RUSSIA

 

Day 1

Arrival at the airport. Transfer to the hotel.

 

Day 2

Moscow

The Kremlin and the Novodevichy Convent.Walk across Red Square to St. Basils Cathedral and back via GUM. Head back to the north of Red Square and visit Kazan Cathedral. Tour the Kremlin with your Englishspeaking guide. Don’t miss the ancient thrones, costumes, and Faberge eggs in the Armory or the Orlov diamond and other imperial regalia in the Diamond Vault. After lunch head for the Novodevichy Convent – one of Moscow’s most picturesque oases. See the gardens and Smolensk Cathedral and then head for the beautiful leafy Novodevichy Cemetery across the street. Pay a late-afternoon visit to Arbat Street – a pedestrian boulevard of cafes, shops and stalls – Moscow’s version of Montmartre.

 

Day 3

Moscow’s Soviet Secrets

First stop: Lenin’s tomb, right on Red Square. Then head for the Museum of Contemporary Russian History which educates the birth and death of the Soviet state from the Russian perspective. After lunch head for Izmailovsky Park with its huge outdoor bazaar selling Russian crafts, apparel and other souvenirs. This is the best place to buy souvenirs. Then visit Stalin’s secret underground bunker. Top off your day with the Old Moscow Circus.

 

Day 4

Building the New Russia

Start with a visit to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Russia’s largest church. Then proceed to the Pushkin Museum of fine arts to see the gold treasures from Troy and life-size replicas of the world best art. Then continue to the Tretyakov Gallery, the world best collection of Russian art. Spend your final night in Moscow at the Bolshoi Ballet, marveling the perfection of every detail.

 

Day 5

Fly to St. Petersburg 

Meet your English-speaking guide at the airport and take a short city tour en route to your hotel. After checkin and lunch continue to the city’s birthplace, the Peter & Paul Fortress. Check out its cathedral and prison. Continue to St. Isaac’s cathedral with room for 14 000 worshippers. Take a nice evening stroll up Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s main boulevard then turn left on Canal Griboedova to see the Byzantine-style Church on Spilled Blood.

 

Day 6

The Hermitage and the Yusupov Palace

Start with a four hour visit to the former residence of the world’s wealthiest royal family with three million works of art, the Hermitage Museum. After lunch proceed to the Yusupov Palace, the best place to immerse yourself in the ostentatious and secretive world of the last csar, Nicholas II. Get back to the hotel to dress for the Mariinsky Ballet. After the ballet dine on chicken Kiev at the Mariinsky Backstage restaurant.

 

Day 7

St. Petersburg - Tsarskoe Selo - Pavlovsk - St.Petersburg

Visit Catherine Palace, the most important of all imperial retreats near St. Petersburg and admire the Amber Room, reproduced after WWII by master artisans. After lunch in nearby Podvorye Restaurant stop by Pavlovsk Palace, the home of Catherine the Great’s son Paul. Return to the city for the evening boat ride and dinner.

 

Day 8

St. Petersburg - Peterhof – St.Petersburg

Explore the spectacular Peterhof, Peter the Great\\\'s summer palace standing at the edge of the Gulf of Finland. You will see 300-acre park, spectacular fountains, the Grand Palace, crowning the hill above the fountains and numerous smaller Palaces and pavilions, representing architectural styles of the 18th - 19th centuries: modest Peter’s Baroque, shining Elisabeth’s Baroque, elegant Catherine’s Classicism and exotic oriental style.

 

Day 9

Transfer to the airport.