Moscow and St Petersburg in Style

Written by 56th Parallel on 17th Jul 2018
Moscow and St Petersburg tour

Russia’s story is evolving at a rapid pace, and nowhere is this intermingling of the ancient and the avant-garde more apparent than in its two largest metropolises, Moscow and St Petersburg. This carefully crafted Moscow and St Petersburg Tour itinerary tells the tale of two cities – Moscow, the source of Eastern political, economic and spiritual influence, and St Petersburg – Russia’s cultural epicentre and window to Western Europe. During this fabulous 9 day Moscow and St Petersburg tour, you’ll stay in some of the country’s most stylish, centrally located urban hotels. Discover Moscow and St Petersburg plus a portion of the historical Golden Ring route by plush private transport. Travel business class on the high speed Sapsan train between Moscow and St Petersburg and spoil yourself even more with a choice of optional activities including a sublime night out at the opera or ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre, a luxurious Moscow dinner cruise and an evening of classical music at one of St Petersburg’s beautiful palaces turned concert halls.

Moscow and St Petersburg Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy a very special evening at White Rabbit, heralded as one of Restaurant Magazine’s top restaurants in the world. White Rabbit combines a whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme with elegant service, creative takes on Russian cuisine and a domed glass roof providing breathtaking views of the city 
  • Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest metropolises on a guided walking tour of Moscow, including the Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral 
  • Explore Moscow’s famously elaborate Metro stations on the way to the Tretyakov State Gallery, the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world

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Moscow, St Petersburg and Golden Ring Rendezvous

Written by 56th Parallel on 26th May 2018
Moscow St Petersburg Golden Ring Tour Russia

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.

TRIP 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”

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Cruise Kuril Islands & Kamchatka

Written by Anna Schneider on 21st Dec 2017
Kuril Islands cruise, Russia tour

Embark on the voyage of a lifetime on an unparalleled exploration of the region known as the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. The cruise from Hokkaido Province, Japan to the distant Kuril Islands and the remote reaches of Kamchatka is one of the world’s great ocean journeys, beckoning nature lovers, history buffs and those with a thirst for adventuring where few have gone before. Marvel at the dramatic scapes of this ancient land of fire and ice – its towering volcanic mounts, alpine forests, fast flowing rivers and pristine tundra. Our fleet of Zodiacs will allow us to climb ashore to observe flourishing seabird colonies and dozing seals in their thousands, and we’ll be constantly on the look-out for whales and sea lions. Life aboard is good, with no shortage of fresh local caviar and vodka. Whatever your speed, this soul-stirring smorgasbord of volcanoes, wildlife and unique indigenous culture will enthral and inspire you.

Tour Highlights

  • Tyuleniy Island in the Sea of Okhotsk is tiny in size, and so densely populated with mammals and birds the island itself is barely visible. The shoreline is carpeted with murres and other seabirds, straining to be heard above the racket of tens of thousands of roaring, barking and bellowing seals and sea lions
  • Our zodiacs follow the high tide to the very centre of mist-shrouded Yachika Island, where an inundation of seawater has transformed a massive caldera into a lagoon. Hiking the grassy ridges, we’ll keep our eyes out for the elusive Arctic fox
  • Hundreds of northern fur seals and Stellar sea lions haul out on Kuril’s Lovyshky Islands. Cruising close to shore on the zodiacs, we’ll be able to closely approach these noisy, entertaining animals in their element
  • Atlasova Island rises out of the water as a near-perfect cone. The highest volcano in the Kuril chain is a striking sight, inspiring various legends among the traditional Ainu inhabitants
  • The highly maneuverable Zodiacs will forge upstream along Kamchatka’s Zhupanova River. Here we can spot rare birds including Stellar’s sea eagles. Brown bears are sometimes seen fishing for salmon at the river’s edge
  • Take a history lesson in oceanic exploration on a visit to the Komandorsky (Commander Islands). Visit the burial site where Captain Vitus Bering’s ill fated second Kamchatka Expedition came to an end. We’ll also drop in on Nikolskoye, the only settlement on the Commanders, where we’ll experience a cultural performance by the local Aleut community

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Top of the World North Pole Cruise

Written by Anna Schneider on 20th Dec 2017
north pole cruise, Russia tour

Get on board for the ultimate North Pole adventure. Nothing compares to experiencing the untamed grandeur of the Arctic quite like seeing its majestic landscapes unfold from the deck of a state-of-the art nuclear icebreaker. Imagine  endless expanses of ice under the polar midnight sun. Pristine waters teeming with marine life. Prowling polar bears in the tundra. This is Mother Nature at her breathtaking best.

 

From Murmansk, Russia, you’ll embark the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory for a roundtrip voyage to the earth’s geographic North Pole. Our mighty vessel will plow its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean on a cruise that literally circumnavigates the globe in a matter of days. In addition to the exhilaration of cruising to the very apex of the earth, passengers will have the extraordinary privilege to land, via helicopter, on the scarcely visited Russian Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land, a remote wilderness home to an incredible abundance of wildlife.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • After 7 days of cruising from Murmansk, we’ll arrive at the geographic North Pole, the place where all meridians meet and the only direction is south. To celebrate our successful mission to the top of the world, we’ll ceremoniously drop anchor and disembark on a sturdy stretch of ice for the ‘International Round Dance’ – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to literally walk around the world!
  • Franz Josef Land: Weather permitting, we’ll spend two days exploring this uninhabited archipelago, one most pristine Arctic habitats on earth. Made up  of192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles
  • Helicopter flights: As part of this very special expedition, all guests will have the opportunity to take scenic helicopter rides for an incredible bird’s eye view of the icescape and amazing photo opportunities capturing the ship smashing its way through the ice pack
  • Arctic wildlife: Animal life thrives in the pristine environs of the North Pole. Expect sightings of polar bears and walruses, thronging colonies of seabirds and harp and bearded seals resting atop icebergs. Throughout our cruise we’ll be looking out for humpback, minke and beluga whales, and with luck, orcas, narwhales and bowhead whales.

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Golden Ring at a Glance

Written by Anna Schneider on 16th Nov 2017
Golden Ring tour

The Golden Ring is the name given a popular tourist route that connects a network of ancient towns north-east of Moscow. This 2-day Golden Ring tour will take you on a quest for unique architectural constructions dating from the 12th to the 17th centuries. During this short detour from Moscow, you will discover the age-old allure of Mother Russia from generations past. Travel from the capital to the countryside, where golden spires and the onion-shaped domes of colourful monasteries dot the horizon. Explore enchanting towns and fairy tale villages, set against the picturesque backdrop of rural Russia as you learn about the war and peacetime history, religion, and culture of a part of Russia that still holds fast to time-honoured traditions and a leisurely, provincial way of life.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • The village of Suzdal appears like a scene from a Russian storybook and has inspired artists and writers for centuries. Wander wide-eyed through quiet laneways and cobblestone plazas, passing horse-drawn buggies and medieval churches
  • Vladimir is a former medieval Russian capital whose main historic monuments are UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, including the Cathedral of the Assumption, which features murals by 15th century Russian masters, and the Golden Gate, part of the city’s 12th century defenses against the invading Mongol armies
  • Sergiev Posad is one of the most important spiritual centres of the Orthodox Church, sometimes referred to as the ‘Russian Vatican’ for its magnificent white churches with their signature blue and gold cupolas.

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Gems of Karelia - Kizhi Island, Solovki and Valaam

Written by Anna Schneider on 15th Nov 2017
Karelia tour
Karelia is situated to the north of St.Petersburg: it stretches along the border with Finland up to the Arctic Circle and is abundant with forests, lakes and rivers, including the Ladoga and the Onega – the two largest lakes in Europe. This singular place in the Russian North is truly a land of primordial nature. The Karelia tour will take you on scenic boat rides to some of the region’s many lakes or rivers, trekking with huskies on trails in the beautiful pine forests and picking berries in the woods. Take your time. Wander around. Enjoy the scenery.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Kizhi Open Air Museum of Wooden Architecture is one of the most unmissable greatest cultural attractions in Russia. The island contains some 83 relocated wooden buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries, with the crown jewel being the elaborate 1714 Church of the Transfiguration
  • The Valaam Archipelago is a group of 50 islands in Lake Lagoda, the largest lake in Europe. The heart of Valaam is its magnificent monastery complex, which is somewhere between 1000 and 600 years old and was at the centre of the 16th century power struggle between the Russians and Swedes
  • Ruskeala Mountain Park is a former marble quarry. Centuries of dynamiting created a massive, 109m wide canyon filled with emerald green water. A spectacular sight, best viewed on a boat trip between the steep canyon walls riddled with caves and grottoes
  • The ancient village of Kinerma is a hamlet of just a few families, said to be the most beautiful village in Russia. Visit Kinerma’s 16th century chapel, before dinner with our local hosts
  • Visit the adorable furry residents of Karjara Park Husky Farm. Learn about this iconic Siberian working breed before the dogs take you on a sledding or soft trekking experience through the silent Karelian forests
  • The White Sea Petroglyphs are located near a remote bay where the forest meets the coast. These rock paintings and carvings are among the most complex examples of Late Stone Age art in northern Europe

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Karelia & Kizhi Island in 3 Days

Written by Anna Schneider on 11th Nov 2017
Karelia Kizhi Island 3 day tour

This short detour from either Moscow or St Petersburg gives you the chance to explore some of the most remarkable historical and natural landmarks of Karelia. Known as Russia’s ‘Land of Lakes’, Karelia is a republic with its own unique culture, bordering Finland and the White Sea. Your tour begins in Petrozavodsk, the largest city in Karelia and the gateway to Kizhi Island, the most visually spectacular cultural site in Karelia. We’ll reach Kizhi by rapid hydrofoil boat, giving us plenty of time to explore the World Heritage Listed Kizhi Pogost, a collection of 17th and 18th-century churches, elaborately and fantastically crafted entirely out of wood.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Kizhi Open Air Museum is a World Heritage site and one of the most unmissable greatest cultural attractions in Russia. The island contains some 83 relocated buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries, each one elaborately crafted out of wood
  • The crown jewel of Khizi is the Transfiguration Church, an architectural masterpiece featuring a chorus of wooden domes, gables and ingenious decorations designed to keep water off the walls. Built without using a single nail, it has withstood the elements for over 150 years

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Reindeer Herders' Festival in Yamal 2019

Written by Anna Schneider on 11th Nov 2017
Reindeer herders festival

It’s a one-day holiday, celebrated annually in Salekhard and Aksarka, Yamal-Nenets region in the Russian Arctic.  In 2019 the festival will take place on 23rd March in Salekhard and 30th March in Aksarka village.

For the indigenous nomadic Nenets people, Reindeer Herders festival Day is a major event, which offers a chance to meet with friends, to compete in contests of physical skill and a variety of other competitions, as well as to share their unique culture with the world, which has remained unchanged through the centuries until the present day. On this tour you not only will witness the Reindeer Herders’ Festival in Yamal but also will stay with Nenet family far away from the city to fully immerse in the nomadic way of life. READ MORE

Arctic Rail Explorer - Quest for Northern Lights

Written by 56th Parallel on 4th Jun 2016
Northern Lights train tour, northern lights Russia tour

This compelling 12-day Northern Lights Train Tour offers a unique contrast between two of Russia’s most majestic cities and the remote, yet charming communities deep within the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle. Commencing in St. Petersburg, we visit some of the city’s most prominent historical and cultural sites on this railway journey before embarking on this remarkable arctic adventure onboard the Golden Eagle.  READ MORE

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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