This trip takes you through the Russian capital cities, starting in St Petersburg with a guided tour of its main sites and cathedrals, including the Hermitage Museum, which is home to an expansive collection of world art. You'll enjoy a first-class cabin on the overnight to Moscow, then spend the next day touring the city's famous Red Square, the Kremlin Fortress, and the 90-year-old metro system. Learn about the history and culture of these two complex cities, both serving as capitals of the Russian Empire.

Highlights

  • Discover iconic Moscow highlights like St. Basil's Cathedral and the Red Square
  • Tour the Kremlin and learn about the city's government and history
  • Visit one of the world's largest art collections at the Hermitage Museum
  • Explore St Petersburg's sites in Senate Square, St Isaac's Square, and Palace Square
  • Enjoy typical Russian and Georgian food and meander trendy neighborhoods

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in St Petersburg - Explore Saint Petersburg
Day 2 Enjoy a guided tour of St Petersburg and the Hermitage Museum Saint Petersburg
Day 3 Explore the city's main cathedrals - Take an overnight train to Moscow Overnight train
Day 4 Enjoy a tour of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the metro Moscow
Day 5 Depart Moscow Moscow

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in St Petersburg - Explore

Smolny Cathedral, St. Petersburg
Smolny Cathedral, St. Petersburg

Welcome to St Petersburg!

After arriving in the city, you'll transfer to your hotel and settle into your accommodation. Your trip will include guided tours of St Petersburg, so enjoy your first few hours in the city by simply strolling by its main sites.

Mikhailovsky Garden is a good starting point and where you'll find the city's iconic landmark, the colorfully domed, 19th-century church, Savior on the Spilled Blood. From here, cross the canals and make your way toward Palace Square which is home to grand baroque architecture housing museums and palaces, including the popular Winter Palace. From across the river, you can view Peter and Paul Fortress, which is set on a small islet and founded by Peter the Great in the early 1700s. 

Wander toward St. Issac's Cathedral, a 19th-century Russian Orthodox church, where you'll find plenty of restaurants to grab some dinner. Or, if you have the energy, take the subway to the Vasilievsky Island neighborhood, which is brimming with baroque architecture and trendy pubs, cafes, and wine bars popular with the university crowd.

Day 2: Enjoy a guided tour of St Petersburg and the Hermitage Museum

Kazan Cathedral
Kazan Cathedral

Today you'll explore St Petersburg with a local guide, learning why the city is known as Russia’s "Window to the West" and the "Venice of the North".

St Petersburg represents Russia’s European side, with art and architecture inspired by classical motifs rather than traditional Russian ones. Yet, at the same time, its history includes a wide range of stories. The city was the home of the Emperors, the cradle of the 1917 Revolution, the City of the Siege, and the hometown of Putin. As your guide leads you through the main squares and sites, you'll hear these stories and slowly start to understand the city's complex character. You'll start in Senate Square, then make your way to St Isaac's Square and Palace Square. You'll visit many sites, including the Kazan Cathedral and the Academy of Sciences. As you look for a place for lunch, you can meander down the main throughway of St Petersburg, Nevsky Prospect.

After lunch, you'll visit the State Hermitage Museum, which is one of the world’s greatest art museums. Housed partly in the old Winter Palace, this is a museum where the property is just as interesting as the art on display. Founded by Catherine the Great, you'll enjoy viewing vast collections of art and relics from the city's past.

The evening is yours to continue exploring the city at your leisure. For dinner, return to Nevsky Prospect for numerous choices in restaurants, bistros, and bars; or venture to the up-and-coming neighborhood of New Holland for trendy eateries.

Plan your trip to Russia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 3: Explore the city's main cathedrals - Take an overnight train to Moscow

St. Issac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg
St. Issac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then head out to explore St Petersburg on your own. You'll have a free day to discover some of the city's main cathedrals and churches. Suggestions include:

  • St Isaac's Cathedral. This is arguably St Petersburg's iconic church, constructed in 1818 with a gold-plated dome, colonnade entrance, and colorful interior.

  • Kazan Cathedral. Channeling Vatican vibes with a crescent-shaped colonnade entrance, this is considered the mother cathedral of the city.

  • Church of Savior on Spilt Blood. You'll recognize this church right away, with its colorfully-pattered onion domes. It's an old, Russian-style church built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was murdered in 1881.

In the afternoon, grab lunch at a typical Georgian restaurant. Georgian cuisine is delicious and everywhere in Russia, a forever favorite with the locals and a must-try for visitors.

In the evening, you'll transfer to the railway station and settle into an overnight train. Enjoy your first-class cabin as you sway through the night toward Russia's capital city, Moscow.

Day 4: Enjoy a tour of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and the metro

Views of the Kremlin in Red Square
Views of the Kremlin in Red Square

After settling into your accommodation in Moscow, it's time to explore the Russian capital. You'll start your day with a general tour of the city, visiting some of its best-known streets and sites along the way. You’ll see the so-called Stalin Sisters, which were built to compete with New York’s skyscrapers, as well as the Triumphal Arch and the Church of Christ the Savior. You'll then visit the New Maidens Convent, Sparrow Hills, Moscow State University, and Luzhniki Stadium

After lunch, your local guide will help you explore all the sites that are congested in Red Square, starting with views of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin from across the river. You'll enjoy a guided tour of the Kremlin, one of the world’s very few medieval fortresses that still function in its original intended purpose as a center of government, a seat of religious authority, a military base, and an expression of raw power.

Afterward, you'll visit the Moscow metro. Construction began under Stalin in the 1930s and was intended to be a showpiece, acting as an underground palace for the people. Today, nearly 9 million people use it on peak days. You'll explore some of these magnificent stations while getting an important taste of everyday life for commuters and city workers.

In the late afternoon, you'll have free time to continue exploring the city on your own or to return to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Day 5: Depart Moscow

Grand Palace in Tsaritsyno Park
Grand Palace in Tsaritsyno Park

Enjoy your final morning in Russia with a leisurely breakfast at your hotel and one last stroll through the Red Square. You'll transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight.