Take in the highlights of St Petersburg - city of the tsars & Moscow - the dynamic capital, before getting off the beaten track & exploring Russia's historic Golden Ring towns of Suzdal, Kostroma & Yaroslavl. Loaded to the hilt with beautiful architecture, golden spires & onion-domed monasteries, with picturesque countryside to boot, the Golden Ring is one of Russia's most enchanting destinations.
Starting fromR28 380
Package ValiditySet travel dates between: 25 APR 2017 - 11 OCT 2017.  *** tour departs on TUE only ***Book & pay by 30 MAY 2017*** South African citizens no longer require visas for travel to Russia ***
Duration9 days
Starts inSt. Petersburg
Ends inMoscow

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- Arrival airport/hotel transfer
- 7 nights 3* hotel accommodation
- 1 overnight train from St. Petersburg - Moscow in a 4-berth cabin including bed linen
- Breakfast daily, 2 lunches & 2 dinners
- A Moscow Metro travel card valid for 6 journeys
- Assistance of an English speaking Russian tour guide
- Guided sightseeing in Mosow, St Petersburg, Suzdal, Kostroma & Yaroslavi
- Russian banya (sauna) experience
- Touring as per itinerary

** Excludes entrance fees of approximately USD40 - USD50 per person

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St Petersburg

Tuesday. Welcome to Russia. Arrival transfer from St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport to your hotel & check in. Later tonight you'll be treated to dinner with the rest of your group at the hotel, followed by an informative welcome meeting. Remainder of the evening at leisure - your tour guide can recommend some local bars for you to try out.

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The Hermitage

Today we explore the beautiful city of St Petersburg. Travelling by bus we will make our way along the famed Nevsky Prospekt, past the museum & university districts & a few stops will be made along the way to see the magnificent St Isaac's Cathedral & The Bronze Horseman. Later, we enjoy a guided tour of the Hermitage - which houses one of the biggest & best art collections on earth. The rest of the day is free for you to wander around the city.

During our time in St Petersburg there may be the chance to join one or two of our optional evening excursions, such as a canal cruise (May to September), a traditional Cossacks performance or a night at the Russian Ballet.

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St Pete's sightseeing

St Petersburg - Moscow. Today we'll take in more of the City of the Tsars, starting with a visit to Peter & Paul Fortress & the Peter & Paul Cathedral, which houses the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. Then we'll head out of the city to explore the beautiful gardens of Peterhof on the Gulf of Finland in the summer or visit Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo in winter.

Often referred to as Russia’s ‘Versailles’, the gardens of Peterhof are a wonderland of greenery and flowers, sweeping vistas & ornate architectural decorations, with spectacular gold fountains. At Catherine Palace it's the exterior & the interiors of this lavishly decorated building that really catch the eye - & the lavish Amber room is a real highlight! After stopping for a hearty traditional lunch at a local restaurant, we'll continue on for a guided tour of the exquisite Church on Spilled Blood. This evening we board the overnight sleeper train to Moscow.

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Moscow's Red Square

Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow. Taking the metro, we will make our way to the legendary Red Square for a guided walking tour. Here we will take in sights such as the epitome of Russian power – the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum & the ritzy GUM department store. At the south end of the square, feast your eyes on the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral. Spend the remainder of the day at your own leisure.

During our stay in Moscow there will be the chance to join some of our optional evening excursions, such as a night at the famous Moscow Circus (Oct - May), a traditional Cossack Show or a Moscow by Night coach tour.

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The Kremlin

This morning we head back to Red Square for a tour of the Kremlin - Russia's political powerhouse, with a guided walk through the grounds. Here we’ll see numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals & the tsar bell - the largest bell that never rang. Later there will be free time for you to further explore the area. Why not venture inside St Basil's Cathedral, or pay your requests to the grandfather of Communism at Lenin's Mausoleum.

We also offer an optional guided tour of a formerly top secret Cold War bunker today which can be booked locally. Up until recently this Stalinist-era Soviet Bunker was a secret symbol of Soviet Power. Hidden beneath an ordinary two storey apartment building in Moscow, 18 floors below ground level, this 75,000 square foot facility was constructed covertly, in the 1950s, to protect against the threat of a US nuclear attack. In the 1990s, with the Cold War thawing, this bunker came off the top secret list & is now open to the public.

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Moscow - Suzdal. This morning we travel by train from Moscow to Vladimir & then transfer to Suzdal, a picturesque Golden Ring town loaded to the hilt with ancient buildings, stunning medieval architecture & an astounding number of churches and monasteries. With pretty meadows & livestock grazing freely along country lanes, Suzdal has the relaxed feel of a small pastoral village.

We take a walking tour around the centre of Suzdal, where we'll see Suzdal Kremlin, Market square, Alexander monastery, Pokrovsky Monastery & Rizopolozhensky monastery. We'll also explore the remarkable Museum of Wooden Architecture which has a reconstruction of an ancient Russian village from Ivan The Terrible’s time. This afternoon you can enjoy a traditional Russia banya (sauna) & if you get too hot you can always jump in the river to cool off!

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Suzdal - Kostroma - Yaroslavl. The next stop on our tour of the Golden Ring is the historic city of Kostroma which sits on the banks of the Volga River. We'll enjoy a bus tour of the city & visit the fairytale land of the Snow Maiden's museum. Here we'll explore the mansion, learn all about Russian fairy tales & visit the chilly ice-room where you can enjoy ice cocktails at the ice bar. From Kostroma we travel on to Yaroslavl for the night.

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Yaroslavl - Moscow. After breakfast today we get to test our artistic skills at a wood painting class in the grounds of one of city's oldest monasteries & you can take your artwork home as a souvenir! Then we explore Yaroslavl, a historic UNESCO-listed city which sits on the confluence of two rivers & has a skyline crowded with onion-shaped domes & imposing spires. Yaroslavl is the biggest & most modern Golden Ring town that we visit. On a bus tour of the city we'll see the Assumption cathedral, the remarkable 16th Century Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Theatre square & more. We'll also visit The Residence of Her Majesty the Queen of Maslenitsa, which is an interactive museum with colourful wooden buildings. Maslenitsa (Butter Week) is a Russian folk festival where people eat traditional pancakes called blinis & you'll have the opportunity to sample a tasty blini at the museum.

This afternoon we travel by train back to Moscow, where we'll spend our final night in the Big Smoke.

{tab Day 9}


Wednesday. Our tour comes to an end after breakfast today. Hotel check out & make your own way to the airport.

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