Arrive Moscow, Russia
Upon arrival in Moscow, you are met and privately transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the balance of your day at leisure.
Moscow | Red Square
Enjoy a full day’s sightseeing tour of Moscow. Walk through fabled Red Square to St. Basil’s Cathedral, a colorful, multi-domed complex. Continue to the Novodevichy Convent and Memorial Cemetery, where Chekhov, Khrushchev, Yeltsin and Rostropovich are buried. Later, visit the opulent, art-adorned Moscow subway, with its chandeliers, statues and intricate marble and mosaic details. After lunch at leisure, visit the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, which houses Russia’s most impressive collection of foreign art, dating from ancient to modern times, including valuable Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.
Moscow | Tretyakov Gallery
This morning, visit the Tretyakov Gallery, which contains the best collection of Russian art in the world. This afternoon, you may either visit the well-preserved wooden home of author Leo Tolstoy, where he wrote The Power of Darkness, Resurrection and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, or explore the interactive Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, said to be the largest Jewish museum in the world. Return to your hotel, where you are free to spend the evening as you choose.
Moscow | The Kremlin
Visit two of the Kremlin’s cathedrals as well as the State Armory, home to a collection of priceless artifacts dating back to the 14th century. It also houses the Diamond Fund, a separate collection of Russia’s most valuable gems, including the diamond-encrusted coronation crown of Catherine the Great and the 190-carat Orlov Diamond. Transfer to the rail station and board the high-speed train to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, check in and unwind. Or, explore downtown St. Petersburg independently.
St. Petersburg | Peter & Paul Fortress
Embark on a full day of sightseeing, visiting Peter and Paul Fortress; gold-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral; and Yusupov Palace where — in 1916 — assassins poisoned and shot the priest and counselor to the Romanov family, Grigory Rasputin. The original construction was built by French architect Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe in the 1770s and it was once the primary residence of the House of Yusupov, a wealthy family of Russian nobles, known for their philanthropy and art collections.
St. Petersburg | Tsarist Splendors
This morning, visit the Hermitage Museum, designed in the mid-18th century by Bartolomeo Rastrelli as the Winter Palace of Catherine the Great. Formerly the home of Tsars, its five buildings house one of the finest art collections in the world. Continue to the private Fabergé Museum to see its glittering collection of ornate Fabergé eggs and objets d’art.
Pushkin | Catherine Palace
Drive to the countryside village of Pushkin to discover sparkling Catherine Palace, built in the mid-18th century for Tsarina Elizabeth, who named the palace in honor of her mother. The building, originally a modest construction, was reconstructed by four different architects; then, Bartolomeo Rastrelli — chief architect of the Imperial Court — was instructed to redesign the structure on a scale to rival Versailles. After lunch at leisure, explore Pavlovsk Great Palace, an 18th-century Russian imperial residence built by Paul I of Russia.
Petrodvorets | Legacy of Peter the Great
Travel to Petrodvorets, the opulent, sprawling summer palace of Peter the Great, taking note of its picturesque sculptures and fountains. Return to St. Petersburg by hydrofoil (weather permitting). In the afternoon, you may choose to visit the Erarta Museum, the largest private museum of contemporary art in Russia. Stroll through its galleries, which contain over 2,300 works by more than 250 artists. Alternatively, you may decide to spend the remainder of the day at the Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood and the Kuznechny market, one of the city's most atmospheric.
Depart St. Petersburg
Transfer by private vehicle to the airport and board your homebound flight.