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Welcome to Russia and the start of your holiday! Meet and greet arrival transfer from St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport. En route to your hotel enjoy a city orientation tour of this stunning city of Tsars, (dependent on time of arrival). Rest of the evening is free. Your guide will recommend some local bars and restaurants for you to try out.
A day of sightseeing in the northernmost major city in the world. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703. We start off with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress. Within the Peter and Paul Fortress compound is SS Peter and Paul Cathedral with its angel shaped weather vane perched on top of the razor thin needle; housing the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. This afternoon we enjoy a guided visit to perhaps the best museum in the world, housed in a majestic building - the Hermitage. Return transfer to your hotel.
Today a guide and driver will take you to enjoy an excursion to Zelenogorsk which is a popular resort town and features breathtaking scenery, with exceptional views across the Gulf of Finland. With your guide enjoy a visit to the Kotlin OIsland. Just one year after officially founding St. Petersburg and keen to expand his ever-growing empire, Peter the Great began work on the fortress of Kronshtadt, on Kotlin Island. Return to hotel in the evening.
Today we visit a summer palace of the Tsars, either Peterhof or Catherine Palace. Both stunningly beautiful buildings, the Peterhof boasts one of the largest fountains in the world, whilst Catherine Palace is home to the Amber Room, made from several tons of amber. The lavish Palace and gardens offer insight into the privileged lives of Russia’s Tsarsist aristocracy.
Free day to explore. Later, we transfer to the train station for our overnight journey to Moscow.
After hotel check-in, we head to legendary Red Square and on to the mighty Kremlin - seat of Russia’s power; where we enjoy a guided tour or the Kremlin and Armoury, taking in the the cathedrals, the bell-tower complex, the treasures in the armoury chamber and the largest bell in the world (200 ton) which has never been rung and is situated near the Tsar cannon that has never been fired. (This evening in your own time go to Red Square and join the corwds for the New Year count down.
A day combining art in every sense! We explore the Tretyakov Gallery which houses the best examples of Russian art, from icons to modern art, including Soviet propaganda paintings. This afternoon, we take a ride on the underground, seeing the Moscow Metro stations, built during Stalin’s rule as “palaces for the people”. Lavish designs, with columns and chandeliers, sculptures and paintings, they truly are a sight to behold.
Driving onward to Vladimir, the city which gave way to Moscow as Russia’s capital. Tour the impressive defensive fort built in 1108, the beautiful Assumption Cathedral with frescoes by the greatest of old Russian painters, Andrei Rubliov and the famous Golden Gate. This afternoon head to the beautiful, rural Suzdal. Exploring the town mostly on foot, see the enchanting wooden houses, medieval churches and the Assumption Refractory and prison, built on the order of Catherine II, to house those who committed crimes against the church. Suzdal is also famed as a place of exile for many Russian ladies of noble birth, including Peter the Great’s first wife, Evdokia.
Today, travel to Kostroma, known as the ‘Cradle of the Romanov dynasty’, as it was home to first Tsar of the Romanov Dynasty. Take a guided tour of this 12th century town which sits on the banks of the Volga River. Visit the Epiphany and St Ipathy Monasteries, see the frescoes inside the Trinity Cathedral and wander around Susanina Square.
This morning drive to Yaroslavl, which was founded by a Kievan prince. The main attraction is the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour - founded in the 12th century, it was one of Russia’s richest and most fortified monasteries by the 1500’s. Other sights of interest on the tour include the beautiful frescoes in the churches of St. Nicholas Nadein and Elijah the Prophet.
Today enjoy the sights of the lakeside town of Rostov Veliky. This historic town is rich in ancient architecture, with many monuments dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Dominating the central square is the impressive 16th Century Assumption Cathedral and between the square and the lake is the Kremlin, which has eleven beautifully ornate towers and is home to several elaborately decorated churches and palaces. This afternoon travel onward to Moscow.
Free day to explore the city at your leisure.
Breakfast and hotel check-out. Transfer to airport.
Located just off Nevskiy Propekt, the exterior of the church rather resembles famous St Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square – due...