Saturday. Welcome to Moscow and the start of your long weekend! Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Tonight our Welcome Meeting takes place, where you'll get to meet your fellow travellers and tour leader. Spend the remainder of the evening at leisure. Your guide can recommend some local bars and restaurants for you to try out.
Start the day with a ride on the Moscow Metro - one of Stalin's favourite gifts to the people. Quite unlike any other underground transport system in the world, many of the stations here offer an air of elegance with huge chandeliers, incredible mosaics, soaring ceilings and monumental sculptures. Arriving in legendary Red Square, we will begin our guided tour exploring the surrounding area.
As the historical, political and social heart of Moscow, Red Square is home to some of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. Within the Red Square travellers will find the fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral, the iconic Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum and the glitzy Neo-Russian facade of the GUM shopping mall. Red Square is a constant hive of acitivity and an excellent place to people watch. Just a short walk away is Alexander Garden, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - a poignant memorial to the soldiers who lost their lives during World War II. If you are lucky you may get to see the changing of the guard, which takes place every hour. Silent, poised and stone-faced these surprisingly young men take their role very seriously and it’s a fascinating sight to see. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.
Overnight: Moscow | Breakfast
There’s plenty to keep you occupied today - why not get to know the city by wandering through the backstreets on the south banks of Moscow River, or drink in views of the Kremlin from a Moscow River boat cruise? If the thought of tackling Moscow by yourself doesn't appeal, you can join us on one of our many optional group excursions (book and pay locally).
Moscow Kremlin - In the morning we take a guided tour of the impressive Moscow Kremlin. Previously a citadel to the Tsars and headquarters of the former Soviet Union, the Kremlin is today home to the Russian president - maintaining its symbol as a political powerhouse. The lofty red brick walls of the Kremlin contains many stunning sights, from Cathedral of the Annunciation to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Russians don’t do things by halves and this is obvious when you view the 200 tonne Tsar Bell that sits beside the tower!
Inside a Soviet Bunker - This afternoon we offer a guided tour of a Cold War Soviet bunker. Head 65 meters underground to explore a Stalinist-era bunker that up until recently was a top secret symbol of Soviet Power. Cleverly hidden beneath an ordinary apartment building, on a busy street in the heart of Moscow, 18 floors below ground level, this mighty 75,000 square foot facility was constructed in secret in the 1950’s, to protect the select few against a US nuclear attack. Later we take a tour of some of the finest metro stations ever built. Dating back to the Stalinist era these extravagant specimens dazzle with marble pillars and chandeliers.
Overnight: Moscow | Breakfast
Tuesday. Our tour comes to an end after breakfast. Spend the morning buying those last few souvenirs in the nearby Izmailova Market before hotel check out at 12 noon. It may not look like it from the outside, but behind the whimsically decorated walls of Izmailova you’ll find one of the best markets in Moscow. Whether you want to pick up some tacky souvenirs, genuine fur hats or some traditional handmade crafts this is the place to go. Plus don't forget to bargain!
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Formerly part of the Olympic Village at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Divided into two wings, Gamma and Delta - thhe Izmailovo Gamma Delta is part of one of the biggest hotels in the world. The rooms are comfortable and with modern amenities and there is also a number of excellent restaurants plus a gym and swimming pool. On arrival to the hotel guests are often welcomed with chocolate and still bottled mineral water. Well located with good access to transport links.
Both Katya and Tanya (our trainee guide) were extremely helpful through. Their knowledge was exceptional, they were very kind and nothing was too much trouble for them”