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Highlights of Russia

The world’s largest country is an onion-domed fairy-tale with swirly-spired churches, glittering palaces, ancient walled fortresses and idyllic countryside.   
We begin our journey in Moscow, with the Kremlin and Red Square at its heart. We will wander within the walls of the ancient city, marvel at the magnificence of St. Basil's Cathedral and the monuments of fallen heroes. However, Moscow is not stuck in the past, with plenty of great shopping and modern restaurants.  

From Moscow we take the train to Kazan - idyllically situated on the Volga River where church belfries and minarets abound. This land of the “Volga Tatars”, (associated with Genghis Khan) is a mix of Slavic and Tatar cultures and a fascinating place to discover.  

We then fly to St. Petersburg - originally built as a display of Imperial Russia’s glory, with marvellous cathedrals and palaces, a maze of canals and bridges, some of the world’s most famous museums and imposing monuments.  

* Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tour Highlights:
   • Red Square: the heart of Moscow 
   • GUM: Russia’s most famous shopping mall
   • The Kremlin
   • Tretyakov Gallery showcasing Russian Art
   • Arbat Street, the oldest pedestrian street in Moscow
   • Tatarstan Premium train Moscow to Kazan
   • The old city of Kazan on the Volga River
   •  The unique Island town of Sviyazhsk
   • St. Petersburg’s Peter & Paul Fortress
   • The prestigious Hermitage Museum
   • Peterhof’s grand palaces, gardens and fountains
   • The palace of Catherine the Great in Pushkin
   • A canal cruise in St. Petersburg

Itinerary / Excursions

We depart for Moscow via Amsterdam.
Upon arrival in Moscow we transfer to our centrally located hotel for a 3-night stay.
Our sightseeing today begins with a tour of the Kremlin. Located in the heart of the city, the Kremlin hosts many ancient buildings such as the Bell Tower, Patriarch’s Palace, Grand Kremlin Palace and the Armoury - full of royal treasures. In the afternoon we visit Red Square and the famous department store “GUM” that stretches along an entire side of the square. We finish at Sparrow Hill for a magnificent view of the city. From here we can spot the New Maiden Convent where many noble women, including Peter the Great’s first wife and his sister, took their vows.
This morning we visit Tretyakov Gallery to discover some of the finest Russian art. We then continue to see the oldest and most exceptional metro stations in the world, many of which look like palaces, richly decorated with marble, mosaic, and semi-precious stones. Next we explore Arbat Street - the historic pedestrian street of Moscow bustling with mime artists, soapbox poets, souvenir shops and art stalls.
A day at leisure to explore Moscow at your own pace. This evening we board the overnight Tatarstan Premium Train to Kazan (individual cabins with 2 lower beds).
We arrive in Kazan in the morning and begin our city tour, taking in the Palace of the Farmers, Kazan State University, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the National Cultural Centre, Bauman Street, Tatar Theatre and the Old Tatar Sloboda neighbourhood.
Today we visit the city island, Sviyazhsk, constructed for the siege of Kazan in 1551 at the orders of Ivan the Terrible. The island city is a unique place due to its history and geographical position, and we’ll discover its fascinating history and architectural monasteries.
A morning at leisure before we transfer to the airport for our flight to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival in St. Petersburg we transfer to our centrally located hotel for our 4-night stay.
 This romantic city is often referred to as the “Venice of the North” due to its picturesque bridges over canals, spacious city squares and streets lined with buildings of baroque and classical styles. On our city tour we’ll stop at iconic landmarks such as Peter and Paul’s Fortress which housed famous political prisoners until 1917, popular St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Hermitage - the world’s largest museum, housing over 2 million exhibits.
Today we step back in time at Peterhof - the former summer residence of Russian czars. Most renowned for its stunning gold fountains and extensive palace grounds, it is also known as the “Russian Versailles”. The Grand Palace is now a vast museum full of lavish rooms and galleries and we will spend some time here before heading outside to stroll through the Lower Park to see the impressive fountains and picturesque pavilions. We then enjoy a private canal cruise to experience St. Petersburg from a different perspective as we glide through the multiple canals that join the 42 islands that make up the city, floating by beautiful palaces on the slopes and piers of the granite embankments.
We head to Pushkin, in the suburbs of St. Petersburg, to visit Catherine’s Palace in the “Tsars Village” - the former summer residence of many Russian tsars. The village is a unique ensemble comprised of pavilions, beautiful lakes and gardens that all showcase Catherine’s Palace. This enormous palace was gifted by Peter the Great to his wife who loved living in this elegant home decorated in the baroque style. We will see the Great Hall, the State Dining Room, the Blue Drawing Room and the Palace Church. There will be time to wander leisurely through the breath-taking gardens before we return to St. Petersburg. This evening is our Farewell Dinner.
We transfer to the airport for our flight home via Amsterdam.
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