11 Day Luxury Small Group Tour of Russia
Lavish palaces, colourful Cathedrals and tranquil monasteries. A rich history that takes in Tsarist grandeur and revolutionary zeal. Traditional crafts and centuries-old festivities. Embark on an epic voyage north to uncover a handpicked selection of Russia’s sparkling gems.
Our adventure map
Day by day
First Day we arrive in St Petersburg
Arrive into St Petersburg and enjoy a private transfer to your pre-tour accommodation where the rest of your day is at leisure.
Second Day tour St Petersburg
St Petersburg marks our grand entrance to Russia. A panoramic tour introduces its highlights, from Nevsky Prospekt and the Church of the Saviour of Spilled Blood, to the Mariinsky Palace. We delve into legendary tales with visits to the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Aurora battleship – a symbol of the October 1917 revolution. Next, it’s off to the Vodka Museum for a truly Russian welcome, and tasters accompanied by traditional Russian snacks. To round off our first day, we view The Hermitage’s remarkable collection of artefacts before sitting down to a welcome dinner. (B, D)
Hotel: Rossi Hotel
Third Day take in the sights of Tsarskoe Selo then return to St Petersburg
With powder blue walls and golden-topped windows, Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo is a sight to behold – and that’s before we even step inside. When we do, we discover treasures including the Amber Room, whose walls of precious amber are as enthralling as its mysterious history. Back in St Petersburg, we peer inside St Isaac’s Cathedral, taking in outstanding religious art from many of Russia’s masters. (B)
Hotel: Rossi Hotel
Fourth Day cruise to Peterhof then Kronstadt and return to St Petersburg
This morning we cruise to Peterhof, a regal complex of gardens, fountains and palaces that earns it the nickname ‘the Russian Versailles’. Leaving the city temporarily behind, it’s time for a trip to the seaside. Kronstadt, set on the island of Kotlin, has shielded St Petersburg from many maritime threats over the centuries – and we learn all about the exploits of the Russian Navy on a boat trip and tour of the fortress. Later we enjoy an early evening dinner followed by a bagatitsa show. This celebration of cossack culture is a bright mix of costumes, dance and music. (B, D)
Hotel: Rossi Hotel
Fifth Day travel to Veliky Novgorod
We leave St Petersburg for Russia’s ancient capital, Veliky Novgorod. After exploring the unique Vitoslavlitsy open-air museum of wooden architecture, we pay a visit to the Kremlin. This imposing fortress was built in the 15th century, and houses one of Russia’s oldest cathedrals. Dinner tonight is a group affair. (B, D)
Hotel: Yuryevskoe Podvorye
Sixth Day go from Veliky Novgorod to Torzhok
After seeing the Valday Iversky Monastery, with its serene island-on-a-lake setting, we continue to the historic town of Torzhok. Here, the ancient craft of Russian gold-work embroidery has been kept alive – and we get a first-hand look at exquisite pieces at the museum. (B, L, D)
Hotel: Staroyamskaya Hotel
Seventh Day we tour Tver then Klin
Tver, a medieval city that was Russia’s capital under the Mongol empire, is first on our agenda today. After a city tour, we learn about one of the region’s famous sons at the Museum-House of Tchaikovsky. In the next museum we get hands-on, learning to hand-paint our own glass Christmas decorations in Klin. Tonight, we experience rural Russian living at an eco-farm outside town. After enjoying a dinner of traditional shashlik barbecue, we make ourselves at home in our rustic accommodation. (B, D)
Hotel: Eco Farm
Eighth Day we're off to Sergiev Posad
We spend today among the tranquil surrounds of Sergiev Posad, one of Russia's most sacred religious sites. With a monk to guide us, we unwrap the history of the beautiful Trinity Lavra of St Sergius monastery, founded by St Sergius in the 14th century. After viewing the revered Trinity, an icon painted over 600 years ago, we join the monks for lunch. Then we've an appointment with a local craft workshop, where we spend the afternoon learning to make church candles. (B, L, D)
Hotel: Barskie Polaty
Ninth Day sample Moscow
Our path turns towards Russia’s majestic capital, Moscow. A two night stay here begins with a tour of Red Square, the beating heart of the city. While here, we tour the Kremlin, which stands beside neighbours including St Basil’s cathedral, with its eye-catching collection of onion domes coated in colourful mosaics. (B)
Hotel: Kuznetsky Inn
Tenth Day its off to Kolomna then back to Moscow
Kolomna, which dates back to the 12th century, is on the cards today. We tour the old town then treat our sweet tooth by discovering pastila. First we learn about the heritage of this ancient sweet at the museum, before visiting a historic manor house to sample one or two over tea. When we return to Moscow, another side to the city is revealed on a tour of its grand, historic metro stations, before sitting down to a farewell dinner. (B, L, D)
Hotel: Kuznetsky Inn
Eleventh Day historic Moscow
Our tour began with the imperial finery of St Petersburg, and it now ends among lasting reminders of Moscow’s communist past. First comes an area shrouded in secrecy – the Lubyanka Triangle, home to the headquarters of the NKVD, which later became the KGB. Then we go underground to visit Stalin’s Bunker – part of a secretive network built in the 1930s, with a tunnel leading straight under the city streets to the Kremlin. After this intriguing final stop, it’s time to say goodbye. (B)
- Private transfers to and from the airport
- 10 nights’ accommodation in boutique hotels and a farm stay
- Experienced Tour leader
- Luxury mini-coach transportation
- European breakfast daily (B)
- Seven evening meals (D)
- Three lunches (L)
- Christmas decoration and church candle craft workshops
- Vodka and Pastilla tastings
- Bagatitsa show
- Moscow Metro tour
- Cruise to Peterhof Palace
- Boat transfer to Fort Alexander
- Entrance fee included to: Peter and Paul Fortress, Cruiser Aurora, Vodka Museum, Hermitage Museum, Catherine Palace, St Isaac’s Cathedral, Peterhof Palace Gardens, Fort Alexander, Vitoslavlitsy Open-Air Museum, Valday Iversky Monastery, Goldwork Embroidery Museum, Tchaikovsky House-Museum, Klinskoe Compound Museum, Trinity Lavra of St Sergius Monastery, Moscow Kremlin, Pastila Museum, Stalin’s Bunker.
Explore fascinating monuments of Russia’s imperial and communist past
Craft your own unique Christmas decorations and traditional church candles
Experience rural Russian living with an overnight stay at an eco-farm and a traditional shashlik for dinner
Guarantees, Bonds and Awards
- This tour is run by our outstanding travel partners who are award winners British Travel Awards Best Small Group.
- All Tours are Guaranteed Departures.
- Tours are fully bonded, protected and guaranteed and you pay the operator directly when booking.
- ABTA protected
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