Canal Cruise, Private Caviar & Vodka Tasting
Arrive in St. Petersburg, where the magic of this beautiful city is about to unfold. Proceed through customs and passport control. You are met by your English-speaking local guide, who accompanies you to your sumptuous hotel and handles all check-in details. The exclusive, historic St. Petersburg Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace sits within the walls of a 19th-century royal palace. After time to refresh, experience this spectacular “Venice of the north” the way Peter the Great intended, with a private sail on a sparkling canal. Peter envisaged the river as the city’s main thoroughfare and you gain a perspective of the magnificent palaces and rich, evocative buildings not observed from the streets. Back at the hotel, begin your Russian culinary discovery with a private caviar and vodka tasting at Xander, one of the city’s most sophisticated and exclusive bars. In the company of a caviar sommelier, try three different types of caviar complemented by traditional Russian condiments while sipping a glass of Champagne or a premium Russian vodka. Dine with your fellow guests at your hotel this evening.
Fabergé Museum & Swan Lake
After a delicious breakfast, begin your day with a drive through the historic city center, passing the iconic Nevsky Prospect, Palace Square, the Winter Palace, Admiralty and Vasilevsky Island. Stop at the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, a superb example of Russian architecture and decorative art from the end of the 19th century. Marvel at its stunning interior and exterior, richly adorned with gorgeous mosaics, precious stones, enamel and colored tiles. Enjoy a short, private performance by a children’s choir inside the church. Continue to the Fabergé Museum, opened exclusively for you, and admire its stunning treasures with your expert guides. Founded by entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg, the museum opened in December 2013 to display a glittering collection of Fabergé eggs and objets d’art created by Peter Carl Fabergé and his contemporaries. During your private visit, enjoy a special performance of a short piece from Swan Lake ballet by artists from the Mariinsky Theater. Pause for a lunch of Russian and Georgian specialties at stylish Koryushka Restaurant on the grounds of Peter & Paul Fortress. Afterward, you may wish to visit the fortress, which Peter built in 1703 to provide protection from the Swedes. The Fortress Cathedral is the burial place of most of Russia's tsars and tsarinas from the 18th century onward, including Peter the Great himself. Alternatively, you might wish to return to the hotel to rest or to explore the city on your own before attending a ballet at the world-famous Mariinsky Theater. One of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, it has hosted extraordinary talent, including Marius Petipa, Matilda Kshesinskaya, Anna Pavlova and Rudolf Nureyev. Cocktails and dinner follow at the exclusive rooftop bar L’ Terrasa, located on the sixth floor of the nearby Lotte Hotel. Enjoy magnificent views of St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
Peterhof, the Hermitage & Scarlet Sails Festival
This morning takes you out of the city to Peterhof and the great summer estate of Peter the Great, nestled on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. More than 5,000 laborers, serfs and soldiers were employed to create this magnificent estate, officially opened in 1723. The park features numerous palaces, summer houses and pavilions; a prominent highlight is the Grand Cascade, a sequence of 37 gilded bronze sculptures, 64 fountains and 142 water jets descending from the terraces of the Great Palace to the sea. After your visit, board a private yacht and enjoy a leisurely sail back to St. Petersburg with a light lunch on board. Back in the city, you may choose to luxuriate in the hotel’s four-level spa or take a brief, guided tour of the superb Impressionist collection at the Hermitage. See more of the Hermitage this evening, when the museum opens its doors for a private, after-hours discovery of an awe-inspiring collection of Western European art. The Hermitage was commissioned by Catherine the Great, and she and her successors amassed nearly three million pieces of art predominately from purchases of the private collections of the Western European aristocracy and monarchy. By the time Nicholas II ascended the throne in 1894, he was heir to the greatest collection of art in Europe. An a la carte dinner follows at the stylish Mansarda Restaurant, located on the sixth floor of the refurbished historical house of Count Shuvalov, an influential Russian statesman and advisor to Tsar Alexander II. You then enjoy cocktails and canapes in the Palace of Grand Duke Vladimir, a magnificent historical palace facing the Neva River. A highlight of your visit is a concert of classical chamber music performed by soloists of the Mariinsky Theater and young talent of St. Petersburg. The evening culminates with spectacular fireworks right outside the palace. Your private, spacious balcony is the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the Scarlet Sails Festival of Fireworks, the most famous public event of the White Nights Festival.
Pushkin & the Alexander Palace
This morning, head out of the city to Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar's Village), more commonly known as Pushkin. Peter the Great gave the estate to his wife Catherine, who started to develop the royal country residence, but it was her daughter Empress Elizabeth who was largely responsible for the construction of the magnificent palace. Set on a landscaped park, one of the Baroque palace’s highlights is the famous Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. Enjoy a light lunch at Jacomo restaurant before continuing to nearby Alexander Palace, where you are led on a private tour by Alexey Leporc, museum curator and expert on the Romanov dynasty. The Alexander Palace is a former imperial residence and initial place of imprisonment of the last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family after the revolution of 1917. Return to St. Petersburg by helicopter and enjoy the remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. This evening, gather for an elegant a la carte dinner at the Percorso Restaurant, and raise a glass to your extraordinary White Nights adventure.
Depart St. Petersburg
You are privately transferred to the St. Petersburg airport for your departure flight.