11D8N Russia Best of Two Capitals + Golden Ring Tours

Discovering these two contrasting capitals is pure travel magic, and this exciting tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg will give you a taste of their compelling stories. This itinerary will provide you with the best way to get acquainted with many of the city´s major highlights.

Exceptional Experiences:

  • Visit Michelin-star chef Nino Graziano’s first restaurant in Moscow. Semifreddo has a Sicilian-inspired menu and boasts an open kitchen where you can watch Moscow’s best Italian chef at work.

 

  • Learn about the history of medieval Russia and visit UNESCO-listed monuments and historical attractions

 

  • Get acquainted with the main architectural and historical monuments of the city in St. Petersburg

 

  • Watch a Russian ballet performance in the unique Hermitage Theatre - the private theatre of the Czars in the past

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Itinerary:

Day 1: Singapore  -  Moscow  (-/-/-)

Departure from Singapore Changi Airport for your flight to Moscow, located on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital.

 

Day 2: Moscow (-/-/D)

Upon arrival into Moscow, enjoy an airport transfer with private vehicle and driver. For your added comfort, an English-speaking assistant will help you with check-in, as well as walk you through the welcome package documents, your itinerary, and answer your questions. After check-in, enjoy your day at leisure before dinner.

Accommodation: 5* The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

Exclusive Amenities, For 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in, subject to availability
  • Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

 

Day 3: Moscow (B/L/D)

Set out on a full-day must-see highlights tour of Moscow with a private guide and vehicle. Have your camera ready to capture snapshots of the city’s iconic sights such as the historic Bolshoi Theatre, the former KGB building from where the notorious Soviet enforcement agency once operated, and the Sofia Embankment with the imposing Kremlin looming across the river. No visit to Moscow is complete without a walk in Red Square, the most famous plaza in all of Russia.

Recognized together with the Kremlin as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll stroll this vast cobblestone square, gazing upon the city’s most recognizable landmarks; the colorful onion-shaped domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral, the red walls and towers of the Kremlin (office of the Russian president), the Lenin Mausoleum, the State Historical Museum, and the famous GUM department store. Visit the Kremlin’s Armory, once the royal arsenal in 1508 and now one of the oldest museums in the city of Moscow. If you are interested in visiting the Diamond Fund, please let your guide know. As it is not possible to pre-purchase entrance tickets, a ticket will be purchased for you on-site.

Tonight, visit Michelin-star chef Nino Graziano’s first restaurant in Moscow. Semifreddo has a Sicilian-inspired menu and boasts an open kitchen where you can watch Moscow’s best Italian chef at work.

Accommodation: 5* The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

 

Day 4: Moscow (B/L/D)

This morning after breakfast, meet your private guide and vehicle and make your way to the Christ the Savior Cathedral, the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. A view of its stunning white-and-gold exterior is only trumped by a look inside at its impressively ornate central dome paintings.

Then, drive to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Novodevichy Convent and walk within the white fortifications of the impressive 15-building complex. Cathedrals, towers, ramparts, and more, Novodevichy is a walk-through Russia’s past, as over the centuries it has become the final resting place of prominent Russian nobles, notable authors, and political figures.

Head to trendy Arbat Street, the most famous pedestrian shopping street in the country. Stroll the Arbat with your guide, learning about the great fire of 1812, and of famous artists who once called the neighbourhood home. Conclude your day with a discovery of the Moscow Metro, a grand relic of the Soviet Union and a source of pride and joy for the city. Each station has a unique decorative motif utilizing mosaics, statues, marble floors and walls, semi-precious stones, and lavish corridors donned with stunning chandeliers.

Have dinner in the city centre followed by an evening performance of traditional Russian folkloric music.

Accommodation: 5* The Ararat Park Hyatt Moscow

 

Day 5 Moscow – Suzdal (B/L/D)

Today you’ll depart Moscow with a private driver and guide toward Suzdal.

En-route pass through serene Russian countryside as you make your way to visit Vladimir, part of the Golden Ring, and former capital of medieval Russia. While here, visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Holy Assumption Cathedral, and the St. Demetrius Cathedral, and the Golden Gates, featuring classical Russian architecture.

The Holy Assumption Cathedral is Vladimir’s main cathedral and an outstanding example of Russian architecture which pre-dates the Mongol invasion. It was the principal place of worship of the Vladimir-Suzdal Grand Principality and is one of just a few cathedrals where frescos by the master icon painter Andrey Ryublev have been preserved.

Cathedral of Saint Demetrius is a 12th-century cathedral is famous for its stone engravings which decorate its exterior.

Then, continue to Suzdal, yet another part of Russia’s Golden Ring. Recognized as a leading town-museum due to its preservation of stunning architectural structures dating between the 12th-17th centuries, discover first-hand how Suzdal is fabulously rich in ancient cathedrals and monasteries, bell towers and churches, along with other wooden and brick buildings.

Learn about the history of medieval Russia and visit UNESCO-listed monuments and historical attractions such as the Cathedral of Saint Demetrius and the Suzdal Kremlin.

Visit Suzdal’s prized 11th century Kremlin, the historical centre of the city where the main cathedral still stands – the 15th century Nativity Cathedral. It was here that the sons of Prince Yuri Dolgoruky and the princes of Suzdal were buried. Inside the cathedral, you will see the ancient doors which are wonderfully decorated and gilded.

Then, drop by the 16th century Pokrovsky Monastery, a former place of exile for unwanted wives of Tsars. Your day concludes when you are dropped off at your accommodation in Suzdal.

Accommodation: 4* Pushkarskaya Sloboda

 

Day 6 Suzdal – Moscow - St. Petersburg (B/L/D)

Meet your private guide and vehicle and settle in for a transfer from Suzdal to Moscow. En-route, you will visit Sergiev Posad, a lovely Golden Ring town whose 600 years of history have cantered around the monastery.

Explore the unique Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra from the 15th to the 19th centuries, and witness a functioning monastery with 200 monks, 300 novices, and an Ecclesiastical Academy on its grounds.

Here, the finest choirs of Russia can be heard at services in any of the five churches open to the public. Have your guide walk you through the flea market in front of the Holy Gates to scope out souvenirs and other memorabilia. Upon the conclusion of your tour, continue towards Moscow where you will be dropped off at the train station for your Sapsan high-speed train to St. Petersburg. (Approximate travel time is 4 hours.)

Meet your driver and vehicle for a private train station transfer. An English - speaking assistant will be on hand to help you with your connection.

Accommodation: 5* Hotel Astoria, a Rocco Forte hotel

Exclusive Amenities, For 2020:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

 

Day 7: St. Petersburg  (B/L/D)

After breakfast, set out on a full day highlights tour of St. Petersburg to get acquainted with the main architectural and historical monuments of the city.

Enjoy the beauty of the city with a Panoramic city tour by private car. There is one museum in the city that is never closed - the city itself. Discover St. Petersburg - a city of infinite charm with its majestic palaces, churches and cathedrals, river embankments, beautiful parks and in numerous bridges, a city of imperial proportions and romantic vistas which has been a source of inspiration for the generations of artists.

Visit Peter and Paul Fortress this morning. It is the historical nucleus of the city as well as one of the most interesting and beautiful architectural landmarks. St. Peter & Paul Cathedral with its long gilded spire is the burial place of all Russian emperors from Peter the Great to the last of the Romanovs Nicholas II. Designed to protect newly acquired lands in the mouth of the Neva River, the fortress lost its military significance before it was completed. It was turned into the most dismal political prison of Russia for almost 200 years.

You will then visit St. Isaac's Cathedral. Fourth highest cupola cathedral in the world, St. Isaac's has a breath-taking interior design. The cathedral can accommodate 13000 worshippers in a time. The monolithic columns of the portico cut from red granite are seventeen meters high and weigh 114 tons each. The mosaic inside has twelve thousand shades and colors, the walls are five meters thick and the main cupola is coated with one hundred kilos of gold.

Take some time out from sightseeing to enjoy a Russian cuisine lunch at a local St Petersburg restaurant.

This afternoon we do a comprehensive guided visit to the famous Hermitage Museum. The world-known Hermitage museum was the residence of the Russian Emperors in the past, nowadays it comprises 5 palaces and is one of the largest museums in the world. Be ready for lots of walking in the miles of corridors!

Then, before we wrap for the day, a unique event awaits you in the evening – watch a Russian ballet performance in the unique Hermitage Theatre - the private theatre of the Czars in the past.

Return to your accommodation to rest for the night.

Accommodation: 5* Hotel Astoria, a Rocco Forte hotel

 

Day 8 St. Petersburg  (B/L/D)

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before another day of sightseeing.

Drive to the town of Pushkin to see Catherine's Palace and Park, which was once the official summer residence of Russian Czars. We enter the beautiful Catherine’s park and visit Catherine’s Palace, considered to be a real pearl of Russian baroque architecture of the 18th century. It was built for Russian Empress Catherine in 1752. The palace, a combination of white, blue and gold, looks magnificent; a huge ballroom called the Grand Hall, ornately decorated drawing rooms, studies and dining rooms. The most famous room here is the Amber Room, which was looted by the Nazis during World War II. The restoration of the Amber Room was completed in 2003. Surrounding the palaces is a park covering more than 570 hectares with bridges, terraces, fountains and small galleries.

Lunch is served in the genuine Russian restaurant Podvorie. Enjoy delicious Russian appetizers and famous “borsch” (beet-root soup) accompanied by Cossack’s folklore singing and, of course, free-flow Russian vodka! The restaurant is a typical Russian huge wooden log-house reminding of a fortress.

In the afternoon you depart for a visit of the Yusupov Palace. The richest of non-imperial palaces of St. Petersburg, this palace was the home of the noble and powerful Yusupov family, relatives to the Russian Czars. The Yusupovs were great collectors of art, and their collection was known well beyond Russia. After the revolution most of the collection was moved to the Hermitage, though traces of the incredible wealth that once kept this palace pulsating with life still remain: the various sitting rooms, the intricate chandeliers and candelabras that adorn every room and corridor. The beautiful home theatre of the palace looks like a cozy version of the famous Mariinsky theatre.

It was in this palace where the assassination of Rasputin, one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history, took place. One can feel the drama of the moment seeing wax figures of the conspirators waiting in a small room on the ground floor. In the cellar where it happened there are two more wax figures: Rasputin and young Felix Yusupov talking over the set table minutes before the assassination..

Accommodation: 5* Hotel Astoria, a Rocco Forte hotel

 

Day 9 St. Petersburg  (B/L/D) 

Depart for the tour of Peterhof (also called Petrodvorets).

Today, we will attempt to arrive earlier than the official opening hour to enter the Grand Summer Palace in private (note: early arrival cannot be guaranteed). It is the most famous summer residence of Russian Emperors, located 25 km west on the Gulf of Finland. Its history begins in 1704 when Peter I built a wooden house on the Gulf.

In 1723 the enlarged palace became official summer residence, later it was expanded by Empress Elizabeth and called Grand Summer Palace. After the tour of the Palace, we see the main attraction - the Grand Cascade decorated with more than 150 fountains, built-in 1722. The intricate system of pipes stretches for nearly 22 km. The water flows downhill by force of gravity while the fountains operate according to the principle of communicating vessels. In both artistry and engineering, the fountains of Peterhof are truly unique. After a pleasant stroll through a beautiful park, we return to the city by hydrofoil, which takes you only 30 minutes.

Have lunch at Demidov restaurant. Then, in the afternoon we make a tour of the Russian Museum - the beautiful royal palace by itself this museum houses the largest collection of Russian Art from medieval icons to the famous 'avante garde' of the 20s-30s.

Accommodation: 5* Hotel Astoria, a Rocco Forte hotel

 

Day 10: St. Petersburg - Moscow - Singapore (B)

Today marks the end of your Russian tour. Return to Moscow by Sapsan high-speed train and transfer to the airport by private car for your flight back home. We hope you've enjoyed your trip to Russia and return home with lifelong memories and unforgettable impressions. We wish you a safe flight and hope to work on your future trips!

 

Day 11: Singapore 

Arrive in Singapore. Home sweet home

 

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Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect on the tour but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored based on the interests of the group.


This itinerary and its package inclusions might be changed later in time, subject to availability.

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