The Big Chill - 9 days

FROM USD $1,949

Seasons greetings from Russia! Enjoy a relaxed yuletide in St Petersburg - northern city of the tsars, relax and defrost in a traditional banya (sauna) in ancient Novgorod and frost up for New Year in hedonistic Moscow, Russia's mighty capital city.

Welcome to St Petersburg and the start of your winter holiday! Upon arrival you will be met at St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Tonight, our welcome meeting takes place where you'll meet the rest of your group and guide. Enjoy the rest of the evening at your own leisure. Overnight - St Petersburg
Merry Christmas! This morning a driving tour will give us an introduction to St Petersburg. We will make our way along the famed Nevsky Prospekt, past the museum and university districts and a few photo stops will be made along the way at places such as the magnificent St Isaac's Cathedral and The Bronze Horseman. Later, we will enjoy a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace - which houses one of the biggest and best art collections on earth. The rest of the day is free for you to further explore. Tonight, head out on the town or enjoy a Christmas drink in local bar, cafe or at our hotel.

During our time in St Petersburg there may be the chance to join one of our optional evening excursions, such as a traditional Cossacks performance or a night at the Russian Ballet. Overnight - St Petersburg (B)
The Big Chill - 9 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
The Church on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg
We start today's touring with a visit to Peter & Paul Fortress and the Peter & Paul Cathedral, which houses the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. Then we'll head out to city to explore Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo in winter (or Pavlosk Palace if Catherine Palace is closed). At Catherine Palace its the exterior and the interiors of this lavishly decorated building that really catch the eye - and the spectacular Amber room is a real highlight! After stopping for a hearty traditional lunch at a local restaurant, we'll continue on for a guided tour of the exquisite interior of The Church on Spilled Blood. Overnight - St Petersburg (B, L)
St Petersburg – Novgorod. Today gives you the opportunity to shop for some last minute souvenirs, maybe some traditional nesting dolls or Russian memorabilia found at the canal side market near the striking Church on Spilled Blood. Alternatively a walk along St Petersburg's main street - Nevsky Prospekt. Later we travel on to ancient Novgorod, where we will enjoy a steamy Russian banya (sauna) and hearty dinner. Overnight - Novgorod (B, D)
Snowy Novgorod in Winter
Day 5: Novgorod
Novgorod – Moscow. Novgorod is one of Russia’s oldest cities, located within reach of the Volkhov River and Lake Ilmen, that was formed as a town in the middle of the 10th century. A guided tour of Novgorod takes in the riverside fortified Kremlin, cathedral and other sights of interest. The Kremlin fortress was mentioned in chronicles as early as in 1044, whilst today’s walls and towers, despite being re-built in 15th century, are impressive all the same. Tonight we have dinner before travelling by overnight sleeper train from Novgorod to Moscow. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, D)
Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow - the capital that spawned dozens of spy novels! Today we will ride on the capital’s efficient Metro to Red Square. From here, we’ll take in the jewels of Russia’s capital on a guided walking tour, taking in sights such as the epitome of Russian power – the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum and the ritzy GUM department store. At the south end of the square, feast your eyes on the wildly coloured, turban domed St Basil’s Cathedral, an enduring Russian symbol commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the terrible) in 1555.

Spend the remainder of the day at your own leisure. During our stay in Moscow there will be the chance to join one of our optional evening excursions, such as a traditional Cossack Show or a Moscow by Night coach tour. Overnight - Moscow (B)
Day 7: The Kremlin
This morning we head back to Red Square to pay our respects to Lenin - the grandfather of Communism, at his eerie mausoleum. It is here that his embalmed body has lain in state since his death in 1924. Later we will continue to the Kremlin - Russia’s bastion of political might, where we enjoy a guided walk through the grounds, seeing numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals and the tsar bell.

The rest of the day is free for you to independently explore the city. As well as boasting some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, Moscow is also home to internationally acclaimed museums and art galleries, respectable retail havens in the form of malls, markets and boutique-style shops, and hundreds of restaurants and cafes serving a wide variety of cuisine. Overnight - Moscow (B)
The famous fireworks of Moscow seen every New Years Eve
Today is free for you to explore Moscow on your own. For souvenirs, Izmailova Market is the place to go. Behind its whimsically decorated walls 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.

, Alternatively you can book our optional Inside a Soviet Bunker excursion locally and head 65 meters underground to explore a Stalinist-era bunker that up until recently was a top secret symbol of Soviet Power and is now a museum.

Tonight is New Year's Eve and time to celebrate, Russian-style! Venturing back to Red Square we will join the crowds - locals and travellers alike, to ring in the New Year. With an electric atmosphere and a spectacular firework show illuminating the distinctive turrets of St Basil’s Cathedral above the frosty square, this will be a party to remember! Alternatively, head out on your own and discover the best of Moscow's bars and nightclubs. Overnight - Moscow (B)
Happy New Year! Our tour comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check-out. (B)
Tour Details
  • Starts in: St Petersburg / Ends in: Moscow
  • Departs: 24 Dec 2015
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:8, Lunch: 1, Dinner: 2
  • Hotel Rating: 3 star
  • Tour Guide: Yes - For groups of 6 or more
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