Tours to
Russia

The Big Chill

9 days  |  St Petersburg to Moscow  |  from USD $1,949  |   Guaranteed Departure 

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.

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Itinerary
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Day 1

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

Day 2

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  |  Breakfast

Day 3

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  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

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  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5

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  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

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  |  Breakfast

Day 7

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  |  Breakfast

Day 8

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  |  Breakfast

Day 9

Happy New Year! Our tour comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check-out.
Breakfast

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Accommodation on Tour

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.

Simple
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.

Standard
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.

Superior
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
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
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!

Hotel Moscow, St Petersburg
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

The spacious rooms at Hotel Moscow are simply furnished, with modern amenities and en suite facilities. Many of the rooms boast wonderful views of the Neva River and Alexander Nevsky monastery. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and there are five restaurants on site to enjoy delicious International and Russian cuisine. While the Panorama Bar on the 8th floor offers tasty beverages and incredible views of St Petersburg's historic centre. The Hotel Moscow is centrally located just off Nevsky Prospekt. The hotel is just 2 minutes walk from Alexander Nevsky Square Metro Station.

Yurievskoe Podvorie, Novgorod
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category:

The Yurievskoe Podvorie is a traditional Russian farmstead hotel. All the rooms are comfortable with good amenities. The hotel also has a fantastic restaurant serving traditional Russian cuisine in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Izmailovo Gamma Delta , Moscow
Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

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.

Trip Highlights

St Petersburg - UNESCO-listed city area including: Nevsky Prospekt, Museum and University districts, Church on Spilled Blood, The Bronze Horseman and Admiralty End
Novgorod - ancient city by the Volkhov River - kremlin, cathedral and other sights
St Petersburg's palaces - the Hermitage Museum at the Winter Palace and St Catherine's Palace
Moscow - UNESCO-listed Red Square, Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum and St Basil’s Cathedral

Included

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners
1 overnight train Novgorod - Moscow (open sleeper carriage) including bed linen. Upgrade to 4 berth enclosed sleeper cabin available, contact us for details.
Guided sightseeing - St Petersburg, Novgorod and Moscow
Moscow Metro travel card - 6 journeys
Specialist Russian guides at local sights
7 nights 3 star hotels
Airport arrival transfer on day 1
Russian banya (sauna) experience
Escorted by an English speaking Russian tour leader (for groups of 6 or more)
All relevant transfers and transportation on tour

Not Included

International flights and visa
Entrance Fees: $40-50 USD
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture

Great. Have had a fantastic time. Hotel selection is good. Rooms are clean and comfortable and much better than the impression one gets from reading the brochure. They are, however, not centrally located and one would need to take the train to see other attractions not covered under the program, Often, in winter, the streets are messy and crowded and it makes walking quite uncomfortable,

Most of the moving around especially in Moscow is by public train. Should include at least one city sightseeing tour on a bus that takes us out of the central core. Surely, Moscow is more than just the Red Square!! This will give everyone a more birdeye perspective and feel of the city.

Optional tours are announced on the 1st day of the tour, and decisions are needed and paid up the next day. Cash only. No USD or others. Should have the flexibility in accepting credit cards at that point in time as not many of us carry too much local currency and some of these options are quite expensive; the ballet performance although worthwhile costs at least USD120 depending on exchange rate, .

The tour leader speaks and communicates in English well. She is helpful throughout and is on call 24 hours a day throughout the journey. There are things she could do better....we went to the Moscow Circus as an option. She passed out entrance tickets at the gate. The tickets showed assigned seatings in Russian!

The overnight train ride from Novgorod to Moscow can be very tiring because of the timing and the generally stuffiness within - advised all to be prepared mentally for this.

For those not too adventurous in what you eat, or are on special diet, you will find that the food on offer is hardly appetizing. McDonalds, Burger King and Subway are however widely available.

Bottom line, the tour is very well organized and structured. Enjoyed myself tremendously. No hesitation to recommend others, and will myself join another tour when time comes again for a holiday!

Tour
5
Guide
Country

This has got to be my best holiday experience EVER. Dasha, our guide was so knowledgeable, competent, helpful, EVER so patient with even the most awkward of people on our tour. Apart from those 3 people, the rest of the travellers were absolutely marvellous people, Dasha bringing us all together and making sure it was a fun experience for everyone. Her local knowledge of all the places we visited was breathtaking. We visited so many places that I would never have found on my own, or rather, I wouldn't have fitted so many experiences in if it wasn't for her leadership. We were certainly kept 'On The Go' the entire time. That said, there was sufficient free time too to do a bit of shopping. The accommodation was more luxurious than the photos suggested. I can't really pinpoint my best bit as I absolutely loved ALL of it. From start to finish I was kept busy, entertained, educated and enthralled. Usually, having been to a country, I don't revisit because I've been there once; I go somewhere different next time. However, I am definitely revisiting Russia. I can't recommend this tour highly enough.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

The tour was awesome! The pace was just right for my whole family (my sister and I are in our 20's and my parents are in their 50's). It was flexible enough that we got to choose the activities we wanted. The hotels were comfortable and had easy access to the city center. We especially loved our stay in Novgorod in between St. Petes and Moscow. Beautiful break from the busy city life. The overnight train ride was a bit tight, but it was definitely a real Russian experience we wouldn't have missed.

Dasha was the best guide ever! She was so organized and made sure all 22 of us on the tour had everything we needed. She is very proud of her country and it showed in her excellent guiding of our group. She was loads of fun, too!

This was one of the best holidays I've had. Definitely recommend doing the winter tours in Russia.

Tour
5
Guide
Country

I had a wonderful trip and big thank you to on the go for a well organised trip!

This was definitely the best tour I have ever been on!

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.

2015
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $1949
USD $799
2016
Price/Person
Single Supp.
 
USD $1949
USD $799

Supplementary Prices

 
Twin/Double
Single Supp.
4 Berth Sleeper Train Upgrade Novgorod - Moscow
USD $149
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Tour Details
Starts
St Petersburg
Ends
Moscow
Departs
24 Dec 2015
Hotel Rating
3 star
Local Payment
None
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 8, Lunch: 1, Dinner: 2

The tour was awesome! The pace was just right for my whole family (my sister and I are in our 20's and my parents are in their 50's). It was flexible enough that we got to choose the activities we wanted. The hotels were comfortable and had easy access to the city center. We especially loved our stay in Novgorod in between St. Petes and Moscow. Beautiful break from the busy city life. The overnight train ride was a bit tight, but it was definitely a real Russian experience we wouldn't have missed.

Dasha was the best guide ever! She was so organized and made sure all 22 of us on the tour had everything we needed. She is very proud of her country and it showed in her excellent guiding of our group. She was loads of fun, too!

This was one of the best holidays I've had. Definitely recommend doing the winter tours in Russia.

Erica Celine Yu
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On The Go Tours Great group size
With an average of 18 and a maximum of 28, our group size really works well on tour, so you're bound to meet like-minded travellers and make lasting friendships.
Group travel is a great way to make new friends
British Travel Awards
Guaranteed Departures
This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 2 travellers.