Day 1: Moscow. The tour starts in Moscow. Your driver will be be waiting for you in the airport. Upon picking you up, he will take you to the hotel, located in the city center. This evening will reserved for you to get some rest as you have an eventful week ahead, but if you want, you can explore the area around the hotel on your own.
Day 2: Moscow
The tour starts after breakfast. This is our first full day in Moscow and it we will make the most of it. The tour will last for about 8 hours. We will visit the Red Square and swing by Vorob'evy, Hills Park (World War II Memorial), check out beautiful Cathedrals of Christ the Savior and go inside the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral. The Kremlin: The Kremlin of Moscow is perhaps the most recognizable symbols of Russia and one of the world's most incredible sights. This ancient citadel that was constructed in 1147 to defend the city from the invaders such as the Mongols. Moscow has grown much since those days and overtime, but the Kremlin has always remained a symbol of Russian state. Today, it is a gigantic museum of Russian history and the place, where Russian government holds its most important ceremonies, including the inauguration of president and meetings with foreign leaders.
Day 3: Moscow
This is our second day in Moscow and in the evening, you will board a train and travel to Russia's northern capital - St Petersburg. You will need to check out from the hotel at 12:00. Don't worry about the luggage - you can leave bags in the hotel. Today, we will decent underground to experience Moscow Subway and also visit one of Russia's finest art galleries - Tretyakov Picture Gallery. Moscow Subway: Moscow Subway was constructed by the Soviets not just to streamline the city's transportation, but also to celebrate the accomplishments of the Soviet system. The subway is works of art, socialist realist art for the most part. Each station of Moscow Subway is unique and is dedicated to a certain historic event of a great Russian artist. On top of its cultural value, Moscow's subway is a super efficient transportation system carrying 7 million passengers each day and spanning the entire city. It is also located deep under the ground and can play a role of a nuclear shelter. Tretyakov Gallery: Tretyakov Picture Gallery is Moscow's most famous collection of art and one of the world's top art galleries. The gallery started as a private collection of wealthy Moscow merchant Tretyakov, who lived in 19th century and donated his collection to the city.
Day 4: St. Petersburg
You will arrive to St Petersburg in the morning. Your guide will meet you at the train station. After checking in the hotel, we will start the tour of St Petersburg - the crown jewel of the world's best travel destinations. The tour will take you to Peter and Paul Fortress, and Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood and St Isaak's Cathedral. The tour will last for four hours so you will have a chance to explore the city streets on your own in the afternoon. Peter and Paul Fortress: Peter and Paul Fortress has served many roles except for the one that it was designed for - to defend the city from the sea. It was a political prison for the dissidents of the tsarist regime. During the soviet era it was transformed into a museum and since the collapse of the USSR it became the tomb of the Russian emperors.
St Isaac's Cathedral: St Isaac's Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe. Its gigantic golden cupolas, an excellent observation deck that overlooks the entire city, rich inside decorations and artifacts make this cathedral one of the most popular tourist sights in St Petersburg. The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood: The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood was built to commemorate one of Russia's greatest emperors, Alexander II. The church was built on a spot, where the emperor had been murdered when radical dissident threw a bomb in his carriage. Alexander II is most famous for liberating Russian serfs (2 years before the abolition of slavery in the US in fact). On this tour, we won't go inside of the church, but if this is something you would like to do, you may visit it on your own as it is closed to your hotel.
Day 5: St. Petersburg
After breakfast in the hotel, we will proceed to the very heart of the center of the city, to the Palace Square and the Winter Palace. Today's tour will last for 5 hours. The Hermitage: 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. They say, that if you were to spend three minutes by each of the exhibits in the Hermitage, it would take you three years to see them all! But don't worry, you will have an experienced private guide who will show you the best of the Hermitage in 4 hours. Once his tour ends, you can continue wondering around endless halls of this beautiful palace.
Optional: tour of the Diamond Room a jewelry collection from 300 BC to present day ($48 per person).
Day 6: Catherine's Palace and Real Russian Troika. Catherine Palace is located on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. The Palace was a gift by Peter the Great to his wife Catherine and is known for its legendary Amber Room that was looted during the World War II by Germans and later recovered by the American troops. The Amber Room was reconstructed in 2003. You will have lunch in "Podvorye" restaurant which is built to resemble ancient Russian houses. Delicious Russian food will be served with a folk singers. Superb Russian cuisine. In the afternoon we will visit Pavel's palace.
Day 7: St Petersburg. This is a last day of your tour. Your driver will take you to the airport. You will be leaving home fascinated with Russia and her two beautiful capitals, Moscow and St Petersburg. And, we hope you will want to come back to this very special country some day again.
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