Day 1:The guests are met at the airport (or any other station depending on your way of traveling) by an experienced English-speaking guide and taken by a comfortable coach to a three-star hotel closer to the historical center of the city or the nearest underground station. Upon check-in guests have a welcome drink in the hotel.
Day 2:Next day the guide takes the group on a city-tour by coach (2,5 hours) to see the major architectural and historical sites of the 300 year history of Saint-Petersburg. During the tour the coach makes several stops to stretch our legs and take pictures of the most important and picturesque views.
In the afternoon the group visits the State Hermitage Museum (2,5 hours guided tour) to see the collections and Royal interiors in 5 palaces of the museum complex.
In the evening the guests can go on a theatre performance (optional).
Day 3:The morning is dedicated to a trip to visit one of the Royal Summer residencies with a walk in the park and excursion in the Palace. Upon return the guests have free time before the departure to the airport.
*The program of the museum visits is subject to change depending on their working schedules.
The guide accompanies the group to the airport.
Tour rates are calculated on group size or individual. Please contact us with your requirements for a customized tour.
Standard Tour 2 "TWO CAPITALS"
This tour includes the stay in Moscow as well. All the other conditions are similar to those quoted above.
One can start this tour either from Moscow or St. Petersburg. In both cases there are 3 days/2 nights at each place with a night spent on a train (plane is another option). The train trip can be pretty pleasant with accommodation in a 4-berth sleeping compartment with toilet facilities in both ends of a train carriage. The duration of a railroad trip is about 8 hours; the travelers are provided with soft beds, towels and, as a rule, toiletries and packed dinner. The conductor serves hot Russian tea in the compartment. The train leaves about midnight and arrives at the place of destination between 7 and 8 a.m. The arrival-departure schedule is very precise between these cities.
The stay in St.-Petersburg is similar to the Standard Tour 1.
Day 1, Moscow:The stay in Moscow starts with the transfer to the hotel when an experienced guide meets the group at the station. After check-in guests have breakfast.
After breakfast guests have a drive by coach to the Red Square. On the way the guide tells about the history of the city and shows the sites of interest you are passing by.
In the Afternoon the group visits the Kremlin grounds and goes inside ancient cathedrals, take pictures with the world largest bell and medieval cannon and portray themselves upon the view of the President Putin's residence.
Day 2, Moscow:The next day is dedicated to the investigation of the vast collections of armory and jewelry once belonged to several generations of the Russian tsars in the Armory Chamber in the Kremlin.
Day 3, Moscow:On the third day in the morning the group visits the famous depository of three centuries of the Russian Art - the Tretyakov Gallery.
In the Afternoon guests have the chance to explore ("The third Rome" as it is often called) on their own and leave for the airport by coach.
Tour rates are calculated on group size or individual. Please contact us with your requirements for a customized tour.
SPECIAL INTEREST TOURS
We do our best to satisfy the most sophisticated client and offer a great variety of our Special Interest Tours. Some of the most frequently asked for destinations and topical tours can be found here.
GOLDEN DOMES OF RUSSIA
Perhaps, this is the most popular tour for those who are interested in the traditional Russian culture: colorful folk dances and golden domes of ancient churches, classical ballet and classical Empire architecture, pancakes with caviar and the traditional Russian hospitality.
Accommodation at a 3 or 4-star hotels (or deluxe at 5-star hotels upon request).
City Tour with a visit to St.Isaak's Cathedral (One of the 3 largest domed structures of the world. The US Capitol building was modeled after the dome structure of this Cathedral. The interiors are luxuriously decorated with Russian gems. St.Isaak's Cathedral served as the official church of the Romanov family) and The Church of Resurrection of Christ on Spilt Blood (an unusual temple erected on the spot of assassination of the Russian Tsar Alexander II, a masterpiece of the mosaic art. It is a fairy-tale beautiful church with multi-colored onion-shaped domes, so uncharacteristic of the St. Petersburg classical style in general.
Lunch is offered at a Russian restaurant.
After lunch the guests visit the Yusupov's Palace (once belonged to a close relative of a Russian tsar, it is a splendid palace over-shadowed with a gloomy and mysterious story of assassination of the mighty favorite of the last Romanov's family - Rasputin.
The exposition pictures the scenery of the fatal dinner with a figure of Rasputin himself).
The evening program includes the visit to the famous Mariinsky Theatre to enjoy Russian ballet or opera performance.
We also offer a hydrofoil drive (in summer only) to Petergoff (the former main Summer Residence of the Russian Emperors - the huge complex of 26 palaces and 4 parks adorned with 500 fountains - the favorite place of Peter the Great) and Pushkin (the Catherine's Palace and a regular French-style park) or Pavlovsk (a poetic Palace in a refined style of the Russian Classicism, surrounded with a charming landscape park, once belonged to the wretched outlaw in the Russian Royal family - Emperor Paul I).
Lunch at a Russian restaurant "Podvorye".
In the evening guests can see the Russian folk show in one of the palaces.
A whole day should be dedicated to the world-famous State Hermitage (first of all guests are taken on a 2,5 hour tour through all 5 palaces of the museum to see the collections of the west-European paintings and Royal Interiors including the Throne Room and the Malachite Room).
Lunch at the Hermitage Restaurant.
In the Afternoon we continue with a visit to the special "Golden Storages" to see the Royal jewelry collection.
The itineraries also includes the excursion to the Peter-and-Paul Cathedral (the first stone Church of Peter's capital, the burial place of all Russian Emperors for three centuries and a rare sample of the early Peter's Baroque) and the Casemates of the Peter-and-Paul Fortress.
The Russian Museum is of a special interest being the world largest collection of a millennium of the Russian Art (from all icon painting to the Russian Impressionism and Vanguard).
The guests have a chance to attend a concert in the Smolny Cathedral and visit to the Alexander Nevsky Laura (a monastery of the highest order and the residence of St. Petersburg and North-West of Russia Archbishop. There are also the main Orthodox Academy and a memorial cemetery of the 19th. century, where such outstanding people were buried like the composer Tchaikovsky and the writer Dostoyevsky).
As a supplement to the St. Petersburg part the tour can be extended to Moscow (including all medieval cathedrals on the Kremlin grounds where The Russian Tsars before Peter the Great were buried; a tour to the New-Maidens' Monastery and St.Basil's Church on the Red Square).
We recommend to those who are sincerely interested in Russian culture to take a trip to the Golden Ring. It starts from Moscow and includes at least two ancient capitals of medieval Russian principalities Vladimir and Suzdal boasting a superb collection of ancient domes and cathedrals carefully preserved through centuries with a visit to Sergiev Posad (there is an acting large monastery with a great number of churches).
The ancient Russia occupied vast territories in the Northern part of the European Continent. It was here where the Russian state made its beginning. Already in the 7 - 9 centuries A.D. the Vikings called this territory Gardarika ("the country of cities") and actively traded with numerous Russian towns and fortresses on the mighty Northern rivers and coasts of the two largest lakes in Europe (the Onega and the Ladoga). The land stretched as far as the White Sea and the Arctic Ocean with Russian ports where the European merchant marine ships were bringing their goods in exchange of Russian rarities.
These territories had never suffered the destruction of the Mongol Tatar Yoke as Moscow had, that's why here we see today unique authentic wooden architecture dating back to the 12 centurie A.D.
The itinerary includes the sites not offered as a rule by other tour operators.
This tour starts in St. Petersburg and continues to its vicinities like Vyborg (an ancient city on the border with Finland with a huge fortress, not once captured by Swedes or Russians in numerous battles. Today it is a museum and the place where the International Film Festival "Window Into Russia" is held). The road to Vyborg goes through a picturesque landscape of the Karelian Isthmus, often called "the Karelian Switzerland" and along the Gulf of Finland with wonderful spa resorts.
Old Ladoga - the ever first capital of the first Russian state - is today a small settlement on the Volkhov River - one of the 4 major Russian rivers on the historic trade route "from the Vikings to the Greeks". President Putin pays special attention to the preservation of its history as the beginnings of the Russian state idea.
Here one sees the oldest fortress that defended the borders of the country, the burial mounds of the first Russian dukes glorified in legends and can visit excavation sites worked out in the course of more than 30 years.
On the way to Old Ladoga we visit Schlisselburg (or in Russian "A Nut Town" - the name symbolizes the impossibility to seize this place in medieval times, compared to "as hard as a nut"), where a boat takes us across the Neva River (the most full watered river in Europe and one can easily understand why at this spot!) to the island where ancient Russians built a huge defense construction with traditional tall and wide round towers. The location of the island is unique: it lies right at the spot where the Neva makes its way from the Ladoga Lake (often called "The Ladoga Sea" for its size) to the Baltic Sea. Looking eastward we see the boundless water span of the lake without any shoreline in view, while looking westward we see the rapidly flowing waters of the Neva. The history of the fortress is both a heroic and gloomy one. Defending Russia from aggressive Vikings and attacking Swedes in the old times, it was turned into a political prison in the 19 century. The 20 century. restored glory to the fortress: for the last time in its history the fortress protected the besieged Leningrad in the WW II from nazi troops that occupied both banks but failed to seize the fortress in the course of 3 years of the blockade - so strong were its bastion erected by our ancestors and so strong was the spirit of the Russian people! Today it is a museum and its constructions are still bearing the traces of the war.
A curios tourist can proceed far beyond the boundaries of Leningrad Region to the North to Archangel (a port city on the Dvina River with the Merchants' Yard built by Peter the Great). A boat takes you along the river and across the White Sea to the Solovki Archipelago.
Especially fascinating on this trip is the period of White Nights when the Sun never sets and the translucent light sheds over the sea. The Solovki is an old monastery and a former exile place of the Stalin's times. The stones of the islands are covered with petroglyphs, paintings by prehistoric people.
Not far from Archangel there is the Maly Karely village - one of the rare samples of the authentic Russian wooden architecture that can be found only in the Russian North.
Kizhi:The most famous museum of secular and church wooden edifices is in Karelia.
Not far from Petrozavodsk (the capital of the Karelian Republic, the city was founded by Peter the Great the same year as St. Petersburg) there is an archipelago of small islands in the middle of the Onega Lake. One can get there by a hydrofoil from a pier in Petrozavodsk or by a cruise ship from St. Petersburg (see River Cruises below). The magnificent many-domed structures dating back to the 12 century A.D., spacious dwelling houses, numerous churches make an unforgettable impression on a visitor being built of wood and very often without a single iron nail. This type of architecture (and unique interiors full of authentic belongings of those who lived centuries ago) can be found only in the Russian North and nowhere else.
GRAND RIVERS CRUISES
If you'd like to combine a history tour with viewing picturesque surroundings and the comfort of a cruise ship come on our river cruise.
Our river cruise ships are considered of the most comfortable type in this class with 2-birth cabins with a shower and toilette room. There are two large restaurants and two bars on board, a cinema hall and a concert hall there. Two decks offer a nice opportunity to sunbathe while floating along the banks of the mighty Russian rivers. There is also a sauna available on board of a ship.
During the trip art scholars and lecturers give presentations on the Russian history and art. You can also have classes in Russian language.
We offer several types of cruises:
1. St. Petersburg - Valaam (2nights/1day)
A ship starts in the evening from a River Passenger Terminal on the Neva River and goes up the Neva's flow and across the Lake of Ladoga (the largest in Europe). In the morning tourists find themselves at the pier of one of the numerous islands of the Valaam Archipelago. Valaam is a unique combination of the Northern landscape - rocks, crystal clear sweet waters, coniferous dense forests on one hand, and on the other hand, literary heroic labor of monks who built beautiful churches on granite rocks overlooking the waters of a rough lake and planted orchards there. Today it is a functioning Orthodox Monastery where one can get by water only.
The next morning tourists return back to St. Petersburg.
This cruise can be booked in the 3 nights/2 days version.
2. St. Petersburg - Valaam - Kizhi (3 nights/3 days)
After visiting Valaam the ship goes through the system of canals built by Peter the Great from the Ladoga Lake to the Onega Lake to see Kizhi (see below).
3. Cruise St. Petersburg - Moscow (10 nights)
In the course of the cruise you are visiting the following ports of call:
St. Petersburg: the second largest city of Russia after Moscow, former capital of Russia, 300 years old. Founded by Peter the Great on the bank of the Neva river this city is famous for its White Nights, parks and gardens, churches and monasteries, royal palaces and historical monuments. St .Petersburg is rated by UNESCO as one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
Kizhi: the museum in the open air located on the Northern coast of the Lake Onega. Unique collection of wooden architecture of the 17th and 18th century. No nails were used to put up 22 domes of the most famous Transfiguration Cathedral.
Petrozavodsk: the capital of Karelian Republic, located on the Western coast of the Lake Onega, inhabited since the 11 c. a. d. The Central Historical museum of Petrozavodsk houses the collection of more than 40 thousand exhibits reflecting the history, culture and contemporary Karelian life.
Goritsy: during your visit to Kirill Belozersky monastery you will see the rural life of real Russia.
Kostroma: the town located on both sides of the Volga river, founded by Yury Dolgoruky in 1152.One of the most important ancient trade centers and industrial centre starting from the 18 century. Famous 15 century A. D. Ipatyev Monastery attracts attention of tourists as the burial place of the Godunov's family.
Yaroslavl: one of the most popular tourist centers located on the Volga river. Yaroslavl history starts from legends and fairy-tales and dates back to the 11 century A.D. The major river port on the Volga River is rich in history and architecture where one can see gilded domes of the ancient Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery Cathedral as well as a lot of other historical monuments.
Uglich: one of the ancient towns in Russia. First data about the town goes back to the year 1148 A.D.. A lot of monuments of the ancient architecture survived till nowadays. From the riverside you will see the Church of Prince St.Dmitry-on-Blood put up on the spot where son of Ivan the Terrible was killed.
Moscow: the capital of Russia and the port of five seas. In the course of the city tour you have the chance to discover all the world famous places of interest: you will see stars shining above the Kremlin, medieval Cathedrals of white stone, the Red Square, multi-colored domes of Basil's Cathedral.
We offer you various topical tours for deeper study of the Russian culture and arts:
• Cradle of the Russian Ballet
• Following the Steps of Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment)
• Russian Cosmos (Space Exploration History)
• For Lovers of the Russian Classical Music (Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Shostakovich and other ...great composers;the sites connected to their lives and creations)
...If you'd like to combine pleasure with studies sign up for one of the following tours:
• Master classes in classical dance
• Master classes in singing or music performing
• Master classes in painting
• Lessons in Russian language
Experienced certified tutors and professors of St.Petersburg leading universities give master classes and lectures.
(The Repin Academy of Fine Arts, The Vaganova Ballet School, The St.Petersburg State University are among those involved. others).
*All enumerated above tours are custom-tailored and include special site visits and tuition fee. Groups over 10 pax have considerable discounts.
Standard Tour 1 "MEET ST.PETERSBURG!"
(3 days/2 nights in St. Petersburg)