We have designed this amazing tour to introduce you to the past and present capitals of Russia and the Ukraine, the beautiful cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. It was in Kiev, an ancient city on the bank of the beautiful Dnepr River, that the Russian people were introduced to Christianity more than a thousand years ago. The city is still considered a sacred place for all Orthodox Christians in Russia and the Ukraine. It was also the first capital of the Russian State, which at that time was known as Kiev Russ.
From Kiev you move to magnificent Moscow, the present capital of Russia and its business and cultural centre. Here, in the third largest city in Europe, you’ll be struck by the unique architectural style, from the stunning Kremlin and Red Square to the Stalin-era skyscrapers and the most beautiful underground system in the world. Your journey ends in the elegant “museum city” of St. Petersburg, the former capital of Russia, founded by the rebel tsar Peter the Great. St. Petersburg is known as the Northern Venice because of its canals and its beautiful architecture: many palaces, mansions, parks and statues. The Hermitage museum collection is rivalled only by the famous Louvre in Paris. This tour offers your group an incredible educational experience, seeing the cultural and historic treasures of two countries, all in just ten unforgettable days!
Day 1 - Kiev
Arrival in Kiev. Our guide will meet you in the arrival sector with a Go Russia sign board. Transfer to a hotel.
Day 2 - Kiev
Kiev is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe, stretching along picturesque banks of the river Dnepr. Rich history of the city is embodied in its ancient architectural monuments.
Start your discovery of Kiev with a guided bus city tour. You will see such beautiful places as St. Archangel Michael’s Golden Domes Monastery built in 12th century, Golden Gates - the main triumphal entrance of ancient Kiev; St. Vladimir Cathedral built in the 19th century. The cathedral is a unique monument of architecture and arts due to its murals executed by the famous Russian artists of the 19th century. Stroll along the main street of Kiev - Kreshatik Street.
In the afternoon you will also visit St. Sophia Cathedral – a majestic 13-domed cathedral built in 1037, masterpiece of world architecture and arts. Saint Sophia Cathedral is one of the chef-d’oeuvres of the world culture and it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Day 3 - Kiev
Guided tour to Kievo-Pecherska Lavra (monastery) – a sacred place of the Orthodoxy, with architectural ensemble of 11-19th centuries. At the present time Kievo-Pecherska Lavra is an active monastery and National Historical Architectural Preserve. Visit to its cathedrals, museums, exhibitions as well as to the caves with the saint relics.
Transfer to the famous street in Kiev - Andriyivsky Uzviz (Andriyivsky Descent). The most ancient and steep street in Kiev, Andriyivsky Uzviz, is Kievers’ favorite place for outdoor fairs, festivals, and concerts. Art galleries, shops, and studios make Andriyivsky Uzviz the best place to shop for Ukrainian crafts and artworks. Cultural museums located here reveal the history of the legendary street and of the whole Kiev. Overlooking Andriyivsky Uzviz and Podil, the old section of Kiev, stands the Ukrainian Baroque church of St. Andrew designed in 1754 by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. This five-domed church remains the major adornment of the upper city. The Castle of Richard in the modernized Gothic style, built in 1902, is another of distinctive features of Andriyivsky Uzviz. The building is currently being reconstructed into a hotel.
Transfer to the railway station.
You will travel on a comfortable fast train to Moscow. Both 1st (2 berth) and 2nd (4 berth) compartments are available. Clean linen, including sheets, towels, blankets and pillows are provided for each berth. The train also has a dining car that serves good meals. Arrival in Moscow early in the morning.
Day 4 - Moscow
Arrival in Moscow. We start our discovery of Moscow - a city of great Russian history and culture. We will have a short bus ride throughout main sites of Moscow and then we will head to the heart of Moscow - the Kremlin - former residence of Tsars and Russian Orthodox Patriarchs. Nowadays the residence of the President of the Russian Federation is situated in the Kremlin grounds. You’ll visit its uniquely beautiful Orthodox cathedrals, see the famous Tsar Cannon, one of the largest cannons ever made and never tested in battle; the Tsar Bell, the largest in the world, weighting 15 times as much as London’s Big Ben! While some of you will enjoy the beautiful St. Basils cathedral, others might be more interested in the famous Red Square, where all military parades take place. If you have time and energy left you could queue for the world-famous Lenin Mausoleum: a rare chance to see for yourself one of the few embalmed bodies in the world. It’s estimated that more than 10 million people have visited Lenin's tomb since it went on display in 1924. The preservation and public display of Lenin's body inspired the creation of Mao’s Mausoleum and similars one for Ho Chi Minhand Kim Il Sung.
In the afternoon, take a stroll along Arbat Street, famous for its souvenirs, and browse among the shops for gifts for your friends and family. Here you can buy the famous Russian fur hats (“shapkas”).
In the evening you will enjoy a performance at the world-famous Moscow state circus which was initially founded in London by English entrepreneur Philip Astley who was invited by Katherine the Great to introduce this performance entertainment in Russia!
Day 5 - Moscow
After a busy few days, with a full cultural and historical programme, we take it easy today and have fun Russian style! We will go to the Kremlin in Izmailovo settlement (part of Moscow), where we’ll be met by a real Russian Tsar and Tsaritsa, and welcomed in the traditional Russian way, with bread and salt. For those who can present their ID, a shot of vodka is also on the menu! After a short introduction we invite you to take part in various activities, depending on your age and interests, as well as the time of year: folk games such as khoduli walking, rope pulling, treasure hunt, troika ride …. After this action-packed morning, relax and browse among the stalls of nearby Izmalovo flea market, a treasure trove of old and new. All the usual souvenirs are on sale, including Soviet memorabilia and matrioshka dolls, as well as antique silver and jewellery, samovars, icons…
After lunch we will have a short introduction to the famous Moscow underground visiting several stations. The legendary Moscow Metro – fast and efficient way to go around. It is one of the oldest underground systems in the world, and the second busiest. The first stations were opened in 1935, although the first construction plans date back to the Russian Empire, when the Tsarist administration, impressed by their visits to other European capitals such as London, Berlin and Paris, thought to create a fast rail service that would serve Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Built at the height of the Soviet era, it represents Soviet Realism at its best: monumental mosaics and stunning frescos, symbolising the power and strength of the USSR.
Then we invite you to visit a formerly secret location, Taganskiy, created out of a Soviet era secret signalling centre. After a rapid 65-metre descent by lift, you’ll discover one of the USSR’s top-secret military facilities, the Taganskiy Secured Command Post (SCP). Construction of the Taganskiy SCP started in 1951. 5 years later in 1956, construction of an enormous underground site with over 7000 square metres was approved by the authorities. The USSR National Security Department took this site under its strict control, to provide round-the-clock communication for the state leadership in case of nuclear attack. Now the Taganskiy SCP is merely a monument to the might of the former Soviet Union. The ultimate goal of the reconstruction of the Taganskiy SCP is as a reminder of the history of the confrontation between the two superpowers and to prevent any future nuclear conflict. Optional: interactive game in this secret military location (available upon request).
In the late evening a transfer to Leningradsky railway station - here is your unique opportunity to travel on the historic, luxurious Red Arrow, often called the Russian Orient Express. This famous train has recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Comfortable compartments, excellent service and the charming 'provodnitca' train attendants will certainly make this journey one of the highlights of your Russian experience.
Day 6 - St. Petersburg
Arrival in St. Petersburg. Transfer to the hotel. City tour of St. Petersburg. Your guide will take you around the stunning “ Venice of the North”; you will see many famous sites including St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of Christ’s Resurrection (The Saviour of the Blood).
We will also visit Peter and Paul Fortress which is located in the historical part of St. Petersburg. The fortress, the first building of the new city, was founded in order to protect the Neva lands, regained during the Northern War, from possible attacks by Swedish troops. The fortress was used as a political prison before 1917. This doughty fortress-cum-prison has had many of its buildings converted into museums and features a splendid cathedral containing the tombs of the Romanov monarchs.
Get on board the Aurora, the flagship of the Revolution, the legendary ship whose canon gave the signal, on the order of Lenin, for the beginning of the Great Socialist Revolution more than 90 years ago.
In the evening Visit to the Folk Show “Feel yourself Russian”. The mysterious Russian soul… You can travel all way through Russia and still not understand what it’s all about – why this country between Europe and Asia is still not understood either by either East or West. But visit the folk show at Nikolaevsky Palace and you’ll probably find some clues! These are Russian artists who want to preserve the traditional folk art of all the different parts of Russia – from energetic Cossack dances to mellow songs from the north of the country and the lively sounds of the balalaika, the traditional Russian instrument.
Day 7 - St. Petersburg
After breakfast we will visit one of the world famous museums, the Hermitage, housed in the former Winter Palace. The museum contains an enormous collection of Western Art, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso and many other great masters. There are also Historical, Russian and Oriental sections which are definitely worth visiting. From the 1760s, the Winter Palace was the main residence of the Russian Tsars. Magnificently located on the bank of the river Neva, this Baroque-style palace is perhaps the major attraction of St. Petersburg.
Day 8 - St. Petersburg
Half day tour to the suburbs of St Petersburg to visit one of the magnificent summer palaces.
In summer: Transfer to Petrodvorets. Best known for its glorious fountains and Summer Gardens, the palace is often compared to France's Versailles.
In winter: Transfer to Tsarskoye Selo (formerly known as Pushkin settlement), one of St. Petersburg's numerous Imperial estates.
Transfer to the airport to fly back home in the afternoon.