Our carefully prepared logistics will move you smoothly from one city to another where you will be able to see not only museums and art collections but to feel a distinguishing atmosphere of each of these two Capital cities: a European spirit of St. Petersburg and old-Russian style of such a modern Moscow. This peculiar linking-together of opposites will definitely impress you and you will be eager to learn more about Russia.
Day 1, Moscow
Day 2, Moscow
During this big Moscow city tour you will see and enjoy the most famous and interesting attractions of the Russian capital, its avenues and squares, modern scyscrapers and its predecessors, Stalin’s «vysotki», iconic Red square and great panoramas of the Kremlin, elegant Bolshoi Theatre and the Triumphal Arch, the Novodevichiy Convent, the main building of Moscow University at the Sparrow Hill, the White House and a former KGB building at Lubyanka street, the memorial complex dedicated to the Victory in the 2nd World War on Mount Poklonnaya and much more.
You will also visit Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Russia that has a very big and challenging history. Being constructed in the 19th century, it was the main Cathedral of the Russian Empire but at Soviet times, it was demolished and rebuilt at the end of the 20th century.
Day 3, Moscow
You can’t imagine the Russian capital without iconic Red Square, St.Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. We will have a walk at the territory of the Kremlin and visit inside the ancient churches of the 15-16th centuries (The Archangel, The Assumption and the Annunciation Cathedrals), where Russian tsars were crowned, near the 81 meter high Bell Tower of Ivan the Great built in the beginning of the 16th century we will listen to its 22 famous bells. The Big Kremlin Palace, a residence of the Russian President we will see from outside. In the famous Armoury Chamber that houses a unique collection of crown jewels, stunning coronation finery, hand-forged armor and weapons, royal carriages and sleighs, and world-famous Fabergé eggs you also will have a guided tour.
Day 4, Moscow
Kolomenskoye is a former Tsar’s summer residence famous for a wooden palace of Alexei Mikhailovich (father of Peter I) and the Church of the Ascension of the Lord, the first stone tent church in Russia and one of the few surviving monuments of Ivan the Terrible era in Moscow. The temple was built on a hill at the place where, according to legend, the miraculous spring beat, so area around is considered holy. The wooden palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich which we visit inside will impress you with its interiors in Russian style with wood carving elements, traditional patterns typical for the interiors of nobility of the pre-Petrine times.
Arbat Street is located in the very center of Moscow and is one of the most famous streets of the capital. We can say that this is one of the symbols of Moscow, like the Kremlin or Red Square. It is a pedestrian street with many shops and cafes. Here you can see numerous artists depicting pedestrians, singers. There are several memorial museums of Russian writers, picturesque old mansions with interesting decoration.
The Moscow metro is famous for its unique decoration resembling real underground palaces with walls lined with marble, bronze and granite sculptures, mosaics and lamps of rare shape. By 2010, 44 stations were recognized as objects of cultural heritage. Among the most interesting and fascinating are Ploschad Revolutsii, Mayakovskaya, Novoslobodskaya, Komsomolskaya, Arbatskaya, Kievskaya, Teatralnaya, Dostoevskaya stations.
Moscow part of the tour includes
Moscow city tour
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Kremlin, territory, churches
Kremlin, the Armoury Chamber
Kolomenskoye, wooden palace and the church
Moscow metro tour
Day 5, St Petersburg
Our big city tour is the best way to know the history of St Petersburg through its gorgeous palaces and classic buildings of museums, wide avenues and granite embankments, big squares and little streets, cathedrals and drawbridges and feel the vibe of a European city in a country with two thirds of a territory lays in Asia.
We will see Nevsky Prospekt with its numerous palaces and the mighty Kazan Cathedral, admire the water panoramas of the Neva river from the Palace, Admiralty and University embankments, have a photo stops at the Palace Square, see the word famous Winter Palace, the former tsars’ residence and the Alexander’s Column and at a Spit of the Vasilyevsky island with well-known Rostral columns, heading towards the monument to Peter I, the founder of the city, the Bronze Horsman at the Senat Square. Several rivers and numerous canals cross the city and we will see Moika and Fontanka rivers, the Summer Garden, first park of the city and the mysterious Michael’s castle.
Another well-known places like the Theatre Square and the Mariinsky Theater, Arts Square and the Russian Museum, Naval Cathedral of St Nicholas, Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood and St Isaac’s square with the largest city cathedral of the same name, the battleship Aurora, symbol of the revolution will definitely impress you!
Day 6, St Petersburg
A tour to the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world, is actually a combination of two tours in one, on the one hand you will admire the masterpieces of painting and sculpture, on the other the ceremonial halls of the Winter palace, the former Tsars’ residence like the Throne room, The Nicolas hall, Field marshal’s hall, The Armorial hall, Malachite room, The White hall, Small dining room, Rutanda and many others.
The history of the Hermitage collection goes back to the times of Catherine the Great when she bought 225 paintings by Flemish and Dutch artists from the German merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky in 1764. Now among the thousands of paintings, we can distinguish the following internationally recognized masterpieces as Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Madonna Litta” and “Madonna Benoit”, Raphael’s “Madonna Connestabile” and “The Holy Family”, Caravaggio’s “Lutenist”, paintings by Titian, Murillo, El Greco and many other famous painters. Also the Hermitage is proud to have one of the world’s best collections of French paintings of the late 19th – early 20th centuries.
The Peter and Paul Fortress is famous for being the first building of St. Petersburg. It was founded on May 16, 1703 as the citadel of St. Petersburg, and this date is considered the birthday of the city. The lands where Peter the Great began to build the new capital of the Russian Empire were recently recaptured from the Swedes in the Northern War, and the fortress was supposed to protect the new city from possible attacks. The fortress is located on a small island in the Neva delta, has 6 bastions connected by brick walls 20 meters thick, and these characteristics made it very advanced for that time. For almost 300 years, Peter and Paul Cathedral standing in the center of the fortress was the highest building in the city with a 122-meter-high golden spire topped with an angel-shaped weathervane. It was the first cathedral of the new capital of Russia, and its interiors amazed people with the luxury of decoration, gilded wood carvings of the altar and crystal lamps, all this was very different from ancient Russian churches. In addition, the cathedral became the pantheon of all Russian tsars from Peter the Great to the last tsar Nicholas II.
Day 7, St Petersburg
Peterhof is the first suburban Tsar’s residence built in European style ever in Russia. Today it’s the world famous palace and parks architectural ensemble with a unique fountain system. Peter the Great founded it in 1710 after the victory over the Swedes at Poltava anticipating getting an access to the Baltic Sea as a result of the Russian victory in the Northern war. Later Peterhof was loved and cherished by many Russian Emperors and Empresses.
Nowadays Peterhof is the most popular museum in Russia due to a mix of diverse architecture represented by the Grand Palace and the smaller palaces like Monplaisir and Marli and entertainment and joy that more than 150 fountains together with a magnificent Grand Cascade bring. This man-made splendor is framed by the beauty of nature, the Upper and Lower Parks, as well as the Gulf of Finland, where the palace faces reminding us about its founder’s strive for freedom, openness and drive.
Before sharing with you details of the tour to Tsarskoe selo let us tell you a joke about the place we invite you to visit) The palace in Tsarskoe selo was built mainly by Empress Elizabeth but got a name of Catherine, wife of Peter the Great but was extremely cherished by another Catherine, a German born but very Russian by spirit Catherine the Great)
During the Northern War, these lands were conquered from the Swedes and Peter the Great presented them to his wife, the future Catherine I. She ordered to build a small palace here and it became an official tsar’s summer residence after her coronation in 1712. Under Empress Elizabeth, Peter’s daughter, the palace was seriously expanded by Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli and by 1756 acquired the look that you can admire today.
The Catherine Palace is the brightest example of Russian Baroque. It is striking that with the length of the facade of 310 meters, it does not seem monotonous. The alternation of the protruding and recessed parts of the facade, the abundance of columns, the powerful figures of atlantes, the contrast between the white stucco decorations and the azure coloring of the walls create a harmonious rhythm of the entire structure. The halls of the palace amaze with their decoration, of different styles – baroque, neoclassical, but all extremely elegant and luxurious. During the guided visit you will adore the Big throne room, White and Chevalier dining rooms, Arabesque and Lion halls, the Palace chapel with its unique Prussian blue colour opened recently after the restoration and of course the famous Amber Room, a gift from Frederick I to Peter I, consisted of amber panels with diverse ornaments was placed in the Catherine Palace and was already considered the pearl of this summer residence. Unfortunately, its interior disappeared without a trace during the Great Patriotic War and was recreated and opened to public only in 2003.
During the construction of the palace, large-scale work on the breakdown of the park continued. The upper park adjacent to the facade of the Grand Palace was made regular, the rest is a classic English landscape park, completely man-made, but creating the illusion of the natural one. After a palace tour you will walk through the parks and gardens, enjoying beautiful landscapes and water panoramas of the big ponds.
Day 8, St Petersburg
St Petersburg part of the tour includes
Big city tour
St Isaac’s Cathedral
Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood
The Hermitage museum, main building (Winter palace)
Peter&Paul’s Fortress and cathedral
Peterhoff residence, the Grand Palace (Palace of Peter I) and the Lower Park with Fountains
The tour also includes
– accommodation according to your wishes (a hotel of any category)
– a ticket to high speed train Sapsan (from Moscow to St Petersburg in 4 hours), business or economy class
This tour is one of the options how you can enjoy both capitals but it can be modified according to the number of days you have and preferences about cultural content you would like to see in Moscow and St Petersburg. Please feel free to share with us your ideas and we will do our best to prepare a tailor made itinerary for you. Thank you for choosing Nordic travel.