Jewels of Russia
From $9,990 per person Air & Land Package ex BNE,SYD or MEL
Dates: 14-30 August 2020
Duration: 17 days
Russia is undeniably one of the most of intriguing nations in the world. Join us on this fabulous 17 day journey as we search out the gems that this culturally and historically diverse country has to offer. Tour the famous Golden Ring which is the heart of medieval Russia, as well as spending time exploring the jewels in the crown – Moscow and St Petersburg – and the riches that they have to offer.
- Red Square
- St Basil Cathedral
- Bunker 42
- Moscow Metro Tour
- 3 Day Golden Ring Tour
- Train Moscow – St Petersburg
- St Petersburg
- Hermitage Museum
- St Catherine’s Palace
- Volga Dinner Cruise
For more information, or to secure your place, call us today at 1300 044 444
Departing Brisbane 14 August 2020
$9,990* per person ex Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne
Ask us for pricing ex other cities, or for a business class upgrade
- Return Economy class airfares including taxes*
- Private single rooms in quality accommodation
- All meals as per itinerary 15 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 8 Dinners
- All sightseeing tours and transfers as per itinerary
- Tour Manager – travels with group from/to Brisbane
- Local English speaking guides
- Tipping Guides & Drivers
- Porterage Fees
- Any meals, tours, flights, shore excursions or transfers other than mentioned above or in the itinerary
- Items of a personal nature i.e. laundry, drinks, phone calls, internet, etc
- Travel Insurance
For more information, or to secure your place, call us today at 1300 044 444
Today we will meet our Tour Escort and fellow travellers at Brisbane International Airport for our flights to Moscow via Singapore.
Arrive Moscow (B,D)
Welcome to Russia. Russia is a huge country both in its sprawling geography and its never-ending stream of splendors to explore. With over 1000 years of history forged by Viking leaders and the people who controlled the trade routes of Eastern Europe, and reformed into a modern nation by Peter the Great in the 17th Century, Russia today is a vast country of historic cities, astounding national treasures and idyllic countryside. Moscow, on the Moskva River in western Russia, is the nation’s cosmopolitan capital. On arrival we will be met by our local guide and after stopping at a local restaurant for some brunch we will tour the city a little before checking into our hotel this afternoon. Moscow in one of the largest cities in the world with its population over 15 million people. This city has always loved to make an impression on its visitors and along with centuries-old Red Square, the Kremlin and Bolshoi theatre it now also boasts the largest sports arena, the tallest building and the largest residential complex in Europe, the largest museum, and the largest Orthodox Church dome in the world. You will surely be impressed by wonderful panoramic views of the old town from different locations and we’ll finish our tour at Vorobiev Hill – the highest point of Moscow with fascinating views to the city. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Belorusskaya or similar (5 Nights)
Tretyakov Gallery (B,D)
Today after breakfast we’ll visit the National Museum of Russian Fine Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery, which is one of the largest museums in the world. Its collections embrace the period from the 10th to 20th century and all schools of Russian painting – from ancient icons to avant-guard. Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, a rich Moscow merchant and textile mill owner, started collecting Russian paintings in the 1850s. It was then he bought several works by Russian artists and it was then the Tretyakovs moved to their new estate in the Lavrushinsky Lane – the mansion that would become a world-famous museum. Some time at leisure and your Tour Manager will be on hand to make plans with you if the group would like to explore further. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
The Kremlin (B,L)
The Kremlin is the historic centre of the city, the heart of Moscow. Today we’ll explore this iconic part of the city. The Kremlin is located on a hill, protected on one side by the Moscow River, and on the other by its tributary, the Neglinnaya, which since the year 1819 has flowed through the underground tunnel near the Alexandrovski Gardens. In the Kremlin we will see the Tsar Bell and the Tsar Cannon and visit the Annunciation (Blagoveschensky), Arkhangel (Arkhangelsky) and Assumption (Voznesensky) Cathedrals, the Bell-Tower of Ivan the Great, and the Church of the Twelve Apostles. We’ll also visit the Armory Chamber – a treasure-house which is a part of the Grand Kremlin Palace’s complex. The museum collections were based on the precious items that had been preserved for centuries in the Tsars’ treasury and the Patriarch’s vestry. Some of the exhibits were made in the Kremlin’s workshops, others were accepted as ambassadorial gifts. The museum was named after one of the oldest Kremlin’s treasury stores. The Armory Chamber preserves ancient state regalia, ceremonial tsar’s vestments and coronation dress, vestments of the Russian Orthodox Churches hierarchs, the largest collection of gold and silverware by Russian craftsmen, West European artistic silver, ceremonial weapons and arms and carriages. We’ll take a walk through Red Square, a site which has long served for public proclamations and ceremonies, to St Basil Cathedral with its crazy confusion of colours, patterns and onion-shaped domes. St. Basil Cathedral is one of the most outstanding and remarkable monuments of Old Russian architecture. Originally constructed in the mid-16th century the cathedral has stood watch over countless historical and political events in the country’s history. Lunch today will be at a local restaurant.
Bunker 42/Metro Tour (B,L)
Today we are going to visit Bunker 42. The facility we are going to explore operated as an emergency Command Post Headquarters and long-range aviation communications and was once reserved for Stalin himself. After going down on a speed elevator to the depth of 65 meters (equal to the height of a 22- stores building), you will find yourself inside one of the most restricted military objects of the USSR. The Bunker 42 was fully equipped with everything needed for a nuclear attack: air recycling system, diesel generators, stocks of food, fuel, artesian wells to provide clean drinking water. Up to 30000 people could live and work there for 90 days without assistance from the outside world. We’ll also visit Moscow’s famous Metro which survives in all its constructional glory, walled in marble and decorated with chandeliers. Most of its stations have been designated as architectural landmarks. Old stations were built according to Stalin`s plan of communist propaganda. Planners pretended to prove the superiority of communism by fantastic amazing designs and decorations of marble, bronze statues and mosaics. Some stations look like real underground palaces. Lunch today will be at a local restaurant.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour/Shopping (B,D)
After breakfast this morning we’ll visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior – the tallest Eastern Orthodox Church in the world and the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russians. It sits on the site of an earlier and similar church of the same name, built in the 19th century to commemorate Russia’s victory over Napoleon. The original was destroyed in 1931, and Stalin’s plan to replace the church with a 315m-high Palace of Soviets never got off the ground. Instead, for 50 years the site served another important purpose – the world’s largest swimming pool. The new Cathedral was completed in 1997 and towers over the city. From here today we’ll take a walk down the Arbat – one of the oldest and most famous streets in Moscow. During the 18th Century Arbat Street was a residential district, and began to be settled by some of Russia’s most famous families and notable individuals. The famous Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, lived on Arbat Street and other famous Russian families, like the Tolstoys and the Sheremetevs, also had houses on the street. Fires damaged many of the oldest Arbat Street houses, so today its architecture is a mixture from different styles, including Art Nouveau. Taking a stroll down this street, it is possible to imagine how Moscow might have felt during Pushkin’s or Tolstoy’s time, though now it is a tourist area that is busy with sightseers, buskers, and street vendors. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Golden Ring Tour – Sergiev Posad/Yaroslavl (B,D)
The Golden Ring of Russia is a ring of ancient kingdoms that lie near Moscow. The towns in the region are ancient, and many were important centres in medieval Russia and offer experiences such as traditional food and nature straight from Russian fairytales. This morning we will head to Sergiev Posad with its rich history and culture and named after the man who founded the largest monastery in Russia which we will visit today. From there on to Yaroslavl the oldest city on the Golden Ring. Where the mighty Volga and smaller Kotorosl Rivers meet the city has a beautiful river side promenade, and the town centre is dotted with onion domes. We’ll take a walk along the embankment and see the monument to Yaroslav the Wise, the Volkov Theatre as well as the Spassky Monastery. We’ll check into our hotel and dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Accommodation: Ring Premier Hotel or similar (1 Night)
Golden Ring Tour – Kostroma/Suzdal (B,D)
This morning we’ll depart for Kostroma – an historic city, founded in the 12th century – and which served as a sort of northern retreat for the powerful in Muscovy when threatened by southern and western invaders. Kostroma’s wealth of art and architecture is owed to the legacy of such retreats. Old Kostroma is situated on the hill-covered bank of the Volga River and despite the changing landscape Kostroma is still very green. From the Volga River you can see a beautiful view of the city with golden-domed churches. As we tour Kostroma we’ll follow old streets of the city with their historic buildings, white-stoned churches and old shopping arcades. We’ll also visit the legendary Ipatiev Monastery – dated from the 14th century – with its cogged stone walls, towers and golden domes. From here we’ll travel on to Suzdal where we discover storybook Russia. Suzdal is almost a city-museum with its beautiful old architecture and is one of the few cities in Russia which doesn’t have any industry and railroad. It’s a very calm and tranquil city. We’ll visit the white-stoned Kremlin with its centuries-old fortress and within its ramparts the Cathedral of the Nativity with its gold-starred domes and 13th-century frescoes. Here you’ll feel the atmosphere of a medieval prince’s residence. During this city tour we’ll have an opportunity to see different exhibitions such as collections of old icons, unique frescos, objects of decorative arts and crafts, fancywork, hand sewing, and paintings. This afternoon we’ll check into our hotel and dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Accommodation: Nikolaevsky Posad or similar (1 Night)
Golden Ring Tour – Vladimir/Moscow (B,D)
Today we’ll visit Vladimir – our last stop on the Golden Ring Tour. Vladimir is a very old city situated on the high bank of the Klyazma River. We’ll see the magnificent golden-domed churches and buildings that make this city one of the most visited in Russia. We’ll see the Golden Gate -the symbol of the city and once an entrance to the city but nowadays the centre of Vladimir. We’ll see this UNESCO listed site along with Cathedral of the Assumption a mother church of Medieval Russia in the 13th and 14th centuries. We return to Moscow this afternoon where we will check into our hotel and dinner tonight is at the hotel.
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Belorusskaya or similar (1 Night)
Moscow – St Petersburg (B,D)
A leisurely breakfast this morning and some time at leisure before transferring to the railway station to take our train to St Petersburg. Today we’ll take the Sapsan (Russian for Peregrine Falcon) train to St Petersburg. Named after the mythical bird, this high-speed Russian train achieves a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour. Russia’s imperial capital St. Petersburg has over 221 museums, 2,000 libraries, 80+ theaters and 45 galleries. This treasure trove of art and culture is often referred to as the Venice of the North. It lies on a series of islands separated by canals and tributaries of the Neva River delta and over 800 bridges criss-cross the waterways, many ornately decorated. You’ll never be far from the water in St Petersburg. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel and dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Accommodation: Sokos Vasilievsky or similar (6 Nights)
Peter & Paul Fortress (B,L)
St. Petersburg is well known for its beautiful architecture. Starting from the times of Peter the Great the best European architectures were hired to build in the Russian capital. The tradition was that the buildings were not designed beautiful by themselves, but also integrated in the surroundings, thus creating the whole squares where buildings complete each other. The city looks very bright and full of harmony. The first structure to be built in St. Petersburg, and thus the birthplace of the city. Today, the Peter and Paul Fortress is for the most part under the auspices of the St. Petersburg Museum of History, with a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions charting the various aspects of the compound’s past. The oldest church in St. Petersburg, and the city’s cathedral for over 150 years, the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral is both one of the most striking landmarks in the city, and the final resting place of nearly all of Russia’s Imperial rulers. Lunch will be at a local restaurant today. Also today is St Isaac’s Cathedral – one of the most stunning structures in the world. The interior decoration of the cathedral is a symphony of gold, marble, lapis lazuli, malachite and porphyry. The walls and vaults are covered with painted and mosaic compositions, and the cathedral itself dominates the central part of the city.
Today we’ll visit the Grand Palace of Peterhof – built by Peter the Great in 1703. The Peterhof complex consists of a set of palaces and gardens that are in the Gulf of Finland (about 30 kilometers west of St. Petersburg) and until 1917 were the residence of the czars. Sometimes known as the “Russian Versailles” the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fountains are beautiful, and represent a significant engineering feat in that they operate entirely by the force of gravity, instead of pumps. Several fountains surround the Grand Cascade, an ornate terrace over which water flows and modeled after one constructed for Louis XIV. Even a few hours here is enough to feel the spirit of history, which still lives on and breathes in this magnificent place. Returning to St Petersburg this afternoon and dinner tonight is at the hotel.
Hermitage Museum (B,D)
Today we’ll visit the Hermitage museum – one of the most famous museums of Russia and one of the largest museums in the world. The world’s second largest museum after the French Louvre the unique Hermitage collections are housed in 6 historic buildings nestled on the Palace Embankment. The Winter Palace is a fabulously large green, white, and gold building on the side of the Neva River, and is one of the edifices of Hermitage Museum that epitomizes Russia’s love affair with art and culture. It is the home to the largest collection of paintings in the world with the total number of pieces kept by the museum tallying at somewhere around 3 million. Hermitage is not just the enormous collection of art, but also an impressive complex, which was a residence of Russian Emperors. Some free time this afternoon where you may choose to return to the hotel or continue exploring in the city centre. Your tour manager will be on hand to discuss options with you and ensure you make the most of your time in this fascinating city. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.
Pushkin/St Catherine’s Palace (B,L)
Today we’ll travel to the south of St Petersburg to the town of Pushkin which is famed for the Tsarskoye Selo complex of parks and palaces, once home to the Romanov imperial family. Here we’ll visit St Catherine’s Palace and park ensemble which is a superb monument of world-ranking architecture and garden-and-park design dating from the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries, and is splendid example of Russian Baroque. One of the highlights today is the Amber Chamber, a luxurious room of the Tsar, composed of a set of panels, baseboards and furniture made up of thousands of shards of amber and restored in 2003. Lunch today will be a traditional Russian degustation menu and this afternoon we return to St Petersburg where dinner tonight will be at leisure. Your Tour Manager will discuss options with you for dinner this evening.
At Leisure (B,D)
Today is your last full day in this amazing city and yours to enjoy at leisure. You Tour Manager will discuss options with the group today for things you may like to do as a group, or you might simply like to relax, enjoy a coffee at a café with a pyshka (sugar-coated Russian doughnut)! Some last minute shopping at a flea market? How about taking a cruise down a canal or even visiting a local banya (bathing house) for a birch tree or eucalyptus leaves massage in a steam room. Have your portrait drawn by a local street artist or sample the favourite drink of the locals – vodka of course. The possibilities are endless so make the most of your day. Tonight as we farewell this amazing country we will have dinner on board a dinner cruise on the Neva River and gaze upon the famous bridges of St. Petersburg. New friends to toast as we admire the views and enjoy some culinary delicacies.
Depart St Petersburg (B)
Today we bid farewell to Mother Russia as we head to the airport to catch our flight to Moscow and then on to Singapore and Brisbane. With joyful experiences to recount and new friends made we begin the journey home.