Winter Palaces of Russia
The snowy splendour of Moscow & St Petersburg
Russia’s power has moved repeatedly on the decree of its rulers, creating magnificent cities which have continued to develop and preserve signs of their (former) status. This tour concentrates on Russia’s two greatest cities - Moscow and St Petersburg - which, glorious as they are in summer, look even more beautiful on a winter’s day. Appreciate the unmissable sights of Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral, its colourful domes seemingly brighter against winter’s monochrome setting, before setting off for St Petersburg where imperial treasures - the great Winter Palace and Catherine Palace - are some of mankind’s greatest compliments to winter scenes.
Included excursions and visits: 6
- Tour of Moscow and entrance to the Kremlin and Armoury
- Sapsan train from Moscow to St Petersburg
- Excursion to Sparrow Hills, New Maiden Convent, Tolstoy House Museum and Tretyakov Gallery
- Tour of St Petersburg, with entrance to Hermitage Museum (with audio headset) and Peter and Paul Fortress
- Excursion to Pushkin, including entrance to Catherine Palace (with audio headset) and park with Troika ride
- Excursion to Shuvalov Palace and Fabergé Museum
- 6 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
- 9 meals: 6 breakfasts (days 2-7) 1 lunch (day 6) 2 dinners (days 1 and 4)
Plus all these benefits:
- Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service
- Free connecting flights to London
- Check-in service by Titan staff
- Services of an experienced Titan tour manager
- Scheduled British Airways direct flights
- Best available coaches with experienced drivers
- Hotel porterage (one bag per person)
- Airport taxes, security charges and fuel surcharges
- UK Air Passenger Duty (APD)
London - Moscow
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Moscow. On arrival we transfer to the Azimut Moscow Olympic Hotel (4T) or similar, taking a short orientation tour en route. Dinner has been arranged at the hotel this evening, with the rest of the day free for you to relax.
Azimut Moscow Olympic Hotel
Today we embark on a fascinating tour, starting at the heart of Russia’s capital - Red Square. This 400m by 150m square of cobblestones began as an unassuming wooden shanty town, home to those deemed unworthy to be allowed inside the boundaries of the medieval city. Long since cleared, the square became linked to Russia’s most important historical and political events. On its southern side sits the visionary St Basil’s Cathedral, the most iconic building of Russia, built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate a military victory over Kazan. Before pausing for the opportunity to take lunch, we visit bohemian Arbat Street, one of the oldest and most famous streets of the city, where Moscow’s 18th century academics and artists gathered. This afternoon we return to Red Square for a tour of The Kremlin, the medieval citadel that has played a dominant role in Russia’s history and the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. Within this vast complex, we visit the magnificent cathedrals and Armoury, full of fascinating artefacts from weaponry to clothing and jewels.
With so much to see in this great city, we have arranged a second tour for today. We start at Sparrow Hills, a huge, beautiful park with fantastic views over Moscow. We continue to the stunning New Maiden (Novodevihcy) Convent, a beautiful 17th century convent complex and fortress for noble women, which has also been used as a prison for rebellious royals. Many of Russia’s famous writers, poets, politicians and public figures are buried in its cemetery. Our next stop is Leo Tolstoy’s wooden house. Home to the great author and his large family until 1901, it is now a museum of their time here, complete with library and study. Our afternoon is spent at Tretyakov State Gallery which showcases a unique collection that spans the entire history of Russian art.
Moscow - Sapsan Train - St Petersburg
This morning is free for independent sightseeing before we board the high-speed Sapsan train for St Petersburg this afternoon. On arrival, we transfer to the centrally located Radisson Sonya (4T) or Sokos Vasilievsky (4T), where we stay for the next three nights and enjoy dinner today.
Radisson Sonya or Sokos Vasilievsky
We start our first day in St Petersburg with a discovery of this city, designed to amaze visitors with grandeur. Our tour includes the Peter and Paul Fortress and the cathedral within this large defensive fortress is the final resting place of the imperial Romanov family, including the last Russian Emperor, Nicolas II, and his immediate family, who were executed by local Bolsheviks in 1918 during the brutal civil war. This afternoon we visit St Petersburg’s most famous attraction and one of the world’s largest museums - The Hermitage. Filling five buildings with millions of items from masterpieces by Matisse, Picasso and Rodin to Greek and Egyptian artefacts, the beautiful green and white façade of the Winter Palace, formerly the official residence of the Romanov Tsars, is undoubtedly the most impressive setting. The collection was started by Catherine the Great and enriched by her successors, showcasing the family’s vast wealth and taste, as do the magnificent State Rooms within the palace, which witnessed some of the most significant events of Russian history. This evening, you have the optional opportunity (subject to availability) to experience a ballet or opera performance.
Spend this morning in further awe of imperial Russia as we visit the former Tsar’s Village, renamed in 1937 as Pushkin, to commemorate the centenary of the poet's death. The complex includes Catherine’s Palace - a splendour of Russian Baroque architecture decorated with over 100kg of gold on the outside alone, and named for Catherine the Great by her daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who built the palace for her summer residence. Amongst the luxurious rooms, the Amber Room, made entirely of this gemstone, is particularly extraordinary and shrouded in mystery. You also have the opportunity to enjoy the park, with its stunning formal garden and landscape park containing a pond great enough to require a ferry to reach its small island, on which concerts were once held. We have included a troika ride to explore the winter scenery in the grounds. Afterwards, we have arranged a traditional Russian buffet ‘Podvorye’ lunch with folklore tales, before continuing to the beautiful Shuvalov Palace, to visit the Fabergé Museum, containing the world’s largest collection of works by Carl Fabergé, including nine Imperial Easter Eggs, regarded as the finest works of jewelled art.
Day 7 St Petersburg - London
We transfer to St Petersburg 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.