Day 1 - Moscow
Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 - Moscow - city centre guided tour
This guided tour of Moscow's most iconic landmarks will help to give you a sense of the city's culture and history. Kicking off in the renowned Red Square, you'll get to find out more about all the main attractions, including the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin's grandiose mausoleum, and the magnificent State Historical Museum.
Traveling along the banks of the Moskva river, you'll enjoy views of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour's golden domes, and the beautiful Novodevichy Convent.
Moving on up to the Lenin and Sparrow hills, there's a chance to admire the very impressive Moscow State University and take in an incredible view over Moscow, before heading on back down town.
Along the way the tour will pass through the memorial complex at Poklonnaya Hill, which includes Victory Park and the Triumphal Arch, as well as a number of important Moscow streets such as the curved Boulevard Ring, frenetic Pushkin Square and Moscow's main thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street.
Day 3 - Moscow - Kremlin and Armoury Museum guided tour
Kremlin Grounds Tour
We'll explore inside the Kremlin which, a bit like a mini-city, has its own palaces, cathedrals and armouries. Formerly the home of the Tsars, the Kremlin is now where the Russian President lives. Here it is clear that the modern world of Moscow has not completely chased out the past. Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov and the early Romanovs all have a history here, and more than a whiff of their spirits remain.
The Armoury Museum and Tsar Treasures
Next up is a visit to the Armoury Museum. The building started to function as a weapons store in 1508 – but within a few decades, it had become a workshop and repository for all sorts of treasures of the Imperial Court. In 1813, it became an exhibition hall and museum, and today, it boasts an almost overwhelming collection of artefacts.
Feast your eyes upon incredible exhibits such as the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy, the helm and armour of Boris Godunov, a collection of over 50 Faberge eggs, gold and silver works of applied art by Russian, European and Oriental masters, priceless weaponry and other works made of precious metals and stones.
Train departure and transfer from the hotel
Your driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you to the railway station to travel on the overnight train to Novgorod.
Train travel in Russia is relaxing! The compartments also have personal reading lights, a big window and a small table. There is ample storage space for luggage within your compartment. Two bathrooms in every carriage contain a sink with running hot/cold water and a toilet. Cabins can be locked from the inside, and attendants keep a very close eye on what is happening within their carriage. As a result, trains are one of the safest means of travel within Russia.
With a journey time of approximately eight-and-a-half hours, arrival in Novgorod is early in the morning.
Day 4 - Novgorod the Great
On arriving in Novgorod the Great, your driver will meet you and take you to your hotel.
Standing at the source of the River Volkhov and Lake Ilmen, Novgorod the Great (Velikiy Novgorod) is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Founded in the 9th century, its history is inextricably linked to all the key stages of the development of the Russian state, and is not only the birthplace of Russian democratic and republican traditions, but an important spiritual stronghold of orthodox Russia too.
Novgorod Kremlin Guided Tour
One of the most important attractions is the Novgorod Kremlin. A masterpiece of medieval architecture, it's traditionally known as the Detinets, and is home to the Chamber of the Facets, which dates back to 1433, as well as the oldest bell tower and clock tower in Russia.
Yaroslav's Courtyard in Novgorod the Great
On the opposite side of the Vokhov river from the Kremlin is Yaroslav's Courtyard, which is named after Yaroslav the Wise, who united Novgorod and Kiev under his rule in the 11th century. Yaroslav built a magnificent palace on the site, and soon after, the area became an important trading centre – hence it is now known as ‘Trading Side’. Rich merchants from across Russia lived here while staying in Novgorod and in the Middle Ages, Novgorod became a major trading partner of the Hansa. The buildings, which include the Church of St Nicholas and the Church of Myrrh-bearing Women, reflect the area's historical important.
Yuriev Monastery is also a fascinating attraction on the tour. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, legend says that it was founded in 1030 by good old Yarloslav the Wise, and is one of Russia's oldest monasteries. Even today it's a grand affair, with a belfry 52 metres high, and five corpuses, including prison cells, cathedrals and churches.
Guided Tour of the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture
The Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture provides a delightful insight into Russia's architectural past. Wooden churches, dwellings and mills dating from the 14th to 19th centuries have been reconstructed to provide a very real impression of how the people of Novgorod used to live. Its outstanding collection of buildings ranges from tiny churches to roomy houses, with interiors decked out in impressive examples of period furniture and folk crafts. Set within a wooded estate, it's a beautiful place to visit.
To round off the day, there are opportunities to imbibe in a refreshing glass of mead-like medovukha, which is brewed in the Kremlin, take a swim in the nearby Volkhov River, or just sun yourself on the beach.
Day 5 - Novgorod the Great - St Petersburg
Your driver will meet you at the lobby of your hotel to take you to train station. From here you will take the local train to St Petersburg.
St Petersburg guided city tour
Crammed with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, tree-lined avenues and beautiful bridges, it's no wonder St Petersburg has earned itself a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A relatively young city, it was only founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, but despite this, it's enjoyed a rich and exciting history – meaning there's lots to see and do.
Highlights of your tour include the impressive Kazan Cathedral, the late Baroque Stroganov Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Bronze Horseman, which is a monument to Peter the Great, and the Palace Embankment – as well as religious must-sees such as the golden-domed St Isaac's Cathedral and the distinctive Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
Day 6 - St Petersburg, Hermitage State Museum
Today is devoted to Hermitage museum. With close to three million items in its collection, the majority of the Hermitage artefacts are housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes. Our guided tour is designed to help you find your way around this enormous collection, with a detailed tour of the main site.
As one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the Hermitage was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, includes the largest assemblage of paintings in the world, including works by Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Rubens..
Day 7 – St Petersburg
Today you have an excursion to Tsarskoe Selo.
Built in the 18th century, Tsarskoe Selo is an imperial estate along the lines of Versaille – though in terms of extravagance and excess, it by far outstrips its French counterpart. Set in extensive landscaped gardens and composed of two exceptional palaces, Alexander Palace and Catherine Palace, built for Empress Elizabeth by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, it's an attraction that cannot fail to impress.
Catherine Palace is undoubtedly the star of the show, perhaps best known for its extraordinary amber room, where the walls are literally lined with slabs of real amber. Such ostentation does not however come cheap, as conservationists not that long ago found out. When the amber was looted during World War II, replacing it took over 20 years and cost over $12 million!
The great hall, also known as the hall of light, which measures nearly 1,000 square meters and occupies the full width of the palace, is another of the Catherine Palace highlights. The large arched windows provide enough light to relieve the vast quantity of gilded stucco decorating the walls, and the entire ceiling is covered by a monumental fresco entitled The Triumph of Russia.
Day 8 - Departure
Airport departure and transfer from the hotel.
Please note we have designed our tours for you that you have a guided tours first half of the day and you have some free time after. We beleive this is the best way to explore the cities.