Day 1, arrive Moscow, Tuesday (WR)
Upon arrival in Moscow, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is to relax or perhaps begin your independent discovery of the fabled capital of Russia. Tonight, a briefing by your Tour Director on the fascinating tour that awaits you, followed by a Welcome Dinner. (D)
Day 2, in Moscow, Wednesday (B)
Moscow, one of the largest cities in the world, is the symbolic heart and soul of the country. Your sightseeing tour begins at Red Square, dominated by colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral and by the massive red walls of the Kremlin. Visit the Armory Museum, with its impressive collection of Tsarist, Russian, and foreign jewelry, armor, and other artifacts. Walk along the wide boulevards and a stroll through GUM, Russia’s largest department store, following the drive by Moscow University. Further on the north bank of the River Moskva, passing by baroque Novodevichy convent; ending the tour at the popular Arbat shopping district, time to shop or enjoy lunch on your own. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 3, in Moscow, excursion to Sergiev Posad, Thursday (B, L)
Today we travel 75 km North of Moscow, to a small town of Sergiev Posad, former Zagorsk – founded in the 14th century and renowned as a center of ancient Russian art and architecture. For centuries it served as a place of pilgrimage and the religious capital of Russia. Within the old walled city admire the fairy-tale golden and blue domes of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra, one of the most beautiful of all monasteries. After lunch at a popular restaurant, return to Moscow, the rest of the day at leisure. This evening take an Optional tour Moscow by night & Subway, to see the metro stations which Stalin called “Palaces for the People.”
Optional tour: Moscow by Night & Metro
Day 4, Moscow to St. Petersburg, Friday (B, D)
Time at leisure in Moscow, before transfer to the railway station for our four hours high-speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival at the St. Petersburg train station, transfer to your hotel. Dinner at the hotel. Join an optional Russian Folklore evening.
Day 5, in St. Petersburg, Saturday (B)
There are not many cities in the world that can match the grace of St. Petersburg. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he hired Europe’s best architects, craftsmen, and artists to build and decorate it. Spread over 100 islands and linked by over 600 bridges, it is often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Today the main sites to be visited on the tour are Palace Square with the Winter Palace, Senate Square with the monument to Russian Emperor Peter the Great, the founder of the city, St. Isaac’s Square with St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Smolny Cathedral, Cruiser Aurora, Field of Mars, and Nevsky Prospect. Visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, built in 1703 to protect the city from enemy attacks. Visit Peter and Paul Cathedral, which towers in the center of the fortress served as the burial place for Russian Emperors from Peter I.
Optional tour: Evening Canal Cruise
Day 6, in St. Petersburg, Sunday (B, D)
This morning you’ll make a highlight visit to the world-famous Hermitage, housing more than four million works of art. It ranks among one of the largest and oldest museums of the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Admire the world-famous masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco, Velasquez, Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya, and French Impressionists. The Hermitage occupies five buildings, the largest is the Winter Palace, the former residence of Russian Emperors. Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the city on your own or perhaps you may choose to take an optional tour. Tonight, join your fellow travelers in a farewell dinner.
Optional tour: Peterhof Summer Palace
Day 7, Depart St. Petersburg, Monday (B)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.