Moscow, St Petersburg and Golden Ring Rendezvous

Russia’s Historic Heartland from East to West
Visit Russia’s two contrasting capitals on an tour from Moscow to St Petersburg via the charming medieval villages of the Golden Ring.

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.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Moscow City Walking Tour: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest metropolises on a guided tour of Moscow on foot, taking in the Red Square, the Kremlin, the fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral and more
  • Moscow Metro Tour: go deep underground on a subway tour of the famous metro system, a Soviet innovation renowned for its palatial, lavishly decorated stations
  • Mini Golden Ring Tour: spend two days in the gorgeous Russian countryside visiting three of the most beautiful towns of the historic Golden Ring – the medieval village of Vladimir, Suzdal’s storybook wooden houses and Sergei Posad, the “Russian Vatican”
  • St Petersburg Walking Tour: Admire the spectacular urban architecture, old-world grandeur and buzzing vibe on a guided walking tour of St Petersburg, including a stroll along its lively high street, Nevsky Prospekt
  • Take a hydrofoil boat trip to the World Heritage listed Peterhof Palace and Park
  • Marvel at some of the most esteemed treasures among the 3 million works of art on a guided tour of St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum
  • Enjoy a day excursion to Tsarkoe Selo (the Tsar’s village) in the charming suburb of Pushkin, home of the extravagant Catherine Palace and the stately Alexander Palace.

Our Russian rendezvous begins in the faced-past mega-city of Moscow, taking in its most famous attractions and uncovering the ongoing revolutionary spirit that makes Moscow one of the world’s most exciting urban destinations. Trace Russia’s extraordinary journey from one of the world’s greatest empires to a secretive Soviet state to a rising modern superpower.

Next, be transported back in time as we follow the famous Golden Ring circuit through the Russian countryside. Enjoy the relaxed pace of rural life and explore some of the route's most historically significant and aesthetically charming townships.

Finally, we hop on the Sapsan to Moscow and St. Petersburg, a high-speed rail line and a testament to Russia’s technological progress. On arriving in St Petersburg, you’ll be stunned by the sights and sounds of one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities. With its splendid palaces, parks and canals, it’s the perfect place to end our expedition through the cultural heartland of Russia. Our signature Moscow, St Petersburg and Golden Ring tour is a travel dream come true for art, history and culture buffs. You’ll be treated to the accommodation at centrally located hotels, private drivers and hand-picked, professional local guides.

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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Moscow

St Petersburg

3, 4, or 5* hotels

City Sightseeing

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

11 days / 10 nights

     

min 2

Private - Any Date

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Arrival to Moscow

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 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.

Day 2:Moscow: Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

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.

Day 3:Moscow: Metro tour, Tretyakov Gallery and Red October district

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.

Day 4:Moscow: free day

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).

Day 5:Golden Ring: Vladimir and Suzdal

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.

Day 6:Golden Ring: Sergiev Posad

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.

Day 7:St Petersburg: historical city tour

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.

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to enjoy an evening of classical music at one of St. Petersburg’s beautiful palaces, with this 2-hour experience. Take a seat in the magnificent Hall of the Palace. Then, lose yourself in much-loved works by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and others, all played by an orchestra of St Petersburg. As the perfect curtain raisers, enjoy an interesting pre-concert tour of the palace's halls and a glass of sparkling wine.

Day 8:St Petersburg: Peterhof

50km from St Petersburg is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Peterhof, the ‘Russian Versailles’. We’ll travel by fast boat to avoid 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.

Day 9:St Petersburg: Hermitage and canals cruise

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.

Day 10:St Petersburg: Pushkin and Palovsk

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.

Day 11:Departure from St Petersburg

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.

Inclusions

Centrally located 3* hotels (twin/double occupancy), can be upgraded to 4* or 5*:

  • Ibis Centre Bakhrushina, Moscow, 4 nights
  • Ibis Centre, St Petersburg, 5 nights
  • Pushkaraskya Sloboda, Suzdal, 1 night

Breakfasts in the hotels, lunches during a tour of the Golden Ring cities

Airport and train station arrival and departure transfers

All transportation on tour, according to the itinerary (private driver, metro)

Sapsan train tickets from Moscow to St Petersburg (economy+)

Local licensed English-speaking tour leaders

All activities indicated in the itinerary, except optional

Entry tickets, according to the itinerary (skip-the-line policy)

Russian visa support document

Flights

Travel insurance

Russian visa and visa fees.*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for concierge visa service here.

Optional excursions

Individual transfers

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
Any dates of your choice
Private Tour
Available US $2,800 US $630 Reserve

Testimonials

Christabel LimAustralia

Thank you so much for arranging everything!

We have enjoyed our holiday in Russia. The guide we got in Moscow, Max, being a History teacher was a fountain of information! His passion for history has made the guided tour so much more interesting! Even the kids were actually listening to him when he gave a detailed account of everything! The hotels in all locations were clean and comfortable! No complaints there! Everything went smoothly! I would definitely recommend a friend to your agency should they decide to go to Russia!    

James and Maria ShortAustralia

We would recommend this tour to our friends and prospective travellers...

Thanks, Anna this has been a tour to remember and the feel-good attitude and professionalism with which all of the team associated with 56th Parallel including it’s on ground operatives is a credit to your company.

Moscow -  On arrival, we were taxied to our Hotel – Balchug Kempinsky, at reception we were advised of an upgrade to a deluxe room, which was exquisite! Our guide Max was superb, and after settling in with him we enjoyed his candour and frank commentary. Moscow more than met our expectation – in fact, exceeded our expectation, we loved all the visitations and felt Max had given us an eye view beyond our expectation. We had plenty of time to walk the local district as well as the tourist attractions provided by the tour. We felt safe and comfortable every day and left the city very satisfied.

Vladimir, Suzdal and Posad - 

On the 5th day, we travelled with Irina and our driver to Vladimir and Suzdal – as with our experience in Moscow this tour did not disappoint. Irina was old school and we benefitted by her experience and mature viewpoint. The 2 days of this part of the tour was superbly balanced with the previous days spent in Moscow. The itinerary was impressive.

St Petersburg - 

The arrival in St Petersburg was after 9 pm and at the time the Hotel reception was chaotic with guest arrivals. The combination of a busy fast train and pesty Chinese travellers many of whom do not possess spacial awareness, plus vehicle transfer by a driver who seemingly was in an urgent hurry we have left abruptly at the entry of the hotel.

Having been spoiled with the quality of accommodation in Moscow and Suzdal we felt the room assigned to us at Solo Sokos Palace left a lot to be desired. The day following we upgraded to a suite, paid additional to our tour cost.

St Petersburg was in full flight tourist wise –  the longer we stayed the more familiar the city became.

By this time both of us were ill with the flu and we had to manage our excursions to suit the daily schedule. But not to be deterred we made the most of our days touring, and like all that have been to this city before us, we fell in love with St Petersburg.

Our guide Julia was young and eager to impart her knowledge of this great city with its amazing history.  We have little reason to criticize Julia although if there was any reservation it was her to do with her maturity – there were times we felt she was on task to cover her content a little to robotically. That said we sorted out things and cut short parts where we thought were repetitive. Mind you we did not doubt he knowledge of history and if we felt we had our fill of Tzars and Tzarinas we gently persuaded her to vary the tour. I have an interest in the siege of Leningrad during WW2 and the Stalinist period pre and post-war – to which she accommodated.

She was very ill herself the last day of the tour and we cut short the tour because of this although she was prepared to soldier on and insisted she arranged a refund for this part of the tour. In a few words, we Loved St Petersburg.

We would recommend this tour to our friends and prospective travellers,  the tour ran seamlessly and we did not want for anything.

Fiorella Calvinisti and Rolando MasseliGuatemala

The tour in Russia has been excellent!

From the weather to the places, everything was perfect! The service has been great from the tour guides to the doorbells. The accommodation fantastic. Please complement everyone for us. We are very very pleased.

It is hard to find a single most enjoyed thing in our tour, it was extremely good. We enjoyed it all. The selected places, the route, the food even the climate was perfect. There is one thing that deserves a special word and it is the tour guides. They were amazingly friendly and well prepared. Thank you very much 56th Parallel for such a wonderful time.

11 days
Moscow to St Petersburg
from
$
2,800
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary Personalise this tour

Day 1: Arrival to Moscow

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 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.

Day 2: Moscow: Red Square, Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

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.

Day 3: Moscow: Metro tour, Tretyakov Gallery and Red October district

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.

Day 4: Moscow: free day

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).

Day 5: Golden Ring: Vladimir and Suzdal

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.

Day 6: Golden Ring: Sergiev Posad

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.

Day 7: St Petersburg: historical city tour

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.

As an option* for this evening, we invite you to enjoy an evening of classical music at one of St. Petersburg’s beautiful palaces, with this 2-hour experience. Take a seat in the magnificent Hall of the Palace. Then, lose yourself in much-loved works by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and others, all played by an orchestra of St Petersburg. As the perfect curtain raisers, enjoy an interesting pre-concert tour of the palace's halls and a glass of sparkling wine.

Day 8: St Petersburg: Peterhof

50km from St Petersburg is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Peterhof, the ‘Russian Versailles’. We’ll travel by fast boat to avoid 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.

Day 9: St Petersburg: Hermitage and canals cruise

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.

Day 10: St Petersburg: Pushkin and Palovsk

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.

Day 11: Departure from St Petersburg

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.

Included

Centrally located 3* hotels (twin/double occupancy), can be upgraded to 4* or 5*:

  • Ibis Centre Bakhrushina, Moscow, 4 nights
  • Ibis Centre, St Petersburg, 5 nights
  • Pushkaraskya Sloboda, Suzdal, 1 night

Breakfasts in the hotels, lunches during a tour of the Golden Ring cities

Airport and train station arrival and departure transfers

All transportation on tour, according to the itinerary (private driver, metro)

Sapsan train tickets from Moscow to St Petersburg (economy+)

Local licensed English-speaking tour leaders

All activities indicated in the itinerary, except optional

Entry tickets, according to the itinerary (skip-the-line policy)

Russian visa support document

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance

Russian visa and visa fees.*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for concierge visa service here.

Optional excursions

Individual transfers

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816