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Russian Winter Wonderland

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Discover its two great cities as it flourishes amidst flurries of winter snow

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2019 Tour code: RUW19

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Day 1 - London to Moscow

Following our flight to Moscow, we make our way to our hotel, the Marriott Tverskaya, for the first two nights of the tour. On arrival we experience a traditional Russian welcome ceremony, being presented with bread, associated with hospitality, and salt, representative of a long friendship.

  • Dinner
Kremlin, Moscow
Day 2 - Exploring Moscow

A huge, frenetic metropolis, Moscow has the largest population of any city in Europe. No other Russian city offers quite the enormous range of cultural heritage that Moscow has, having played a pivotal role in both the country's political and industrial history since the 13th century. Moscow in the winter is like a novel brought to life, and today we discover it's many delights on a full-day's sightseeing tour by coach.

These include the Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage site that lies at the very centre of the city and is arguably the most famous landmark in all of Russia. The walled citadel is home to the Russian government and every leader, from the Tsars to Stalin and the current president, has issued orders from within its walls. Today the Kremlin also serves as the offi cial residence of the country's president.

We see the iconic Red Square, home of the vast State History Museum and the final resting place of Lenin, whose remains have been carefully guarded in the square since his death in 1924.

We also pass by the Bolshoi Theatre, home to the well-known ballet company, as well as many of the city's distinctive cathedrals, the most famous of which is the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour's.

  • Breakfast
Days 3-4 - Onwards to St Petersburg

After breakfast at our hotel, we board the high-speed Sapsan train this afternoon to make the journey to Russia's former, Imperial capital - St Petersburg. The train reaches speeds of over 150mph as it darts through the vast landscapes, allowing glimpses of traditional Russian towns and villages from its windows.

This evening we arrive at our hotel, the 4-Star Helvetia Suites Hotel in St Petersburg. Located close to Nevsky Prospekt, the city's famous thoroughfare, this elegant hotel in located in a historic building dating from1828. We sit down at our hotel tonight to sample a delicious 3-course traditional menu.

On Day 4 we pay a visit to the Tsarskoye Selo or the 'Tsar's Village', the impressive estate of the former Russian royal family, whose crowning glory is the baroque style Catherine Palace and its adjacent park.

Afterwards we get a true feeling for a Russian winter with a horse-pulled troika ride through the snow-filled palace grounds. Your evening is at leisure in St Petersburg, one of Russia's best-loved cities. St Petersburg is a delight to explore, with its grand boulevards and open squares boasting a plethora of attractions and historical areas of interest. Why not enjoy dinner in one of the cities many fantastic, traditional restaurants?

  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 4 - Breakfast
Catherine Palace, St Petersburg
Day 5 - Tour of St Petersburg

Today we discover the rest of St Petersburg on a guided coach tour. Surprisingly for such a large city, the vast metropolis of St Petersburg was only developed about 300 years ago. The city developed after a defensive garrison was constructed in order to reduce the threat of Swedish attack.

After the St Peter and St Paul fortress was completed, the Tsar decided to relocate the capital here, and the glorious new city was built with an almost unlimited supply of money. The city was completed in 1712, and further flourished under the reign of Catherine the Great in the latter half of the 18th century, as she financed some splendid architecture and the arts.

After the successful 1917 revolution, Lenin moved the capital back to Moscow, and St Petersburg (now renamed Leningrad) was largely neglected. Ironically, this did much to preserve it; the city generally missed out on Soviet buildings and street planning. When communism fell in 1991, St Petersburg regained its name, and its wonderful historic centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Today this magnificent city, with its grand boulevards and open squares, is a delight to explore - boasting a wealth of historic monuments and celebrated cultural attractions. We explore these attraction today of a tour which includes the Hermitage, or Winter Palace, the Church of our Saviour of Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospect, St. Isaac's Square and the Peter and Paul Fortress, which occupies a commanding position on an island in the Neva River. This is followed by a visit to a vodka museum, where you can partake in an authentic tasting for that real Russian flavour. After warming your cockles with the local tipple, there's some time at leisure before a final group dinner at a nearby St Petersburg restaurant.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
The Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood
Day 6 - Return to London

After breakfast this morning, we transfer to St Petersburg airport where we board our flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival in London, your tour concludes.

  • Breakfast