Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Veliky Novgorod
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Arrival in Moscow
On arrival in Moscow you will be met by our friendly representative who will escort you by car or mini bus to your hotel. Your Moscow travel itinerary begins right away as on the way to the hotel, you will have the opportunity to get your first glimpse of this truly unique city
Panoramic City Tour. This tour is a great start to your trip and the best way to get acquainted with many of the city´s major highlights. Our professional guide will escort you on a route that includes Vorobyevi Hills where you will get an incredible view of the city from an observation point, you will proceed to Moscow State University which is an example of architecture from the time of Stalin and one of Russia’s leading schools of higher education, then on to Novodevichiy Convent, the Diplomatic Village, Victory Park, the Triumphal Arch, Kutuzovsky Prospect, the Arbat and much more.
Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. This amazing city has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Moscow has had a tumultuous history dating back to medieval times when it was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki (Yuri of the Long Arms, known for the length of his arms!) in the early 12th century. It has seen numerous invasions and sieges from the Mongols to the Poles and Lithuanians to the Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and finally the Nazi’s but it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city is filled with unique architecture from the Kremlin and Red Square to giant Stalin skyscrapers to new office blocks built during the economic boom of recent years and it contains a strikingly beautiful metro system. The city is the center of political as well as economic power in Russia and visitors can feel the energy in the streets. There is always something going on in Moscow and there is so much to see.
Day 2:Breakfast at the hotel
Excursion to the Moscow Kremlin and Kremlin Cathedrals. (please note that a visit to the Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund is not included in the tour price. It can be added upon request for extra payment). The Kremlin is a fascinating structure, at the same time it is an ancient tower, the city´s former military fortification, a palace, an armory, the sovereign treasury and the workplace of the Russian President. The Kremlin is the center of Russia´s political life and State power and has been home to Tsars, General Secretaries of the Soviet Union and Russian Presidents. The Kremlin has always been the spiritual centre of Russia. You will see several ancient cathedrals on its territory the most famous of which are the Assumption Cathedral, the Archangel’s Cathedral and the Annunciation Cathedral.
Red Square is just outside the Kremlin´s walls. While walking on Red Square you will admire the Mausoleum of Lenin, the clock on the Savior (Spasskaya) Tower - showing the most correct Moscow time, the History Museum, the beautiful Cathedral of the Intercession (the Church of St Basil the Blessed), Kazansky Cathedral and many other outstanding pieces of Russian architecture.
In the evening, enjoy a ballet or opera performance at the Bolshoi Theater - one of the world´s greatest musical companies (optional).
Day 3:Breakfast at the hotel
Tour of the Moscow Metro system and the Old Arbat street. The Moscow Metro is one of the largest and most grandly built metro systems in the world. It was meant to be a showcase of the Soviet Union´s achievements both for the Russians themselves and visitors from abroad. The stations are all uniquely designed with decorative elements including mosaics, statues, marble floors, walls and staircases to name a few. The tour will then proceed to Old Arbat street, one of Moscow’s oldest streets. The street has gone from being the headquarters of Ivan the Terrible’s secret police, the Oprichina to the center of aristocratic life in Moscow in the 18th century to finally being the center of the Russian intelligentsia and bohemian life in the capital. You will be told of the street´s interesting history and view the street´s artisan culture. You will also have the opportunity to view and purchase souvenirs from the street´s many craftsmen.
Lunch in a local restaurant (optional)
Tour of the Tretyakovsky State Gallery. The world famous gallery contains works of Russian art from the 10th century up to the present. You will view exquisite Russian icons and paintings from the 18th and 19th century including works by Rublev, Kandinsky, Karavak, Vishnyakov, Nikitin, Antropov, Levitsky, Kiprensky, Tropinin, Fedotov, Repin and many others.
Day 4:Arrival in St. Petersburg
On arrival in St. Petersburg you will be met by our friendly representative who will escort you by car or mini bus to your hotel. On the way to the hotel, you will have the opportunity to get your first glimpse of this truly unique and beautiful city. After settling in at the hotel, you can sit down to a short lunch (optional), to prepare you for the city tour.
Panoramic City Tour. This tour is a great start to your trip and the best way to get acquainted with all of the city´s major highlights. Our professional guide will take you down Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg´s most famous and vibrant thoroughfare. There you will see some of the city´s most interesting architectural monuments including the Kazan Cathedral and the Winter Palace. You will then proceed to Vasilevsky Island - the area of the city that Peter the Great originally planned to be the city center. This island juts out into the Gulf of Finland - reminding you of St. Petersburg´s close proximity to the sea and maritime history. The tour will include a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress - a symbol of St. Petersburg and also the oldest building in the city. While there, you will visit Peter and Paul Cathedral, the burial place of the Russian Tsars from Peter the Great onward. You will then be taken back to your hotel to relax.
In the evening you will have free time to stroll along the city streets and to dine at a restaurant of your choice. If you would like recommendations on good places to eat, just ask us.
St. Petersburg is the former capital of Imperial Russia, home of the Tsars and one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities. St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland. The city has seen its share of historical events including the Decembrist revolt, the palace coup and murder of Tsar Pavel, the intrigues of Catherine the Great, the assassination Tsar Alexander II, the influence of Rasputin on the Russian royal family, the Revolution of 1905 and the October Revolution of 1917 which brought the communists to power. During WWII, the city then known as Leningrad, went through a harrowing two and a half year blockade and siege by the Nazi invaders resulting in the deaths of over 1 million of its citizens. Today, St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city with a population of over 5 million. It is also known as the center of Russian art, culture and literature – former citizens included Pushkin and Dostoevsky just to name a few. The entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of beautiful palaces and monuments including the Winter Palace. The city is also known as the Venice of the North because of its location on various islands in the Neva River and its many canals and bridges. St. Petersburg is home to the world famous Hermitage Museum which contains one of the world’s largest collections of art including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Matisse, Picasso as well as many other old masters and impressionists. We are sure that you will find St. Petersburg one of the most if not the most fascinating places you have ever visited.
Day 5:Breakfast at the hotel
After breakfast we will head to one of the greatest and largest art museums in the world - the Hermitage. The museum consists of five historical buildings including the Winter Palace - the residence of the Russian Tsars. The museum contains over 3 million pieces of art with dates ranging from high antiquity to the present day. Among the Hermitage´s treasures are artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens and a large collection of impressionists and post impressionists including Matisse and Picasso as well as many others. We will spend 3 hours at the museum, however, to view the collection in its entirety would take almost 15 years, spending 8 hours a day in the museum and taking one minute to examine each exhibit.
Day 6:Breakfast at the hotel
At 8.00 AM, our driver will pick you up to depart for Novgorod. Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia’s most ancient cities and was Russia’s first capital. No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. It was founded by the Viking King Rurik in the 9th century who became the first King of Russia and founder of the Rurik Dynasty which ruled the Russian lands until the 16th century. In the 12th century the Novgorod city state controlled most of Europe´s North-East, from today´s Estonia to the Ural Mountains making it one of the largest states in medieval Europe. Novgorod is located in the North-West part of the Russia, about 2-3 hours drive from St. Petersburg.
Arrival in Novgorod. We will stop by the Beresta Palace hotel or Intourist hotel, to visit the restrooms and lobby bar if necessary. You will meet your Novgorod guide at this time.
Visit to Novgorod’s Kremlin. Your first impression of the city will be the Kremlin of Novgorod - the oldest in Russia. The structure dates back to 864. You will have the chance to walk along its ancient walls during your visit. The cathedral of St. Sophia dominates the structure of the Kremlin. Built between 1045 and 1050 under the patronage of Vladimir Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise. It is the best preserved of 11th century churches, probably the oldest structure still in use in Russia and the first one to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). It is adorned with beautiful frescoes from the 12th century and icons. The dome of the cathedral is made in the form of a huge helmet, to show the defendant power of the city. The tour will also take you to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Yaroslav´s Court. This cathedral was built to store an icon, believed to have magical powers.
Lunch at a local restaurant (optional)
In the afternoon, you will head to the Yuriev Monastery, a medieval religious complex built in 1030 along the Volkov River. The Cathedral of St. George will impress you by its size and beauty, as it was initially intended to surpass even St. Sophia’s cathedral in grandeur. You will then visit the open-air museum of wooden structures “Vitoslavisty" which is located close to the monastery. The museum consists of old wooden houses, huts, churches brought from all over the Novgorod region. The museum will give you an idea of how Novgorod’s inhabitants lived in the past. At around 16:00, you will head back to St. Petersburg.
Day 7:Breakfast at the hotel
Visit to Peterhof. Peterhof ( Petrodvorets) is a jewel of Russian art - a town of parks, palaces and fountains. In the past, it was used as an exquisite summer residence by the Russian Tsars. You will visit the Grand Palace - the largest and the most famous palace of the residence which was often used for gala receptions. After this you will proceed to the Lower Park (Nizhny Park) which is a genuine masterpiece of landscape design. The park is adorned with more than 150 fountains and 4 monumental cascades. There are several small palaces and pavilions on the park territory, such as the Monplaisir, Catherine´s Block, Marli, Hermitage, the Bath Block and many more. If you are ready to walk a lot you will also enjoy a magnificent view of the Gulf of Finland
Day 8:Breakfast at the hotel
Hotel check out
After a good breakfast at the hotel, you will be escorted to the town of Pushkin (formerly Tsarskoye Selo). The Palace and Park of Tsarskoye Selo is a former country residence of the Russian emperors. It is a fascinating monument of the world´s architectural and gardening arts of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Its 3 parks occupy an area of 600 hectares on which are located over 100 architectural monuments: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures designed by masters of the Venetian school such as P. Baratta, A. Tarsia and D. Bonazza. The center of Tsarskoye Selo is Catherine´s Palace, containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and Western-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, arms and decorative bronze sculptures. The Palace also contains the Amber Room - a truly unique work of craftsmanship – a room made entirely of amber. The room was looted by the Nazi’s during WWII but luckily most of its pieces were recovered. The room was fully rebuilt in 2003. Tsarskoye Selo was also the main residence of the last Tsar Nicolas II and his family.
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