Discover the lavish, romantic and austere in European Russia

Experience the essential sights of a land that lay hidden behind the Iron Curtain for decades on a revealing eight-day tour of European Russia. Travel through Moscow, Suzdal, Novgorod and St Petersburg to peel back some 1000 years of history. From the blue-domed whimsy of the tenth-century Cathedral of the Nativity to the Soviet-era communal apartments of St Petersburg and the restaurant car of an overnight train – this adventure is the perfect introduction to the expansive history and diverse faces of Russia’s western reaches.

30% OFF Select 2019 Trips

Explore Japan, New Zealand, Cuba and many more.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Moscow, Russia
Finish
St Petersburg, Russia
Destination
Russia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
WBSR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Let whimsical Suzdal capture your heart and imagination with its onion-domed monasteries, spiced-honey mead and during dinner with our local friends.

  • Enjoy a tea party with a local family in one of St Petersburg’s Soviet-era communal apartments, grand dwellings converted to working class accommodation after the Russian Revolution.

  • Visit the mausoleum of Lenin, famed revolutionary and Bolshevik leader, and compare the tomb’s austerity with the eye-bulging treasure collection in the Kremlin and Armoury Museum.

  • Discover Russia’s oldest city on a guided walk through Novgorod, including the 15th-century Kremlin compound that sits on the banks of the Volkhov River.

  • Encounter the living legacy of Russian tsar Peter the Great while exploring the streets of St Petersburg, which are lined with opulent monuments built with the forced labour of serfs.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Want to get festive? Our ‘Russia Highlights - New Year’ tour hits the essential destinations of European Russia with a focus on the unique celebrations and traditions of the season. Enter code WBSW for more detail.

  • This trip includes an overnight journey on a second class train. Conditions are simple but comfortable – a truly Intrepid experience and a great way to meet, and travel like, the locals. Compartments have four berths but it’s possible (due to ticket availability) the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. Please see the ‘Accommodation’ section of the ‘Essential trip information’ for more detail.

  • Social drinking is common on trains in Russia and can be an enjoyable way to meet local people as well as interact with your fellow Intrepid travellers (in moderation). While alcohol is often available for purchase on the train, spirits (including vodka) should only be consumed in the dining car. While we certainly want all our Intrepid travellers to have a great holiday, it's important that you show due respect for your fellow group members and keep in mind that many locals use the train as a means of transport to get home or to work.

  • The best way to experience a city is by doing as the locals do – and in this case that means using public transport such as trains, buses or metro in some locations. It’s better for the environment and you’ll get an authentic look at daily life; just be aware you may find yourself sharing a busy bus ride with local commuters (for example).

  • Sometimes you’ve got to rough it to get amongst it. While most of the accommodation on this trip is tourist class, we use basic accommodation with shared facilities where appropriate.

  • On occasion, Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public without prior warning.

Itinerary

Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Moscow, a city that has survived centuries of revolution and tumult, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight at your hotel. After the meeting, your leader will organise an optional meal so you can enjoy your first taste of delicious Russian cuisine with new friends. If you arrive in Moscow with time to spare, there’s plenty to see in this fascinating, historic city. Consider taking an immersive local-led tour with Urban Adventures like the Moscow Underground tour, which reveals Soviet Russia through the mind-bending Moscow Metro.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Moscow - Moscow Behind the Icons Urban Adventure - EUR56
  • Moscow - Modern Moscow Urban Adventure - EUR38
  • Moscow - Victory Park Museum - RUB400
  • Moscow - Moscow Underground Urban Adventure - EUR56
  • Moscow - Tretyakov Art Gallery - RUB500
  • Moscow - Gorky Park - Free
  • Moscow - Bolshoi Theatre - RUB12000
  • Moscow - River Cruise - RUB700
  • Moscow - St Basils Cathedral - RUB500
  • Moscow - Red October Art Zone - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place. Please have two copies of your passport, visa and migration cards ready. Your leader will collect one; the other is for you to keep on you at all times whilst on the trip.

To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. If you wish to attend a performance at the Bolshoi or Mariinsky, you can do so through www.mariinsky.ru and www.bolshoi.ru, though please note both sites are in Russian and you must use your search engines translation function to access them in English.

Want to book an Urban Adventure? Speak to your booking agent or follow urbanadventures.com/destination/Moscow-tours.

Travel by private bus to Suzdal (approximately 4 hours). The town is a main stop on Russia’s legendary Golden Ring, the circle of ancient and former capitals that played an important part in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. On arrival enjoy free time to explore at your leisure. Fairy tale-esq Suzdal is filled with contrasting examples of early Russian architecture, where onion-domed monasteries stand next to lovingly decorated wooden cottages. Perhaps drink mead by the riverside while a symphony of cathedral bells rings in the air, or maybe take a walk and peek inside the crumbling churches that line the narrow streets and alleys. Tonight, meet with your group and be welcomed into a local household to enjoy some hearty home cooking.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suzdal - Home-cooked dinner
Optional Activities
  • Suzdal - Belfry Climb - RUB100
  • Suzdal - Mead Tasting - RUB280
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
As you only spend one night in Suzdal before returning to Moscow, consider packing an overnight bag and leaving your large luggage in storage in Moscow until you return.

Accommodation this evening is a guesthouse in one of Suzdal's quiet streets. Some rooms are twin-share, others are triple- or quad-share. There’s a shared toilet and bathroom on each floor, and you have access to a spacious kitchen and group dining area. On occasion, the group may stay in different guesthouses that will be located nearby.
Get to know Suzdal on a 3-hour walking tour of this ‘open-air museum’. Take in the grandeur of the Kremlin, the carved stonework of the Cathedral of the Nativity, the trading square, market and monasteries. If there’s time, walk along the banks of the river and then pop into a local cafe for tea, bliny (pancakes) with caviar, or the Suzdal specialty of medovukha (honey-based spiced mead). Transfer to Vladimir by private van (approximately 30 minutes) and then take the modern high-speed Sapsan train to Moscow (less than 2 hours). Return to the hotel by metro. Spend the evening back in Moscow – maybe wander around the famous Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suzdal - Guided Walking Tour
  • Suzdal - Guided walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the mausoleum of Russia’s most famous revolutionary – Lenin. Join the groups of tourists and locals waiting see the preserved body of the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution, contained in an austere building in Red Square. Continue with a local guide to the Kremlin grounds, home to the oldest and most important churches in the country, and the resting place for many Tsars and Tsarinas. Walk through the soaring towers and cathedrals of the political and spiritual heart of Russia before entering the Armoury Museum, home to an eye-bulging former royal collection of ambassadorial gifts, Faberge eggs, coronation robes and glittering jewels. This evening board an overnight train to Novgorod (approximately 8 hours) from Moscow's Leningradskiy railway station.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury Guided Tour
  • Moscow - Red Square & Lenin's Mausoleum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
On occasion, Lenin's Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public without prior warning. Tickets for the Moscow Kremlin and Armoury are in high demand, and the Moscow Tourism Administration sets strict quotas to control visitor numbers. Time in each area is also limited to 90 minutes and breaking the rules can lead to your guide losing their license. We ask for your understanding that your guide is under pressure to keep to the schedule. The Diamond Fund isn't included in your tour, but after the Kremlin and Armoury there may be time to visit. Entrance tickets can be purchased in the ticket office at the Armoury, which is open for visitors select hours of the day. On Thursday it is closed.

For more information about the overnight train, please see the ‘Transport’ section of the ‘Essential trip information’.
Arrive early in the oldest city in Russia. Explore the city's sights on foot with your local guide. The city's foremost attraction is the graceful Kremlin on the banks of the Volkhov River. Inside there are museums and the Cathedral of St Sophia, as well as the amazing Millennium Monument, which tells the story of 1000 years of Russian history. On the opposite bank of the river are quiet shady streets, the graceful ruins of Yaroslav's Court, and other echoes times gone by. In your free time, maybe check out the Yurev Monastery on the shores of Lake Ilmen, visit the Wooden Architecture Museum just outside of town, or catch a performance at the Philharmonic Hall. In the summer you can relax on the little riverside beach or take a boat trip on the Volkhov River. Tonight, maybe hit the banya (bath house) for a refreshing steam and wash with the locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Novgorod - Walking Tour & Kremlin
Optional Activities
  • Novgorod - Public Banya - RUB190
  • Novgorod - Yuriev Monastery - Free
  • Novgorod - Vitaslavlitsy Wooden Architecture Museum - RUB150
  • Novgorod - Volhov River Cruise - RUB500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private bus from Novgorod to St Petersburg, one of Russia’s most celebrated cities (approximately 4 hours). Truly one of Europe's grandest cities, the living museum of St Petersburg is a blend of baroque European architecture and Russian royal history, built by the Russian tsar Peter the Great by forced peasant labour. Head out on a walking tour with your leader to learn about the city. In the evening, visit the home of our local friends and have a tea party, Russian-style. Not all of the family members speak English, but with your leader on hand to interpret and their warm hospitality, you'll be feeling like one of the family in no time. These families live in St Petersburg's Soviet-era communal apartments, which are still common in St Petersburg. This is a truly unique local experience that you won't find anywhere else.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • St Petersburg - Tea party with local family
Optional Activities
  • St Petersburg - Saint Isaac’s Cathedral - RUB400
  • St Petersburg - Mariinsky Theatre Perfomance - RUB8000
  • St Petersburg - Matryoshka Painting Workshop (reservation required) - RUB2000
  • St Petersburg - Saint Isaac’s Cathedral Colonnade - RUB400
  • St Petersburg - St Petersburg like a Local Urban Adventure - EUR50
  • St Petersburg - Kazan Cathedral - Free
  • St Petersburg - Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood - RUB350
  • St Petersburg - Boat Trip (price from) - RUB700
  • St Petersburg - State Hermitage Museum (combined ticket) - RUB700
  • St Petersburg - Erarta Modern Art Museum - RUB500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Built on 42 islands, St Petersburg is also known as the ‘Venice of the North’. Spend a free day exploring the city, crossing its many rivers and canals at your own pace. Perhaps enjoy incredible views across the city from the colonnade at St Isaac’s Cathedral, or walk along Nevsky Prospekt – St Petersburg’s main street. Maybe pop into one of the many bakeries or coffee shops along the way, or head down to Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra where Russia's great musicians and writers like Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky are laid to rest in the cemetery. Feeling artistic? You could give life to a family of matryoshka dolls in a painting workshop. Whatever you choose, the city is easy to get around and your leader can help you make the most of your free day. Tonight, perhaps gather together your fellow travellers and seek out a cosy restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your Russian adventure will come to an end today after breakfast. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after check out. St Petersburg has much to offer. If you’d like to stay on to explore please speak to your booking agent about securing extra accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

6 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Transport

Overnight sleeper train, Private Bus, Public bus, High Speed Train, Taxi, Metro

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Suzdal - Home-cooked dinner
  • Suzdal - Guided Walking Tour
  • Suzdal - Guided walking tour
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury Guided Tour
  • Moscow - Red Square & Lenin's Mausoleum
  • Novgorod - Walking Tour & Kremlin
  • St Petersburg - Tea party with local family

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Russia Highlights trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. A single supplement is bookable on this trip, with the exception of Day 2 and Day 4, subject to availability.
2. In order for our local operator to book train tickets we require the following information no later than 31 days prior to departure:
• Passenger's full name
• Full passport details (passport number, expiry date, date issued)
• Date of birth
• City of birth
Please note that the above information needs to match your travelling passport, any incorrect information provided may result in extra personal expense to reissue train tickets.
3. To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St Petersburg in advance. If you wish to book the theatre performances in Moscow, please book for Day 1 of the trip. There's no time in the evening on Day 3 to see the performances because we return to the city in the evening. And there's no time to see performance in St Petersburg on Day 6 in the evening as we are visiting a local apartment.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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 Essential Trip Information

Reviews