Comprehensive Russia Tour
We offer several
variations of this tour. This tour is for St. Petersburg Vladimir
Suzdal (the Golden Ring) and Moscow .
We also have tours available to:
- Moscow, The Golden Ring (5 days Friday-Saturday)
- Economy Tour of Russia (9 days Friday-Saturday)
- Best of Russia Tour (12 days Starts on Fridays. This is the best of the best. It begins in Moscow and has many extras. Can start other days with a small surcharge
Attractions Days 1-6
These are links to detailed descriptions of the attractions visited on this tour.
- Day 1 – Arrival
- Day 2 – Peterhof Fountains
- Day 2 – Peterhof Grottos - Behind the Fountains
- Day 3 – Catherine's Palace
- Day 3 – Alexander Palace
- Day 4 – Hermitage
- Day 4 – The Church on the Spilled Blood
- Day 4 –Private Canal Boat Tour of St. Petersburg
- Day 5 –Yusupov Palace
- Day 6 –SAPSAN train to Vladimir (tickets included)
Attractions Day 6-12
Included in this Tour
- Private Guide Each Day (except travel days)
- Private Transportation many days
- All Museum Admissions
- SAPSAN High Speed Train to Vladimir
- Train from Vladimir to Moscow
- Many Other Features
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You will love this unique tour of Russia which combines the urban and provincial. Your tour will include , tours of St. Petersburg Suzdal, Vladimir and Moscow .
This tour differs from the Best of Russia Tour in that it is slightly less intense and begins in St. Petersburg and ends in Moscow.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 1
Arrive St. Petersburg: Transfer From St. Petersburg Airport To Hotel : You will be met by your driver at St. Petersburg Airport
Your Driver will display a placard with your name. Your stay in St. Petersburg will be at the Delux Hotel. (or similar) This charming little boutique hotel is only a few hundred yards from St. Isaac's Cathedral and a short walk to the Hermitage. It is an ideal location in the city. The manager, Olga, is a long-time friend and she and her staff will take good care of you.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 2
Today your St. Petersburg guide will meet you at your hotel and you will take the short walk to the Hydrofoil pier. The modern hydrofoil boat will take you to Peterhof.
Peterhof is considered by many to be the crown jewel of sights in all of Russia. Built by Peter the I, the palace is magnificent by itself, but combined with the gardens and the fountains, it truly is a wonder.
Today, the Peterhof fountain ensemble consists of over 150 fountains and four cascades.
The piping system occupies 54km. Much of the system remains in place as planned by Peter the Great.
In addition to the Peterhof Palace and gardens you will visit some of the sights many visitors do not have time to visit. The first of these is the Czars bath house (known as a Banya) and the kitchens.
You return to the city via the hydrofoil to the city. The hydrofoil returns you and your guide to the pier behind the Hermitage.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 3
This morning your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to begin your journey to the Catherine Palace. The clients of RussianTourGuide.com universally consider this to be one of their favorite stops.
The Catherine Palace is home of the world famous "Amber Room". The Amber Room has only been available for viewing in the last few years after the government spent many years of painstaking reconstruction.
It is assumed that the original version of this amazing room was stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
Catherine Palace is located in the village of Pushkin (named for the famous poet). The area is also called "Tzarskoe Selo" or "Village of the Czars".
The next area to visit in Pushkin will be theAlexander Palace . The Alexander Palace was built by Catherine the Great for her grandson, the future Alexander I. The palace was the last home for the doomed Romanov family, which included the famous Grand Duchess Anastasia.
The museum in theAlexander Palace showcases the interiors as closely as possible to their state in August 1917 when the Romanovs lived there. The interiors appear as if the Tsar and his family have just left and might return at any moment. The tragedy of the story of the Romanovs and the intimacy of the private rooms creates a lasting impression on those who see them.
For young people, this is an especially interesting tour because it shows the real home of the subect of the animated movie "Anastasia". "Anastasia" deals with the life and times of Grand Duchess Anastasia, the daughter of the last Czar Nicholas II.
Many of the private effects of Anastasia and her siblings are in the Alexander Palace. The Alexander Palace museum has proved to be one of the most popular museums in Russia and is a must see for all visitors to St. Petersburg.
- Grand Duchess Anastasia and sister Marie
- Ceremonial Uniform belonging to Grand Duchess Tatiana (Anastasia's sister)
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 4
For some, today's stops are the true reason to visit St. Petersburg.
The Hermitage and the Winter Palace are the sites of many infamous moments in Russian history.
The precocious behavior of Catherine the Great, the death of Alexander II, the Sunday Massacre, and the speeches of Lenin to the citizens after the successful Revolution, all occurred just outside, on the balcony, or within the walls of these Russian landmarks.
You will have an opportunity to see the massive art collection belonging to Catherine the Great which is now housed in the Hermitage.
Just outside the Hermitage, in the middle of the square, you will see the monument to Alexander I honoring his defeat of the mighty Napoleon. (Did you know that following the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, Alexander I led his victorious troops all the way to Paris?)
Next you will visit the signature site on the skyline of St. Petersburg, the Church on the Spilled Blood.
It was built as a memorial to Czar Alexander II on the site of his assassination. While the exterior of the Church on Spilled Blood is impressive, wait until you go inside! You will see the preserved sight of the bomb blast that fatally injured the Czar.
Thousands of man hours in artistic restoration were expended to restore the mural covered walls.
Finally today you will enjoy a real treat, the RussianTourGuide.com Private River and Canal Tour.
This tour covers the canals in St. Petersburg and the Neva River. Note: This tour is not the typical tourist canal boat tour offered on the streets of St. Petersburg. Rather it is a private tour by a Retro powerboat built by our very own Capt. Andrei.
You will cover a route twice as large as that covered by a regular boat tourist boat tour. You will enjoy the quiet of narrow canals and grand views of St. Petersburg's gala center from the Neva.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 5
You are about to begin the Yusupov (pronounced U SUE POV) Palace & Rasputin Murder Tour.
The Yusupov family were beneficiaries of a close relationship to Nicholas II. They were beginning to fear that the influence of Rasputin was making the Czar's hold on the throne even more fragile than it already was.
It was to this beautiful palace that Rasputin was invited for a "social evening" of eating and drinking and MURDER!
You will visit the areas of the palace where Gregory Rasputin was lured and poisoned by Felix Yusupov and his cousins.
The tour through the palace includes:
- The main exposition (reception rooms of the Yusupovs, 1st and 2nd level)
- The theatre (site of performances by such famous composers as Franz Liszt)
- The Rasputin exposition
You will conclude your tour of the Yusupov Palace speechless !
Your Russian holiday is just getting started !
After your visit to the Yusupov Palace and a nice lunch you will have the remaining portion of the afternoon to enjoy some exploration on your own. This might be a good time to make any souvenir purchases as you will be leaving St. Petersburg tomorrow.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 6
Say goodbye to this enchanting city. New adventures await and today we make the transition from urban St. Petersburg to the more pastoral areas of Russia. To make the journey you will experience the comfort and speed of the technologically advanced SAPSAN
. Enjoy your smooth ride as the Russian countryside whisks past your window. (as of Nov 2012 SAPSAN is not operating between St. Petersburg and Vladimir and an overnight sleeper train is substituted UFN)
Your driver will be waiting for you in Vladimir and will take you to the most charming hotel you will have the pleasure experiencing.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia was designed to give you two nights and evenings in the charming town of Suzdal. Our primary hotel in Suzdal is the Pushkarskaya Sloboda. The contrasting images show you the modern hotel style and the rustic log cabin style which are both part of the Pushkarskaya Sloboda hotel complex
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 7
Vladimir, once a capital of a mighty Russian principality, a present-day administrative centre of the region, noted for the splendid 12th century white stone monuments listed by UNESCO in the heritage list:
- The Golden Gates
- The church of St. Demetrious
- The Assumption Cathedral
The tour of the city includes a driving tour and a visit to the Assumption Cathedral (1158)
Next stop ..Bogolubovo, (pronounced Bo go lu bo vo) a small town close to Vladimir.
Bogolubovo, a complex built
in 12-18th centuries, is the former residence of prince of Vladimir.
The church of Intercession on Nerl. Bugolubovo a 12th century, UNESCO Heritage
sight, is another gem which would be so easily overlooked in a country as
vast as Russia. We have worked hard to give you the overview of this great
country that you will always remember.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 8
Suzdal is one of the oldest Russian cities. It was first mentioned in 1024. Despite its venerable age, the city has remained young and beautiful as in a fairytale, built lovingly by generations of Russian people on the fertile land of Vladimir Region.
Russian craftsmen have built a city very cozy and convenient in which to live.. Suzdal stands along the banks of the Kamenka River which was navigable 300-400 years ago. White stone was used to build many churches and monasteries.
The scenery gives you an idea of the boundless expanses of Russia. Click the picture for a bigger view.
This afternoon we say goodbye to Suzdal and take yet another, shorter, train journey.
This time to Moscow the capital of Russia. In Moscow you will be staying at either the Marco Polo Hotel or the Melody Hotel (assuming reservations are made early enough). Both of these hotels have lovely locations in downtown Moscow neighborhoods near key sites. They have all of the amenities of a large hotel with the quaint charm of a hotel which has only about 50 rooms.
As with our guide colleagues and tourist venues, we maintain personal relationships with the owners and/or managers of most of the hotels which we utilize.
As one of the most expensive cities in the world, Moscow is a difficult city to find the kind of unique, high-quality lodging experience at prices we have negotiated. Hotels are the single most important reason that it is vital to make reservations for these tours as far in advance as possible. Click on the links to see bigger pictures taken at Marco Polo.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 9
Each day your guide will come to your hotel to meet you and begin your day of touring.
The Tretyakov Gallery is a Russian national treasure. It began from the private collection of Pavel Tretyakov in the mid 19th century. Tretyakov himself considered 1856 the official year of his collection's launch and it was several years later that he gave the collection to the city of Moscow.
As a child Tretyakov met Russia's brightest stars. The writer Turgenev, composers Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky, artists Repin, Surikov, Polenov, Vasnetsov, Perov and Kramskoy frequented the Tretyakov house.
At the beginning of World War II the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, which had grown, was in peril. Curators, military personnel and even citizens banded together to pack and ship the most priceless of the gallery's collection out of harm's way.
Shortly after a majority of the works were evacuated to separate locations, direct hits by Nazi bombs damaged the gallery.
If you love art and culture, you will appreciate the importance of this collection even more if you take the opportunity to read "Natasha's Dance" by Orlando Figes. His book on Russian art and culture provides an easy-to-read foundation which helps a tourist appreciate the greatness of the Russian artists whose works are displayed at the Tretyakov Gallery and other museums in Russia.
Following the Tretyakov Gallery you are going to enjoy the Best of Moscow tour.This is a walking tour of Moscow which includes visits to many of the sights overlooked on Moscow holidays. The Best of Moscow Tour is frequently scheduled in conjunction with a private tour to: Best of Moscow Tour includes:
- Red Square, the hub of Russia, with its fantastic "stone flower"- St. Basil Cathedral, one of the symbols of Moscow
- Pushkin Square, the most popular meeting spot in Moscow where you can witness the hustle and bustle of the big city
- Tverskaya street, the main street of the city, where we will visit Yeleseyevskiy Grocery Store. This one-of-a-kind store was built as a palace and turned into a luxurious grocery store more than a hundred years ago
- Theatre Square with the stunning Bolshoi Theatre
- The notorious Lubyanskaya Square with headquarters of the former KGB
- The fancy Manezhnaya Square with the Zero Kilometer, a starting point for all Moscow roads
- Alexander’s Garden with the eternal flame and a WW2 memorial, where you may be able to catch the changing of the guards
- Zamoskvoretskiy bridge across the Moskva River for photo stops of a panoramic view of the Kremlin and one of the 7 Stalin’s Sisters
- Zamoskovorechye, an old neighborhood of Moscow with little churches and stately mansions, some interesting pieces of contemporary art and the most romantic city spot which has the Love bridge with Love trees
- Christ the Savior Cathedral, the main church of Russia and a foot bridge next to it offering some of the best views of the city
- Arbat street, a lively colorful promenade with numerous cafes, souvenir stalls, street musicians and painters- places that make Moscow one of the most beautiful cities of Russia.
This famous cathedral is a replica of the original Cathedral which was destroyed by the Communists during Soviet times. It has been rebuilt since the fall of the Soviet Union and it is truly spectacular. The other visits on the walking tour include the "Love Trees" (where couples install an engraved padlock on one of the metal sculpted trees for this purpose), many famous statues and views of Moscow.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 10
The first stop today is the famous Moscow Kremlin . We refer to it as the Moscow Kremlin because, as you have discovered during your visit to Russia, that there are many Kremlins (fortresses) in the country. You saw Kremlins in the Golden Ring for example.
The Moscow Kremlin is the seat of Government of the Russian Federation. In addition to the Presidential Palace and the Duma (legislature) there are many other sites within the walls of the Kremlin. Some of these sites require additional tickets.
After you have visited the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the czars were crowned, you will visit the Kremlin Armory Museum.
The Kremlin Armory is one of those Kremlin sites which require a separate entrance ticket. (Included in your tour). Inside you will see Czars possessions. This museum houses examples of the famous Faberge eggs, gowns worn by the Empresses of Russia including the amazing coronation gown of Empress Catherine II (Great) and thousands of priceless artifacts from the estates of the czars.
After lunch, you will visit St. Basil's Cathedral which was built by Czar Ivan IV ( also known as Ivan The Terrible) in the 16th century. It is located in Red Square, next to the Kremlin. You will tour the Cathedral to better appreciate both the exterior and interior of this amazing structure.
Before you finish the day you will walk around Red Square, see the outside of Lenin's Tomb, the Gum Department store and many of the nearby sites including the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 11
Today you and your guide will continue your tour of the Moscow Metro as you travel to the Museum of the Great Patriotic War.
Built as a memorial to the 2nd World War, the Museum of the Great Patriotic War demonstrates, by its size, the scale to which Russia was affected by this world catastrophe. The loss of life in the Soviet Union exceeded 25 million. That is more than any other country.
In addition to the awe inspiring mall, monuments and exhibits inside, there are also exhibits of equipment outside.
One of your subway stops will be to visit the Novodevichy Convent, or, the New Maiden Convent. This famous convent is a picturesque oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
Peter The Great, imprisoned his sister Sophia there in an attempt to curtail her efforts to seat their brother Ivan on the Russian thrown. In more modern times, the cemetery near the Novodevichy Convent has become the final resting place of many famous Russians including:
- Nikita Khrushchev
- Boris Yeltsn
- Stalin's wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva-Stalin
- Sergei Prokofiev
- Dmitri Shostakovich
The Comprehensive Tour of Russia: Day 12
Goodbye! This morning you will be met by your driver who will take you to the Moscow airport for your return home. Summary of the features of your tour:
- Personal guide each day.(except travel days)
- Car and driver (on the days specifically mentioned in the itinerary).
- All museum admissions.
- Hotel in St. Petersburg " Delux Hotel or similar. ***
- Private boat tour of St. Petersburg.
- Hotel in Moscow " Hotel Melody or similar.***
- Hotel in Suzdal – Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel or similar.***
- SAPSAN High-Speed Train from St. Petersburg to Vladimir. (SAPSAN service may be seasonal - check with us for details)
- Train from Vladimir to Moscow
- Transfers from, and returning to, airports and train stations.
- Visa enabling documents and complete assistance in obtaining your Russian tourist visas.
*These arrival activities are not included in the price as we will not know if time permits until your exact arrival details are known. **2nd class compartment – Train to Vladimir from St. Petersburg. ***With advance notice, these hotels will be used. Similar hotels will be used if these hotels are unavailable.
RussianTourGuide.Com is pleased to collaborate with numerous travel agents around the world.
If you would like our tour but prefer to work with your local agent, ask your local agent to contact us. We will be happy to collaborate with your local agent to make your travel planning "seamless"!
Contingency Planning: Working with an experienced tour company can offer unexpected benefits. Your guide has much experience with almost all situations which arise with tourists and can probably craft a solution for any contingency. Your guide also has phone access to support from our staff in the USA. If needed, she can contact us to assist you. While you travel in Russia we can facilitate services such as:
- Cash advance (for example in the case of a lost or stolen credit card).
- Foreign exchange.
- Provide Russian phones for your use while visiting.
- Medical facilities with English speaking physicians in St. Petersburg.
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