Explore the heart of Eastern Europe - Russia, Ukraine, Hungary and Bulgaria

Join us on a journey to discover the splendours of St Petersburg, the iconic Kremlin in Moscow and ancient Novgorod, the birthplace of history and religion in Russia. Travel onwards through Ukraine by train and head to Kyiv, elegantly situated along the glorious Dnipro River. Take time out to explore the majestic Carpathian Mountains before crossing stunning countryside to arrive in romantic and cosmopolitan Budapest. Continue this epic Eastern European adventure past the haunted castles of Transylvania and across stunning mountains to Bulgaria and beyond. Be enchanted by medieval monasteries, old-world towns and the warm hospitality of this region before ending the journey in magnificent Istanbul.

St Petersburg, Russia
Istanbul, Turkey
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 12
Group size
Min 4 Max 12
Carbon offset
713kg pp per trip


  • Admire Istanbul's majestic mosques


Arrive in St Petersburg, Russia, and be dazzled by a multitude of palaces, museums and galleries.
Travel to Novgorod on the banks of the Volkhov River. Explore the graceful Kremlin with a local guide before joining a local family for a Russian tea party.
Arrive in the enigmatic city of Moscow and grab some pirozhki - Russian pastries - to fuel explorations of the Kremlin, Red Square and Lenin’s mausoleum.
Roam the cobbled streets of Kyiv, the 'Mother of Slavic Cities' and gain valuable insight into Ukraine's tragic history with a visit to the Chernobyl Museum.
Travel deep into the stunning Carpathian Mountains and join in a cooking class, learning to make traditional Ukrainian delicacies. Appreciate the Carpathian’s eclectic mix of Eastern European culture, discover lovingly decorated Hutsul houses, complete with private chapels and ornate wells, and soak up the immense natural beauty of this region while hiking.
Be captivated by the crumbling facades of Lviv's old town.
Head out on a cycling tour to uncover what Budapest, the ‘Pearl of the Danube’, has to offer.
Sip on ‘Bull’s Blood’, a red wine native to Hungary's Eger region, while exploring wine cellars in the evocatively named, 'Valley of the Beautiful Women'.
Discover one of the last peasant cultures in Europe on a visit to rural Maramures, the heart and soul of Romania.
Travel through pastoral fields to Sighisoara before crossing into Transylvania, a magical place that conjures images of haunted castles, gothic churches and vampires – it doesn’t disappoint!
Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family in Viscri.
Why not change things up with a night out in the lively medieval town of Brasov.
Travel on to Bucharest, where a guided tour visits the expansive Piata Unirii Square and prodigious 12-storey Palace of Parliament, supposedly the largest civilian administrative building in the world.
Cross the Friendship Bridge into Bulgaria and travel to scenic Veliko Tarnovo. Wander the Tsarevets Fortress that looms impressively over the town, tread the cobblestone streets of the Old Quarter or relax in the cafes or vinarnas and people watch.
Make tracks to Sofia. Marvel at the gold-domed Aleksander Nevski Church.
Be a guest of a local family during a stay in the Rila Mountains.
Stretch legs on an invigorating hike through alpine scenery and try the local cuisine at night.
Wander among impressive Byzantine ruins in Plovdiv and take an optional trip to a nearby hot springs before an overnight train to Istanbul.

Finish up among a myriad of mosques and a bevy of bazaars in Istanbul, Turkey's eclectic and very beautiful capital.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


15 breakfasts4 dinners
Bicycle, Boat, Bus, Metro, Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Taxi, Train, Tram
Guesthouse (7 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (15 nights), Overnight sleeper train (5 nights), Pension (3 nights)
Included activities
  • Bucharest - Guided walking tour
  • Budapest - Guided bike tour
  • Chernobyl Museum
  • Cooking Class, Kolomiya
  • Eger - Wine tasting
  • Gorno Draglishte - Rila Monastery
  • Guided walk in Carpathians
  • Kyiv - Orientation Walk
  • Lviv - Guided walking tour
  • Maramures - Guided tour
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury guided tour
  • Moscow - Lenin's Mausoleum
  • Moscow - Red Square
  • Novgorod - Family visit & dinner
  • Novgorod - Public Banya
  • Novgorod - Walking Tour & Kremlin
  • Plodiv - Guided tour
  • St Petersburg - Boat tour


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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
2. This trip finishes in Istanbul on day 32 at 12pm midday.
3. 2013 Itinerary change
St Petersburg to Istanbul trips departing in 2013 will be 33 days long (rather than 32) and start on Saturdays. The updated price and full itinerary will be available later this year.
The revised itinerary is:
Days 1-2 St Petersburg
Days 3-4 Novgorod
Days 5-7 Moscow
Day 8-10 Kviv
Days 11-12 Carpathian Mountains
Days 13-14 Lviv
Days 15-16 Budapest
Day 17 Eger
Days18-19 Maramures
Day 20 Sighisoara
Day 21 Viscri
Days 22-23 Brasov
Day 24 Bucharest
Days 25-26 Veliko Tarnovo
Day 27 Sofia
Day 28 Gorno Draglishte
Days 29-30 Bansko
Days 31-32 Plovdiv
Day 33 Istanbul

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes