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.

Start
St Petersburg, Russia
Finish
Istanbul, Turkey
Countries
Bulgaria,
Hungary,
Romania,
Russia,
Turkey,
Ukraine
Themes
Explorer
Code
WBSIC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 12
Group size
Min 1, Max 12
Carbon offset
1 370kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Admire Istanbul's majestic mosques

Itinerary

Arrive in St Petersburg and uncover a magnificent city, bursting with lavish palaces, churches and canals. Realise the depth of the city’s beauty on a boat tour. In free time, choose to climb up the colonnade of St Isaac's Cathedral for exceptional views or head to Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra and the Necropolis of Masters of Arts, the final resting place for some of Russia's great musicians and writers like Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky.
Discover how Novgorod, a city that is over 1,000 years old, is often referred to as the cradle of modern Russian civilisation. On arrival, join a local family for a traditional tea party. Later, venture down the town's riverside Kremlin to gain an appreciation of the nation's turbulent past before a refreshing steam at the public banya (bath house). Settle in for the night on a train bound for Moscow.
Experience the mighty heart of Russia. Visit the Kremlin to wander through grand halls, peek at imperial treasures and enter Lenin's Mausoleum. While here, why not snap up souvenirs at Izmaylovo Market, admire the work of esteemed artists in Tretyakov Gallery or enjoy a moment of solitude inside St Basil’s Cathedral.
Arrive in the Ukraine after an overnight train journey. Roam the cobbled streets of Kyiv, the 'Mother of Slavic Cities'. Gain valuable insights into the country’s tragic history with a visit to the Chernobyl Museum. There’s also the option to see mummified monks at the Caves Monastery, amble through the Museum of One Street or take in a classical music performance.
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.
Continue the adventure in historical Lviv. Work up an appetite for delicious Ukrainian borscht on a walking tour through the Old Town, and then perhaps head up to High Castle or stop for coffee and cake in a Viennese-style cafe.
See how the grand architecture and beautiful boulevards of Budapest offer visitors something of an outdoor museum to explore. Take to the streets by bicycle and, in free time, discover monuments from the Iron Curtain era at Statue Park. Or perhaps learn from a local guide about the Soviet era in further detail on the Urban Adventures’ Hammer and Sickle tour. Perhaps cap off the adventure with a soak in a thermal bath.
Investigate Eger Castle in the lovely Baroque town of the same name. Sample excellent local drops at a wine tasting and perhaps have a singalong with local folk musicians.
Call into the attractive city of Debrecen before hopping across the border into Romania. Gain a firsthand experience of peasant culture in provincial Maramures.
Be spooked by the bloodcurdling myths that surround Transylvania, perhaps enjoying a meal at Casa Dracula or venturing up to the clock tower.
Arrive in Viscri and learn about the Sock Project, a warming initiative which supports the local community. Dine with a local family and try to pick up a few tidbits of the Romanian language.
Head to medieval Brasov, a town flanked by mountains and city walls that boast a collection of ornate buildings including the impressive 14th-century Biserica Neagra.
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.
Walk along tree-lined boulevards in the city of Sofia and see the Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church. At night, why not dive into the happening nightlife.
Journey into the Rila Mountains and explore the most important of Bulgaria’s orthodox monasteries. Join a family as their guests overnight.
Unwind in charming mehanes (stone taverns) in Bansko and feast on local dishes like filet elena or kapama.
Travel to Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second largest city. In free time, check out the underground crypt at Bachkovo Monastery or visit traditional craft workshops. Wander among Byzantine ruins and be sure to visit the ancient Roman Amphitheatre.
Arrive in Turkey via overnight train and set off to explore enigmatic Istanbul city. Get happily lost in the Grand Bazaar, visit a Turkish bath, marvel at the awesome Aya Sofia or perhaps take a boat ride up the Bosphorus to cap off the adventure.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
17 breakfasts3 dinners
Transport
Bicycle, Boat, Bus, Metro, Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Private minibus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Train, Tram
Accommodation
Guesthouse (7 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (16 nights), Overnight sleeper train (5 nights), Pension (3 nights)
Included activites
  • Bucharest - Guided walking tour
  • Budapest - Guided bike tour
  • Carpathian Mountains - Cooking Class
  • Carpathian Mountains - Guided walk
  • Eger - Wine tasting
  • Gorno Draglishte - Rila Monastery
  • Kyiv - Chernobyl Museum guided tour
  • 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

Dates

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Notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Important 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.

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