Russian history & culture
Discover two of the world's most intriguing and exciting cities. Moscow, the beating heart of Mother Russia, radiates Slavic might and majesty, while St Petersburg - with its great squares, opulent palaces, parks and canals - deserves its place on the roll call of greatest European cities. Don't miss this great-value opportunity to see them both in one unforgettable week.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Fly to Moscow
Fly to Moscow and transfer to your hotel, your base for the next three nights.
Day Two: Included Moscow coach tour
This morning our included, three-hour coach tour will introduce Moscow's historic and geographic heart, where the Kremlin stands beside Red Square. See onion-domed St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's eerie Mausoleum and the GUM (the former State Department Store) now a thriving shopping mall.
This afternoon, an optional guided walking tour will reveal secrets of the Kremlin, such as the Senate House, the Presidium, the State Kremlin Palace concert hall and the cathedrals of the Assumption, the Annunciation and the Archangel - the last containing the Tombs of the Tsars. Round off a wonderful day by enjoying dinner in the city.
Day Three: Optional Highlights of Moscow tour
Enjoy a free day, or take an optional, full-day Highlights of Moscow tour, visiting Victory Park and its Museum of the Great Patriotic War, one of Moscow's landmark Metro stations, and the Kremlin's Armoury Palace, where the treasures of Russia's medieval rulers are displayed. Enjoy free time for shopping before a final evening in Moscow.
Day Four: Take the train to St Petersburg
Check out of the hotel after breakfast and transfer to Leningrad Station. Bid "do svidanya" to your Moscow Tour Manager and board the train to St Petersburg, where you'll meet your St Petersburg Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel for the next three nights.
Day Five: Included St Petersburg tour
After breakfast, enjoy an introductory tour of St Petersburg, the 'Venice of the North', which was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, and despite the subsequent ravages of war and revolution, siege and Soviet rule, remains as glorious as ever.
See the towering Alexander Column and the Winter Palace on Palace Square, the Admiralty with its soaring spire, and great St Isaac's Cathedral. Other highlights might include the Mariinsky Palace and adjacent theatre, home to the legendary Kirov ballet, and the cruiser Aurora, which fired the first (blank) shot in the Bolshevik Revolution.
This afternoon, step inside the gilded portals of the famous Hermitage museum, to enjoy a guided tour of some of its phenomenal collection.
Day Six: Optional Pushkin Palace excursion
Enjoy a free day, or take the optional excursion to the palace at Pushkin (entry fee included) and stunning gardens at Peterhof, each location remarkably and lovingly reconstructed since WWII, and reflecting the extraordinary grandeur of Imperial Court life.
This evening, take in the optional folklore show of traditional Cossack dancing and folk songs at the historic Nikolaevskiy Palace.
Day Seven: Optional Peter and Paul Fortress visit
After checking out this morning, enjoy a last few hours in the city, or join the final optional excursion to the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Yusupov Palace, arguably the city's finest Imperial residence, and site of the murder of the 'mad monk' Rasputin.
This afternoon, the coach will take you to the airport to check in for your flight home.
Passports and visas
Please note that visas are required for travel on this tour. The visa application process requires you to appear in person at the Russian embassy in either Edinburgh or London. We will send you full application details, including your invitation letter, approximately eight weeks prior to your holiday. Please note that you can not obtain your visa until you have received your invitation letter from us. The cost of the visa is approximately £110 per person if obtained directly. The cost is approximately £187 per person if using the services of our preferred visa agency - CIBT. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the visa expiration date.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Combining hotel transfers
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Booking optional excursions
If you'd like to join any of the optional excursions on this tour, please be aware that they are only available in advance and that it will not be possible to book them once you arrive on holiday.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. This includes reversing the itinerary. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Airport development fees
An Airport Development Fee has been introduced at a few UK Airports. You will be required to pay this charge at the following airports prior to checking in for your flight: Blackpool, Durham Tees Valley, Newquay and Norwich. The amount varies from airport to airport, but it is generally between £5 and £10 per person. Please visit the airport's website for further information.