraction today of a tour which includes the Hermitage, or Winter Palace, the Church of our Saviour of Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospect, St. Isaac's Square and the Peter and Paul Fortress, which occupies a commanding position on an island in the Neva River. This is followed by a visit to a vodka museum, where you can partake in an authentic tasting for that real Russian flavour. After warming your cockles with the local tipple, there's some time at leisure before a final group dinner at a nearby St Petersburg restaurant. (B, D)
Day 6 - Return to London
After breakfast this morning, we transfer to St Petersburg airport where we board our flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival in London, your tour concludes. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
The Sapsan Train is a high-speed rail service operating between Moscow and St Petersburg.
Marriott Tverskaya Hotel, Moscow
We stay in Moscow at the 4-Star Marriott Tverskaya Hotel. Enjoying an enviable location on the city's main street, the elegant Art-Nouveau hotel retains many original features including its beautiful glass-roof atrium. It benefits from facilities such as a fitness centre and a selection of restaurants. Rooms come equipped with air conditioning, a minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, safe and hairdryer.
Helvetia Suite Hotel, St Petersburg
Our base in St Petersburg is the 4-Star Helvetia Suites Hotel, located close to Nevsky Prospekt, the city's famous thoroughfare, and the Moskovsky (Moscow) Railway Station. Located in a historic building dating from 1828, this elegant hotel has a bar and a restaurant. Rooms are equipped with a telephone, television, safe, minibar, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.
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Prices are correct at the time of publication, however are subject to change at time of booking. Prices are per person, based on double occupancy.
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