Embark on an endlessly enthralling exploration of the places that shaped Russia’s history on this 11-day tour of Moscow, St Petersburg and the Golden Ring. From the reign of the Tsars to the iron grip of the USSR to the people and projects ushering in a new era of cultural expression and innovation, you’ll gain a deeper insight into Russia’s ancient heritage and a fascinating glimpse into its future.
3, 4, or 5* hotels
Type of tour
11 days / 10 nights
Private - Any Date
Welcome to Moscow, the monumental capital of Mother Russia! You’ll be met by your driver at the airport and taken to your centrally located hotel. Rest up, or explore the local area on your own for the remainder of the day.
As an option* we highly recommend an evening on the Moskva River enjoying a sumptuous dinner cruise, taking in the stunning sights and city lights of this mesmerising metropolis by night.
There’s no better way to acquaint yourself with Moscow than a walking tour of the historic city centre. Our guided walk will include a stroll through the Red Square, the hub of cultural life in Moscow, with its fantasy-like St Basil’s Cathedral – a postcard-perfect symbol of the nation.
Break for lunch in one of the many downtown restaurants before continuing on a tour of the Kremlin and Armoury Museum. Spend the evening your way, or let us prepare something extra special as an option* - an unforgettable night at the opera or the Russian ballet at the iconic Bolshoi Theatre.
Start a day with a tour of the 19th century Tretyakov State Gallery, the world’s foremost depository of Russian fine art, containing over 130,000 exhibits, with work by Rublev, Kandinsky, Repin and many others. You’ll visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the most important churches in Russia. We’ll get to the gallery via a Metro Tour, stopping on the way to marvel at some of the most elaborately decorated stations of the world famous Moscow subway system. Beside the cathedral is a bridge with fantastic views of this part of the city.
Next, we explore the Red October district, and a vibrant hangout for Moscow’s youth, with its old industrial alleyways and lovingly restored courtyards lined with chic cafes, designer studios and galleries. After a break, the second half of the day consists of a wandering sojourn through some of Moscow’s most famous streets and squares.
Today is yours to take the knowledge you’ve gained from your expert guide and discover your own favourite hang-outs and hidden treasures within this dynamic city of over 12 million.
Alternatively, choose from one of the experiences on offer* (download a detailed itinerary).
Today we depart Moscow and drive to two of the most picturesque Golden Ring cities, Vladimir and Suzdal.
190km east of Moscow, Vladimir was the former capital of medieval Russia and is one of the region’s oldest settlements. Visit spectacular landmarks including the white and gold Assumption Cathedral and the Golden Gates, constructed in 1164 and nearly obliterated in the Mongol invasions.
After lunch, we head to our overnight destination of Suzdal, one of the most charismatic villages on the Golden Ring route. With wooden houses straight from the pages of a storybook and horse-drawn buggies plying its quiet streets, Suzdal has managed to retain a tranquil, rural atmosphere that’s changed little over a span of centuries. We’ll walk the ramparts of the Old Kremlin and admire the divine frescoes and classic wooden architecture of the Church of the Transfiguration.
Following the Golden Ring route 170km to the east of Suzdal, we head for Sergiev Posad on a scenic drive through the Russian countryside.
The spiritual heart of the Orthodox Church, Sergiev Posad is known as the Russian Vatican thanks to the gleaming blue and gold cupolas scattered all around the town.
Our afternoon will include a visit to the resplendent Trinity Lavra, dedicated to Russia’s patron saint. Built in 1423, the working monastery is a World Heritage site, with a cathedral brimming with works by many of Russia’s greatest religious painters.
In the afternoon, we board a Sapsan – a Russian high-speed train – which will whisk us to our next destination, St Petersburg, completing the 700km journey in just four hours.
On arrival in St Petersburg, you’ll be transferred straight to your centrally located hotel.
Meet your friendly and knowledgeable St Petersburg guide in the lobby and begin your discovery of Russia’s ‘Cultural Capital’ with a walking tour of the city’s most popular attractions.
Your walking tour will include Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg’s fanciful high street, the Anichokov Bridge and Palace, viewpoints over the Fontaka and Moika Rivers, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Palace Square and the Senate Square, with its bronze horseman monument to Peter the Great and the Church of the Spilled Blood.
You’ll also get the chance to stroll the grounds of the magnificent Peter and Paul Fortress on the banks of the Lena River, a burial place for the Russian emperors from Peter the Great to Nicholas II.
After lunch, we’ll pay a visit to the Aurora Cruiser, the legendary ship that supposedly sparked the Russian Revolution by firing the first shot, signalling the revolutionaries to storm the Winter Palace.
In the evening, as an option*, take in the splendid sights of one of the world’s most beautiful cities by night with a cruise along the Neva River.
50km from St Petersburg is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Peterhof, the ‘Russian Versailles’. We’ll travel by fast boat to avoid the city traffic.
Once the opulent summer resort of the Romanovs, today Peterhof is an open-air museum and a testament to Peter the Great’s contribution to the city’s development. Marvel at the brilliance of the 18th century architects and artists who designed the Grand Palace, the Lower Gardens and some 150 stunning fountains on the palace grounds.
As an option*, we will visit the recently opened Faberge Museum, a private collection of over 4,000 Faberge Eggs and other bejewelled objects of desire, elegantly displayed inside the stunning Shuvalov Palace.
Today starts with a walk to the Palace Square to admire the grand designs of the Tsar’s Winter Palace, now a part of the State Hermitage Museum complex.In the afternoon, it’s time to see St Petersburg from a different angle on a boat ride through the city’s maze of canals. We’ll pass under some of the city’s 400 bridges and casually drift past 18th century palaces and striking architectural landmarks. Affectionally referred to as the ‘Venice of the North', St Petersburg’s romantic atmosphere rivals Venice and Paris, with the bonus of far fewer tourists!
Enjoy special optional* evening activity – attending a Russian folk show at Nikolaevsky Palace. Alternatively, ask us about reserving a table and transfers to one of the city’s most famous restaurants.
Experience the extravagance of the Imperial rulers on an excursion to the suburban estates of Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar’s village). Now part of the nearby town of Pushkin, the vast estate is made up of acres of exquisite parks and gardens. Dotted with remarkable structures like the Marble Bridge and the Creaking Pagoda, constructed for the amusement of Catherine the Great, the Empress once strolled these grounds, accompanied by her beloved Italian greyhounds.
Here you’ll find the baroque Catherine Palace, a dazzling testament to Catherine’s love of luxury and royal excess. We also explore the stately neoclassical Alexander Palace, whose tumultuous history paints a fascinating portrait of the Romanov family.
We’ll also visit Pavlovsk Palace and Park, commissioned by Catherine as the summer residence of her son, Emperor Paul I. The 600-hectare park is one of the largest landscaped parks in Europe.
Optionally* you may choose to take a tour of Yusupov Palace on the Moika River, best known for being the scene of the assassination of Rasputin.
Our journey through the historic heart and cultural soul of Russia has come to an end. After breakfast and check-out, you’ll be transferred to the airport, filled with lifelong memories and unforgettable impressions of this captivating country.
Centrally located 3* hotels (twin/double occupancy), can be upgraded to 4* or 5*:
Breakfasts in the hotels, lunches during tour of Golden Ring cities
Local English-speaking tour leaders, licensed professional guides for sightseeing, professional driver
*Download the detailed itinerary for more information.
Russian visa support documents.
*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.
Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips
Fiorella Calvinisti and Rolando MasseliGuatemala
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