Get a crash course in Russia's multi-faceted identity and history on this tour of its two capitals, Moscow and St. Petersburg. This highlights tour will take you to the places you've read about in the books, as well as those known only to locals. Tour the medieval fortress of the Kremlin, view world-famous art in the ornate halls of the Hermitage Museum, shop like a local at GUM and the Eliseevsky Supermarket, and more.

Highlights

  • Enter the Kremlin, home to tsars and emperors, commissars and patriarchs
  • Marvel at one of the world’s greatest art collections at the Hermitage Museum
  • Take a sunset river cruise through St. Petersburg's channels
  • Enjoy shopping in the legendary GUM department store and Eliseevsky supermarket

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Land in Moscow - Explore the City Moscow
Day 2 Tour the Kremlin, Moscow's Medieval Fortress and Seat of Power Moscow
Day 3 Solo Exploration of Moscow - Overnight Train to St. Petersburg Overnight train
Day 4 Tour of St. Petersburg - Visit to the Hermitage Museum - Private River Boat Cruise Saint Petersburg
Day 5 Explore St. Petersburg on Your Own - Depart St. Petersburg Saint Petersburg

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Land in Moscow - Explore the City

A world of color in Moscow's Red Square
A world of color in Moscow's Red Square

Welcome to Russia! We will pick you up at the airport to transfer you to your hotel, where you can settle in and relax before exploring Moscow, the multicultural capital of Russia known for its rich history, architecture, culture, and cuisine.

This is a day to take in Moscow on your own but note that if available, you have the option of seeing a ballet performance at the legendary Bolshoi Theater.

Suggested activities include:

  • Sample a delicious local dish such as blini (thin pancake), borscht (beet soup), or pelmeni (dumplings), the national dish of Russia.
  • Stroll through the Hermitage Gardens, where you can peruse a variety of craft and food stands.
  • View Moscow from a new perspective on a boat cruise down the Moskva River.

Day 2: Tour the Kremlin, Moscow's Medieval Fortress and Seat of Power

The Kremlin lights up at night
The Kremlin lights up at night

Discover the heart of Moscow's history and governmental power today as you take a tour of Kremlin. This is one of the world's few medieval fortresses that still functions with its original intended purpose as a center of government, a seat of religious authority, and a military base. 

Your tour will include a trip to the 16th-century Armoury, which is one of the oldest museums in Moscow and houses the Diamond Fund, where you can see a unique collection of jewels, gems, and nuggets.

Enjoy a lunch and coffee break before spending some time shopping at GUM, Russia's most famous department store, located in Red Square. Afterward, wander the Red Square, where you can see some of Moscow's unforgettable landmarks: St. Basil's Cathedral, the State Historical Building, and the Spasskaya Tower. Head back to your hotel to relax and enjoy an evening out on the town.

Plan your trip to Russia
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 3: Solo Exploration of Moscow - Overnight Train to St. Petersburg

Moscow at night
Moscow at night

Enjoy your last full day in Moscow as you get the chance to explore the city on your own. Visit any remaining landmarks before taking the late-night Grand Express luxury train to St. Petersburg. This train is like a railway hotel, where you can relax for nine hours with delicious meals, high-speed internet, and digital TV available for passengers.

Suggested activities include:

  • Walk through Zaryadye Park, located in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, right next to the Red Square. Take in the spectacular views of the Kremlin and old city center and venture out over Moscow on an innovative flying bridge.
  • Get lost in the aisles of the palatial Eliseevsky Supermarket, which has stood for over 100 years in a Neo-Baroque mansion. This is an "only in Russia" experience, where you can get groceries and souvenirs in this stunning example of ornate, detailed architecture.
  • Wander along Tverskaya Street, the main artery of Moscow's heart, where you can stop at any number of cafes, restaurants, or bars. Branch off to see Theater Square, home of the Bolshoi Theater.

Day 4: Tour of St. Petersburg - Visit to the Hermitage Museum - Private River Boat Cruise

Panoramic view from the roof of St. Isaac's Cathedral
Panoramic view from the roof of St. Isaac's Cathedral

Today is your day to experience the highlights of St. Petersburg, Russia's history-filled northern capital that is often called the "Window to the West." European influences abound in this city, which differs in many ways from Moscow, and you can experience them as you learn about the history of St. Petersburg, which is home of the Emperors, Putin, and the 1917 Revolution.

The first part of the day will take you on a general tour to see the highlights of St. Petersburg: Senate Square, St. Isaac Square and Palace Square, Nevski Prospekt, and the Smolny Institute. After lunch, you will visit the Hermitage, the second-largest art museum in the world. The building itself is as impressive as the art collection, as the Hermitage is housed partly in the old Winter Palace

In the evening, settle in on a private sunset river cruise, where you can admire the city's classical architecture as you float along its network of canals. If you're interested in a night river cruise to see the drawbridge, that can be arranged as well. You'll be taken back to your hotel after the river cruise so you can spend the night exploring the city on your own.

Day 5: Explore St. Petersburg on Your Own - Depart St. Petersburg

Magical light on the Kazan Cathedral
Magical light on the Kazan Cathedral

It's your last day in St. Petersburg, so enjoy some free time before you're transferred to the airport to catch your departing flight. 

Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Fabergé Museum, where you can see an extensive collection of decorative applied and fine arts, as well as the nine imperial Fabergé eggs, which were made for the last two Russian Tsars.
  • Walk along Nevsky Avenue to buy any last-minute unique Russian gifts and treats and stop for lunch at a Georgian restaurant.
  • Explore St. Petersburg's iconic churches: the Kazan Cathedral, home church of the Russian military; the Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood, built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was murdered in 1881; and St. Isaak's Church, the largest Orthodox Cathedral in the world.