An air of aristocracy remains in St. Petersburg, Russia's former capital - remnants of an imperial legacy left behind by great tsars and tsarinas who sought to create an elegant city that would rival Europe's most magnificent cities. It's hard to believe the elegant waterways and opulent palaces you'll encounter over the next few days conceal a cityscape that was once a swamp. This evening, meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for dinner.
The tales of Romanov royalty come to life as you join a Local Specialist for an exhilarating sightseeing tour of St. Petersburg's iconic sights. See the Tsar's Winter Palace, Nevsky Prospekt and St. Isaac's Cathedral. Learn how the enduring presence of The Bronze Horseman ensures the city will never yield to enemy forces, then explore the Peter and Paul Fortress, the final resting place of the tsars and tsarinas whose magic touch can still be seen in the pastel façades of this glorious city. This afternoon, you could choose to embark on an Optional Experience to the Hermitage to see one of the largest and most valuable collections of art in the world.
What a treat! You have a full day on your own to get lost in the mystical allure of this former capital. Enjoy a leisurely start to your day and take to the streets, spending your day admiring the ornate Baroque façades that house theatres, museums and palaces. Take a stroll along Nevsky Prospekt and watch the avenue come to life from the comfort of one of its elegant cafés.
Tsar Peter the Great wasn't afraid to think big and you'll have a full free day to see how his dream of creating a city that would rival the most beautiful capitals in Europe was realised. There's no better way to explore it than taking to the waters of the Neva and cruising along the city's canals - the perfect vantage point from which to capture some of St. Petersburg's most iconic landmarks
Leave St. Petersburg behind, bound for the 'Birthplace of Russia', the ancient city of Novgorod. Here you'll delve into the legacy of the Rurik dynasty which ruled Russia for over seven centuries. You'll view the Millennium Monument, St. Sophia Cathedral and the Kremlin whose fortified red façades overlook the Volkhov River. Tonight, dinner is served at your hotel
Big and bold, Moscow towers unashamedly above other cities, claiming its rightful spot as the deserving modern-day capital of Russia. But first, pay a brief lunch visit to the Tver region. Arriving in Moscow, spend some time delving into the victories and tragedies that have shaped this magnificent city. You'll have an opportunity later to embark on an Optional Experience to visit an illuminated Red Square and Moscow's grandiose Metro stations, themselves great works of art. Here style and substance coexist effortlessly making Moscow's Metro the most beautiful subway system in the world.
Moscow oozes grandeur around every turn, from the colourful domes of St. Basil's Cathedral to the imposing Red Square - the site of grand celebrations, fierce fighting and the seat of Russian power for centuries. A Local Specialist will reveal some of its iconic sights, past the spires of St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin Walls. An Optional Experience to the heart of Moscow will take you behind the scenes of its red walls to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Ivan the Great's Bell Tower. Admire great imperial riches during your visit to the Treasure Chamber of the Russian tsars, including priceless Fabergé eggs, resplendent Imperial carriages and Catherine the Great's diamonds.
Rub shoulders with the locals this morning, immersing yourself in Moscow's vibrant kofe culture before a full day to explore the city your way. From catching a few rays in Gorky Park to shopping up a storm in GUM, one of the largest shopping centres in Europe, there's something to satisfy every interest in the Russian capital. You could choose instead to join an Optional Experience to the 14th-century Sergiyev Posad, a place of pilgrimage and the largest religious and cultural centre in Russia.
You've walked in the footsteps of Peter the Great and discovered Russia's vibrant culture, haunting history and imposing monuments on this epic encounter with two fairy-tale imperial cities. All that's left is to say a fond do svidaniya to new friends and prepare to return home. Find out more about your free airport transfer at costsavertour.com/freetransfers.