12 days

Splendours of Russia & Ukraine

Splendours of Russia & Ukraine

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Red Square and the multi-coloured onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral

The Hermitage and canals of the 'Venice of the North’ - UNESCO World Heritage-listed St Petersburg

Kiev-Pechersk Lavra

Kyiv rooftops

St Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv

Trip rating
  • This is the perfect tour of Russia's glorious past . Surround yourself with culture, history and breathtaking architecture and get beneath the surface of a country that for so long guarded their treasures from the west.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - St Petersburg

    • You will be collected from the airport on arrival. Your adventure will begin with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm. Please ask at reception for details of the meeting, keep in mind that you will need to have your insurance details with you at this meeting.
    • Your tour leader will arrange dinner at a traditional Russian restaurant after the meeting.
    • If you arrive early, we recommend that you get out and explore beautiful St Petersburg. The city has an abundance of baroque European architecture, interspersed with the incredible opulence of the Russian palace. It is truly a testament to its builder, the Russian tsar, Peter the Great.
    • St Isaac’s Cathedral is a must-do, as is a climb to the colonnade, where you can enjoy stunning views of the city.
    • You can also wander down the bustling Nevsky Prospekt, the main thoroughfare of the city, where you can sample some treats from one of the many bakeries and pancake shops. Those with a penchant for music and literature might enjoy a visit to the cemetery where Russia’s great Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky were laid to rest.
    Domina Prestige Hotel or similar
    Dinner

    Day 2 - St Petersburg

    • Your day will begin with a walking tour with a local guide.
    • Having a local show you around offers a much more intimate and real perspective of the city. The tour doesn’t have a fixed itinerary, but will be instead created by the members of the group and the guide as you go.
    • You will uncover everything from the most beautiful rivers, bridges, canals, and charming laneways, to the grandeur of the enduring palaces and quays and busy marketplaces.
    • Your guide will enlighten you with stories about the monarchs, artists, nobles and legends of the city from the time of Peter the Great, right through to Lenin and post-Soviet times.
    • During the summer, you will take a boat ride tour of the canals by night, which offers a beautiful perspective of the illuminated buildings on the banks. In the height of summer, the sun barely sets, so you will still have light as you cruise. During the cooler months, if the weather permits, the cruise will happen during the day.
    Domina Prestige Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - St Petersburg

    • Today you will have a full day free to explore the beautiful sights of St Petersburg on your own. There are a number of optional activities available, and your tour leader will be able to help you with some suggestions.
    • The Peter and Paul Fortress, the colourful Saviour; the Spilt Blood Church and Mariinsky Theatre are among the many places worth exploring.
    Domina Prestige Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - St Petersburg - Petrodvorets - Pushkin

    • You will enjoy a highlight of St Petersburg this morning before departing, the Hermitage Museum. One of the world’s most acclaimed art collections is housed here, within the walls of the former imperial Winter Palace.
    • From the museum, you will walk down to the dock on the Neva River to board a hydrofoil across the Gulf of Finland to Petrodvorets.
    • Petrodvorets is where Peter the Great’s summer residence is located - a magnificent structure, replete with opulent gardens and fountains. You will be taken on a guided tour here, where you can explore the beautiful gardens, once the pleasure grounds of Peter the Great, where he entertained guests from across the Russian Empire.
    • From here you will be transferred by minibus to the nearby imperial suburb, and home to the magnificent Catherine Palace, Pushkin (approximately 30 minutes).
    Natalie Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Pushkin - Moscow

    • You will visit the Ekaterinskiy (Catherine) Palace and Park this morning. The highlight of the palace is seeing the beautifully restored Amber Room. Keep in mind that the palace can be incredibly busy during summer months. You might also enjoy a visit to the Alexander Gardens and Lyceum, where the poet Pushkin once studied. You will return to St Petersburg this afternoon (approximately one hour) for your high speed train to Moscow (approximately four hours). Upon arrival in Moscow you will be met and transferred to your hotel, before visiting the famed Red Square by night.
    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Moscow

    • Moscow has seen years of revolution, political turbulence, and economic growth. From the reign of the tsars, through the years of Soviet leadership, and on to the slow and evolving democracy, Moscow has been the epicentre of change and the scars and wealth of its past are ever present, despite its distinct modernity.
    • You will visit the Kremlin grounds, where you can see the oldest and most significant churches in Russia. A number of tsars and tsarinas were laid to rest here.
    • You will also have the opportunity to enter the famed Kremlin Armoury Museum, home to a rich imperial collection of regalia – items that were once the property of the world’s wealthiest monarchy. The collection includes Faberge eggs and ambassadorial gifts. There is a strict schedule kept for visiting groups in these popular attractions, and guides are limited to 90 minutes. The consequence to the tour guide for running over the allotted time is quite severe (a loss of license to practise), so we ask for your understanding here.
    • You may also have the chance to visit the Diamond Fund.
    • The afternoon will be left free so you can explore Moscow in your own time.
    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Sergiev Posad

    • You will have a free morning to spend as you please.
    • A visit to the Izmailovsky Market and walking the famed pedestrian Arbat Street is an excellent way to spend your free time.
    • You will be transferred to the Golden Ring town of Sergiev Posad next, which takes approximately 90 minutes.
    • Sergiev Posad houses one of the most significant active monasteries in the country. A destination frequented by pilgrims, worshippers and travellers alike, the intricate and magestic architecture is something to behold. A local guide will take you on a tour of the monastery.
    • From Sergiev Posad you will travel to Dimino Village, where you will have the chance to enjoy one of Russia's most luxurious traditions, a banya (Russian sauna). You will relax with a steam, soak and traditional birch branch massage. All of the appropriate items required for the sauna (ie bathrobes, slippers and toiletries) will be provided.
    • You will then sit down to a feast of local delicacies including soup, classic potato and meat dishes, pancakes, tea and more authentic drinks like mors (a berry drink) and kvas (a beverage made from fermented black bread). The perfect finish to a fascinating day of travel.
    Imperial Village Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 8 - Abramtsevo

    • Explore the grand sights of the Trinity Monastery with our local guide, including the star spangled Cathedral of the Assumption, the art works of medieval painter Andrey Rublyov and the Vestry, bulging with riches and donations from rich and powerful friends of the Russian Orthodox community.
    • Transfer from Sergiev Posad back to Moscow (approx 2 hours) via the former artists and writers colony of Abramtsevo. Travel by comfortable 1st class (2 travellers per compartment) overnight sleeper train from Moscow into Ukraine (approx 10 hours).
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 9 - Petrushivka

    • Zdrastujte! Laskavo prosymo! Welcome to Ukraine.
    • Our very early morning arrival at Ichnya station means a very early wake up call, but we'll be met by our transfer and driven straight to the village of Petrushivka.
    • Staying at a family owned guest house, we spend time in the village and experience Cossack traditions and true Ukrainian hospitality.
    • The accommodation is simple but comfortable and decorated in typical national folk style. After a rest and a hearty breakfast, we have a chance to explore the village and discover some of the treasures our hosts have collected and salvaged from villages all over the region. Take a walk along or swim in the lake, enjoy a banya, learn how to cook some local specialities or visit the nearby monastery, park and estate or stroll through the forest. All our meals are included while here and we will no doubt be well looked after!
    • In the evening be dazzled by the acrobatic Cossack horseman feats of our host Mykola and his friends.
    • www.hutir.net/falcon_farmstead.zip
    Sokolniy Khutir Farmstead
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - Kyiv

    • Continue on to Kyiv by private transfer (approx 2 hours).
    • Kyiv is Ukraine's capital and cultural heart - grand theatres, fascinating museums, cobbled streets and beautiful parks await in the 'Mother of Slavic Cities'.
    • Today we visit some of Kyiv's highlights on a tour of this beautiful city with a local guide. We will witness the splendour of its grand theatres, fascinating museums, cobbled streets and beautiful parks.
    Vozdvyzhensky Boutique Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 11 - Kyiv

    • Stop in at the Motherland monument (Rodina-Mat'), the 62m tall statue which forms part of the Museum of the Patriotic War in and was the tallest in the world when completed 30 years ago.
    • Enter the hallowed grounds of the St Sofia Cathedral, one of the city's best known landmarks and one of the first sights in the country to be granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Inside are some of the best preserved and oldest frescoes anywhere in the former USSR. Climb to the top of the Bell Tower for stunning views over Kyiv.
    • Ideas for activities in your free time in Kyiv include:
    • Wander down Andriyivsky Descent, right nearby our hotel and visit the award winning Museum of One Street.
    • Take in a performance of opera, ballet or classical music in one of Kyiv's magnificent theatres.
    • Pay a sobering visit to the Chornobyl Museum - a chilling but highly worthwhile experience that will help understand more about this terrible event in Ukraine's recent history.
    • We celebrate the end of our journey tonight with a traditional Ukrainian dinner at a local restaurant selected by your tour leader.
    Vozdvyzhensky Boutique Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 12 - Kyiv

    • The tour will come to an end after breakfast. An airport transfer is not included, however your tour guide will be hand to help should you require assistance.
    Vozdvyzhensky Boutique Hotel or similar
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • An experienced, English-speaking Peregrine leader and specialist local guides at some sites
    • Authentic Accommodation: 9 nights comfortable hotel, 1 night village guesthouse, 1 night sleeper train
    • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
    • Arrival transfer
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Hermitage Museum, Kremlin and Armoury Museums, Sergiev Posad Monastery
    • Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package. Please see our Tipping section of these trip notes for more information
    • Guided city walking tours in Moscow and St Petersburg
    • Travel by boat through St Petersburg's canals and by hydrofoil to Peterhof Palace
    • Explore the quaint former writers and artists colony of Abramtsevo
    • Russian visa support

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Departure transfer
    • Visas
    • Meals unless specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip
    • Daily budget

    Safety Information

    RUSSIA:

    Most visits to Russia are trouble-free, but petty crime does happen in cities. Be alert to the possibility of mugging, pick pocketing and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. Be wary of groups of women and children who beg. In St Petersburg there have been reports of street crime where tourists have been specifically targeted. These crimes are carried out by well-organised gangs. Be aware of pickpockets in the main tourist areas and around the main railway concourses. A common scam is to drop a wallet or bundle of money in front of a tourist. The criminal then “finds” the money and asks if it is the tourist’s or offers to share the money with them. If you are approached in this way, you should walk away without engaging in conversation. Bogus police officers have harassed and robbed tourists. If you are stopped always insist on seeing identification. Avoid openly carrying expensive items, or anything that might easily identify you as a tourist. Avoid walking about late at night alone. If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat.  Incidents of violence in major cities are usually linked to criminal/business activities and are not usually directed against foreign visitors. Political rallies may occur in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other places across Russia.

    UKRAINE:
    We continue to monitor travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and our local partners on the political situation in Ukraine. While travel to some parts of the country (ie. Crimea) not advised, the majority of the country is currently safe and open for travellers and we intend for our itineraries to run as normal.

    The situation in Kyiv and western cities has calmed considerably following months of violent protest during which nearly 100 people were killed, though occasional non-violent public demonstrations continue in and around Independence Square, St Michael’s Square and outside the Verkhovna Rada (parliament building). Elsewhere in Kyiv, life has largely returned to normal. You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.

    Be alert to the possibility of street crime and petty theft. Foreigners may appear to be lucrative targets. Don’t lose sight of your credit cards during transactions. If you take the overnight train, make sure your belongings are secure. Where possible, avoid walking alone late at night in dark or poorly lit streets. Keep valuables and cash safe and out of sight, especially in crowded areas, tourist spots, and public transport, where pickpockets and bag snatchers operate. A common scam is to drop a wallet or bundle of money in front of a tourist. The criminal then “finds” the money and asks if it is the tourist’s or offers to share the money with them. If you are approached in this way, you should walk away without engaging in conversation.

  • Map Itinerary

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PCRU
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: St Petersburg, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia
End City: Kyiv, Ukraine

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