Day 1 London - St Petersburg
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to St Petersburg. On arrival, we will transfer to our hotel for the next three nights, the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 (5T). The rest of the day is free to relax or explore the city independently.
Day 2 St Petersburg
This morning we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour, visiting the Peter and Paul Fortress, burial place of the Romanov tsars, and driving along Nevsky Prospect, the city’s main street, lined with shops, restaurants and museums as well as major landmarks such as Kazan Cathedral and Stroganov Palace. After lunch we explore one of the world’s greatest museums, the Hermitage Museum, which holds an amazing three million exhibits across five buildings, including the beautiful Winter Palace.
Day 3 St Petersburg
We head to the magnificent Peterhof Palace today, designed by Peter the Great and known as the ‘Versailles of Russia’. The palace was badly damaged during the Second World War but it has been meticulously restored and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a stroll through the spectacular gardens, laid out with dozens of elaborate fountains and statues. You are free to explore at your own pace later this afternoon.
Day 4 - St Petersburg
After checking out of our hotel this morning we visit the sumptuous Catherine Palace. This was the summer residence of Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, and is best known for its extraordinary Amber Room, featuring six tons of solid amber deftly carved and framed in gold leaf. The room is a modern recreation of the original, which was dismantled by occupying Nazi troops during the Second World War. After lunch, we return to St Petersburg, calling in at the Fabergé Museum, where nine of the famous Easter Eggs created for the Russian royal family are on display. We then embark the MS Volga Dream (5T) where we are greeted with a traditional Russian bread, salt and vodka welcoming ceremony. We sit down to dinner as our cruise begins this evening.
Day 5 - River Svir - Mandrogi
Today we enjoy a leisurely cruise along the River Svir, which flows between Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, Europe’s two largest lakes. We stop to visit Mandrogi, an attractive recreation of a 19th-century wooden Russian village, with traditional cottages, craft workshops and a vodka museum. Back on board, we will have a barbecue on deck.
Day 6 - Kizhi Island
We sail into beautiful Lake Onega today, fed by 58 rivers and dotted with more than 1,600 islands, including Kizhi, where we step ashore. We will explore the UNESCO-listed collection of historic wooden houses here, and the remarkable wooden Church of the Transfiguration, which features 22 domes, built in 1714 without a single nail. On board our ship this evening there will be a piano concert of works by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.
Day 7 - Goritsy
Today we sail across Lake Beloye, reaching the charming little riverside town of Goritsy this afternoon. Goritsy is famous for its monasteries, including the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, which was founded in 1397. Its museum houses an especially fine collection of Russian icons. After our guided tour here, we continue our cruise and this evening, we will enjoy a special Russian dinner with a vodka tasting.
Day 8 - Yaroslavl
Standing at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosi rivers, Yaroslavl’s origins go back to the 11th century, and its historic centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we will visit the Spassky Monastery to view its 16th-century frescoes and the ornate Church of Elijah the Prophet, built in 1650. There will be a costumed reception at the governor’s house, and we will return to our ship for dinner. On board, we will be treated to a traditional Russian tea ceremony and a cookery class.
Day 9 - Uglich
We dock in the historic town of Uglich this morning, one of the oldest in Russia, founded in the 10th century. We step ashore to visit the striking bright-red Church of St Dmitri-on-the-Blood, which was built on the site where the eight-year-old Tsarevich Dmitri, son of Ivan the Terrible, was murdered in 1591. Later we attend an enchanting concert of choral music at St John’s Church before returning to our ship.
Day 10 Moscow
MS Volga Dream arrives in Moscow this afternoon, where we disembark. We enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the Russian capital, walking through Red Square and visiting landmarks such as the multi-hued St Basil’s Cathedral and the GUM Department Store. We will continue to the Novodevichy Cemetery, which holds the tombs of prominent Russian authors, musicians and political leaders, including Anton Chekhov, Sergei Prokofiev, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin. Later we check in to our hotel for the next three nights, the Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel (5T).
Day 11 Moscow
This morning, we visit the Armoury Museum inside the Kremlin, to view its collection of medieval armour and weaponry, royal thrones, costumes, silverwork and opulent carriages. We will continue to the 15th-century Cathedral of the Assumption, known for its beautiful frescoes, and the Cathedral of the Archangel, where many Russian tsars, including Ivan the Terrible, are buried. This afternoon is free for you to relax or make your own discoveries in the Russian capital.
Day 12 Moscow
Our morning begins with a visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, which houses the finest collection of Russian art in the world, ranging from medieval icons to works by Kandinsky and Malevich. We will also visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which was painstakingly rebuilt in 2000 after the original 19th-century building was demolished on the orders of Stalin. This evening is at leisure.
Day 13 Moscow - London
The morning is at leisure, before we transfer to the airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.