Indulge yourself in the Cultural Highlights tour featuring artistic and cultural treasures of Russia’s two greatest cities – Moscow and St Petersburg. This eight-day tour showcases the very best of Russia’s majestic charm and imperial heritage, taking in sights, such as The Kremlin, Armoury, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Hermitage Museum. A visit inside the famous Bolshoi Theatre will definitely please Russian ballet lovers. Additionally, you will have the chance to admire the architectural masterpiece of the Peterhof Palace and its stunning gardens.
Day 1 - Arrival in Moscow and free time
Panorama of Moscow
Upon arrival at the Moscow airport, you will be greeted by a local guide who will accompany you on a private transfer to your 4-star hotel, located in the historical centre of the Russian capital. After check-in, you will have free time to unpack and relax or begin to explore magical Moscow and get a taste of what you are about to experience.
Day 2 - Kremlin and Armoury walking tour. Free time
Today you will immerse yourself in Russia’s rich history and culture, taking in the sights of The Kremlin and its fantastic Cathedrals. Moving on, you will visit the Armoury, one of the oldest museums in Moscow which holds items from the former Tsars’ treasury and the Patriarch’s vestry. You will also see state regalia, royal garments, coronation dresses, gold and silverware, weapons, luxury carriages as well as all the attire of famous Tsars from over the years.
After this exciting excursion you can enjoy colourful Moscow on your own or relax and rest before your trip continues on Day 3.
Day 3 – The Tretyakov Gallery and a visit inside the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
Start the day with breakfast at your hotel before meeting up with your local guide for a tour of the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. it is a place to visit for any connoisseur of art, wishing to plunge into Russian life and culture in the best traditions of the world fine arts.
Today, the Gallery boasts 62 rooms featuring 10,000 pieces of Russian art from old icons to the most modern masterpieces, including paintings by Andrey Rublev, Kazimir Malevich, and Wassily Kandinsky. You will travel to the State Tretyakov Gallery by metro.
Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
Following your tour of the Tretyakov Gallery, you will have a unique chance to go behind the scenes of the famous Bolshoi Theatre. With a knowledgeable guide, you will discover the ornately decorated interiors and gilded ceilings of the premium venue and hear of how first-class ballets and operas have been performed here for more than 250 years. Delve into the dramatic history of this national treasure and see the legendary stage where famous Russian ballets such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake were first performed.
Please, note that the 'Inside the Bolshoi' tour is subject to availability. When the tour is unavailable, it will be substituted by a guided 4-hour excursion to the Kuskovo Park and Estate, where you will experience both Russian and European culture and history with authentic, impressive buildings and incredible designs.
Following this busy day, you will return to your hotel for your own free time to do as you please.
Day 4 - Free time and arrival in St Petersburg
Neva river in St Petersburg
Your private transfer with a guide will collect you from the hotel and take you to the railway station to hop aboard the high-speed Sapsan train towards St Petersburg. The travel time from Moscow to St Petersburg on the Sapsan train is approximately 4 hours.
Due to a wide choice of departure times for the Sapsan train throughout the day you can be flexible to leave in the early afternoon and spend the evening in St Petersburg or extend your afternoon in Moscow and leave in the evening.
Upon arrival in St Petersburg, you will be collected from the railway station and taken by private transfer to your centrally located 4-star hotel. Following check-in, you will have free time to relax and unpack or take in some of what St Petersburg has to offer.
Day 5 - Full day city tour in St Petersburg by car
Peter and Paul Fortress
Following breakfast, your guide will pick you up from your hotel for your St Petersburg private city tour.
You will explore the city's must-see and key cultural sights, including Nevsky Prospekt, the Admiralty, Moscow Railway Station, St Isaac's Cathedral and Kazanskiy Cathedral.
Throughout the day you will also visit the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood, built in memory of the Tsar Alexander II following his assassination in 1881. It took 24 years to build and is especially famous for its five onion-shaped domes that sit on top which are intricately decorated in colourful jeweller’s enamel.
Following lunch, you will continue your tour with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress; the first ever structure built in St Petersburg, its original function was to act as defence for the city. It is best known as a military base, but it is also where members of the Russian royal family are buried.
Your tour ends with transport back to your hotel where you are free to relax or perhaps explore more of St Petersburg.
Day 6 - Tour to the Peterhof Palace
Today involves an exceptional visit to the splendid Peterhof Palace, known as the “Russian Versailles” and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A comfortable hydrofoil will take you to the “Kingdom of Fountains” across the Gulf of Finland in a very short time.
The Peterhof Palace complex consists of a set of palaces and gardens situated about 30 kilometres west of St. Petersburg. Until the Revolution of 1917, it was the residence of the Russian Tsars. In 1918 it was transformed into a museum, although during World War II it was occupied and destroyed by German troops. After World War II it began its restoration which is still ongoing.
Your tour will end at approximately 3pm when you will travel back to your hotel by car to enjoy free time in majestic St Petersburg.
Peterhof fountains are closed from middle of October to end of April. In winter you will have opportunity to discover Pushkin - the favourite residence of the Russian Tsarine Catherine the Great! You will admire the unconventional beauty of the newly recreated Amber Room, and enjoy a relaxing walk through the peaceful imperial grounds.
Day 7 - Hermitage walking tour and Golden Room. Free time
Famed for its incredible artefacts and collections, the Hermitage is one of the world’s largest museums with over 3 million items to explore. Collections include Impressionist masterpieces, oriental treasures, Russian art and more. You will have a personal guided tour of the exhibitions inside to help you gain a deeper understanding of the items and artwork on display.
During your visit, your tour guide will take you to the Golden Room which features a breathtaking collection of rare gems and the biggest collection of the Russian Emperors’ finest jewellery. Some exhibits date back as far as 3,000 BC and the room includes some of Fabergé works. Bearing in mind that the Romanovs were the richest family in the world at the start of the 20th century, this collection is something that shouldn’t be missed!
The afternoon gives you the opportunity to enjoy free time where you can relax or explore fascinating St Petersburg. Why not indulge yourself in an unforgetable experience of the Russian ballet at the famous Mariinsky Theatre? Our travel managers would be happy to book tickets for you.
Day 8 - Free time and departure
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, followed by more free time. At a prearranged time, your private transfer with a guide will collect you from your hotel and take you to your point of departure.
If leaving is just too difficult for you, which it is for many of our customers, Real Russia can extend your time and arrange more thrilling excursions for you (at an additional cost).