Russia has sometimes been described as a nation of two souls. Moscow represents traditional tsarist Muscovy, with its Orthodox faith and nearly 900-year history—not to mention the legacy of the authoritarian Soviet Union. St. Petersburg speaks to another side of Russia: a nation of intelligentsia, inspired by the Enlightenment. This tour provides an in-depth overview of Russia's contrasting capitals, along with the historic towns of the Golden Ring.
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Spanning two continents over millions of miles, Russia is the world's largest country by far—and this vastness is reflected in its diverse possibilities for travel. Architecture and history bring world travelers to the European side while adventurers head to Russia's eastern expanse, drawn to the natural wonders of Northern Asia. From Moscow's old-meets-new atmosphere and the cultural hotbed of St. Petersburg to the remote Siberian tundra, Russia offers many lifetimes of exploration.
When should I go?
Unless you're keen to experience the legendary Russian winter—which has a charm of its own, especially in glittering St. Petersburg—plan to visit in summer, between May and October. Nature is at its most showy and temperatures are warm, inching toward 90°F in the southern resort areas. Planning to visit in spring or fall? You may want to reconsider—March, April, and October through December all bring freezing rain (and lots of it), making sightseeing unpleasant at best.
Where should I go?
Moscow and St. Petersburg are where most travelers start, and you could spend your entire trip in just one of these cities without seeing all there is to see (more info on this below). Road trip the Golden Ring route, stopping to check out great food and golden-domed churches in eight medieval towns. Travelers with an interest in history will want to spend time at WWII-era battlefield sites in Stalingrad and Kurst and centuries-old villages like Staraya Russa.
Summer is a nice time to check out Sochi, a posh resort area on the Black Sea known as the "Russian Riviera." Or take an epic cross-country train journey on the Trans Siberian Railway—explore the lakes, peaks, and outposts of the Altai and Ural mountain ranges, learn about the region's geology, and extend your trip all the way to Mongolia or China.
How many days do I need?
With 5 days you can have a satisfying trip getting to know one of its major cities plus a day trip—or, split your time between Moscow and St. Petersburg for a quick highlights tour of both. With more than a week, you can comfortably see both cities and add visits to a medieval town in the Golden Ring, along with Novograd or Lagoda and historic battlefields. With 2 weeks, add a two-day excursion down the Volga River, stopping at off-the-beaten-path towns along the way.
Russia is sometimes described as a nation of two souls. Moscow represents old world tsarist Muscovy, with its Orthodox faith, onion domes, and thousand year history. St. Petersburg is an elegant city born from Enlightenment, aristocracy, and revolution. Discovering these two contrasting capitals is pure travel magic, and this exciting tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg will give you a taste of their compelling stories.
Spend three magical winter days in Russia's "Window to the West". With more canals than Venice and an architectural style that is distinctly European, St. Petersburg is a confluence of art, history, and music. Explore the world-renowned Hermitage Museum, lavish Catherine's Palace, and imposing Peter and Paul Fortress. See the world's largest Orthodox Cathedral and enjoy holiday shopping on the snowy Nevsky Prospekt before catching an evening ballet performance at the Mariinski Theater.
Moscow and St. Petersburg may be Russia's twin capitals, but each has a distinct spirit of its own. This tour helps you discover both cities by exploring beyond the highlights to hidden local gems. Whether this is your first time in Russia or a repeat visit, you’ll be sure to find something new and exciting on this tour.
Start in Moscow to see the iconic Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, then head to the countryside to see 16th-century wooden churches in Vladimir and Suzdal. Take an overnight train to visit 9th-century Velikiy Novgorod, then continue to European-influenced St. Petersburg for world-class art in the Hermitage and the sprawling Peterhof estate. See wooden churches in Russia's northern Karelia region before returning to Kazan to see ornate mosques and Tatar culture.
See Russia's capital cities in a 6-day highlights tour. Start in Moscow and explore the iconic Red Square, Kremlin fortress, and 90-year-old metro system. Take an express train to St. Petersburg to see Orthodox Cathedrals, the world-famous Hermitage art museum, and European-inspired gardens. Visit the sprawling Peterhof estate to see ornate fountains and an extravagant summer palace that matches Versaille's opulence.
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