SAMPLE PROGRAM MOSCOW-ST.PETERSBURG, 6 nights, Friday-Thursday
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Day One, Friday
Your plane lands in Moscow. One of the largest cities in Europe, a home for 10 million people, Moscow managed to preserve great number of historical monuments as well as its old urban structure. Russians say that the history of Moscow is the history of the whole Russian country.Transfer to the Ritz Carlton Hotel, the newest addition to the family of Moscow hotels. The Ritz Carlton, Moscow, with its grand classical facade, is situated just 150 metres from Red Square and has panoramic views from its rooftop across the square and to the Kremlin, which is 400 meters away.
The hotel offers 334 air conditioned guestrooms located on 11 floors, all with traditional style decor and polished dark cherry wood furnishings. Guestrooms include mini-bars, high speed Internet connections, LCD televisions, clock radios, complimentary newspapers and safes. Spacious marble bathrooms provide robes, scales, hair dryers and designer toiletries. Guests can indulge themselves in the hotel's 2,000 square meter full service spa complex with its indoor pool, 10 treatment rooms, jetted tub, fitness centre, steam rooms and saunas and beauty studio.
Welcome cocktail is served on the roof-top Q2 open-air lounge. Enjoy great views of Kremlin and the Red Square - site of countless coronations, conflicts and celebrations. Today, this symbolic space serves as a cultural epicenter of one of the world's great cities and invites visitors to share in its many wonders.
After cocktail the guests are invited for a short walk across the busy Tverskaya street and then through the Kamergersky pedestrian street lined with numerous cafes and restaurants. The dinner is served in crème de la crème of Moscow restaurants - the Bolshoy Restaurant. A unique project of the renowned Novikov group, it is located in a few steps from the famous theatre.
White classic interior with ivory shades is decorated by Doric order columns and luxury furniture from Ralf Lorain. The walls and fireplaces have an extensive collection of modern art.
Moscow By Night City Tour
When the evening rush hour is over it is time to start your first exploration of Moscow with coach and guide. In the night Moscow is especially beautiful. Have a walk across the main place of Moscow - the famous Red Square, flanked by the redbrick Kremlin walls and huge building of GUM department store on the opposite side. Enjoy the view of Kremlin towers, History Museum and Cathedral of St. Basil with colorful onion-shape domes. Return to hotel. Overnight.
Day Two, Saturday
Private Visit to the Armory. After breakfast the guides will take you to the Kremlin, the historical nucleus of the city, the former residence of the Czars, now the seat of the Russian President. Visit the most precious gem of the Kremlin - the Armory, Treasury of Czars. By special arrangement we enter the museum before official opening hour to observe the Armory's huge collection in private.
The collection consists of many precious gifts once presented to Russian Czars by foreign monarchs and ambassadors as well as their thrones, clothes, beautifully carved gilded ceremonial carriages, Czars regalia and ceremonial armor. You will also see many pieces of applied art and jewelry including famous Faberge works. Enjoy a brief private concert of the Kremlin Choir on the steps of the staircase leading to the second floor of the museum.
Tour of the Kremlin Grounds. Explore the grounds of Kremlin by foot. The Moscow Kremlin is an outstanding monument of Russian history, enclosing an area of 70 acres. The walls are about half a mile long and up to 62 feet high and 21 feet thick, with 20 towers and gates. During the walking tour you will see the Cathedral Square, Belfry of Ivan the Terrible, Czar Bell and Czar Cannon and visit one of ancient cathedrals.
Private Visit to the Grand Kremlin Palace. Private Visit to the Grand Kremlin Palace. By special arrangement split in smaller groups we visit the Grand Kremlin Palace - now the seat of the Russian president. The Grand Kremlin Palace is a complex of several buildings built in the course of 4 centuries. Apart from the ceremonial halls of the Grand Kremlin palace used on solemn occasions you will see the ancient XV-century Terem palace, the Faceted Chamber and the private chambers of Ivan the Terrible and the Romanovs.
Lunch at Godunov. Lunch is served in the popular "Godunov" restaurant serving Russian cuisine of the 18th century. Start your acquaintance with Russian cuisine - try traditional Borsch and pancakes, famous Beef Stroganoff and taste vodka.
Walking tour of the Red Square. After lunch you may want to return to hotel or explore the famous Red Square with the help of our guides. Enter the square through the Iverskaya Gate near the small church of our Lady of Kazan, both ruined shortly after the Revolution and reconstructed in 2000. You will see the beautiful red-brick building of the History Museum, oldest department store GUM with a very long faГ§ade, the place of execution, ending with the famous St. Basil's cathedral, perhaps the most eye-catching structure in Moscow. Return to hotel by foot.
Dinner at YAR restaurant with variety show (not private): Elegant dinner is served in the legendary YAR restaurant famous for its variety show. Founded in 1826, the restaurant was a popular place among the cream of the society for its kitchen and Gypsy singing. Nowadays YAR carefully follows gastronomic traditions and presents a dynamic Lido-style variety show.
Day Three, Sunday
City Tour with visit to the Christ Cathedral and Novodevichy Convent. Attend morning service in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior which has the most dramatic history reflecting the history of the whole country. Built in the course of 40 years and completed in 1883 the Cathedral commemorated the victory over Napoleon in 1812. Closed in 1917 after the Revolution it was blown up by the order of Stalin in 1931. A giant open-air swimming pool was built on its place in the 60-ies. A decision to rebuild the cathedral was taken in 1990. Restored to its full splendor in 2000, the Christ Cathedral has again become a dominating landmark of the Russian capital.
Not far from the cathedral you will see the giant statue of the first Russian Emperor - Peter the Great. The proportions of the monument can be compared with Rio's Christ the Savior. The work of Georgian architect Tseretely, a close friend of Moscow's mayor, for several years the monument has been a theme for constant jokes.
Visit the ancient Novodevichy Convent. The red and white fortified walls and golden domes of the convent make it one of Moscow's most beautiful monasteries. It was founded by the Czar Vasily III in 1524. Many wives and widows of Russian Czars ended their lives here having handed over all their wealth to the monastery. The convent looks like the Kremlin in miniature.
The cemetery, adjacent to the convent, is a very special place to visit - it has the graves of many famous people such as Chekhov and Bulgakov, Shostakovich and Scryabin, Stalin's wife and Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbatcheva and maestro Rostropovich among others.
Lunch is served in the METRO restaurant - a small replica of the Moscow subway with escalators, a subway car, etc. Enjoy fresh home-made beers and simple but genuine Russian menu.
Option 1: Walking tour of Moscow Metro
After the tour you are taken for a short walk to the nearest metro station. The Moscow metro is not the oldest one in the world. However, the architectural style and fascinating marble decor of many stations deserved the name of the "Underground Palace". The first line built in the 30-ies abounds with naïve revolutionary symbols and sculptures. The decoration of after-war lines built in the 50-ies is much more exuberant because it had to demonstrate the advantages of a new socialist society.
Option 2: Tour of the Museum of the Cold War (may be used for gentlemen only)
You will visit one of the most secret military facilities of the former USSR - a Secured Command Post "Tagansky". Built deep under the ground in the residential area of Old Moscow in the 50-ies it was meant to be a shelter of the Chief Commander and the government in case of nuclear attack. It was removed from the secret list in the early 90-ies. A fast elevator takes you 65 meters under the ground. You receive a water-proof cloak and taken for a brief excursion through the secret tunnels, you will be shown samples of arming and communication equipment as well as a short movie about the history of the Cold War.
Free time for rest.
Dinner at TURANDOT restaurant / Walking distance from hotel:
A replica of the 18th century pavilion, Turandot has become a place where Moscow celebrities meet. The restaurant is located on the main thoroughfare of Moscow - Tverskaya Street in short walking distance from the hotel. On Saturday night it is always very busy with people who come here to see and to be seen. Enjoy the atmosphere of Moscow Vanity Fair.
Day Four, Monday
Enjoy free morning or indulge yourself with the variety of spa facilities of the hotel until noon.
Light buffet lunch is served at the hotel.
Check-out and depart for the airport at 13:30.
The distance to St. Petersburg is 700 km and the flight will take only one hour. Arrive to St. Petersburg approximately at 17:00
Arrive to St. Petersburg which was the capital of Russian Empire for almost 200 years. Few cities can offer so many stunning attractions and intriguing moods as St. Petersburg City of the Tsars.
Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St. Petersburg combines its fascinating Russian heritage with a distinctly European outlook. Considered the cultural heart of modern day Russia, St. Petersburg is rapidly regaining its reputation as one of the Great Cities of Europe.
Express check-in and welcome drink at hotel.
Your hotel is the Astoria - the historic deluxe hotel built in 1912 in the heart of the city. The hotel is located next to St. Isaac's Cathedral - the fourth highest cupola cathedral in the world - and is close to all historical landmarks of the city as well as to the nightlife area.
Completely refurbished in 2005 by British Rocco Forte hotel group it has preserved the charm of the old hotel with traditions in combination with latest modern conveniences. Now the hotel is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Comfortable superior deluxe rooms overlooking the cathedral have been reserved for the group.
End the day with private welcome dinner at the Winter Garden of Astoria. It was in this restaurant where Adolf Hitler planned to celebrate the victory over besieged Leningrad in 1943.
Start your acquaintance with Russian gastronomy in a right way and in a right place! Enjoy a lavish choice of traditional Russian cold appetizers pre-set on the tables, try hot Pelmeni and Beef Stroganoff and, of course, sample Russian vodka!
A very special entertainment of the Red Army Choir awaits you in the end of the dinner... Overnight
Day Five, Tuesday
After lavish buffet breakfast we start a panoramic city tour. There is one museum in the city that is never closed - the city itself.
Panoramic City Tour
Discover St. Petersburg - a city of infinite charm with its majestic palaces, churches and cathedrals, river embankments, beautiful parks and innumerous bridges - a city of imperial proportions and romantic vistas which has been a source of inspiration for the generations of artists.
Visit to Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral.
It is the historical nucleus of the city as well as one of the most interesting and beautiful architectural landmarks. St. Peter & Paul Cathedral with its long gilded spire is the burial place of all Russian emperors from Peter the Great to the last of the Romanovs - Nicholas II. Designed to protect newly acquired lands in the mouth of the Neva River, the fortress lost its military significance before it was completed. It was turned into the most dismal political prison of Russia for almost 200 years.
Lunch at RESTORAN
Lunch is served in the spacious "RESTORAN" - a work of a famed designer. The unusual settings of the restaurant are reminiscent of traditional Russian countryside. The bravest of you will be offered to taste and distinguish 5 different brands of home-brewed vodka! Balalaika players entertain during the lunch...
Guided visit to St. Isaa's Cathedral
Upon return to the hotel you are taken for a brief visit to St. Isaac's Cathedral. Fourth highest cupola cathedral in the world St. Isaac's has a breathtaking interior design. The cathedral can accommodate 13000 worshippers in a time. The monolithic columns of the portico cut from red granite are seventeen meters high and weigh 114 tons each. The mosaic inside has twelve thousand shades and colors, the walls are five meters thick and the main cupola is coated with one hundred kilos of gold.
Return to hotel by foot - walking distance. Free time for rest.
Mariinsky Theatre performance
This evening depart for a performance in the famous Mariinsky Theatre - the best ballet group in Russia. Built in 1848 it was named after Maria - the wife of Russian emperor Alexander II. Depending on the repertoire you will enjoy ballet or opera performance
Late Dinner at Sadko restaurant
Late dinner with a glass of wine is served at the stylish SADKO restaurant located next to the theatre. The restaurant is situated in the "musical corner" of St. Petersburg, next to the famous theatre and the Conservatory. No wonder that waiters give us a short opera performance.
Alternative Dinner - Dinner-cruise on board New Island restaurant-ship
Elegant dinner is served on board the luxurious New Island restaurant-ship. Enjoy the elegant menu together with breath-taking panoramas of St. Petersburg - often called a Venice of the North and the powerful Neva river with its majestic embankments and numerous palaces facing the river. Return to hotel. Overnight.
Day Six, Wednesday
Tour of Peterhof, Grand Summer palace and Gardens
This morning we drive to the most famous summer residence of Russian Emperors - Peterhof. It is located 25 km west on the Gulf of Finland. It history begins in 1704 when Peter I built a wooden house on the Gulf. In 1723 the enlarged palace became official summer residence, later it was expanded by Empress Elizabeth and called Grand Summer Palace. We enter the Palace before its official opening hour to avoid crowds and enjoy the beauty of the gala rooms in private. Upon exiting the palace at 11:00 guests enjoy the solemn ceremony of start-up of the fountains of the Grand Cascade. During a pleasant stroll over the Lower Park decorated with more than 170 fountains guests enjoy Chess Cascade, numerous trick fountains and small palaces such as Hermitage and Monplaisir, built as a private palace of Peter the Great. Return to the city by a private hydrofoil across the Gulf of Finland. It takes only 30 minutes...
Lunch at Adamant restaurant
Located on the embankment of Moika river, the Adamant has a beautiful banquet room resembling a palace interior. The kitchen is Russian with emphasis on St. Petersburg gourmet cuisine
Tour of the Yusupov Palace
The richest of non-imperial palaces of St. Petersburg, this palace was the home of the noble and powerful Yusupov family, relatives to the Russian Tsars. The Yusupovs were great collectors of art, and their collection was known well beyond Russia. After the revolution most of the collection was moved to the Hermitage, though traces of the incredible wealth that once kept this palace pulsating with life still remain: the various sitting rooms, the intricate chandeliers and candelabras that adorn every room and corridor. The beautiful home theater of the palace looks like a cozy version of the famous Mariinsky theatre.
It was in this palace where the assassination of Rasputin, one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history, took place. One can feel the drama of the moment seeing wax figures of the conspirators waiting in a small room on the ground floor. In the cellar where it happened there are two more wax figures: Rasputin and young Felix Yusupov talking over the set table minutes before the assassination.
Joint Program: Private Guided Visit to the Hermitage Museum
Gala Dinner at The Last Palace
This evening you are taken for a dinner to a real palace located on the Moika river embankment. Many palaces of the noble were built on Moika embankments during 18th and 19th centuries, as it was a privileged place - close to the Winter Palace - residence of the Czars. The last one was built in 1915-1916 for a nobleman. The owner did not have enough time to enjoy his new palace because of the Revolution, which broke out in 1917. Thoroughly restored halls of the palace now house a stylish "Last Palace" banquet hall known for impeccable service and gourmet St. Petersburg cuisine.
During the pre-dinner cocktail in the Theatre Hall enjoy short and dynamic concert of the Virtuoso Violin Orchestra. Exquisite 4-course gala candle-lit dinner is served after the concert. Classic chamber quartet entertains during the dinner. Return to hotel and overnight.
Day Seven, Thursday
Enjoy free morning until noon. Check-out Luggage Check / Depart for farewell lunch.
Farewell Lunch at Podvorie
Enjoy delicious Russian appetizers and famous "borsch" (beet-root soup) accompanied by Cossack's folklore singing and, of course, free flowing Russian vodka! The restaurant is a typical Russian huge wooden log-house reminding of a fortress. It is located in the picturesque countryside in the small town of Pavlovsk, close to the town of Pushkin.
Tour of Catherine's Palace and Amber Room
Enter the beautiful Catherine's park and visit Catherine's Palace, considered to be a real pearl of Russian baroque architecture of the 18th century. It was built for Russian Empress Catherine in 1752.
The palace, a combination of white and gold, looks magnificent; a huge ballroom called the Grand Hall, ornately decorated drawing rooms, studies and dining rooms. The most famous room here is the Amber Room, looted by the Nazis during World War II and completely restored in 2003. Surrounding the palace is a park covering more than 570 hectares with bridges, terraces, fountains and small galleries.
Transfer to airport in time for your flight home
The restaurant is in 20 minute drive to the airport.
Good-bye and see you again!
Alternative Gala Dinner at The Yusupov Palace
Depart the hotel for gala dinner at the Yusupov Palace. Guests arrive to the palace by 18:00. The richest of non-imperial palaces of St. Petersburg, this palace was the home of the noble and powerful Yusupov family, relatives to the Russian Tsars.
The tour of the palace begins from the private chambers of the Yusupov family on the ground floor. It was in this palace where Grigory Rasputin, one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history, was killed. Guests divided by small groups can see wax figures of the conspirators. Downstairs in the cellar there are two more wax figures: Rasputin and young Felix Yusupov talking over the set table minutes before the assassination.
Then the guests are taken to the suite of the gala rooms on the second floor of the palace. The Yusupovs were great collectors of art, and their collection was known well beyond Russia. After the revolution most of the collection was moved to the Hermitage, though traces of the incredible wealth that once kept this palace pulsating with life still remain: the various sitting rooms, the intricate chandeliers and candelabras that adorn every room and corridor. The tour of the second floor ends in the Precioza Room where an elegant cocktail "Emperor" with champagne, premium Russian vodka and state-of-the-art canap is served for the guests. After the cocktail guests proceed to the unique Home Theatre of the Yusupov family for a private ballet performance... This beautiful theatre in Rococo style looks like a cozy version of the famous Mariinsky theatre.
The short performance introduces the best pieces of Russian ballet.
Then guests are invited to the White Column Hall for the most outstanding Imperial dinner "Astrakhan Gold", reminiscent of those of Yusupov's time. Chamber quartet entertains during the dinner. A very special performance of the Red Army choir crowns up the evening. Return to hotel. Overnight