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Russia

Moscow & St Petersburg
  9 Day Trip

Itinerary:

Day 1
Arrival in Moscow.  Meet at airport and transfer to Hotel – 1st night Golden Apple Hotel  B/B

Day 2
Our first full day in Moscow.     This magnificent city now open to the west after years of communism.   With a population of around 10 million,  it ranks as one of the largest cities in the world.    Even when Peter the Great demoted the city from its rank of Tsar’s capital by building his own capital city - St Petersburg, Moscow still remained the ideological capital of the Russian people.    When Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution of 1917, Moscow’s capital city status was restored.   As capital of the former USSR, it was by far the biggest city in the vast Soviet empire.   Now, as then, Moscow occupies a pivotal position as the link between two worlds, the east and the west.

Our hotel is centrally located giving us excellent opportunities to photograph Central Moscow at all different times of the day.

Visitors to Moscow are often pleasantly surprised by the wealth and variety of the architecture the city has to offer.  As well as the magnificent palaces and cathedrals, such as those in the Kremlin, there are also smaller churches, imposing Neo-Classical mansions and some beautiful municipal buildings.  A stark contrast to this older architecture is provided by the early 20th century Constructivist buildings and Communist landmarks such as Stalinist-gothic skyscrapers.

Accompanied by our City Guide  we will visit The Lenin Mausoleum,  Red Square, St Basils Cathedral, commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1552, remains one of Russia’s most outstanding buildings.   We will enter the  Kremlin (meaning fortress),  and explore  the magnificent cathedrals  housed within it’s city walls.  The streets of Arbat and Old Arbat are bustling places to explore and capture both by day and in the evenings  -   2nd Night Golden Apple Hotel (B/B)

Day 3
A second full day in Moscow  -  3rd Night Golden Apple Hotel (B/B)

Day 4
A further day to photograph the City, before leaving this evening on the overnight train to St Petersburg.   1 night O/N Train – 1st Class (2 Berth compartments)   (B/B)

Day 5
Early arrival in St Petersburg, transfer to our centrally located hotel, before exploring the city of foot.

This fascinating city of Peter the Great holds a wealth of  history and beauty.    Relatively new by European standards, the city  celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003.   Peter the Great,  Russia’s best known ruler, had a passion for Europe and for the sea.   Before he founded St Petersburg he had travelled incognito to Europe, and worked in her shipyards.  Wars would continue between Russia and Sweden but in 1709 a Swedish defeat had been secured at Poltava.    The Peter & Paul Fortress was built in 1703,  and then after Poltava the development of the newly founded city began.   This vital port now controlling the Baltic lay in Russian hands, and this once military base became a cosmopolitan capital.     Architects were invited from all over Europe to execute Peter’s plans and the city was to become Russia’s window onto Europe.

A visit to the Peter & Paul Fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral, stroll along the banks of the Neva River and Nevsky Prospect, the main street that runs through the heart of the city.  1st Night Arbat Nord  Hotel – B/B

Day 6
Second full day in the centre of St Petersburg, exploring the Winter Palace – 2nd night Arbat Nord Hotel B/B

Day 7
We take a trip out to the Peterhof Palace.     With its commanding views of the Baltic, the Peterhof is a perfect expression of triumphalism.  Originally designed by Jean Baptiste Le Blond, the Great Palace (1714-21) was transformed during the reign of Tsariana Elizabeth when Bartolomeo Rastrelli added a third storey and wings with pavilions at either end.  Peterhof Palace stands
at the centre of a magnificent landscaped park with both French and English Gardens.  – 3rd Night – Arbat Nord Hotel B/B

Day 8
A visit to Tsarkoe Selo.    The Lavish imperial palace was designed by Rastrelli in 1752 for Tsarina Elizabeth.  She named it the Catherine Palace in honour of her mother Catherine I, who originally owned the Estate.    The next ruler to leave her mark on the palace was Catherine the Great and during her reign she commissioned the Scotsman Charles Cameron to redesign the baroque interiors according to her more Neo-Classical taste.   Post-war restoration continues, 20 state rooms are now open, including the Amber Room, as well as the beautiful park.    Return to central St Petersburg – 4th Night Arbat Nord Hotel B/B

Day 9
Transfer to the airport and depart for home

N.B Flights
British Airways operate a daily service to Moscow and out of St Petersburg.
Links to Airlines