Day 1: ARRIVE MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Upon arrival in Moscow, transfer to your hotel. This evening, join fellow guests for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: MOSCOW / The Stately Capital
Tour Moscow, starting at the Kremlin, and beat the crowds with an exclusive before-hours visit to the State Armory, home to a vast collection of priceless artifacts. View its impressive collection of carriages, royal gala clothes and fabulous Fabergé eggs. Then, visit two Kremlin cathedrals: Assumption and Archangel. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a talk by a Russian scholar and stroll Red Square to view Lenin’s Tomb and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Make a Neighborhood Connection when you ride the Moscow Metro, renowned for its ornate stations.
Day 3: MOSCOW / Russian Legends
This morning, visit the Tretyakov Gallery, one of Moscow’s greatest treasures. The collection consists entirely of Russian art, from early religious paintings to modern art. Hear a choir performance for a Musical Connection in the colorful Church of St. Nicholas, then explore and have lunch at the bustling, colorful Danilovsky farmer’s market. Later, see the New Maiden Cemetery, final resting place of Chekhov, Shostakovich, Raisa Gorbachev and other noted figures.
Day 4: ST. PETERSBURG / Venice of the North
This morning, travel to St. Petersburg by Sapsan high-speed train, enjoying lunch on board. Upon arrival, embark on a tour of the city, which offers an excellent overview, followed by a cruise on the rivers and canals of St. Petersburg. From the water, take in views of the amazing exterior of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, also known as the Church on Spilled Blood. Dine at your hotel this evening.
Day 5: ST. PETERSBURG / Legacy of a Dynasty
Start the day with early, crowd-free access to the incredible Hermitage, home to three million pieces of artwork dating back to the Stone Age. Visit a local farmer’s market for a Market Connection, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. Next, learn the history of the Romanovs — Russia’s last ruling dynasty — when you meet with Zoya Belyakova, an expert on the subject. Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral to marvel at its gilded dome, and the red granite columns that grace its façade. Inside, see its lavish adornment of mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli. Your evening is free to explore more of this dazzling city at leisure.
Day 6: PETERHOF / Private Grand Palace Tour
Drive to Peterhof, summer estate of Peter the Great. Tour the Grand Palace, which is opened for you before official operating hours, so you avoid the crowds. Return to St. Petersburg via hydrofoil and visit the fascinating Peter & Paul Fortress. Its cathedral is the burial place of many tsars and tsarinas, including Peter the Great.
Day 7: PUSHKIN / Russia Past & Present
Travel to Tsarskoe Selo (the Tsar’s Village), also called Pushkin. View Catherine Palace, with its formal parks that stretch to Rastrelli’s Hermitage building, and the world-famous Amber Room, now restored to its original glory. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure to do some last minute shopping, relax in a café or visit another highlight in the city. Tonight, join your Resident Tour Director for a farewell dinner.
Day 8: DEPART ST. PETERSBURG
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.