Highlights of Western Russia
Saturday, July 17, 2021 - Saturday, July 31, 2021
Russia is a country that has fascinated travellers ever since the Englishman Richard Chancellor landed there in the 16th century and met with the Tsar Ivan the Terrible. This wonderful Itinerary gives you the chance for an in-depth look at many of the cities, towns and villages that have been drawing travellers to this part of the world for more than 500 years. Your trip will take you from the opulence of romantic St. Petersburg through medieval Pskov, one of the oldest towns in Russia, to Novgorod, the once capital of the Russian State. With an overnight train you will continue to the “Golden Ring”, a group of historic cities located northeast of Moscow which have played a major role in Russian history, including Vladimir, Suzdal and Yaroslavl. Your trip concludes, Moscow, once home of the Tsars and Tsarinas, and one of the world’s truly great cities.
Itinerary (click day to see full itinerary)
Airport Transfers – Complimentary airport transfers depart St. Petersburg Pulkovo airport at 09:00, 12:00 & 15.00
Welcome Dinner & Canal Cruise – This evening you will meet your Travel Director to cruise through the canals and rivers, lined with 18th and 19th century palaces, and onto your Welcome Dinner in a local restaurant to get acquainted with your travellers.
Guided Visit – with a local guide your sightseeing of St. Petersburg will include a stop at the spectacular The Church of Our Saviour of the Spilled Blood, St. Isaacs Cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt and Senate Square.
Guided Visit – You will finish your sightseeing with a guided visit to the Peter & Paul fortress to see the final resting place of most Russian Tsars.
Guided visit – with a local guide you head to Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) to visit one Russia’s greatest monuments, the Catherine Palace. Your visit will include, amongst other things, the Main Staircase, Great Hall, White Formal Dining Room and of course the UNESCO listed Amber Room.
Restaurant Dinner – Tonight, you have a reservation in the Vodka Rooms No. 1 for a dinner in one of the cities iconic restaurants.
Guided Visit – with a local guide you take the hydrofoil to Petrodvorets to visit the gardens and fountains of the Peterhof Palace. Built by Peter the Great, and is considered by many to be one of the most impressive gardens in Europe highlighted.
Free time – The rest of the afternoon is free to explore this wonderful city.
Ballet Performance – Tonight, you have tickets at the Mikailovsky Theatre to see a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Guided Visit – with a local expert you will visit the Hermitage Museum, an essential stop on any St. Petersburg itinerary. Began by Catherine the Great in 1764, the museum today holds more than 3 million works including Rembrandt, Rubens, Da Vinci, Raphael, El Greco, Van Gogh and Matisse to name a few.
Train – This afternoon you board your train to Pskov, your home for the next two nights.
Guided visit – with a local guide you will visit to the Pskovian Kremlin with its wonderfully romantic location on the High Cape, where the Pskov river flows into the Velikaya river. Considered to be one of the largest fortresses in Europe, you will see Vlasyevskaya tower, Rybnitskaya tower and the Trinity Cathedral with its origins dating back to the 10th century.
Guided visit – with a local guide you visit the UNESCO Mirozhsky Monastery to see some of the oldest surviving frescos in Russia which date back to the Christianization of Russian lands in the 11th century.
Guided visit – with a local guide visit the Pogankiny Palaty, constructed in the 17th century by one of the city’s richest men, to visit its wonderful collection of fine art, medieval silverware, rare weapons and ancient icons.
Free time – The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to wander this most ancient town and maybe try some local dishes like its local flavours such as its famed Pskov Fish Soup or rye vodka infused with hemp.
Visit – This morning you visit Pechory to see its 16th century fortress as well as the cave churches of the Holy Dormition Pskov Cave monastery, one of the few religious centres not to be closed during WWII or the Soviet regime.
Visit – Visit the town of Izborsk, one of the oldest settlements in Russia, to see it’s 14th century fortress, one of the most ancient and impressive in Russia
Guided visit – with a local guide you visit the Novgorod Kremlin where you see the Cathedral of Holy Wisdom, the Monument to the Thousand Years of Russia as well as the Eternal Flame of Glory, a memorial the soldiers of the German-Soviet war. You will then continue to St. Sophia Cathedral before finishing with the UNESCO listed Chamber of Facets.
Free Time – The rest of the afternoon is free to explore this wonderful city.
Dinner – Tonight we have a 3-course dinner in a local restaurant.
Train – After dinner we board our overnight train to Vladimir
Guided visit – Our local guide shows us Vladimir, the Russian capital of the 12th & 13 centuries, to visit the UNESCO Golden Gate, Assumption cathedral to see the works of Andrey Rubliov and a visit to the Vladimir Museum.
Restaurant Lunch – a 3-course lunch in a local Restaurant
Visit – Bogolubovo to see the Church of the Intersession of the River Nerl
Home Hosted Dinner – tonight you dine with a local Russian family in their private house
Guided visit – with a local guide visit the open air to the Wooden Architecture Museum, a collection of wooden constructions including peasant houses, churches and mills which have been collected from the Vladimir region.
Guided visit – with a local guide see the 10th century UNESCO Suzdal Kremlin highlighted with a visit to the Cathedral of the Nativity and the Holy Cross Museum.
Guided visit – with a local guide visit the UNESCO St. Euphimius Monastery which for 250 years served as a prison and ‘political isolator’ for the Russian state.
Guided visit – this afternoon you visit the Dymov ceramics factory which includes a tour of the factory as well as a masterclass in ceramic painting with a local artist.
Restaurant Lunch – enjoy a 3-couse lunch in a local restaurant in Kostroma.
Guided visit – with a local guide visit the town of Kostroma, beautifully located on the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma river. Your sightseeing includes stops at the Susanina Square with its imposing Fire Tower, the merchant arcades of Gostiny Dvor as well as a visit to the 13th century Ipatievsky Monastery.
Restaurant Dinner – enjoy a wonderful 3-course dinner in local restaurant featuring dishes from the Yaroslavl Oblast region.
Guided visit – with a local guide you visit the city of Yaroslavl including highlighted with a stop at the Monastery of the Transfiguration of or Saviour, one of Russia’s best and most impressive fortified monasteries in Russia.
River Cruise – today we enjoy a one hour and thirty minute cruise on the Volga river, Europes longest, to admire the Yaroslvl skyline created primarily by Catherine the Great.
Restaurant Lunch – enjoy a wonderful lunch on board your Volga cruise.
Free Time – the rest of the afternoon and evening is free to explore.
Train – today you board your train for Moscow.
Guided Visit – with your local guide you begin your sightseeing of Moscow with a visit to Old Arbat St as well as stops at Sparrow Hills, Newmaiden Nunnery and St. Saviour’s Cathedral
Guided Visit – with a local guide visit Red Square including the colourful onion-shaped domes of St Basils Cathedral, the elegant stores of the GUM department store & Lenin’s Mausoleum
Guided Visit – with a local guide explore the Moscow metro, one of the oldest in the world and considered by many to be a museum in itself. Your visit includes several stops at some of its more iconic stations, many of which are decorated with marble, mosaics, statues and frescos.
Guided visit – with a local guide visit the grounds of the Kremlin, enclosed by the Kremlin walls and towers, our visit will included its palaces, cathedral as well as the Tsar’s Bell and Canon. The highlight is a visit to Armoury to see its collection of imperial crowns, thrones, carriages, weapons and jewellery … and of course the famed Faberge Eggs.
Free Time – the entire day is at leisure to do as you please, perhaps a walk to Gorky Park, Alexander Gardens of the Kremlin or a visit to one of the cities museums.
Farewell Dinner – tonight you will enjoy a wonderful dinner in a local restaurant to say goodbye to new found friends. After dinner you will visit Red Square to see the square along with the Moscow Kremlin and St. Basil’s Cathedral wonderfully illuminated.
Airport Transfers – Complimentary airport transfers will arrive at airport at:
Sheremetyevo Airport at 05:00, 09:00 & 13:00
Domodedovo Airport at 05:00. 09:00 & 13:00
What is included
- 14-nights in 4/5 star accommodation located centrally and conveniently
- 14 buffet breakfasts
- Included airport arrival & departure transfers
- 8 included 3-course dinner with 2 drinks
- 3 included lunches in smaller villages
- Included visits to Peter & Paul Fortress, Catherine Palace, Peterhof Gardens, Hermitage Museum, Pogankiny Palce, Vladimir Golden Gate, Suzdal Wooden Architecture Museum, Moscow Kremlin and Imperial Armoury
- Guided sightseeing in St. Petersburg, pskov, Novgorod, Vladimir, Suzdal, Kostroma, Yaroslavl & Moscow
- Tickets to the Ballet in St. Petersburg
From the man in the front seat
Having made many trips to Russia over the years I have been constantly surprised that so many itineraries concentrated on just St. Petersburg and Moscow. Western Russia has so much more to offer. From the border town of Pskov and the ancient capital of Novgorod to the great cities of the “Golden Ring” such as Yaroslavl, Vladimir and Suzdal. As a result, I decided to create an itinerary which incorporates all these wonderful places in a detailed as well as relaxed manner. There are a few points to note:
This trip, like all Vacations BWD, does not have any optional excursions. Everything I believe should be included is, including Catherine Palace, Armoury and a performance of the Russian Ballet to name a few.
- All accommodation is 4/5 star with an emphasis placed on location to allow you to maximise your free time.
- Several dinners in local restaurants are also included to try local dishes, cooked and prepared by locals. Places should not just be seen, they should be tasted also.
- I have included several train journeys, one of the overnight, to vary your mode of travel as well as provide a different perspective to the Russian countryside.
- The group size is limited to 28, to allow your trip to flow more freely wit easier hotel check-ins, guided visits, luggage service, meals etc.
- I have also included a lot of free time to either explore on your own or simply rest and recharge the batteries.
- I have no doubt you will enjoy this wonderful journey to not only see Russia but to experience, and later understand it.