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Departure Dates: December 24, 2013 - December 24, 2015
Overview: St Petersburg - UNESCO-listed city area including Nevsky Prospekt, Peter and Paul Fortress, Museum and University districts, Church on Spilled Blood, The Bronze Horseman and Admiralty End, St Petersburg Hermitage at the Winter Palace , Other sites of St Petersburg included on the optional pukka pass , Novgorod - ancient city by the Volkhov River - kremlin, cathedral and other sights, Moscow - UNESCO-listed Red Square, Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum and St Basil’s Cathedral .
Day 1 - 24 Dec: Christmas Eve
Welcome to St Petersburg and the start of your Xmas and New Year holiday! Arrival transfer from St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport to your hotel and check in. Tonight, our Welcome Meeting takes place. Rest of evening free. Your tour leader will recommend some local bars and restaurants for you to try out.
Day 2 - 25 Dec: Xmas Day Sightseeing
Merry Christmas! Founded
by Peter the Great in 1703, grandiose St Petersburg is
designed around an intrinsic network of canals and rivers.
Known as the cradle of Revolution, in the 20th century
the city underwent three name changes, three
revolutions and a 900-day siege. Enjoy a coach
orientation of St Pete’s and a tour of Peter and Paul Fortress.
Afterwards, we enjoy a guided visit at the Hermitage
- which houses one of the biggest and best art and
antiquity collections on earth, the bulk of which was
amassed by Catherine the Great. With some 2.8 million
pieces of art, including collections ranging from a
dazzling array of Great Masters to Egyptian mummies
and Greek vases, Catherine was, to put it lightly, one
heck of a collector. The rest of the day is free for you to
enjoy St Pete’s your way. Tonight, head out on the town
or enjoy a Christmas drink in local bar, cafe or at our
Day 3 - 26 Dec: Optional Pukka Pass
Today you can spend the day at leisure or if you fancy, join our optional pukka pass bolt-on. A full day of sightseeing in St. Petersburg including all transportation, guiding, entrance fees and lunch. A visit to Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo and Pavlosk Palace and a stop for lunch overlooking Griboyedov Canal.
This evening enjoy a night at one of St Pete’s many
great clubs or bars or join us for an evening at the ballet
or Russian Cossacks performance (book/ pay locally, if
Day 4 - 27 Dec: Time to Explore
St Petersburg "" Novgorod. Today gives the
opportunity to shop for souvenirs, maybe some wooden
dolls or Russian memorabilia found at the canal side
market near the striking Church on Spilled Blood. Or take
a walk along St Petersburg main street - Nevsky Prospekt.
Later we travel by coach or train to ancient Novgorod,
where we enjoy a steamy Russian banya (sauna) and
Day 5 - 28 Dec: Novgorod
Novgorod "" Moscow. Novgorod is one of Russia’s oldest cities, located within reach of the Volkhov river and Lake Ilmen. It was formed as a town in the middle of the 10th century. A tour of Novgorod takes in the riverside fortified kremlin, cathedral and other sights. The fortress was mentioned in chronicles as early as in 1044, whilst today’s walls and towers, despite being re-built in 15th century, are impressive all the same. Tonight we have dinner before travelling by overnight sleeper train from Novgorod to Moscow.
Day 6 - 29 Dec: Moscow City Tour
Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow - the capital that spawned dozens of spy novels! Today we will ride on the capital’s efficient Metro to Red Square. From here, we’ll take in the jewels of Russia’s capital on a guided walk in the Kitay-Gorod and Lubyanka area, taking in sights such as the epitome of Russian
power "" the Kremlin (guided tour on the 31 Dec) and Red Square, home to the ritzy GUM department store and Lenin’s Mausoleum. If open we can visit the father
of communism himself, who lays sallow and embalmed inside the eerie mausoleum.
At the south end of Red Square, feast your eyes on the wildly coloured, turban domed St Basil’s Cathedral, an enduring Russian symbol commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the terrible) in 1555. This evening why not sample Moscow’s lively nightlife in some of the many bars and clubs which are open until very late!
Day 7 - 30 Dec: Free time
Enjoy a day at leisure in Moscow.
Perhaps visit one of the cities many museums or
galleries. For souvenirs head to the wonderful Izmailovsky
market, boasting a massive collection of stalls hocking
everything from Soviet Red Army memorabilia to bootleg
CDs, fluffy hats and Matryoshka dolls.
The remainder of the afternoon is free for your explore on your own or why not sign up for our Inside a Soviet Bunker bolt on? Head 65 meters underground to explore a Stalinist-era bunker that up until recently was a top secret symbol of Soviet Power. See the giant tunnels and get a guided tour of the rooms and secret paraphernalia before a tour of some of Russia's most luxurious Stalin era metro stations.
Day 8 - 31 Dec: New Year's Eve - Red Square or Elsewhere!
Today, we head into Red Square where, we enjoy a guided tour of the Moscow Kremlin - Russia’s bastion of power. Walking through the grounds we’ll see numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals and the tsar bell. Rest of day free to enjoy the last day of the year your way.
Get the party started in Red Square or at one of Moscow’s many restaurants, cafes and bars - the nightlife
is fantastic. Have your own private Moscow New Year’s celebration!
Day 9 - 01 Jan: New Year's Day
Happy New Year! Our tour concludes after breakfast and hotel check out at 12 noon.