Russian Odyssey – Volga River Cruise

From St Petersburg to Volgograd
©Photo by Yulia Baturina
Explore rich culture, history and architecture as you experience this luxurious Volga River cruise from St.Petersburg to Volgograd.

This Volga River Cruise will introduce you to the rich cultural side of Russia, its architecture and history on a luxurious odyssey from St.Petersburg to Volgograd. Navigating the longest river in Europe, you'll experience local traditions, get the vibe of the historic townships, and enjoy the great views of Russia's rural countryside.

Be ready to re-evaluate your knowledge of Russia, its culture and history, as you will meet local people and see their habitual lifestyle, explore traditional crafts and try the most delicious dishes of Russian cuisine, listen to the best pieces of Russian classical music, attend interesting lectures by experienced professors and learn some useful phrases in Russian - we guarantee you will find amusement to your liking!


  • Tick everyone's bucket list while visiting Moscow's main attractions: Red square, St.Basil's Cathedral and the mighty Kremlin.
  • Be enchanted by the ancient towns of the Golden Ring of Russia and watch the slow transition of churches into mosques as you move into the Tatarstan Republic.
  • Sail breathtaking views of the Karelian landscape as you make your way to Lake Onega - home to the island of Kizhi UNESCO site. 

  • Visit the Battle of Stalingrad Panorama Museum and memorial while learning about the heroic and relentless defence of the city of Volgograd, which changed the course of history.

For most, the word "Volga" is as synonymous with the geography of Russia as the words Siberia or St. Petersburg. Its banks are scattered with ancient towns, fortresses, monasteries and villages and unique wildlife, while its waters have been fished by generations of fishermen and sailed by countless leaders. The great ‘Mother Volga’ holds a unique place in Russia’s past, present and future. Through a system of canals, reservoirs and waterways, the Volga is linked to Russia’s largest cities Moscow and St. Petersburg and no less than four seas, in an engineering feat that still remains one of the most ambitious in history. The construction of this grand Soviet scheme to control nature came at the cost of many lives, whilst hundreds of old towns were flooded to make way for shipping channels. Today many old bell towers and church domes can still be seen rising eerily from the free-flowing waters, whilst huge locks topped with Soviet memorials remain a testament to Russia’s more recent history.

Beginning in St. Petersburg, we'll navigate the Volga as we make our way toward Svirstroy. Here you’ll be invited into the homes of locals who are eager to share their stories and hospitality with you. Afterwards, we'll move onto Kizhi, where you’ll be awed by the Transfiguration Church - made in 1714 entirely out of wood and without the use of a single nail!

Discover iconic onion-domed churches; stroll through architectural gems of medieval Nizhniy Novgorod and explore the treasures of Yaroslavl, the Volga's oldest city. 

As we traverse the southern contours of the Volga River, we'll advance towards the site of one of the most significant battles in world war II - Volgograd (old Stalingrad) - where you will explore the Battle of Stalingrad Panorama Museum and memorial in honour of the heroic defence of the city. 

Bring great learning element to your trip and glue together the colourful mosaics of people, history, traditions, religion, music and art - all what is known today as Russia. Escape from the hassle and bustle of big cities cruising along the historical heartland across 5 rivers, 2 great lakes, 2 man-made canals and 19 locks that are part of a waterway between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

18 days
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Trip style

St Petersburg


MS Volga Dream

River Cruise


Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

18 days / 17 nights


up to 100 people

Guaranteed Departures


Day 1:St Petersburg

Begin your journey on this Volga River cruise by embarking on the MS Volga Dream. Today can be spent luxuriating on deck, or by taking some time to explore the glorious city of St.Petersburg.

Day 2:Svirstroy

Dive into traditional culture today when you’re invited into the home of a local villager who will be waiting to greet you with jam tea and pirozhki (traditional pies). The locals have a rich oral tradition which they are enthusiastic to share with you through stories about their culture and lifestyle. As they open their home and kitchen garden to you, they will entice you with tales about the local attractions of Svirstroy village.

Once you’ve enjoyed your jam tea its time to take a bus to tour the village and local primary school, and pay our respects at a monumental WWII memorial.

Day 3:Kizhi

Karelia is a breathtaking expanse of wilderness that extends from St.Petersburg to the Arctic Circle. Its unique landscape is characterised by vast forests and beautiful bodies of water, such as Lake Onega, which collects 58 rivers and contains 1369 islands. The most exciting of all these islands is Kizhi, which is famous for its unique display of handmade, ancient, wooden churches, windmills and houses. Today, on this Volga River cruise you will visit the masterpiece of this quaint collection - the Transfiguration church, which was constructed without the use of a single nail in 1714.

Day 4:Goritsy

Today we will visit the curious settlement of Gortisky, home to the beautiful Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (1397). Here you will venture through the monastery on a guided tour, marvelling at one of the most magnificent collections of Russian icons in the world. Once you have savoured the ethereal repertoire of artwork, we will advance towards the brilliant Lake Onega.

Day 5:Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl is a jewel in the crown of central Russia not only because of its rich historical significance as one of the oldest cities in the region (founded 1010), but because it is an outstanding seat of Russian Architecture. Some of the highlights you will see today include the Spassky Monastery which encapsulates the Transfiguration of the Saviour and the Church of Elijah the Prophet. This is a particularly rich example of late Muscovite period architecture and hosts extraordinary displays of intricate mosaics.

This morning you will also be treated to a costumed reception at governor’s house prior to returning to the MS Volga Dream for lunch, as part of your Volga River cruise.

Day 6:Uglich

After continuing to cruise through the idyllic forested countryside, we will anchor at Uglich, which once formed part of an ancient trading route, and is now at the heart of Russia’s famous Golden Ring circuit. Today you will continue to delight in the history and architecture of the region where you will have the opportunity to visit the Church of St. Dimitri-on-the-Blood. This church is famous for its connection to the son of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitri, who was murdered on this site in 1591.

Once you have marvelled at this impressive church, you will be invited to an enchanting choral performance at St. John’s Church.

Day 7:Moscow

After arriving in Moscow at midday, the rest of the will be spent at your leisure. Feel free to explore Moscow on your own, or relax on deck.

Day 8:Moscow city tour

Today marks your chance to become acquainted with the specular sites of Moscow on an orientation tour of the city. You’ll get up close and personal with some of the most spectacular attractions in the city like Red Square, St.Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Tomb. We will also pass the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour as we drive towards Novodevichi Cemetery - the final resting place of several famous Russian creatives, actors, politicians and scientists.

Day 9:Moscow: Kremlin and Armoury Chamber

Today you will visit the famed Kremlin! During this tour you will experience the Armoury Museum, which houses a varied collection of royal artefacts such as thrones, crowns and coaches. Here you will also be escorted through the 15th century Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals which boast splendid frescoes.

Day 10-11:Uglich and Yaroslavl

The next 2 days of this Volga River cruise will be spent navigating back through Uglich and Yaroslavl and you will have free time to explore the secrets of these mysterious cities.

Day 12:Sailing day

Take in the majesty of the Volga river as you spend today gently cruising the waterway on this Volga River cruise. Luxuriate on the Sun Deck with an ever changing vista of quaint villages, towns and churches. As you lesiurely observe the region which thrived for centuries due to the success of trade along the Volga, listen to a guest speaker narrate the history and tradition of each magical site.

Day 13:Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod was once the epicentre of commercial activity, thanks to its influential position on the eastern trade route. However, today you’ll learn how during the Soviet era it was closed for military exercise and to house political prisoners. Today you’ll also visit the XVIth- century Kremlin with its ornate churches and breathtaking views.

Tonight, a local children’s group will be delighted to present a traditional folk concert for you.

Day 14:Kazan

As you observe the banks of the Volga today, you will begin to notice that elaborate Russian Orthodox Churches are replaced by intricate Muslim mosques - highlighting our advance into the Republic of Tatarstan. We depart the Volga dream to explore the capital of the region and the epicentre of Tatar culture and tradition, Kazan. Marvel at the white walls of the Kazan Citadel where the Kul-Sherif mosque is juxtaposed against the old Peter and Paul Cathedral.

In the afternoon you will be treated to a local ensemble who will perform traditional Tatar music for you.

Day 15:Samara

This morning is a fantastic opportunity to view the Zhigulevskie mountains from the Sun Deck as we advance towards the city of Samara. Beginning with a city tour, we will explore the space museum before taking a leisurely walk on the Volga esplanade as we head towards the Samara State Art Museum.

Day 16:Saratov

Saratov was once a bustling German community, but is now famed for its connection to Yuri Gagarin who lived in the city and became the first man to enter space. On this city tour, you will delight in the treasures of the Radishev State Art Museum which was the primary portrait gallery outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Day 17-18:Volgograd

Volgograd has a rich historical past - from its beginnings as Tsaritsyn and a site of the Russian revolution, through to World War II where it became famously known as Stalingrad. It is the site of arguably the most decisive military victory for the Russians on the eastern front, where they changed the course of history through their relentless, painstaking and courageous defence of the city.

Some of the fiercest fightings took place on Mamayev Hill, and today we will visit a memorial on this site before making our way to the Battle of Stalingrad Panorama Museum.

Our Volga River cruise will culminate on day 18 and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.



MS Volga Dream


Full board (three meals per day)


Arrival and departure group airport transfers


All excursions according to the itinerary with professional English-speaking guides

Activities and sights

  • All excursions according to the itinerary with professional English-speaking guides
  • Onboard entertainment including Russian language course and Russian songs lessons, live music concerts, etc
  • Lectures by a guest speaker


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.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
Sep 30 - Oct 17, 2020
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $6,045 US $2,200 Reserve
18 days
St Petersburg to Volgograd
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
18 days
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
Click here to subscribe

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

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