RR18260
Seasons greetings from Russia! Enjoy a relaxed yuletide in St Petersburg - northern city of the tsars, relax & defrost in a traditional banya (sauna) in ancient Novgorod & frost up for New Year in hedonistic Moscow, Russia's mighty capital city.
DETAILS
Starting fromR18 260
Package ValiditySet travel dates: 24 DEC 2017 - 01 JAN 2018 **Book & pay by 30 MAY 2017*** South African citizens no longer require visas for travel to Russia ***
Duration9 days
DestinationRussia
Starts inSt. Petersburg
Ends inMoscow

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

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

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St Petersburg

24 December 2017. Welcome to St Petersburg & the start of your winter holiday! Upon arrival you will be met 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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Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! This morning a driving tour will give us an introduction to St Petersburg. We will make our way along the famed Nevsky Prospekt, past the museum & university districts & a few photo stops will be made along the way at places such as the magnificent St Isaac's Cathedral & The Bronze Horseman. Later, we will enjoy a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace - which houses one of the biggest & best art collections on earth. The rest of the day is free for you to further explore. Tonight, head out on the town or enjoy a Christmas drink in local bar, cafe or at our hotel.

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

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St Pete's Sightseeing

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 to city to explore Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo in winter (or Pavlosk Palace if Catherine Palace is closed). At Catherine Palace it's the exterior & the interiors of this lavishly decorated building that really catch the eye - & the spectacular 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.

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Time to Explore

St Petersburg – Novgorod. Today gives you the opportunity to shop for some last minute souvenirs, maybe some traditional nesting dolls or Russian memorabilia found at the canal side market near the striking Church on Spilled Blood. Alternatively a walk along St Petersburg's main street - Nevsky Prospekt. Later we travel on to ancient Novgorod, where we will enjoy a steamy Russian banya (sauna) & hearty dinner.

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Novgorod

Novgorod – Moscow. Novgorod is one of Russia’s oldest cities, located within reach of the Volkhov River & Lake Ilmen that was formed as a town in the middle of the 10th century. A guided tour of Novgorod takes in the riverside fortified Kremlin, cathedral & other sights of interest. The Kremlin fortress was mentioned in chronicles as early as in 1044, whilst today’s walls & towers, despite being re-built in 15th century, are impressive all the same. Tonight we have dinner before travelling by overnight sleeper train from Novgorod to Moscow.

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Moscow City Tour

Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow - the capital that spawned dozens of spy novels! Today we will ride on the capital’s efficient Metro to Red Square. From here, we’ll take in the jewels of Russia’s capital on a guided walking tour, taking 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 wildly coloured, turban domed St Basil’s Cathedral, an enduring Russian symbol commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the terrible) in 1555.

Spend the remainder 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 traditional Cossack Show or a Moscow by Night coach tour.

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The Kremlin

This morning we head back to Red Square to pay our respects to Lenin - the grandfather of Communism, at his eerie mausoleum. It is here that his embalmed body has lain in state since his death in 1924. Later we will continue to the Kremlin - Russia’s bastion of political might, where we enjoy a guided walk through the grounds, seeing numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals & the tsar bell.

The rest of the day is free for you to independently explore the city. As well as boasting some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, Moscow is also home to internationally acclaimed museums & art galleries, respectable retail havens in the form of malls, markets & boutique-style shops, & hundreds of restaurants & cafes serving a wide variety of cuisine.

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New Year's Eve

Today is free for you to explore Moscow on your own. For souvenirs, Izmailova Market is the place to go. Behind its whimsically decorated walls you’ll find one of the best markets in Moscow, whether you want to pick up some tacky souvenirs, genuine fur hats or some traditional handmade crafts.

Alternatively you can book our optional Inside a Soviet Bunker excursion locally & head 65 meters underground to explore a Stalinist-era bunker that up until recently was a top secret symbol of Soviet Power & is now a museum.

This evening we head into the city to ring in the New Year amongst the crowds. While Red Square is certainly one of the most popular places to count down to midnight, it can also get extremely busy making it often difficult to find a place. But fear not, there are plenty of other exciting activities happening around Moscow’ capital city, whether it’s watching the fireworks as they light up the night sky over Christ the Savior Cathedral from Patriarshy Bridge, heading to one of the concerts on Tverskaya Ulitsa or dancing in the New Year in one of the city’s trendy bars or clubs.

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New Year's Day

01 January 2018. Happy New Year! Our tour comes to an end after breakfast & hotel check-out.

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