- May 18 - May 27
- June 18 - June 27
- July 13 - July 22
- Aug. 17 - Aug. 26
- Sept. 10 - Sept. 19
Day 1: Arrival to Kiev. Welcome to Kiev - the capital of the ancient Russ and of the Ukraine. We will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel located in the city center. We have planned a welcome dinner for this evening, which will be a perfect opportunity to get to meet the rest of your group and the guides, who will be showing you the city during the next few days.
Day 2: Kiev City Tour
Historians call Kiev the cradle of the Russian civilization. The kingdom of Kievan Russ, from which Russia, the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus have all descended, was established between 9th and 11th centuries and was one of the most advanced principalities in the whole of Europe, before it was destroyed by the Mongols at least. Mongols were particularly keen on burning Kiev. So keen that they raided it every few years to ensure that it never recovers its power and influence. It was in the shadow of this titanic struggle that the small principality of Moscow as building the power that it eventually used to fend of the Mongols. Our tour of the city starts after breakfast and for our first day, we have planned visit to Kiev's famous St. Sofia Cathedral and the city's oldest street called Andreevsky Izvis.
Day 3: Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra. One of the most interesting sights in Kiev is the Kievo-Pecherskaya Lavra Monastery. Dating back to 11th century, it was the first large christian template built in Russian lands. The Monastery is a gigantic complex with various churches and structures on the surface and intricate caves and labyrinths underneath. You will have a chance not only to walk around this very special place in the world history, but also see mummies of Russian ancient heroes.
Day 4: Ukrainian Village - Moscow
The Ukraine has always been by-and-large a rural society. Today, we will take you to the outskirts of Kiev to a place called Pirogovo, a recreation of a 17th century Ukrainian village. You will see what it was like to be living in Russia few centuries ago. This day will be particularly interesting for you if your ancestors were from Eastern Europe. Chances are, they were from this or a very similar village lying somewhere between Berlin and Moscow. This afternoon we proceed to the airport for a short flight Moscow - the modern capital of Russia. Moscow united Russian lands to fend off the Mongols and has ruled Russian lands every since, holding them in an iron grip with all the power being concentrated in the Kremlin walls. We will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in the city. There is no program planned for this evening, but your hotel is located in the heart of city, so you can check out local restaurants or take a walk on Moscow's picturesque streets down to the Red Square.
Day 5: The Red Square and Kremlin
Today, we will head to the heart of it all in Moscow - the Red Square. After spending some time in the middle of this most famous square in the world that you have seen so many times on TV and in the movies, we will proceed to the St. Basil's Cathedral (the colorful church that stands on the Red Square that you are also very familiar with) and then to the Kremlin. The Kremlin of Moscow is one of the most recognizable symbols of Russia and, as you will experience yourself, it is marvelous inside. Half of its territory is reserved for the government and the other half is open to the public. You will explore the Kremlin with one of the best guides in Moscow who will tell you many interesting stories that have took place inside the walls of Kremlin since 1147!
Day 6: Moscow City Tour
The Red Square and the Kremlin are the most interesting sights in Moscow, of course, but there are other interesting things to see too. Two of such must-see places is Moscow Subway and Tretyakov Picture Gallery. We will start the tour of both places right after breakfast. Moscow Subway. Located deep underground, it is also a nuclear shelter and a museum of Soviet socialist art that celebrates the unity of Soviet republics. The unity is no longer there, but the most amazing subway system in the world is. By the way, Moscow Subway carries 3 mln passengers daily. You will take a short ride on Moscow Subway to get a bit of taste of what its like to live in Moscow. Tretyakov Picture Gallery is Moscow's best collection of art and one of the best collections of Russian paintings in the world. The gallery started as a private collection of wealthy 19th century merchant Ivan Tretyakov, who donated his collection to the city. This evening you depart to Moscow by an overnight train to St. Petersburg.
Notes: Hotel check out at noon. You should either check out before going on the day's tour and leave your bags in the special storage room of the hotel, or you can request your travel specialist to arrange late checkout.
Day 7: St. Petersburg City Tour
St. Petersburg welcomes you. This city is the crown jewel of Russian cities and one of the world's most amazing travel destinations. Today, you will explore the Peter and Paul's Fortress, the Church of Savior on Spilled Blood and the St. Isaak's Cathedral. This afternoon, you will have some free time to explore the city on your own. Peter and Paul Fortress was built by Peter the Great to defend the city from invasion from the sea. Later, the tsars converted it into a prison for political dissidents. The Bolsheviks turned the fortress into a museum of tsarist oppressions. After the collapse of Soviet power, the Fortress was turned to the tomb of the Russian imperial family. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the most distinct churches in in Russia. It is standing in the middle of the road, on the very spot where one of Russia's greatest emperors, Alexander II was attacked and murdered by a dissident.
Alexander II is most famous for liberating Russian serfs, two years before abolition of slavery in the US, in fact. The church is rather ascetic inside so we will not go on a tour of it, but you can always do it on your own as it is just few blocks away from your hotel. St Isaac's Cathedral is the symbol of the city. It is the fourth largest cathedral in the world with gigantic golden cupola and an excellent observation deck that overlooks the entire city. During this city tour you will also see visit St. Isaak's Square and observe these from outside: the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage, the Winter palace, the Palace Square, the Spit of Vasilievskiy Island, the Bronze Horseman Statue, Peter's Log Cabin, Cruiser Aurora, Smolny Palace, the Nevsky Prospect, the Square of Arts and more. Optional evening program: St. Petersburg boasts some of the best theaters in the world. Ask your tour specialist to arrange you the tickets.
Day 8: The Hermitage and The Winter Palace
This day is reserved for the Hermitage Museum, which is to St. Petersburg what Kremlin is to Moscow. St Petersburg has dozens of beautiful palaces, but the Winter Palace stands above them all. First of all, it is one of the best collections of art in the world. Secondly, this collection is located in the very building where Russian emperors lived. It is here that they rose to power and its if from these walls that they ruled 1/5 of the world's territories. It was also here that the Bolsheviks overthrew their reign. The Bolsheviks were tempted to destroy the palace, the symbol of tsars, but its artistic value was so immense that they transformed it into the museum. The Hermitage. They say that if you were to spent three minutes by each of the exhibits in the Hermitage, it would've taken you three years to see the Hermitage.
But don't worry - you will have an experienced guide, who will show you the best rooms and halls in just 4 hours. And, when the guided tour ends, you can continue exploring this enormous palace/museum on your own. Optional tour of the Diamond Room is available for $85 per person. Diamond room is a jewelry collection of Russian emperors. Recommended activity for the afternoon/early evening: take a boat ride over St. Petersburg canals. It is quite an experience. Boats stop at most central bridges. Optional tour of Catherine's Palace is also available for this day. Please ask your tour manager for details.
Day 9: Peterhof. This day is reserved for the trip outside of the city, to Peterhof - royal residence on the outskirts of the city where Russian tsars spend most of their time during warm time of the year. Peterhof is located on the banks of Gulf of Finland most famous for its parks and fountains that mimic those of Versailles. Peter the Great spent most of his time in this place because it was close to the wharfs where Peter was raising Russian navy. Peter build hundreds of fountains to entertain his noble guests, including you. Includes: (1L).
Day 10: Departure from Russia. This is the last day of your amazing tour to Russia. You will be leaving Russia fascinated with your experience, with her past and present, with her two beautiful capitals of Moscow and St Petersburg. Your airport transfer is arranged.
- You can optionally replace the car ride to Peterhof with a boat for additional cost of $35 per person.
- Hotel details:
* "Hotel Marriott Courtyard" in Moscow: 4 stars, standard room
* "Pushka Inn Hotel" or "Petro Palace Hotel" St. Petersburg: 4 stars, standard room
* "Hotel Russ" in Kiev: 3 stars, superior room.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Russia Ukraine Local Culture Cultural Journey
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