Highlights of Russia Tour - St. Petersburg & Moscow
RUSSIA TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Spend 8 amazing days exploring Russia’s two most important cities and their world-renowned landmarks. Begin your Highlights of Russia Tour in stunning St. Petersburg, where you will visit the famous Hermitage Museum, a number of beautifully decorated cathedrals, and the best food market in the city. Take a day trip to Pushkin to admire the intricately adorned Catherine’s Palace and its huge garden grounds. Travelling south by train, you will reach the countries capital, Moscow. Here you will explore Russia’s ‘heart and soul’ at UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Red Square, marvel at the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral, and navigate around the stunning Moscow Metro.
See stunning mosaics inside the Church on Spilled Blood & St Isaac’s Cathedral
Discover the beautiful stations of the Moscow Metro
Visit Catherine Palace, the summer residence of the Russian tsars
Explore Red Square, The Kremlin & the country’s most famous icon, St Basil’s Cathedral
Day 1 – Arrive St. Petersburg
When you arrive in St. Petersburg, make your way to the hotel for check-in, which will be from 2pm onwards. Today is an arrival day so there are no planned activities. If you arrive in time, you can join your guide and the rest of the group for dinner to get to know your fellow travellers! Overnight in St. Petersburg.
Day 2 – St. Petersburg
After breakfast at the hotel, you will begin your city tour of St. Petersburg. You will start with a walk through the cobbled streets of the Dostoevsky Quarter before heading to one of the best food markets in the city, the Kuznechny Market, which supplies some of St. Petersburg’s top restaurants. From here, you will visit the House of St. Peter the Great, St. Peter’s & Paul Cathedral, and the Church on Spilled Blood. You will then have the afternoon free to further explore the city. Overnight in St. Petersburg.
Day 3 – St. Petersburg
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be travelling 30km south of St. Petersburg to Pushkin where you will visit Catherine Palace, a huge palace named after Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great. The palace is nearly 1km in circumference, and every inch is beautifully decorated – not to be missed! You will then be transferred back to the city and the afternoon will be spent at your leisure. Overnight in St. Petersburg.
Day 4 – St. Petersburg / Moscow
After breakfast, you will need to check out of your hotel and store your bags in the luggage room. You will then head to the impressive Hermitage Museum, home of Russian art and culture, and one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. Afterwards, you will visit Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, whose dome still dominates St. Petersburg’s skyline, and from where you will have amazing panoramic views of the city – if you can manage the 211 steps! You will then head back to your hotel to pick up your luggage, and walk to St. Petersburg’s Train Station (5-minute walk from hotel) to catch the high-speed train to Moscow. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. Overnight in Moscow.
Day 5 – Moscow
After breakfast, you will begin your full day city tour of Moscow’s historical centre, starting with a tour of the incredible Moscow Metro. You will then visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Red Square, arguably the heart and soul of Russia. From here, you will visit the Novodevichy Convent, which was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The convent is a classic example of Russian architecture and is also home to several important paintings and artefacts. Next, you will take a stroll down the famous Arbat Street, where you will be able to pick up some souvenirs, or just relax and have a coffee. Overnight in Moscow. (Please note this is a full day tour and requires a lot of walking).
Day 6 – Moscow
Today will be spent at your leisure. Overnight in Moscow.
Day 7 – Moscow
After breakfast at the hotel, you will make a visit to the Kremlin and explore the beautiful churches inside. You will also visit Saint Basil’s Cathedral, perhaps Moscow’s most iconic building, before spending the afternoon at your leisure to further explore the city. Dinner will be arranged for your last night of the tour. Overnight in Moscow.
Day 8 – Depart Moscow
Today is a departure day so there are no planned activities. You are free to depart Moscow any time.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE RUSSIA TOUR
- Sharing a twin room in 3-star accommodation
- Entrance fees and visits as stated in itinerary
- Transportation in private vehicles
- Train ticket between St. Petersburg & Moscow
- Services of English-speaking local guides throughout tour
- Solo Travellers tour leader accompanying the group throughout
- 7x Breakfasts at the hotels
- Up to eight weeks before departure, a place can be reserved on our Highlights of Russia Tour on payment of a deposit of £150.00, after this date it would be the full amount of the trip.
- Click the book now button and fill in the details and tick the box confirming you accept booking conditions.
- The outstanding balance is due 8 weeks before travel.
- Please ensure you have checked visa requirements. Get in touch if you are unsure.
- Ensure you have purchased travel insurance, as this is mandatory for all trips.
- International flights are not included and will need to be organised separately. Please do not book flights until we give the go-ahead. If you would like flight suggestions or help with booking, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
ESSENTIAL TRIP NOTES
You will need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from date of entry and that you have a couple of blank pages. Please ensure the name on your booking and flight match your passport.
It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure they have the correct visa for travel. Most nationalities will need a visa to enter Russia. We will obtain your visa invitation letters from our tour partners in Russia, and you will then need to fill out an online form before going to your nearest visa processing centre to obtain your visa. We will start the visa application process approximately 3 months before travel and send out full instructions on applying via email. The process generally takes around 3 weeks, depending on how many applications the centre is having to deal with. More information for British nationals can be found on the FCO website.
You may want to take a copy of your passport and flight confirmations with you – if you lose the originals it is easier to get replacements if you have copies.
FLIGHT TICKETS AND ACCOMMODATION
Please ensure you have proof of return travel tickets and hotel accommodation to hand for arrival as you may need to present details of this.
Travel insurance is mandatory for all trips and you should carry a copy of your certificate with you when you travel. If you haven’t purchased it already, we have partnered up with Columbus Travel Insurance and you can buy your policy through us.
MONEY & COSTS
The currency in Russia is the Russian Rouble (RUB). Whenever possible, we recommend purchasing some local currency in advance of travel. Alternatively, you can take US Dollars or Euros to exchange when you arrive, or you can take cash out of ATM’s which are widely available in St Petersburg and Moscow. Credit and debit cards are also accepted at most stores, hotels and restaurants, but it’s a good idea to have some cash with you as well.
We recommend budgeting £25 – £30 a day for meals, water, drinks (not including alcohol) etc. however this is just an indicative amount and can vary from local restaurants to more western style, so you may end up spending less or more. Any souvenir shopping you wish to do would be on top of this. You will have a better idea of how much you usually spend when on holiday, so please plan accordingly.
If you feel as though you have received a good service, please reward your local guides and drivers with a tip. We recommend $4 – $5 USD per person, per day for local guides, and $2 – $3 USD per person, per day for your drivers. You can of course tip in the local currency.
If you would prefer to have your own room on this trip, the additional cost would be £250. Please let us know at the time of booking as it cannot be guaranteed closer to the time.
You will be taking a high-speed train between St Petersburg and Moscow on Day 4 of your tour. The journey takes around 4-hours and the trains themselves are very comfortable. You will need to have your passport to hand when you board the train.
The most notable drive on this trip is from St Petersburg to Catherine Palace which should take approximately 45-minutes.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
In Moscow you will get the opportunity to ride the Metro. It is undoubtedly the best way to get around Moscow because the traffic in the city is outrageous, especially during rush hour. The system is easy to use and the stations themselves are stunning works of art. Your guide will show you how to use the metro system on your first day in Moscow so that you can continue to use it on your free days.
WHAT TO PACK
- Comfortable walking shoes or trainers (there will be a lot of walking involved on this trip)
- During the Spring (MAR-MAY) and Autumn (SEP-OCT), we recommend wearing layers as it can be warmer during the day but chilly at night. During the Winter (DEC-FEB) we recommend thermals as temperatures can drop to below zero. During the Summer (JUN-AUG) lighter clothing is advised. Please also dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Adequate sun protection is travelling in the summer – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen
- Waterproof jacket always!
- Refillable water bottle with built-in filters
- Good book or music to entertain you during the train journey
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – you’re going to want to take some photos!
- Power bank
- Plug adaptors – these can be viewed via the link: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/russia/
We never recommend taking more luggage than you can personally carry as there might not always be someone on hand to help you. One suitcase, ideally that can be wheeled as you will be walking (5-minutes) from the hotel to the train station in St Petersburg, and a small day pack will be more than enough.
Whilst Japan is an incredibly safe country to visit, we recommend you don’t bring anything you won’t really need – expensive jewellery and watches are not necessary, you can leave them at home. Be vigilant always and avoid carrying large amounts of money around with you. You could invest in a money belt to go under your clothes to keep cards, money or air tickets in for extra safety.
HEALTH & MEDICAL
You should visit your doctor or travel nurse a minimum of 8 weeks before your departure date to make sure your vaccinations are all up to date. Please check the government website if you need more information.
It is not recommended to drink tap water in Russia. Although it is clean and safe for locals to drink, what you are used to at home will differ and you could end up with an upset stomach. You should keep hydrated whilst you’re out there, so make sure you always have a bottle of water with you.
If you take medication for anything or think you may need something whilst you are away, it’s better to take it with you from the UK as items may not be as readily available as they are here.
If you are travelling from a country with a risk of Yellow Fever, you will need to take a valid certificate with you to prove you have had the vaccine.
We recommend you read the travel advice for any country you are visiting ahead of your visit. This can be accessed on the FCO website.
VISITING CHURCHES & CATHEDRALS
When visiting churches and cathedrals in Russia, please dress modestly. At some religious sites, women may be required to wear a head scarf and cover up. Everyone is also expected to remove their hats before entering places of worship.