Day 1: Moscow. Upon arrival in Moscow, you are met and transferred to a luxurious five-star hotel located in the heart of this vibrant city for a one-night stay. Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel, where you will meet your fellow travelers and tour leader.
Day 2: Moscow. Our city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political power. We’ll see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, including the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grand Kremlin and the somber and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. Late this afternoon, we board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express and settle into our modern, stylish cabins. Dinner is served in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our journey begins.
Day 3: St. Petersburg. Today we visit Catherine the Great’s rococo Summer Palace in Pushkin, including the world-famous Amber Room. Lunch is at the Podvorye “Coach House” Restaurant in Pavlovsk before returning to St. Petersburg, the imperial capital city of the Russian Empire for an afternoon tour of the key sights including St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect.
Day 4: Minsk, Belarus. We spend the day in Minsk, capital of Belarus and enjoy a tour of this city, which saw fierce fighting during World War II.
Day 5: Lvov, Ukraine. Breakfast is served prior to our arrival in Lvov, capital of Western Ukraine. Named “Lemberg” during Polish/Austrian rule, and again briefly during Nazi occupation, this ancient city has survived almost untouched. Our city tour includes lunch before we re-board our train and head south.
Day 6: Kishinev, Moldova. Passing over the Moldovan border during the night, we arrive at lunchtime in the capital city of Kishinev. Our afternoon tour of the city includes a visit to a local winery.
Day 7: Odessa, Ukraine. We arrive in the elegant city of Odessa at lunchtime. The city’s tree-lined Primorsky Boulevard comprises street cafés on the embankment and the Potemkin Steps. This Black Sea city was immortalized in Einstein’s 1925 film “Battleship Potemkin.” Nearby is the impressive Opera and Ballet Theater.
Day 8: Sevastopol, Ukraine. Sevastopol is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is a town steeped in the history of the Crimean War and World War II, on both occasions being under siege for almost a year. Our tour includes the Old Town, the Panorama (a 360-degree painting and montage depicting the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War) and Khersones, reputed to be the most complete ancient Greek settlement in existence, and only opened to foreigners a few years ago. We spend our final night on board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.
Day 9: Balaclava, Ukraine. Morning visit of Balaclava and the Diorama depicting the WWII battle. From here there is a fine view of the valley where the Charge of the Light Brigade took place. The valley is now covered in neat rows of vines and in the middle is a white stone memorial to the infamous Charge. We then transfer to the beautiful Hotel Oreanda in Yalta for a three-night stay.
Day 10: Yalta, Ukraine. Today there is a guided tour of Yalta including Chekhov’s House and the Botanical Gardens, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we visit the Massandra Palace and Imperial Winery, touring the cellars (with bottles dating back to 1775 and many bottles from the Tzar’s personal collection), followed by a scenic cruise along the picturesque coastline. The boat drops us at Cape Ai-Todor, where we climb over 100 steps for dinner at Lastochkino Gnezdo (the Swallow’s Nest), a fairy-tale castle breathtakingly perched high above the sea. This restaurant is a world-famous location, and many world leaders have eaten here.
Day 11: Yalta. This morning we visit Alupka Palace, built for Count Mikhail Vorontsov—former special envoy to the United Kingdom and friend of the Marlborough Family. The Palace is a strange but attractive combination of Scottish and Arabian design. Churchill stayed here during the Yalta conference of February 1945. In the afternoon we enjoy a private tour of the Tzar’s Summer Palace at Livadia, the site of the Yalta conference between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. A champagne reception on the grounds will be followed by a concert of chamber music and dinner in the restaurant attached to the palace.
Day 12: Kiev. We take a short flight from Simferopol to Kiev, one of Europe’s oldest cities, where we transfer to our five-star city center hotel for two nights.
Day 13: Kiev. Our tour of this ancient city includes the beautifully restored Monastery of Caves, Lavra Complex (which has the highest bell tower in the former USSR), the huge Mother Ukraina WWII monument and museum, a stroll along Khreshchatyk Street, Saint Sophia’s Cathedral and Independence Square.
Day 14: Kiev. Breakfast and airport transfers included today.
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Europe Russia Ukraine Belarus Local Culture Railway Trips Cultural Journey