17 January 2017
This seven-night tour takes in the very best of Russia's two most spectacular cities. You'll see all the iconic sights, while the knowledgeable guides capture your imagination with stories of their dramatic history.
Your holiday begins with a short tour of the city en route to your hotel.
After breakfast you'll head to the iconic Kremlin for a guided tour of the complex, including its spectacular 15th-century cathedrals, bell tower, Patriach’s Palace, Grand Kremlin Palace and Armoury museum. Highlights here include the 17th-century throne of Alexey Romanov, decorated with 900 diamonds, and the famous Faberge eggs. In the afternoon you'll visit Izmaylovo market, famous for its handicrafts, especially matryoshka dolls, porcelain and glass – a great chance to buy gifts and souvenirs. You'll travel there by Metro, giving you the opportunity to admire the grand 1930s architecture of the stations along the way.
This morning you'll visit Red Square and learn the pivotal role it has played in Russian history for over 500 years, as well as admiring the magnificent architecture, including St Basil’s cathedral, commissioned in 1552 by Ivan the Terrible. Legend has it that the architect was later blinded so that he could never create such beauty again. You'll also visit Sparrow Hills to admire the panoramic city views. In the afternoon you'll visit the famous Tretyakov gallery, home to one of the finest collections of pre-Revolutionary Russian art and icons.
After a free morning of sightseeing, shopping or just relaxing in Moscow you'll drive to the railway station to catch the fast train to St Petersburg for the second part of your tour.
The morning begins with a visit to Peter and Paul’s fortress, the oldest building in St Petersburg, dating back to the reign of Peter the Great. It stands on a small island at the centre of the Neva delta. You'll hear stories of the many famous prisoners held here over the years, then visit the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, burial place of Russia’s pre-Revolutionary leaders. Next stop is the Hermitage, the world's largest museum and home to over three million exhibits – don't worry if that sounds overwhelming, as the guide will help you seek out the most interesting and significant.
Today you'll head to the suburbs to visit the sumptuous Tsar Village, summer residence of the Russian rulers. You'll tour the elegant Catherine Palace, named after Peter the Great's second wife, and have time to relax amid its pavilions, lakes and gardens.
Today you're at leisure to explore St Petersburg yourself. Perhaps pay a visit to one of the many palaces, or just stroll along the streets to admire the architecture and the picturesque bridges over canals which have given the city the nickname "Northern Venice".
Today the tour comes to an end, so it's time to head for home, or perhaps you'll choose to stay on for a few days to see more of this beautiful city.
5* Hotel Accommodation fr £1197pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated