Visit Russia's iconic capital and discover European art and architecture in St. Petersburg. Start in Moscow and explore history in the Kremlin, see the Red Square, and ride the 90-year-old-metro. Take a train to Tula to visit Leo Tolstoy's summer estate, then continue to St. Petersburg to see the world-famous Hermitage art museum, ornate Rococo palaces, and the world's largest Orthodox Cathedral.

Highlights

  • Explore iconic Moscow landmarks like the Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral 
  • See one of the world's largest art collections at the Hermitage Museum 
  • Visit the country home of famed Russian author Leo Tolstoy in Tula 
  • Explore ornate 18th-century Rococo Catherine Palace and Peterhof estate

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Welcome to Moscow Moscow
Day 2 Get to know Moscow, metro tour Moscow
Day 3 Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin Moscow
Day 4 Tula and Yasnaya Polyana Moscow
Day 5 St. Petersburg city tour, Peter and Paul Fortress St. Petersburg
Day 6 Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), river cruise St. Petersburg
Day 7 Peterhof park and the Grand Palace St. Petersburg
Day 8 Free day in St Petersburg St. Petersburg
Day 9 Departure from St.Petersburg  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Moscow

Moskva river at night
Moskva river at night

Welcome to Moscow. Transfer from the airport to your hotel to relax after your flight. After settling in, head out to get a first look at Russia's capital. 

Day 2: Get to know Moscow, metro tour

The Moscow Metro was built as an underground palace
The Moscow Metro was built as an underground palace

Start your day with a general tour of Moscow to see some of the city's highlights and most notable landmarks. Start your tour with a visit to several of the seven Stalin Sisters, built to compete with New York's skyscrapers. Continue to see the Triumphal Arch and the Church of Christ the Savior, as well as the panoramic views from Sparrow Hills and the Moscow State University. 

In the afternoon take a tour of nearly 90-year-old Moscow Metro, constructed as a showpiece and underground palace for the capital's residents. These days nearly 9 million tourists and locals use the metro for their commutes. Make sure to get out to walk around and enjoy the different styles, as each station is built in a unique artistic style. 

Day 3: Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin

View of the Kremlin across the river
View of the Kremlin across the river

In the morning, head to the city center for a visit to the Red Square, the onion-domed St. Basil's Cathedral, and a chance to see the Kremlin—the home of the Russian government—up close. This medieval fortress is one of the few in the world still functioning in its original intended purpose as a government and military center.  In the afternoon, join a tour to see inside the Kremlin walls or explore on your own. Stop inside the GUM—the government department store—located opposite the Kremlin to see a Soviet-era shopping center. 

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Day 4: Tula and Yasnaya Polyana

Tolstoy's house estate in Yasnaya Polyana
Tolstoy's house estate in Yasnaya Polyana

After breakfast take an early express train to Tula. This small city is famous for its Kremlin and for its military and literary history. After a tour of the famous author's country estate, stop by a cafe for a cup of tea from a traditional samovar—a wood-burning tea kettle—and some pryanik spiced bread. 

Day 5: St. Petersburg city tour, Peter and Paul Fortress

One of the many canals in downtown St. Petersburg
One of the many canals in downtown St. Petersburg

Get an early morning start with a 6:00 AM express train to St. Petersburg. After an easy 3.5-hour journey, check in to your hotel and head out for a day of sightseeing. 

St. Petersburg has been described as the Venice of the North and is as strikingly beautiful as it is historically significant. Visitors will find the mood here to be more extravagant and relaxed than in Moscow. Much of downtown St. Petersburg was influenced heavily by European architecture, with art and buildings inspired by Classical motifs. Paradoxically, this very European city—complete with winding canals, ornate mansions, and gilded monuments—was also home to some of Russia's most critical historical moments. From the 1917 Revolution to the World War II siege, St. Petersburg's history has shaped Russia's future. 

Your tour of the city today will include iconic highlights—from the Kazan Cathedral to the Academy of Sciences—as well as numerous cathedrals, notable buildings, and the expansive Nevsky Prospekt. 

After a break for lunch, head across the river to the imposing 1706 Peter and Paul Fortress—the city's original citadel. Tour the grounds and learn about its history a political prison and as a burial ground for Russian Tsars. 

Day 6: Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin), river cruise

Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo
Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo

Spend the morning touring the countryside estates and palaces favored by the Tsars during the 18th-20th centuries. Start at Tsarskoye Selo—The Tsar Village— so called because of the many palaces that are located there. Visit the stunning 18th-century Rococo style Catherine Palace and the ornate Amber Room

After lunch, go for a relaxed river tour of the city's many winding canals. St. Petersburg is built on 42 islands and is surrounded by a complex web of rivers, canals, channels, and a bay. You'll get great views of the 18th through 20th-century architecture from your seat in the riverboat, as well as local landmarks and famous statues. 

Day 7: Peterhof park and the Grand Palace

The main canal and fountain leading to the palace
The main canal and fountain leading to the palace

In the afternoon drive to the sprawling estate of Peterhof, which served as a summer home for the Tsar's family. Also known as Petrodvorets, this majestic and ornate palace was built to emulate the famous Versailles gardens of France. The palace, along with the adjacent gardens, gazebos, fountains, and landscaped flower beds is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Day 8: Free day in St Petersburg

Griboedov canal, St. Petersburg
Griboedov canal, St. Petersburg

Today is a free day to explore the city on your own. Spend the day touring one of the many museums and art galleries, or simply stroll around down one of the numerous canals and waterways. 

Day 9: Departure from St. Petersburg

One of the several bridges which separate each night to allow ship traffic to pass
One of the several bridges which separate each night to allow ship traffic to pass 

Depending on your flight time head out for a relaxed morning of sightseeing, then head to the airport for your flight home. 

Map

Map of History & Art in Russia - 9 Days
Map of History & Art in Russia - 9 Days