Two Hearts of Russia: Moscow and St Petersburg
23 Feb 2019
Two Hearts of Russia: Moscow and St Petersburg
- Hotel Overview
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This inspiring eight day tour of Russia's two best-known cities offers experiences of some of the country's most important landmarks. In Moscow you can discover what goes on behind the mighty walls of the Kremlin and marvel at the magnificent domes of Russia's ancient churches. In St Petersburg there's a chance to soak up culture at The Hermitage, the biggest museum in the world, and explore the lavish Tsarist palaces.
Along the way you will be led by our expert tour guide who will reveal the stories and history behind these incredible attractions.
- Eight days focusing on four days in Moscow and four days in St Petersburg
- Find out where the president of Russia works in the Moscow Kremlin
- Discover Moscow as a city of many contrasts, not least the unique combination of Stalinist, modern and classical architecture
- Take a trip down to the Moscow metro, and experience a masterpiece of the Soviet era Explore the incredible Red Square
- Find out why Ivan the Terrible liked iconic St Basil's cathedral quite so much
- Visit Kolomenskoye Estate - UNESCO Heritage Site and Former Tsar Residence
- Bring your art-history up to scratch with a trip to the world's biggest museum, the Hermitage
- Take a trip to Tsarskoye Selo and stand in awe at it's marvelous Baroque architecture
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: Arrive in Moscow
We have organised your transfer to the hotel.
We have not arranged any excursions for your first day in Russia, so it is up to if you would like to explore the city independently, or just relax in your hotel and recover from the flight. There are lots of restaurant options in the vicinity, but the hotel also offers a choice of five restaurants. Take your pick of a range of different cuisines, including Russian, where you can try national dishes, such as borsch (beetroot soup), pelmeni (dumplings) and buckwheat with chicken.
Day 2: City tour of Moscow and guided tour of Moscow Underground
Your first full day in Moscow you will have a guided tour of the major cultural and historical sites of the city. We visit Red Square and the Moscow State University on Lenin Hill, where there are outstanding views over Moscow. On the way down, we pass through the Memorial Complex at Poklonnaya Hill and Victory Park, where the impressive Triumphal Arch is sited. Then it is back to the city streets, taking in Kutuzov Avenue, New Arbat, Boulevard Ring and Pushkin Square, before ending up at Tverskaya Street.
Guided tour of Moscow’s Underground – explore one of the masterpieces of the Soviet era created in the Socialist Realism style. The Moscow Metro, with its stations decorated with marble, mosaics, stained-glass panels and bronze sculptures, looks more like a vast art museum. It was one of the proudest achievements of the Soviet era and it still beats many other European underground systems with its ultra-reliable service.
Once the tour is over and you are back at your hotel, we suggest you visit the Vodka Museum, which is also situated in the Izmailovo Kremlin, and is worth popping into. You can find out all about Russia's celebrated drink, including its history and how its made. It is quite symbolic that this museum was transferred from St. Petersburg to Moscow, because this is where this drink was invented in the 15th century.
Day 3: Guided tour of Kremlin and Armoury museum
The heart of the city and some say also of Russia is the Kremlin, a kind of mini-city contained behind walls featuring cathedrals, armories and palaces. Not just the official residence of the Russian president but also a place for ordinary Muscovites to hang out, discover more about Russia's imperial history and the revolutions that took place during the 20th century. You will also visit the Armoury Museum. The Armoury’s collection is overwhelming. It contains such exhibits as golden and silver works of applied art by Russian, European and Oriental masters, priceless weapons and other works made of precious metals and stones and a unique collection of over fifty Faberge eggs. We will head down to the city's famed metro system, which is no ordinary underground network. The tunnels and subways are decorated in the unique Socialist Realist style, which incorporates fancy gilding, bright mosaics and marble features. A grand way to travel!
When today's tour is done, we suggest you stay in the city centre to explore it independently. Alternately once you back to your hotel, we suggest you visit the Izmailovo Kremlin, only a two minute walk away, and renowned for its flea market. A treasure trove of old and new, it's bound to throw up some pretty unique souvenirs, such as matrioshka dolls, antique silver, jewellery, samovars and icons.
Day 4: Kolomenskoye Estate - UNESCO Heritage Site and Former Tsar Residence Guided Tour
Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate and one of the most picturesque and enjoyable of Moscow’s out-of-town attractions. This 15-17th century Tsarist estate is preserved in its original layout and comprises of unique architectural monuments, including the Church of the Ascension (1532).
We will visit the stunning, recently reconstructed Wooden Palace of the Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich Romanov (17th century) often referred to as ‘an eighth wonder of the world’. Here, you will have a unique chance to see the way of life of the Russian Tsars. The building represents a huge maze of intricate corridors, with 250 rooms. Famous for its fairytale roofs, the Wooden Palace was constructed without using saws, nails, or hooks. In the evening your driver will meet you in the lobby to take you to the train station, where you will take an overnight train to beautiful St Petersburg.
Day 5: St Petersburg city tour
Your first day in St Petersburg is based around a guided tour of its key landmarks, including the pretty canal systems, which have earned the city its nickname, Venice of the North. You will see the impressive Peter and Paul Fortress, the gold-draped Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, as well as St Isaac's Cathedral, which now houses a Russian orthodox museum.
Day 6: The State Hermitage Museum
A guided tour of the Hermitage, former residence of the Russian Tsars (famous Winter Palace) and one of best museums of the world. This stunning palace, an architectural masterpiece in itself, contains a collection over 3,000,000 works of art representing the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The collection includes works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, French impressionists, sculptures and treasures icons, coins and Tsar’s jewellery. The Hermitage is an unforgettable place to visit.
Come evening, a Russian folk show at the beautiful 19th century Nikolaevsky Palace provides a brilliant opportunity to enjoy the cultural traditions of Russia. Using common household items such as wooden spoons to make music, over two hours, the dynamic, colourful display of songs and dances from regional Russia is bound to dazzle and entertain. Tickets for the show can be bought from our office.
Day 7: Tsarskoe Selo guided tour
This small town situated outside St Petersburg was once home to royalty and rivals Versaille in the extravagance of its palaces. Perfect examples of the baroque style, the buildings are distinctively decorated in blue, white and gold on the outside, but it's the interiors which will really get your motor running.
A tour round the iconic Catherine Palace is not to be missed - its unique Amber Room, which is literally lined with slabs of real amber and decorated with golf leaf, brings a whole new meaning to the word glow. Prepare to be dazzled too by the Grand Hall, which features massive arched windows, a myriad of mirrors and lots of gold leaf.
Day 8: Departure
After taking time to pick up some final mementos and souvenirs, a driver will pick you up from the hotel lobby to take you to the airport.
- Accommodation: 4 * Vega Hotel Izmailovo Moscow / 4 * Demetra Art Hotel in St Petersburg
- 7 Breakfasts
- Transport: for transfers and sightseeing tours we use a comfortable coach or minibus; on our sightseeing trips we may also go on foot or use public transport (mainly the Underground, which is very efficient and helps to avoid traffic congestion)
- Tour staff and support: English-speaking guide, transfer driver
- Guided sightseeing city tour Moscow / St Petersburg
- Underground guided tour
- Kremlin Grounds Tour
- Guided tour to Hermitage
- Guided tour to Kolomenskoe
- Guided tour to Tsarskoe selo (Pushkin), entry fee to the Catherine Palace
- Entrance fees: all entrance fees as per itinerary
- Train: comfortable 4 berth sleepers on the luxurious Grand Express overnight train from Moscow to St. Petersburg (please note in the unlikely event of Grand Express train unavailability we will offer the best alternative). Optional: 1st class 2 berths compartment upgrade - £75 per person
- Please request fast train ( 4 hours) Sapsan option
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 Izmailovo Hotel ****
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.
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 Prospect 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.