St Isaac's Cathedral | St Petersburg | Russia
FROM: R23,900

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.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates
Hotels
Reviews

Trip Highlights

Take in the highlights of St Petersburg including a guided tour of the exquisite Church on Spilled Blood, Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral
Visit Catherine Palace at Tsarkoe Selo on Christmas Day and marvel at the incredible Amber Room
Discover Moscow's UNESCO-listed Red Square, home to spectacular St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin's Mausoleum and the historic GUM Department store
Ring in the New Year in Moscow, Russia's hedonistic capital
Take a guided tour of the remarkable Hermitage Museum at the Winter Palace
Spend a night in Novgorod, an ancient city by the Volkhov River - explore the kremlin, cathedral and other sights and enjoy a traditional Russian banya (sauna)
Explore the grounds of Moscow's mighty Kremlin, with its numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals and the giant tsar bell

Included

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners (including a Welcome Dinner on day 1)
7 nights 3 star hotels
Specialist Russian guides at local sights
Airport arrival transfer on day 1
Moscow Metro travel card - 6 journeys
1 overnight train from Novgorod - Moscow in an 4-berth cabin including bed linen
Escorted by an English speaking Russian tour guide
Guided sightseeing - St Petersburg, Novgorod and Moscow
All relevant transfers and transportation on tour
Russian banya (sauna) experience

Not Included

International flights and visa
Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 5 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
Laundry, drinks and items of a personal nature
Entrance Fees: USD$40-50pp, paid in local currency

Itinerary

Day 1

St Petersburg

24 December 2019. 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. This evening meet at 8pm for a group dinner at the hotel, followed by an informative welcome meeting. Remainder of the evening at leisure - your tour guide can recommend some local bars for you to try out.
Overnight: St Petersburg  |  Dinner

Day 2

Catherine Palace

Merry Christmas! St Petersburg is known as the city of the tsars and this morning we head out of city to explore beautiful Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. At Catherine Palace the exterior and the interior of this lavishly decorated building really catch the eye - particularly the spectacular Amber room.

The rest of the day is free for you to relax and independently explore the city. Most of the city sights are dotted along and just off the main thoroughfare - Nevsky Prospekt. It’s an easy city to find your bearings and get around. St Petersburg has a spirited restaurant, bar and jazz club scene, plus some of Russia’s best beers.

During our time in St Petersburg there will be the chance to book optional excursions such a night at the Russian Ballet, a traditional Cossack Show and a trip to the Vodka Museum. Today there will also be an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: St Petersburg  |  Breakfast

Day 3

St Pete's Sightseeing

This morning we get a wonderful overview of the city as we drive 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. Our city tour this morning includes the impressive Peter & Paul Fortress which was built on the orders of Peter the Great and was at one time at political prison. Within the compound is the beautiful Peter & Paul Cathedral, which houses the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. We also visit the exquisite Church on Spilled Blood.

After a hearty traditional lunch we take a guided tour of the remarkable Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace - which houses one of the biggest and best art collections on earth.
Overnight: St Petersburg  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Time to Explore

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

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: Overnight Sleeper Train  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6

Moscow City Tour

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 our optional Moscow by Night coach tour (book and pay locally).
Overnight: Moscow  |  Breakfast

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  |  Breakfast

Day 8

New Year's Eve in Moscow

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 Add-on 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.

This evening we head into the city to ring in the New Year among the crowds and offer an optional New Year's Eve dinner (book and pay locally). While Red Square is certainly one of the most popular places to count down to midnight, it can also get extremely busy making it often difficult to find a place. But fear not, there are plenty of other exciting activities happening around Moscow’ capital city, whether it’s watching the fireworks as they light up the night sky over Christ the Savior Cathedral from Patriarshy Bridge or dancing in the New Year in one of the city’s trendy bars or clubs.
Overnight: Moscow  |  Breakfast

Day 9

New Year's Day

01 January 2020. Happy New Year! Our tour comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check-out.
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person when there are 2 persons sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.

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Guaranteed Departure
Available
Contact us to book
Sold out
2019
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
R23,900
R5,900
2020
Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
R23,900
R5,900

Extra Prices

Price /
Person
Single
Supp.
Pre Accom - St Petersburg
R1500
R2000
Post Accom - Moscow
R1900
R1600

Hotels

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.

Harbor Club Hotel, St Petersburg

Our Category: Standard   |   Regional Category: 3 Star Hotel

Well-located in St Petersburg, the Harbor Club Hotel can be found on a quiet street, yet only a short walk from the bustling city centre. Its guestrooms feature modern décor, with spacious ensuite bathrooms and modern amenities including air conditioning. You’ll also find a shared lounge and bar, as well as an on-site restaurant serving tasty European cuisine. Here, guests can enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast or, if you’d prefer, there is also the option of dining in the comfort of your hotel room.

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 - the 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.

Reviews

Travellers have rated this tour as 4.5 out of 5 based on 6 recent reviews

1  |  2

Tour guide was excellent. I would suggest that clients should all buy a local sim card (300rb) so as to stay in touch and that if they use atms for money to draw out enough for the tour costs and some spending money at the airport on arrival; at least for St. Petersburg at atms are scarce.

Visit to Novgorod should have been a day trip, leaving at 7.30. and then the bullet train to Moscow the next day. We wasted half a day travelling there, the full day in the city and then arrived in Moscow at 4.30 tired with a day tour ... not good.

The Faberge museum, near the hotel, is a must see and should be included with a guide from the museum.

The group was great fun, including snowball fights, the guide was very relaxed and that helped the social cohesion but the guide did say it was one of the best groups she had had from that aspect.

• Submitted 25 Jan 2019
Tour
Guide
Country

Dasha was fantastic! probably the best tour guide I have had in the 20 years I have been doing tours. I will definitely do another tour with On the Go just because of her. She looked after my parents well and was extremely patient and informative with all customers. I would thoroughly recommend as she made the tour for us. The tour was good as well and the sightseeing well organised.

• Submitted 03 Jan 2018
Tour
Guide
Country

Great tour, only negative is found the optional Moscow by night tour far too long. Was not aware it would be 4hrs jumping in and out of the bus and to be honest had already seen most of the sights by night, so on reflection may have not participated if known the duration and details of what it would entail.

Anastasia was a great tour guide, professional, gave great directions and instructions and really took care of the group, she really made the tour.

• Submitted 04 Jan 2017
Tour
Guide
Country

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!

• Submitted 06 Jan 2015
Tour
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.

• Submitted 05 Jan 2015
Tour
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.

• Submitted 05 Jan 2015
Tour
Guide
Country

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

F Graham • Submitted 04 Jan 2014

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

Michelle Roux • Submitted 04 Jan 2014

I had a lovely time and really enjoyed my Russia experience. Olga was very friendly and outgoing - pleasure to be around.

Danielle Brooks • Submitted 03 Jan 2010

An excellent tour.Olga was organized, efficient and calm. Related well to all members of the group and all our needs.

Will be recommending on the go to all my friends. Thanks guys.

Amanda Smith • Submitted 03 Jan 2010
1  |  2

In Brief

Range
Trip Type
Starts
St Petersburg
Ends
Moscow
Departs
24 Dec 2019 & 24 Dec 2020
Group Size
Min 2 / Max 24
Hotel Rating
3 star
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 8, Lunch: 1, Dinner: 3
Visiting
Countries
Attractive buildings lining the canals of St Petersburg
Attractive buildings lining the canals of St Petersburg
Novgorod painted pink and purple as the sun sets
View of Moscow city including the Kremlin in the soft morning light
View of Moscow city including the Kremlin in the soft morning light
View of Moscow city including the Kremlin in the soft morning light

Tour Add-ons

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Tour guide was excellent. I would suggest that clients should all buy a local sim card (300rb) so as to stay in touch and that if they use atms for money to draw out enough for the tour costs and some spending money at the airport on arrival; at least for St. Petersburg at atms are scarce.

Visit to Novgorod should have been a day trip, leaving at 7.30. and then the bullet train to Moscow the next day. We wasted half a day travelling there, the full day in the city and then arrived in Moscow at 4.30 tired with a day tour ... not good.

The Faberge museum, near the hotel, is a must see and should be included with a guide from the museum.

The group was great fun, including snowball fights, the guide was very relaxed and that helped the social cohesion but the guide did say it was one of the best groups she had had from that aspect.

Richard Skipper
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