Two Capitals Tour: Moscow and St Petersburg

Two Capitals Tour: Moscow & St. Petersburg

Duration: 7 days / 6 nights – Friday Arrival

Open Russia invites you to visit the two great cities of Russia, its ancient (and current) capital – Moscow and the northern Imperial capital – St. Petersburg. These two cities, so different in their history and flavor, together provide a broad perspective of the Russian experience.

The golden cupolas of Russia’s medieval churches, Red Square and the mighty walls of the Kremlin, the lavish palaces of the Romanovs and the greatest art collections of the Hermitage await you on this journey through Russia. Led by the most knowledgeable and experienced guides, this tour will introduce you to the cultural essence of these two fascinating cities as well as to modern Russian life.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Friday Arrive in Moscow

Welcome to Moscow, the largest city in Russia and the center of its political and economic life. Upon arrival your guide and driver will meet you at the exit gate of the airport to transfer you to the hotel. We recommend that you rest this evening. The guide will advise on the best restaurants nearby for dinner.

Day 2 – Saturday Moscow city-tour, Moscow metro, Red Square and Kremlin

Full day sightseeing / 8 hours with car & guide

AM The city-tour will take you to Moscow’s most famous historic sites, from ancient churches to giant Stalin skyscrapers to the sheik contemporary office buildings. It’s an excellent way to see the exteriors of renowned buildings and places such as the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Bolshoy Theatre, New Maiden Convent, Kitai Gorod merchant area, Vorobievy Hills with a fantastic panoramic view of the city and more.

You’ll take a short ride on Moscow’s Metro System, which has some stations ornate as palaces, with marble arches, crystal chandeliers, sculptures and mosaics – glorious remnants of the Soviet era.

Finally, you’ll get to the heart of Moscow – Red Square, whose name in old Russian means ‘Beautiful Square’. Red Square must be seen to be truly appreciated. As you walk across this place, steeped in history, you will behold the colorful, onion-domed St. Basil Cathedral – the iconic visiting card of Moscow.

Optional: St. Basil Cathedral inside visit, entrance tickets 20 USD / 18 EUR per person

Another optional tour this morning is to Leo Tolstoy House Museum which offers quite a window onto the genius of the great Russian writer 12 USD / 10 EUR per person

Optional: lunch – 28 USD / 24 EUR per person

PM Tour of the Kremlin – the Russian citadel and birthplace of Moscow, the seat of Russian power and home to the President of the Russian Federation. This fortified complex of ancient churches, palaces, and government buildings dates back to 1156. Open Russia will take you inside the Annunciation, Assumption and Archangel’s Cathedrals. You’ll also visit the Armoury Chamber with its amazing collection of tsarist paraphernalia.

Please note that the Kremlin is closed on Thursdays.

Optional: Diamond Fund, entrance tickets 10.5 USD / 9 EUR per person

Day 3 – Sunday Tretyakov State Gallery and departure to St. Petersburg by train

Half-day sightseeing with car & guide; transfer to Sapsan train

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and we will take you to the Tretyakov State Gallery – which houses the greatest collection of Russian art, including thousands of works from the 11th to 20th centuries. The gallery was founded by Tretyakov, a wealthy 19th century merchant as a private collection and later donated to the city.

Optional: Lunch – $26 per person

14:00Transfer to the train station for your departure to St. Petersburg.

15:40Sapsan fast train to St. Petersburg (economy class train ticket)

Optional: upgrade to business class train ticket – 70 USD / 60 EUR per person

19:30Arrive to St. Petersburg, meet the local guide and transfer to the hotel.

Day 4 – Monday St. Petersburg city-tour and the Yusupov palace

Full day sightseeing / 8 hours with car & guide

Welcome to St. Petersburg, one of the world’s most magnificent travel destinations!

AM Depart for the city-tour, which gives you an overview of the history and geography of St. Petersburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. From outside you’ll observe St. Isaac’s Square and the Mariinsky Theater, the Hermitage, the Winter Palace, the Palace Square, the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, the Bronze Horseman Statue, Peter’s Log Cabin, the cruiser Aurora, Smolny Convent, the Nevsky Prospect, the Church of the Saviour on the Spilt Blood, the Square of Arts and more.

Late morning you will visit the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, which marks the founding of the city by Peter the Great in 1703. And the majestic St. Isaac’s Cathedral stands among Europe’s largest and most imposing churches. 

Optional: lunch in a local restaurant – 26 USD / 23 EUR per person

The afternoon tour is to the Yusupov Palace – once owned by the richest family in Russia, where the restored State Rooms can be seen, some still with their original furniture, the exquisite Rococo private theatre, and the cellars where the murder of Rasputin took place in December 1916 – the scene eerily recreated in wax.

Day 5 – Tuesday Peterhof and the Hermitage Museum

Full day sightseeing / 8 hours with guide (including 4 to 6 hours with car)

AM Drive (one hour approx.) to Peterhof – the vast ensemble of gilded fountains and gardens on the Gulf of Finland. Designed for Peter the Great in 1706-1723 as the Tsar’s ‘Versailles’ and embellished by successive Tsars, Peterhof is one of the most impressive and ornate residences, with the largest functioning 18th century fountain complex in the world.

Walk through the delightful formal gardens, past cascades and fountains and visit the palaces in the grounds:

  • Monplaisir Palace (May – October), or
  • Grand Palace of Peterhof (October – May)

Optional: lunch in the restaurant in the park – 26 USD / 23 EUR per person

  • Hydrofoil trip (35 min) from Peterhof to the Hermitage pier (May – October), or
  • Drive back to the city (October – May)

PM Guided tour of the State Hermitage Museum – Russia’s premier museum housed in a magnificent architectural complex and one of the largest art collections that has ever been gathered in the world.

From 16:30free time to spend in the Hermitage, or optional visit to the General Staff building across from Winter palace (on your own with a separate ticket) with the French Impressionists exhibition. Walk back to the hotel. Please note that no transportation will be provided after the Hermitage Tour.

Day 6 – Wednesday Pushkin town with Catherine Palace and gardens

6 hours sightseeing with guide & car

AM You’ll drive approximately 1 hour to the town of ‘Pushkin’ (formerly Tsarskoye Selo) located in 24 miles south of St. Petersburg. The drive will be narrated by your private guide. In Pushkin you’ll enjoy a lovely walk through the Catherine Gardens and visit the grandiose Catherine Palace – the summer residence of the Tsars. You’ll see the dazzling Ballroom and the enfilade of rococo halls including the legendary ‘Amber Room’, now recreated since its ‘loss’ during World War II.

Optional: lunch in the restaurant in Pushkin – 32 USD / 28 EUR per person

Recommended activity for the afternoon/early evening: take a boat ride through St. Petersburg’s canals.

Optional evening program: St. Petersburg boasts some of the best theaters in the world! We can arrange tickets for a concert, folk-show, or ballet / opera performance.

Day 7 – Thursday Transfer to the airport with guide

On the last day of your journey your Open Russia guide and driver will take you to the airport and assist with your baggage and departure. We’re confident that you will feel enriched from your time with us in Russia and hope that you will carry your wonderful memories home to cherish and share forever.

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