Three capitals of Russia: Moscow, Velikiy Novgorod and St Petersburg
23 Feb 2019
Three capitals of Russia: Moscow, Velikiy Novgorod and St Petersburg
- Hotel Overview
Book one of our amazing tour packages and save £55 on your visa! Hurry – offer ends 29 March!*
If you want a taste of the real Russia, this is the trip for you. An eight-day tour of Russia's must-see attractions, it takes in Moscow, the powerhouse of the country, Novgorod the Great, one of its most ancient cities, and beautiful, beautiful St Petersburg.
Experience first hand the vibrancy of Moscow's Red Square, get a sense for medieval Russia as you explore Novgorod and catch up with all that art that's so far passed you by with a trip to St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum.
A fantastic opportunity to find out about how these cities have affected the political, economic and cultural development of Russia and see how relevant they are to the modern state today.
- An eight day tour spending three days in Moscow, one day in Novgorod, and four days in St Petersburg.
- Wandering the winding streets and wide Soviet squares of Moscow, taking in the unique combination of classic, Stalinist and modern architecture
- Experiencing one of the masterpieces of the Soviet era created in the Socialist Realism style - the Moscow Metro
- Marveling at one of the most famous squares in the world - Red Square
- Soaking up history in the ancient Medieval city of Novgorod including visits to the oldest palace, oldest clock and bell towers and Yuriev Monastery, one of Russia’s oldest monasteries (founded in 1030).
- Being fascinated by the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture dating back to the 14th century
- Being amazed by the incredible art collection of the Hermitage at the former Tsarist palace, the Winter Palace
All our tours are carefully designed for you to have a free time to explore cities on your own after guided excursions. You will have a guide with you for a half a day and have chance to discover Russia independently afterwards. See our other Moscow and St Petersburg packages here
By purchasing an organised trip to Russia with us, we will donate £10 to help fill the "bravery box" to reward brave children battling cancer. For more information, click here.
Day 1. Moscow
Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to your hotel.
Day 2. Moscow - city centre guided tour
This guided tour of Moscow's most iconic landmarks will help to give you a sense of the city's culture and history. Kicking off in the renowned Red Square, you'll get to find out more about all the main attractions, including the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin's grandiose mausoleum, and the magnificent State Historical Museum.
Traveling along the banks of the Moskva river, you'll enjoy views of the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour's golden domes, and the beautiful Novodevichy Convent.
Moving on up to the Lenin and Sparrow hills, there's a chance to admire the very impressive Moscow State University and take in an incredible view over Moscow, before heading on back down town.
Along the way the tour will pass through the memorial complex at Poklonnaya Hill, which includes Victory Park and the Triumphal Arch, as well as a number of important Moscow streets such as the curved Boulevard Ring, frenetic Pushkin Square and Moscow's main thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street.
Day 3. Moscow - Kremlin and Armoury Museum guided tour
Kremlin Grounds Tour
We'll explore inside the Kremlin which, a bit like a mini-city, has its own palaces, cathedrals and armouries. Formerly the home of the Tsars, the Kremlin is now where the Russian President lives. Here it is clear that the modern world of Moscow has not completely chased out the past. Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov and the early Romanovs all have a history here, and more than a whiff of their spirits remain.
The Armoury Museum and Tsar Treasures
Next up is a visit to the Armoury Museum. The building started to function as a weapons store in 1508 – but within a few decades, it had become a workshop and repository for all sorts of treasures of the Imperial Court. In 1813, it became an exhibition hall and museum, and today, it boasts an almost overwhelming collection of artefacts.
Feast your eyes upon incredible exhibits such as the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy, the helm and armour of Boris Godunov, a collection of over 50 Faberge eggs, gold and silver works of applied art by Russian, European and Oriental masters, priceless weaponry and other works made of precious metals and stones.
Train departure and transfer from the hotel
Your driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you to the railway station to travel on the overnight train to Novgorod.
Train travel in Russia is relaxing! The compartments also have personal reading lights, a big window and a small table. There is ample storage space for luggage within your compartment. Two bathrooms in every carriage contain a sink with running hot/cold water and a toilet. Cabins can be locked from the inside, and attendants keep a very close eye on what is happening within their carriage. As a result, trains are one of the safest means of travel within Russia.
With a journey time of approximately eight-and-a-half hours, arrival in Novgorod is early in the morning.
Day 4. Novgorod the Great
On arriving in Novgorod the Great, your driver will meet you and take you to your hotel.
Standing at the source of the River Volkhov and Lake Ilmen, Novgorod the Great (Velikiy Novgorod) is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Founded in the 9th century, its history is inextricably linked to all the key stages of the development of the Russian state, and is not only the birthplace of Russian democratic and republican traditions, but an important spiritual stronghold of orthodox Russia too.
Novgorod Kremlin Guided Tour
One of the most important attractions is the Novgorod Kremlin. A masterpiece of medieval architecture, it's traditionally known as the Detinets, and is home to the Chamber of the Facets, which dates back to 1433, as well as the oldest bell tower and clock tower in Russia.
Yaroslav's Courtyard in Novgorod the Great
On the opposite side of the Vokhov river from the Kremlin is Yaroslav's Courtyard, which is named after Yaroslav the Wise, who united Novgorod and Kiev under his rule in the 11th century. Yaroslav built a magnificent palace on the site, and soon after, the area became an important trading centre – hence it is now known as ‘Trading Side’. Rich merchants from across Russia lived here while staying in Novgorod and in the Middle Ages, Novgorod became a major trading partner of the Hansa. The buildings, which include the Church of St Nicholas and the Church of Myrrh-bearing Women, reflect the area's historical important.
Yuriev Monastery is also a fascinating attraction on the tour. Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, legend says that it was founded in 1030 by good old Yarloslav the Wise, and is one of Russia's oldest monasteries. Even today it's a grand affair, with a belfry 52 metres high, and five corpuses, including prison cells, cathedrals and churches.
Guided Tour of the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture
The Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture provides a delightful insight into Russia's architectural past. Wooden churches, dwellings and mills dating from the 14th to 19th centuries have been reconstructed to provide a very real impression of how the people of Novgorod used to live. Its outstanding collection of buildings ranges from tiny churches to roomy houses, with interiors decked out in impressive examples of period furniture and folk crafts. Set within a wooded estate, it's a beautiful place to visit.
To round off the day, there are opportunities to imbibe in a refreshing glass of mead-like medovukha, which is brewed in the Kremlin, take a swim in the nearby Volkhov River, or just sun yourself on the beach.
Day 5. Novgorod the Great - St Petersburg
Your driver will meet you at the lobby of your hotel to take you to train station. From here you will take the local train to St Petersburg.
St Petersburg guided city tour
Crammed with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, tree-lined avenues and beautiful bridges, it's no wonder St Petersburg has earned itself a reputation as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. A relatively young city, it was only founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, but despite this, it's enjoyed a rich and exciting history – meaning there's lots to see and do.
Highlights of your tour include the impressive Kazan Cathedral, the late Baroque Stroganov Palace, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Bronze Horseman, which is a monument to Peter the Great, and the Palace Embankment – as well as religious must-sees such as the golden-domed St Isaac's Cathedral and the distinctive Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood.
Day 6. St Petersburg, Hermitage State Museum
Today is devoted to Hermitage museum. With close to three million items in its collection, the majority of the Hermitage artefacts are housed in the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, and its several annexes. Our guided tour is designed to help you find your way around this enormous collection, with a detailed tour of the main site.
As one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the Hermitage was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been open to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display, includes the largest assemblage of paintings in the world, including works by Titian, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Day 7. St Petersburg
Today you have an excursion to Tsarskoe Selo.
Built in the 18th century, Tsarskoe Selo is an imperial estate along the lines of Versaille – though in terms of extravagance and excess, it by far outstrips its French counterpart. Set in extensive landscaped gardens and composed of two exceptional palaces, Alexander Palace and Catherine Palace, built for Empress Elizabeth by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, it's an attraction that cannot fail to impress.
Catherine Palace is undoubtedly the star of the show, perhaps best known for its extraordinary amber room, where the walls are literally lined with slabs of real amber. Such ostentation does not however come cheap, as conservationists not that long ago found out. When the amber was looted during World War II, replacing it took over 20 years and cost over $12 million!
The great hall, also known as the hall of light, which measures nearly 1,000 square meters and occupies the full width of the palace, is another of the Catherine Palace highlights. The large arched windows provide enough light to relieve the vast quantity of gilded stucco decorating the walls, and the entire ceiling is covered by a monumental fresco entitled The Triumph of Russia.
Day 8. St Petersburg
Airport departure and transfer from the hotel.
- Accommodation: 4* Vega Hotel Izmailovo or 4* Garden Ring Hotel in Moscow / 4* Demetra Art Hotel St Petersburg / 3* Intourist Novgorod the Great
- Transport, all transfers
- Train: comfortable 4-berth sleepers on the overnight train from Moscow to Novgorod the Great, local suburban seater train from Novgorod the Great to St Petersburg. Optional: if you are travelling as a couple and want more privacy on the overnight train, we can offer compartment buy-out for 2 people - £65 per person.
- Tour staff and support: English-speaking guide
- Guided sightseeing city tour Moscow/St Petersburg/Novgorod the Great
- Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Guided Tour
- Novgorod Kremlin Guided Tour
- Yaroslav's Courtyard, Yuriev Monastery
- Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture Guided Tour
- Guided tour to the Hermitage
- Guided tour to Pushkin, entry fee to the Catherine Palace
- Entrance fees: all entrance fees as per itinerary
Solo supplement : £250
If travelling during these dates 01.01 - 15.05.19; 10.10 - 15.04.20, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £130 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If travelling during these dates 16.05 - 30.05.19; 03.06 - 10.07.19, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £250 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If you are travelling during these dates 01.06 - 03.06.19, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £360 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If you are travelling during these dates 11.07 - 10.10.19 and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £170 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
Please note we have designed our tours for you that you have a guided tours first half of the day and you have some free time after. We believe this is the best way to explore the cities.
*Book one of our Tour Packages to Russia and save £55 on your Russian visa!
This great deal applies to all our amazing tour packages for travel on any date during 2019, provided you book before 29 March. Please note that the discounted Visa service is only available if you apply for your Visa with us.
Whether you’re swanning around St Petersburg or exploring the historic cities of Russia’s Golden Ring, we offer peace of mind and great savings. But remember – offer ends 29 March.
Make 2019 the year you discover some of Russia’s countless wonders. Book with RNTO for great deals and carefree travel … because we’ll be with you every step of the way!
Moscow: Vega Hotel Izmailovo ****
This four star hotel is situated just 12 minutes away from the centre of Moscow by metro, with the Partizanskaya station just a three minute walk away from the hotel.
Originally built for the 1980 Olympic Games, the Best Western Vega Plus was renovated in 2007 and now offers simply decorated, modern facilities. Each room comes equipped with a flat screen TV, minibar and en-suite bathroom, and boasts views over either the Izmaylovo Kremlin or Izmaylovsky Park.
The hotel also features five restaurants, a fitness centre and complimentary wi-fi.
Moscow: Garden Ring Hotel ****
The Garden Ring Hotel is located in the central part of the city, within walking distance of "Sukharevskaya" and "Prospect Mira" metro stations. It is very easy to get to the centre of Moscow and to all major sights including Red Square and Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, Olympic Stadium, exhibition centre VDNH and the iconic Ostankino Tower with an open observation deck. Moreover, there are many museums, churches, theatres and parks in the walking distance from the hotel. You can also find numerous restaurants, cafes, clubs and shopping centres nearby.
This four star hotel provides high level of service, really comfortable rooms for accommodation and meets the top international standards. All rooms include king-size beds, a work desk, a 32-inch plasma TV with cable channels and wireless Internet. You can also take advantage of recreational amenities such as an indoor pool and a sauna.
The Garden Ring Restaurant in Moscow centre offers guests an ideal combination of exquisite interior with old-world design and the marvelous menu including dishes of European, Mediterranean and Russian cuisines. A great day starts with a delicious breakfast! Here you will find everything you would like to eat in the morning.
Novgorod the Great: Intourist Hotel ***
The Intourist Hotel is situated in the historical centre of Veliky Novgorod on the banks of the river Volkhov, amid numerous ancient architectural monuments. The hotel is 10 minutes walk from the central Kremlin Park and three kilometres from the bus and railway stations. Guests can visit tourist destinations like the Kremlin, Yuryev Monastery, the Museum of Wooden Architecture and the Drama Theatre.
There are 116 rooms in the hotel. All rooms are equipped with TV, telephone and radio.
The hotel has a restaurant, bar, conference hall, business centre, currency exchange, post office, souvenirs, parking, luggage room, hairdresser and laundry service.
St Petersburg: Demetra Art Hotel ****
This design hotel is located in the centre of St. Petersburg, 150 metres from Chernishevskaya Metro Station. The Demetra offers free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour reception with tour desk and ticket service.
The individual interiors at the Demetra Art Hotel were designed in Italy, and all feature a theme representing a different period in the history of St. Petersburg. All rooms include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and are soundproofed.
The hotel restaurant serves either a buffet or an à la carte breakfast each morning. The shops, cafés and restaurants of Nevsky Prospekt are just a 15-minute walk away.
Moskovsky Train Station is 1.5 km away, and Pulkovo Airport is 22 km from the hotel.
St Petersburg: Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky ****
Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky is situated in a 19th-century revenue house, conveys the atmosphere of true Petersburg and combines it with modern design and technology. It is only three minutes away from Chernishevskaya underground station, a five minute walk from Nevsky Prospect and within 10 minutes walking distance of the Alexandrinsky Theatre and St Isaac's Cathedral.
Facilities include 24-hour reception, elevator and free WiFi.
European cuisine can be enjoyed in the hotel's elegant restaurant.