Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

Duration8days

Price fromUSD $1,990 ?Currency ConversionConverted from USD based on the latest exchange rate. Final amount and payment will be in USD. Final conversion rate is determined by your bank.

Trip StyleCulture & Sightseeing

Time of yearNov - March

Experience the romantic, winter wonderland atmosphere and festive city lights of Russia’s two biggest cities and celebrate the New Year!

Arriving in Moscow and St Petersburg during winter has been likened to stepping into a novel – a land of exotic fur hats and snow-dusted cathedral domes. This tour will take place between December 29 and 5 January to include an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Moscow, one of the most exciting cities in the world to celebrate with the locals and “party like a Russian!” Or you can choose any other dates.

While in Moscow you’ll discover some of the city’s most iconic attractions and lesser-known gems, including a guided tour of the Kremlin and a day excursion to the opulent royal estate of Kolomenskoye.

Next, we’ll travel by high-speed train to St Petersburg to experience the romance of one of the world’s most beautiful cities in dazzling white winter dress. Delve into the treasures of the Hermitage Museum (without the summer crowds!) and enjoy a traditional troika sleigh ride in Pavlovsk Park.

Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Tour Highlights:

These are the best attractions you will see of this tour, though we guarantee you there will be many more memories!

Moscow

  • Taking in the magnificent artworks at Tretyakov State Gallery
  • A guided walking tour through the Red Square
  • An immersive journey through history in the Kremlin
  • Tsar Alexei's great wooden palace

St Petersburg

  • The high street of Nevsky Project
  • The amazing St Isaac's Cathedral
  • Pondering on the lives of the previous Tsars' excess living in Tsarksoye Selo
  • The world-famous State Hermitage Museum

Arrival

Moscow

Departure

St Petersburg

Accomodation

3* hotels (can be upgraded to 4* or 5*)

Trip style

Culture & Sightseeing

Duration

8 days / 7 nights

Action rating?

     

Group size

min 2

Type of tour

Private tour

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival to Moscow

You’ve arrived! Welcome to Moscow, the monumental capital of Mother Russia! Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your centrally located hotel.

Spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the local area. This is a good time to shop for winter clothes if you need them – just check out what the locals wear and follow suit!

As an option*, we suggest you spend this night on a sumptuous cruise, taking in the sights and sounds of this mesmerising city by night. On this 2,5 hours cruise, you will enjoy the most remarkable sights of Moscow and drinks. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday you will be able to enjoy a live musical accompaniment.

Day 2 Panoramic city tour and Tretyakov State Gallery

Today we explore the city, giving you a sense of the city’s sheer size, and an impression of how Moscow has changed throughout the ages. Start a day with a tour of some of Moscow’s most famous streets and squares. Walk through Lubyanskaya Square, the notorious former headquarters of the KGB.

Next, visit the starkly contrasting Theatre Square to see the stunning Bolshoi Theatre. Stroll along Tverskaya and Nikolskaya streets, the city’s main boulevard and home to the landmark Yeleseyevskiy Grocery Store, a former palace turned luxury providore. We’ll also explore Boulevard Ring, where Russian nobles built their exquisite 18th and 19th-century mansions, and Kutuzoyskiy Avenue with its Triumphal Arch. Driving through the new business district, we’ll enjoy a panoramic drive along the Moskva River, where a huge, controversial state of Peter the Great was erected. Pass by the legendary Gorky Park and the White House before a stop at the architecturally stunning Novodevichy Convent and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; the observation platform at Sparrow Hills, for a bird’s eye view over this staggering megalopolis.

After a lunch break, the second half of the day you will visit 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.

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 and with a short stroll at famous Arbat street.

Day 3 Red Square and Kremlin

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 fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral – a postcard-perfect symbol of the nation.

Walk the fancy Manezhnaya Square and the Zero Kilometre, the starting point for all roads in Moscow. Admire the grandiose façade of GUM, the city’s most luxurious shopping centre, and visit Alexander’s Garden, with its eternal flame and the chance to watch a changing of the guards.

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone, or maybe you’re just wanting to soak up that joyful Christmas spirit, possibly with a side of Russian caviar, no matter what’s got you in the mood for a Christmas market at the Red Square, the selection here won’t disappoint.

There are more than 200 wooden stands, where you can try traditional Russian foods, such as crepes with caviar, and baked potatoes with mushrooms and pickles. You can also keep yourself warm by drinking mulled wine!

If you need to pick up a few souvenirs, this is a good spot, with traditional items such as Khohloma toys, Orenburg shawls, and Russian gingerbread for purchase. Of course, there are also plenty of Christmas tree decorations to tempt you. If you’ve got kids, be sure to head to the middle of the market, where there are a carousel and slide to keep them entertained.

Have a delicious lunch in one of the multiple downtown cafes or restaurants and continue the day with a tour of the Kremlin and Armoury Museum. The Kremlin was the heavily fortified residence of the Russian Tsars. After the Revolution of 1917 the USSR Government moved in it. Now it is the seat of the Russian President and a cultural museum complex consisting of palaces, cathedrals and museums.

You will tour the grounds of the Kremlin and visit strikingly beautiful cathedrals such as the Assumption Cathedral where Russian tsars and emperors were crowned; Archangel Cathedral - the burial vault of the Russian tsars until 18th centuries; and Annunciation Cathedral, a home church for the royalty.

You will get to meet the 2 prominent Russian tsars in person: the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, the biggest in the world. The Kremlin will surely reveal you some mysteries of the Russian state and soul.

Within the Kremlin complex is the Armoury Chamber, famous for its collection of tsarist fashion, with regalia such as jewel-encrusted crowns, orbs and sceptres as well as arms and armour, exotic gifts from faraway lands, and an illustrious case of Imperial Faberge eggs.

Day 4 Kolomenskoye Estate

Today, we’ll embark on a tour a few kilometres from busy central Moscow to Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate in the middle of a scenic expanse of parkland. Spanning over 900 acres, the estate was a former country residence for the Grand Dukes of Moscow.

Built in 1532, the stone Ascension Church is the oldest original structure and has been recognised for its World Heritage value. Various Tsars over the centuries built their own fanciful summer palaces here, and Kolomenskoye became famous for its masterful examples of Russian wooden architecture.

In 1923, it was converted into an open-air museum, featuring original structures from the 17th and 18th century and a reconstruction of Tsar Alexei’s great wooden palace, regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of 17th-century Russian architecture.

As an option* we also can visit Izmailovo District in the northeast, home to Moscow’s lesser-known “second” kremlin. In truth, Izmailovo Kremlin is not a fortress as the word implies, but was built as a cultural education centre in 2007.

Nevertheless, Izmailovo is an enchanting mix of tradition and kitsch - a fairy tale depiction of Old Russia complete with multi-coloured spires and the Romanov coat of arms.

Other buildings in the complex are interactive museums dedicated to subjects such as folk art, vodka and bread. A wooden bridge connects the Kremlin to Izmailovo’s historic open-air market. Dating back to the 17th century, today the market is a maze of covered stalls, divided into a crafts and souvenir bazaar and an everyday flea market.

Later in the afternoon (or evening time if opt-in for Izmailovo tour), we’ll transfer to Moscow’s central train station to board the Sapsan (high-speed train), which will whisk us to our next destination, St Petersburg, completing the 700km journey in just four hours.

Day 5 St Petersburg city tour

Meet your guide in the lobby and begin your discovery of Russia’s ‘Cultural Capital’ with a walking tour of St Petersburg’s most popular attractions.

At this time of year, the city is at its most beautiful. The streets are relaxed and uncrowded, the iconic Neva River becomes a wilderness of ice, and the city’s gilded monuments glow against a backdrop of the winter sky and bare trees covered in crystalline frost.

Your tour will include Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg’s fanciful high street, the Anichokov Bridge and Palace, viewpoints over the frozen 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 Russian emperors from Peter the Great to Nicholas II.

Day 6 Tsarksoye Selo and Pavlovsk

Today we’ll take a glimpse into the royal excess of the 18th-century Tsars with a guided visit to Tsarskoe Selo, a lavish estate that rivals Versailles for sheer extravagance.

A former residence of the imperial family, Tsarskoe Selo is located just outside the city in the charming suburb of Pushkin town. Originally built in 1717 for Peter the Great’s wife, Catherine I and later revamped by their daughter Elizabeth to suit her rather more flamboyant tastes, Catherine Palace is undoubtedly the highlight of Tsarskoe Selo’s dozens of monuments.

The blue and white facade features delicate gold ornamentation. Inside, more than 20 rooms overflow with ostentatious décor, including the Amber Room and the Hall of Light.

If there’s one must-do in St Petersburg in winter, it’s a traditional troika ride! Perhaps the quintessential image of the Russian winter, a troika is a sled-like carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side.

The best place to experience a troika ride is Pavlovsk Park, a vast slice of the Russian countryside in the city. Be swept up in the magical winter scenery, passing beautiful wooded areas and meandering streams.

Day 7 Hermitage

Start the morning with a leisurely 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. Today you’ll be treated to a very special private tour of the Hermitage, allowing you to ask as many questions as you like while exploring the colossal exhibitions on display.

Considered one of the greatest art museums in the world, the Hermitage preserves over three million precious objects from the Stone Age to the 20th century, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

Housed here are works by classical European masters like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Veronese and Tintoretto, as well as a gallery of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.

We wholeheartedly recommend taking up tonight’s optional evening activity* – attending a ballet or opera performance at the world-famous Mariinsky Theatre.

Another option* to consider - a tour of Konstantinovsky Palace the revived residence of Grand Dukes of the House of Romanovs, is an architectural dominant of the State Complex “The National Congress Palace”, located on the picturesque coast of the Gulf of Finland, less than 20 km away from Saint Petersburg's city centre.

It is surrounded by parks which are decorated with the inimitable ensemble of fountains, canals, draw bridges and splendid rosaries.

Today within the palace expositions Russian painting, decorative and applied arts of XVIII-XX centuries including the world-famous collection of M. Rostropovich and G. Vishnevskaya are widely presented.

At the grottos of Konstantin Palace wine cellars with one of the greatest collection of elite wines in the world are placed. The palace is surrounded by the park, extending to the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

The complex is justly considered to be one of the most prestigious places for events of any level – all rooms are equipped at a state-of-the-art level. The G20 and G8 summits, meetings of the Russia-EU format, negotiations between heads of states and governments, official visits are all held in the state residence.

Day 8 Departure

Today is the end of our time in the Russian capitals, but we hope, the start of a great new year! After check-out, you’ll be transferred to the airport, for one last look at the spectacular, snow-blanketed city of St Petersburg from the air.

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Inclusions

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

Breakfasts in the hotels

Airport and train station transfers

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

Sapsan train tickets from Moscow to St Petersburg (economy+, can be upgraded to business class)

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

Exclusions

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

Dates Availability Price Single sup.  
Dec 29, 2020 - Jan 5, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,350 US $580 Reserve
Jan 4, 2021 - Jan 11, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $1,990 US $450 Reserve
Jan 27, 2021 - Feb 3, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $1,990 US $450 Reserve
Any dates of your choice
Private Tour
Available US $1,990 US $450 Reserve

Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

8 days / 7 nights

From
$1,990
USD

*Price per person, based on min 2 people

Make an enquiry

Testimonials

Diana ClaxtonAustralia

We loved our tour in Moscow and St Petesburg!

The itinerary was good! You were excellent! We were very confident that anything you arranged would be as it was supposed to be and reliable. We were talking about how good 56th Parallel is and a word that came to mind about our experience was ‘seamless’. We felt totally safe all of the time during the trip. Katia in St Petersburg was EXCELLENT!  With Katia we got warmth, friendliness and humour, we never stopped talking! She knows her stuff when it comes to the sites that we visited. We loved spending time with her and the driver Oleg – he was a great driver.

Max in Moscow was good. He knew his information. They are two very different people. We also found that Moscow was a bit heavy because it was walking for two and a half days out of three, there was a little break. We would probably break up that itinerary a little more. It’s not that we are not fit but 6-7 hrs on our feet day after day is a bit tiring without rest periods.

The hotels on tour were excellent! We especially loved the Pushka Inn, rich in history and in a great location. Mercure Arbat was also fabulously located. The staff in both hotels looked after us wonderfully. We really enjoyed our stays in both of them.

As to the Russian people: those in the tourist facilities like hotels and cafes were fine. Outside, some people were friendly, some were not. Those that didn’t speak English didn’t want to have anything to do with us. We used a translator app when we were on the train which was really useful.

We were absolutely happy with your services!!! We would recommend you and definitely use you again!

 

Stephanie MacAustralia

Russia was amazing!

After passport control, everything was a breeze. The transfers were smooth as and the drivers were really lovely. You couldn’t have picked the guides any better! Maksim in Moscow was just what I needed to get to really understand the history and how it shaped the country today. Like seriously I thought I knew important parts of Russian history, but I was wrong. THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE! He was a history teacher so his knowledge for everything was I was no history buff, but the way he explained it made it way easier to understand.

The location of the Mercure Arbat Hotel was great! Close to shops, restaurants, metro etc. The sad part was that I only found out there was a Sephora just around the corner on my last day and I was gutted but I walked out every night and felt very safe to do so. Complimentary brekkie into Russian cuisine was a big bonus and the staff were so lovely. And it was great that Maksim took me to places he liked as well as fellow Russians to eat.  Overall for me by myself, I think my tour was great considering the winter weather. But I think if I were to come in summer and had more days and with my friends/family, I’d balance them with a shopping centre day and/or theme park (I did hear Dream Island is opening in Moscow at the end of the month).

So I thought St Petersburg had a lot to live up to after Moscow. And boy did it ever. As soon as I walked out of the train station, I was like WOAH. it just felt completely different than Moscow, and I don’t know what it was, but I really liked it. I call it the Melbourne of Russia! Katya (the guide) and I got on really well as well as the driver Oleg. They were awesome! She guided me through the city, its highlights and picked up from where Maksim left off in history so damn well! I even got to experience some hidden gems where I had Russian donuts, pancakes and I even had time to quickly stop at a supermarket which I loved so much! The hotel was in a great spot for me to stroll around and so central to everything – shops, restaurants etc. It baffled me that I was right around the corner from the Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square and Building of the General Staff. It at night time was beautiful. I know what I’m doing when I come back to St Petersburg!

Surprisingly, I thought something would go wrong considering it’s me, but nothing did, and if there was a hiccup in the itinerary, the guide still ensured everything ran smoothly which I never noticed.

You guys at 56th Parallel did an amazing job at organising my tour. You took the stress out and I can only imagine the communications back and forth, back and forth to make my trip perfect!

Thank you so much. I look forward to going again!

Stephinie Mac

Alison StevensonAustralia

The trip was absolutely incredible!

Thank you so much for all of your help, you made booking and acquiring our visas so easy. The guides were very friendly, knowledgeable and provided us with an incredible experience.  They were happy to alter the timetable to spend more or less time in the areas which interested us as much as possible. The drivers didn’t speak much English so communication was minimal but they were punctual and always returned a smile and good morning/evening. The itinerary, while very full and giving little time for rest (I was aware of this prior to traveling) covered all the highlights we really wanted to see in the short amount of time we had.  I loved the accommodation location near to the Chruch of Spilled blood in St Petersburg so I could walk there and take additional photographs at night.

In response to the questions you have asked:

  • Was it smoothly planned? Very, it was so easy and we knew what was happening every step of the way.
  • Did you enjoy your time in Russia and the experiences on this tour? Absolutely, I look forward to coming back and have not stopped talking about it since I’ve returned to work.
  • Did you like your hotels, Russian food, overall dining experience and meal options? The hotels were clean and comfortable, in good locations and offered all we could need.  As we were in St Petersburg over their Christmas period the hotel restaurant ran out of various items on the menu, but were very apologetic about it and happy to laugh with us about the situation. Even for allergies and picky eaters we were always able to find something to eat.
  • What about Russian people and their culture?  I was surprised how different it was to what is portrayed in the media (we get a lot of the American opinion of Russia in our media).  They were friendly, the guides happy to discuss customs and culture which helped us to understand behaviours we were seeing.
  • Did you feel safe on your trip? Yes. The taxi drivers almost hounding you at airports and public places was a little disconcerting, however knowing we had our own driver at every stage made us feel so safe and any fears of “tourist scamming” did not exist.  The guides were also great at making sure this did not happen.  Despite being without a guide on the train from St Petersburg to Moscow, it was very easy and felt very safe.
  • What was the highlight of your trip? St Basils’s in Moscow – I had always wanted to see this and being able to go inside as well as get photos outside was amazing.  I was blown away with the incredible artwork and mosaics inside Saint Issac’s in St Petersburg, it was all so incredible.
  • Were you happy with 56th Parallel services? Yes, everything was so easy and every question was answered so well that any fear or concern disappeared and I could enjoy my time in Russia.  I have already recommended 56th Parallel to friends and will continue to do so.  I will use your services again in the future for Lake Baikal.
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Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

8 days / 7 nights

From
$1,990
USD

*Price per person, based on min 2 people

Make an enquiry
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Why travel to Russia with 56th Parallel?

Destination Specialists

Our team offers over 18 years of experience travelling and planning travel in Russia. Delivering outstanding travel experiences in Russia’s capitals and in some of the most stunning & remote locations takes experience, special access and the right connections. We make sure that all the fine details are handled perfectly so you can enjoy your Russia travel experience.

Group & Private Tours

The choice to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or chose to travel on your own dates with your own mates. Each destination we travel to in Russia offers an option between private tours and small group tours. Please note: on our adventure tours in remote destinations, we mostly run group tours to keep the cost down.

Bonded & Licensed

56th Parallel is a fully licensed, insured and accredited travel provider.

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+61 2 9388 9816[email protected]

Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

Days 8

From USD $1,990

Trip Style Culture & Sightseeing

Time of year Nov - March

Day 1: Arrival to Moscow

You’ve arrived! Welcome to Moscow, the monumental capital of Mother Russia! Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your centrally located hotel.

Spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the local area. This is a good time to shop for winter clothes if you need them – just check out what the locals wear and follow suit!

As an option*, we suggest you spend this night on a sumptuous cruise, taking in the sights and sounds of this mesmerising city by night. On this 2,5 hours cruise, you will enjoy the most remarkable sights of Moscow and drinks. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday you will be able to enjoy a live musical accompaniment.

Day 2: Panoramic city tour and Tretyakov State Gallery

Today we explore the city, giving you a sense of the city’s sheer size, and an impression of how Moscow has changed throughout the ages. Start a day with a tour of some of Moscow’s most famous streets and squares. Walk through Lubyanskaya Square, the notorious former headquarters of the KGB.

Next, visit the starkly contrasting Theatre Square to see the stunning Bolshoi Theatre. Stroll along Tverskaya and Nikolskaya streets, the city’s main boulevard and home to the landmark Yeleseyevskiy Grocery Store, a former palace turned luxury providore. We’ll also explore Boulevard Ring, where Russian nobles built their exquisite 18th and 19th-century mansions, and Kutuzoyskiy Avenue with its Triumphal Arch. Driving through the new business district, we’ll enjoy a panoramic drive along the Moskva River, where a huge, controversial state of Peter the Great was erected. Pass by the legendary Gorky Park and the White House before a stop at the architecturally stunning Novodevichy Convent and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; the observation platform at Sparrow Hills, for a bird’s eye view over this staggering megalopolis.

After a lunch break, the second half of the day you will visit 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.

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 and with a short stroll at famous Arbat street.

Day 3: Red Square and Kremlin

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 fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral – a postcard-perfect symbol of the nation.

Walk the fancy Manezhnaya Square and the Zero Kilometre, the starting point for all roads in Moscow. Admire the grandiose façade of GUM, the city’s most luxurious shopping centre, and visit Alexander’s Garden, with its eternal flame and the chance to watch a changing of the guards.

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone, or maybe you’re just wanting to soak up that joyful Christmas spirit, possibly with a side of Russian caviar, no matter what’s got you in the mood for a Christmas market at the Red Square, the selection here won’t disappoint.

There are more than 200 wooden stands, where you can try traditional Russian foods, such as crepes with caviar, and baked potatoes with mushrooms and pickles. You can also keep yourself warm by drinking mulled wine!

If you need to pick up a few souvenirs, this is a good spot, with traditional items such as Khohloma toys, Orenburg shawls, and Russian gingerbread for purchase. Of course, there are also plenty of Christmas tree decorations to tempt you. If you’ve got kids, be sure to head to the middle of the market, where there are a carousel and slide to keep them entertained.

Have a delicious lunch in one of the multiple downtown cafes or restaurants and continue the day with a tour of the Kremlin and Armoury Museum. The Kremlin was the heavily fortified residence of the Russian Tsars. After the Revolution of 1917 the USSR Government moved in it. Now it is the seat of the Russian President and a cultural museum complex consisting of palaces, cathedrals and museums.

You will tour the grounds of the Kremlin and visit strikingly beautiful cathedrals such as the Assumption Cathedral where Russian tsars and emperors were crowned; Archangel Cathedral - the burial vault of the Russian tsars until 18th centuries; and Annunciation Cathedral, a home church for the royalty.

You will get to meet the 2 prominent Russian tsars in person: the Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, the biggest in the world. The Kremlin will surely reveal you some mysteries of the Russian state and soul.

Within the Kremlin complex is the Armoury Chamber, famous for its collection of tsarist fashion, with regalia such as jewel-encrusted crowns, orbs and sceptres as well as arms and armour, exotic gifts from faraway lands, and an illustrious case of Imperial Faberge eggs.

Day 4: Kolomenskoye Estate

Today, we’ll embark on a tour a few kilometres from busy central Moscow to Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate in the middle of a scenic expanse of parkland. Spanning over 900 acres, the estate was a former country residence for the Grand Dukes of Moscow.

Built in 1532, the stone Ascension Church is the oldest original structure and has been recognised for its World Heritage value. Various Tsars over the centuries built their own fanciful summer palaces here, and Kolomenskoye became famous for its masterful examples of Russian wooden architecture.

In 1923, it was converted into an open-air museum, featuring original structures from the 17th and 18th century and a reconstruction of Tsar Alexei’s great wooden palace, regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of 17th-century Russian architecture.

As an option* we also can visit Izmailovo District in the northeast, home to Moscow’s lesser-known “second” kremlin. In truth, Izmailovo Kremlin is not a fortress as the word implies, but was built as a cultural education centre in 2007.

Nevertheless, Izmailovo is an enchanting mix of tradition and kitsch - a fairy tale depiction of Old Russia complete with multi-coloured spires and the Romanov coat of arms.

Other buildings in the complex are interactive museums dedicated to subjects such as folk art, vodka and bread. A wooden bridge connects the Kremlin to Izmailovo’s historic open-air market. Dating back to the 17th century, today the market is a maze of covered stalls, divided into a crafts and souvenir bazaar and an everyday flea market.

Later in the afternoon (or evening time if opt-in for Izmailovo tour), we’ll transfer to Moscow’s central train station to board the Sapsan (high-speed train), which will whisk us to our next destination, St Petersburg, completing the 700km journey in just four hours.

Day 5: St Petersburg city tour

Meet your guide in the lobby and begin your discovery of Russia’s ‘Cultural Capital’ with a walking tour of St Petersburg’s most popular attractions.

At this time of year, the city is at its most beautiful. The streets are relaxed and uncrowded, the iconic Neva River becomes a wilderness of ice, and the city’s gilded monuments glow against a backdrop of the winter sky and bare trees covered in crystalline frost.

Your tour will include Nevsky Prospect, St. Petersburg’s fanciful high street, the Anichokov Bridge and Palace, viewpoints over the frozen 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 Russian emperors from Peter the Great to Nicholas II.

Day 6: Tsarksoye Selo and Pavlovsk

Today we’ll take a glimpse into the royal excess of the 18th-century Tsars with a guided visit to Tsarskoe Selo, a lavish estate that rivals Versailles for sheer extravagance.

A former residence of the imperial family, Tsarskoe Selo is located just outside the city in the charming suburb of Pushkin town. Originally built in 1717 for Peter the Great’s wife, Catherine I and later revamped by their daughter Elizabeth to suit her rather more flamboyant tastes, Catherine Palace is undoubtedly the highlight of Tsarskoe Selo’s dozens of monuments.

The blue and white facade features delicate gold ornamentation. Inside, more than 20 rooms overflow with ostentatious décor, including the Amber Room and the Hall of Light.

If there’s one must-do in St Petersburg in winter, it’s a traditional troika ride! Perhaps the quintessential image of the Russian winter, a troika is a sled-like carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side.

The best place to experience a troika ride is Pavlovsk Park, a vast slice of the Russian countryside in the city. Be swept up in the magical winter scenery, passing beautiful wooded areas and meandering streams.

Day 7: Hermitage

Start the morning with a leisurely 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. Today you’ll be treated to a very special private tour of the Hermitage, allowing you to ask as many questions as you like while exploring the colossal exhibitions on display.

Considered one of the greatest art museums in the world, the Hermitage preserves over three million precious objects from the Stone Age to the 20th century, including the largest collection of paintings in the world.

Housed here are works by classical European masters like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Veronese and Tintoretto, as well as a gallery of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.

We wholeheartedly recommend taking up tonight’s optional evening activity* – attending a ballet or opera performance at the world-famous Mariinsky Theatre.

Another option* to consider - a tour of Konstantinovsky Palace the revived residence of Grand Dukes of the House of Romanovs, is an architectural dominant of the State Complex “The National Congress Palace”, located on the picturesque coast of the Gulf of Finland, less than 20 km away from Saint Petersburg's city centre.

It is surrounded by parks which are decorated with the inimitable ensemble of fountains, canals, draw bridges and splendid rosaries.

Today within the palace expositions Russian painting, decorative and applied arts of XVIII-XX centuries including the world-famous collection of M. Rostropovich and G. Vishnevskaya are widely presented.

At the grottos of Konstantin Palace wine cellars with one of the greatest collection of elite wines in the world are placed. The palace is surrounded by the park, extending to the coast of the Gulf of Finland.

The complex is justly considered to be one of the most prestigious places for events of any level – all rooms are equipped at a state-of-the-art level. The G20 and G8 summits, meetings of the Russia-EU format, negotiations between heads of states and governments, official visits are all held in the state residence.

Day 8: Departure

Today is the end of our time in the Russian capitals, but we hope, the start of a great new year! After check-out, you’ll be transferred to the airport, for one last look at the spectacular, snow-blanketed city of St Petersburg from the air.

Included

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

Breakfasts in the hotels

Airport and train station transfers

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

Sapsan train tickets from Moscow to St Petersburg (economy+, can be upgraded to business class)

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

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup.
Dec 29, 2020 - Jan 5, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,350 US $580
Jan 4, 2021 - Jan 11, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $1,990 US $450
Jan 27, 2021 - Feb 3, 2021
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $1,990 US $450
Any dates of your choice
Private Tour
Available US $1,990 US $450

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Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

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