DAY 1, August 07, 2020 | Moscow
Upon arrival to Moscow airport, you will be met and privately transferred to the hotel for check-in. After some leisure time, enjoy your welcome dinner at Café Pushkin. Centrally located close to the famous Tverskaya Street and housed over 3 floors, this café & restaurant never fails to impress. It is designed to evoke the ambience of a 19th century mansion. Each floor is unique, with the main dining room set amongst a splendid library room replete with telescopes, old globes, and bookshelves housing antique tomes. The menu features a long list of classic Russian and French dishes, in addition to a good choice of Vodkas.
DAY 2, August 08, 2020 | Moscow
This morning, explore the famed Red Square and surrounding area. Admire its prominent landmark - St. Basil's cathedral, a colorful multi-domed complex—it is rumored that Ivan the Tyrannical blinded his architects so that they could never recreate such splendor again. Next, visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of Russia's most important cathedrals, which was destroyed in Stalin's time and restored in 1990. End your morning tour with a metro ride. Considered to be the most beautiful in the world, Moscow’s metro system is a must-see during your stay in this fascinating city. Its unique stations are elegantly decorated with chandeliers, vivid mosaics, paintings, and bronze statues.
This afternoon’s inspirational sightseeing also takes in the highlights of the world's best collection of Russian icons and pre-Revolutionary Russian art. Your private guide will accompany you to the eye-catching Tretyakov Gallery and its more than 100,000 outstanding works of art. Enjoy lunch at the Brother Tretyakov restaurant at the Tretyakov Gallery. After your tour of Tretyakov Gallery, music lovers will delight in a special choir concert by one of the oldest professional choirs in Russia. Founded in Moscow in 1721, the Moscow Choir is steeped in history.
Return to the hotel for some time at leisure. In the evening, enjoy the ballet performance at the Historic stage of the Bolshoi theatre.
DAY 3, August 09, 2020 | Moscow
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby for your visit to the Kremlin. Start the tour with the great collection of the Armory museum. The extraordinary State Armory is the oldest museum in Russia and home to a vast collection of precious stones, 18th and 19th century jewellery, and other priceless artifacts dating as far back as the 14th century. It is also home to an impressive selection of carriages from the best Russian and European masters, precious fabrics, royal gala clothes, and a fine collection of Faberge eggs. Afterwards, visit two of the Kremlin's cathedrals: Assumption, the cathedral of coronations and the burial place of religious leaders, and Archangel, the royal burial church.
Enjoy lunch at the Vysota 5642 restaurant by Arkady Novikov. Chef Novikov was the first to bring authentic Circassian cuisine to Moscow. Afterwards, see the Novodevichy convent and cemetery, the final resting place of Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and other famous names.
Proceed to see other famous sights in Moscow: the observation platform on the Sparrow Hills, 1941-1945 memorial complex on the Bowing hill, and others.
Return to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
DAY 4, August 10, 2020 | Moscow
Start your day with a visit to the Grand Kremlin Palace of the Kremlin. Originally built as the royal palace in Moscow for Nicholas I, the Grand Kremlin Palace is now used by the government to entertain foreign dignitaries and is closed to the public. After, enjoy lunch at leisure at one of the famous Farmers Markets in Moscow.
In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to visit a former top-secret Soviet command post, known simply as GO-42, which now houses Moscow’s Cold War Museum. In the event of global nuclear war, it would have been one of the main command posts of the Soviet government. GO-42 is located 60 meters (the equivalent of 18 floors) underground in the historical center of Moscow, and its entrance is concealed in a building designed to blend in with its surrounding nineteenth-century neighbours. Your excursion leads you through the secret tunnels of the building and gives you an exclusive opportunity to become familiar with Soviet armament and communication facilities of the Cold War.
During the tour, meet Pavel Palazhchenko for a talk on the Cold War, Perestroyka, and Modern Life in Russia. He was a high-level Soviet conference interpreter and principal English interpreter for Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze from 1985 to 1991. As one of the leading interpreters of his time, Palazhchenko participated in all US-Soviet summit talks leading to the end of the Cold War. He is the author of a personal and political memoir, “My Years with Gorbachev and Shevardnadze: The Memoir of a Soviet Interpreter.” After becoming a long-time associate and aide to Mikhail Gorbachev for several years, Palazhchenko eventually became the head of the International Non-governmental Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (or The Gorbachev Foundation), where he also functioned as an analyst, spokesperson, interpreter, and translator.
In the evening, enjoy dinner at the Fahrenheit restaurant. Chef Anton Kovalkov has worked with some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Alinea Chicago (3 Michelin stars), Eleven Madison Park New York (3 Michelin stars). Kovalkov only uses the best of local and seasonal products.
DAY 5, August 11, 2020 | Moscow – St. Petersburg
This morning, you will be transferred to Moscow railway station to begin your journey. Here you will be shown to your pre-reserved seating and your luggage will be placed on board for you. The train departs Moscow at 09:20. Upon arrival at St. Petersburg railway station, you will be met at the door of the train by your local English Speaking guide and your luggage will be collected for you.
Enjoy lunch at Korushka restaurant. Apart from an interesting menu, it offers guests a magnificent view of the Old St. Petersburg Rostral Columns and Palace Embankment.
After lunch, visit the nearby Peter & Paul fortress, which Peter the Great built in 1703 to provide protection from the Swedes. The Fortress Cathedral is the burial place of most of Russia's Tsars and Tsarinas from the 18th century onwards, including Peter the Great himself, the great architect of St. Petersburg.
Walk to the pier of the fortress to experience St. Petersburg in the manner Peter the Great intended with a one-hour private journey on a canal boat. When establishing the "Venice of the North" on forty-two islands within the River Neva's complex delta, he envisioned the river to be the main thoroughfare of the city. Your cruise allows you to gain a unique perspective of the city.
Travel to the hotel for check-in. Enjoy rest of the day at the leisure.
DAY 6, August 12, 2020 | St. Petersburg
With an expert guide by your side, experience the awe-inspiring Hermitage, one of the most famous museums in the world and housed in the lavishly decorated Winter Palace. The Hermitage occupies six magnificent buildings and houses 3 million pieces of artwork from the Stone Age to modern times. The museum was commissioned by Catherine the Great, and she and her successors built the Hermitage collection mostly with purchases from the private collections of Western European aristocracy and monarchy. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was heir to the greatest collection of art in Europe. The whole museum complex was bombarded during the siege of Leningrad in WWII, but re-opened to the public in 1945.
Enjoy lunch at Harvest restaurant which entered the world best 50 restaurants in 2019.
In the afternoon visit the Faberge museum. Founded by Russia's fourth richest businessman and billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a new Faberge museum was opened in St. Petersburg to display a glittering collection of Faberge eggs as well as about 4,000 jeweled objects. Vekselberg's collection of Faberge objects is rated as one of the world's most valuable. The estimated value of his art collection amounts $850 million.
Enjoy dinner at Dom restaurant, with a location in the very heart of St. Petersburg and a view of Isaac’s Square and the Moika River. The chef’s unique approach to the traditions of Russian cuisine and local seasonal products comprises the mouth-watering menu.
DAY 7, August 13, 2020 | St. Petersburg
Today, you will head south out of the city with your expert guide to Tsarskoe Selo (“the Tsar's village”), more commonly known as Pushkin. Peter the Great gave the estate to his wife Catherine, who started to develop the royal country residence, but it was her daughter Empress Elizabeth who was largely responsible for the construction of the beautiful Catherine's Palace. Set in landscaped parkland, one of the baroque palace's highlights is the famous Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. There are numerous other architectural delights, such as the Hermitage Pavilion and the neoclassical Alexander Palace, the favorite residence of Tsar Nicholas II.
Enjoy an Italian-style lunch at Giacomo restaurant in Pushkin.
Afterwards, you can visit St Isaac's Cathedral, whose gilded dome dominates the city skyline. The cathedral's construction began in 1818 and was not completed until 1858. Sculptures and massive red granite columns ornament the façade, while the interior is even more lavishly decorated with mosaics, icons and columns of malachite and lapis lazuli.
Optionally, you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea (further details to come) at the home of a well-known artist, Yuri Petrochenkov, who will be delighted to show you his wonderful collection of portraits, icons, antique furniture and other unique pieces of Russian art. Yuri is perhaps best known for his exquisite porcelain eggs, two of which have been bought by Malcolm Forbes for his collection of Faberge Eggs. During your afternoon tea, Yuri and his wife, Nelly, will entertain you with many stories about this intriguing country
Enjoy evening and dinner at leisure.
DAY 8, August 14, 2020 | St. Petersburg
Travel this morning to Peterhof and the great summer estate of Peter the Great, nestled on the Gulf of Finland’s shores. After his victory over the Swedes at Poltava in 1709, Peter decided to build a palace "befitting of the very highest of monarchs.” A visit to Versailles in 1717 furthered these ambitions. Over 5000 laborers, serfs, and soldiers were employed in the creation of this magnificent estate that was officially opened in 1723. Take a stroll around the park, which features numerous palaces, summer houses, and pavilions; a prominent highlight is the Grand Cascade, a delightful sequence of 37 gilded bronze sculptures, 64 fountains, and 142 water jets descending from the terraces of the Great Palace to the Marine Canal and the sea.
Afterwards, you will be whisked back to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil. Then, enjoy lunch at Repa restaurant.
In the afternoon chose one of the options:
Visit the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (more familiarly known as the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood), a superb example of Russian architecture and decorative art from the end of the nineteenth century. The church was built on the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in 1881, hence the more commonly used name. Marvel at its stunning interior and exterior, both richly adorned with stunning mosaics, precious stones, enamel, and colored tiles – true to the style of the age of the Muscovite Tsars of the seventeenth century. The icon-cases and canopy are not to be missed, as they are rare examples of jewelry work and masonry.
Alternatively, visit the famous collections of the Hermitage Museum that are now housed in the General Staff Building, one of the city’s most famous architectural monuments. Designed by the architect K. I. Rossi and built in the 1820s, the building houses collections of Russian and European decorative art and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition includes world-famous paintings, such as Pissarro’s Boulevard Montmartre and Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, as well as collections of famous Impressionist and post-Impressionist art works by the likes of Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, and Gauguin. Visitors more inclined to modern art enjoy a collection featuring Matisse, Derain, and Picasso.
Return to the hotel for some time at leisure.
In the evening have a Farewell dinner at Tsar Restaurant. The restaurant is one of few where the delicacies of traditional Russian cuisine are served. This restaurant, like Café Pushkin in Moscow, is one of the best places to try the traditional Russian cuisine. The historic interiors of the building have remained untouched and were restored in detail.
DAY 9, August 15, 2020 | St. Petersburg
Transfer to the airport to board your departure flight.