RR30490
Follow in the footsteps of Russia's last ruling aristocrats - the Romanovs. Starting in St Petersburg - the city of the Tsars, head down to Russia's mighty capital city - Moscow & then ride the Trans-Siberian railway to Yekaterinburg, crossing the Ural Mountains, bound for Siberia.
DETAILS
Starting fromR30 490
Package ValiditySet travel dates between 25 APR 2017 - 09 NOV 2017.  *** Tour departs on TUE only ***Book & pay by 30 MAY 2017*** South African citizens no longer require visas for travel to Russia ***
Duration10 days
DestinationRussia
Starts inSt. Petersburg
Ends inYekaterinburg

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- Return airport/hotel transfer on arrival & departure days
- 7 nights 3* hotel accommodation
- 1 overnight train from St. Petersburg - Moscow in a 4 berth cabin including bed linen
- 1 overnight Trans Siberian from Moscow - Yekaterinburg in a 4 berth cabin including bed linen
- 8 breakfast, 2 lunches & 2 dinners
- A Moscow Metro travel card valid for 6 journeys
- Assistance of an English speaking Russian tour guide
- Guided sightseeing in St Petersburg, Mosow & Yekaterinburg
- Touring as per itinerary

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

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St Petersburg

Tuesday. Welcome to Russia! You will be met upon arrival at St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport & transferred to your hotel for check-in. This evening 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

This morning a driving tour will give us a run-down on some of St Petersburg's key areas. Travelling by mini 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 will 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 further explore. Most of the city sights are dotted along & just off the main thoroughfare - Nevsky Prospekt. It’s an easy city to find your bearings & get around. St Petersburg has a spirited restaurant, bar & jazz club scene, plus some of Russia’s best beers.

During our time in St Petersburg there may be the chance to join one of our optional evening excursions, such as a canal cruise (May to September), a traditional Cossacks performance or a night at the Russian Ballet. There may even be the chance to try your hand at preparing Russian cuisine with an interactive cooking class. All optional excursions are subject to availability, & are booked & payable locally.

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St Pete's sightseeing

St Petersburg - Moscow. We start today's touring 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 (or Pavlosk Palace if Catherine Palace is closed).

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 interior of The Church on Spilled Blood.

Meeting back at the hotel at an agreed time, we gather our bags & travel to the railway station for our overnight journey by train to Moscow.

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Red Square

Moscow. Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow; not only the capital of Russia, but also the political & cultural heart of the country. After hotel check-in we will take a ride on the Moscow Metro to the legendary Red Square, where we will enjoy a guided walking tour. Here we will find the fantastical St Basil’s Cathedral, the iconic Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum & the glitzy Neo-Russian facade of the GUM shopping mall. Red Square is a constant hive of activity & an excellent place to people watch: see stone-faced police officers doing their rounds, young couples enjoying a romantic stroll through the square, & stiletto-clad shoppers returning from a day of retail therapy. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.

During our stay in Moscow there will be the chance to join one 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 will return 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.

Alternatively we offer an optional guided tour of a formerly top secret Cold War bunker today - book & pay 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 this bunker came off the top secret list & is now a museum, open to the public.

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Free Time in Moscow

Moscow – Yekaterinburg. As your last day in Moscow, now is the time to see any last minute sights or stock up on Soviet souvenirs before you begin our journey to Yekaterinburg. As this tour runs in conjunction with other tours, today you will also bid farewell to those ending their tour in Moscow, & to your tour leader who has escorted you thus far. Later in the afternoon you will start your independent journey east bound on the Trans-Siberian line.

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All Aboard

Travelling on the Trans-Siberian you will continue your journey east bound across the Ural Mountains. Pulling in this evening, you will be met by a local guide & transferred to your hotel for dinner & relaxation.

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Yekaterinburg

Although founded in 1723 to exploit the mineral riches of the surrounding Ural Mountains and Siberia, what really put Yekaterinburg on the map in the western world was the tragic event that occurred here in 1918. For it was in the cellar of a house, where now the beautiful Church on the Blood stands, that Tsar Nicholas Romanov II and his family were executed.

Our tour takes us to this very church where you’ll see a sculpture dedicated to the Tsar & his family, the area of their execution & a modest exhibition on their lives. Out of town, we will visit Ganina Yama - the monastic complex set in Taiga forest, where the Romanov family remains were unceremoniously dumped & later discovered. After taking a break for lunch, we will continue to the Mineral or Railway Museum & out to the famous Europe/Asia border marker where you can stand with a foot on either side of the boundary marker!

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Explore Yekaterinburg

Today is free for you to take advantage of all that Yekaterinburg has to offer as a wonderful outdoors destination. You will be able to choose from a range of exciting options that can be booked & paid for locally. In the summer you can try your hand at rafting, work up a sweat hiking or visit a Koptelova - a traditional Siberian village). While in the winter, you can take full advantage of the sub-zero temperatures with a thrilling dog-sledding ride or ice-fishing! Please contact us for further details.

{tab Day 10}

Yekaterinburg

Thursday. Our tour comes to an end today after breakfast. After hotel check-out a departure transfer will take you to the railway station or airport for your onward travel.

Note: If you’d like to return to Moscow rather than depart from Yekaterinburg, we can arrange transportation aboard the train. Call us for rates.

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