Sail down the beautiful rivers

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Day 1
Arrival | St. Petersburg Yusupov Palace - St. Petersburg, Russia

Upon arrival in St. Petersburg you will be meet by your private driver to be transported to your hotel.

Exeter Services: Arrival Transfer

Hotel: Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

Day 2
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg Peter Paul Fortress - St. Petersburg, Russia

This morning, you will be met by your guide and driver for today’s tour. Begin with a drive outside the city to Peter the Great’s answer to Versailles – Peterhof. Today you’ll skip the palace interior and, instead, focus on the gorgeous gardens, fountains and views. Walk through the gardens to see Peterhof’s most enchanting treat: the trick fountains of the gardens.

During your time here you may want to visit the Grottos of Peterhof. The tremendous variety of fountains is one of the principal features of Peterhof, where their extravagance and playfulness indicate the atmosphere of early 18th century Russia. You will journey underneath the fountains and learn of their remarkable engineering and history.

Afterward, board the hydrofoil with your guide to head back to central St Petersburg. The thirty-minute ride takes you out of the city traffic and into the Baltic Sea! Your guide will go with you on the hydrofoil and your driver will meet you at your destination.

Back in the center, you’ll have an overview tour of the city. Pass by the famous Bronze Horseman statue of Peter the Great, the Strelka (the spit in the center of the Neva River, overlooking the Winter Palace, the first stock exchange, Peter Paul Fortress and dozens of stately palaces) and of course, the grand Nevsky Prospect, the main avenue of the city.

Next, you will see Peter Paul Fortress: the birthplace of St. Petersburg. After walking through the many gates and across the bridges and moats, you can begin to feel the late 18th-century era that required such fortification. As Peter’s original outpost against the Swedes, St. Petersburg was born from this fortress and its historical significance is felt to this day by the presence of every Romanov tomb from Peter the Great.

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Following your tour around this historic island fortress you will be invited in as VIP guests of Peter Paul Cathedral. Here you will enter the soaring steeple of the cathedral through winding steps and wrought iron ladders, passing some of the most fascinating and historic mechanisms that keep the cathedral running. You’ll see the ancient clock mechanisms that keep the time and connect to the extraordinary array of cast iron bells that ring every hour and can be heard across the city. Don’t miss the “Peter the Great stood here” sign! The climb is for relatively fit travelers who are comfortable in tight spaces and climbing steep spiral staircases at

times. The views from the windows near the top are unforgettable as the steeple is the tallest building in all historic St. Petersburg.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver, & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Rocco Forte Astoria

Day 3
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg Catherine's Palace - St. Petersburg, Russia

This morning your driver and guide will take you out into the Russian countryside to see one of the city’s most elegant and beautiful palaces- Catherine Palace (formerly Pushkin). Today you will visit the lavish Catherine PalaceanditsfabledAmberRoom. Thispalacewasoriginallydesignedinthe1750sintheRococostylebythe famous architect Rastrelli for the Tsarina (Princess) Elizabeth, who named it after her mother Catherine I – Peter the Great’s second wife. Later, Catherine II (the Great) commissioned the Scottish architect Charles Cameron to re-design the palace’s interiors in the then-fashionable Neo-Classical style. After Catherine the Great’s death, the palace remained largely unchanged for centuries until the Second World War when the Nazi army, retreating after the unsuccessful siege of Leningrad, destroyed the palace almost completely. After the war, the magnificent palace and its interiors were thoroughly and painstakingly rebuilt, but renovations at some parts still continue.

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While visiting Catherine Palace, you will be invited into the Amber Room workshops where craftsmen rebuilt the famous amber panels lost in World War II.

Afterward, head to nearby Pavlovsk Park for some afternoon activity.

Pavlovsk Park is one of the most storied English gardens of Russian history and even today, the park maintains its original layout from the grand walkways to the hidden paths which lead to enchanting pavilions. The enormous park is much too large to explore on foot in its entirely, so we invite you to hop on a bicycle for a completely different prospective!

Originally designed by the English architect, Cameron, the gardens flow from the main palace elegantly and in three directions. Be sure not to miss the Dairy House, the Greek Pavilion and the wonderful Rose Pavilion, built for Alexander II to celebrate his victory over Napoleon.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver, & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

Day 4
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg Hermitage Family Travel St. Petersburg

Meet your guide this morning for a short walk to Palace Square and the Hermitage. Early entrance to the Hermitage has been arranged for you, so that you can enter the museum before the general public. The Hermitage collection spans just about every artistic period from Greek and Roman collections to Matisse. The museum boasts that it holds the largest collection of art in the world.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

After time to explore, your private boat will be waiting for you. Today your guide will join you as you have a private boat tour of the canals of St. Petersburg. This is one of the most enchanting ways to explore the city, as you take in the sights while gliding along the canals and rivers of the city, past the Winter Palace, the Mariinsky Theater, the Summer Gardens, and many other important sights. Refreshments and light snacks will be served on the boat.

Your cruise will end on one of the canals outside the ornate Church on Spilled Blood. The Church on Spilled Blood is so named because it stands on the spot where the Emperor Alexander II was assassinated on March 1, 1881. Its unique design was inspired by St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. This is the only church in the world covered completely inside and out by mosaics of tiles and precious and semi-precious stones. This is one of the most extraordinary buildings in St. Petersburg and is well worth the visit. During the Bolshevik revolution, the church fell into a state of decline, and only recently has it been fully restored to its former glory.

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Today you will also have a very special appointment for painting Matryoshka Dolls. Also called Babushka dolls or Nesting dolls, you would be hard-pressed to find a more popular symbol of Russia, and you will have the chance to paint your own set with a local artisan.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver, & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Rocco Forte Hotel Astoria

Day 5
St. Petersburg - Moscow | St. Petersburg - Moscow historical museum moscow

This morning meet with your private driver for your transfer to the train station. Today you have tickets on the high speed Sapsan train that will whisk you to Moscow in just four hours. Upon arrival into Moscow you will be met by your driver and assistant. Together you will travel to your centrally located hotel in the heart of the city.

After time to check in and have lunch on your own, explore some of the surrounding neighborhood with your guide. In Red Square, be sure not to miss the rebuilt church and Imperial Gates at the south end of the square; they were both destroyed under Stalin and are now rebuilt in their original splendor.

Your guide will also show you the stunning St. Basil’s Cathedral, an iconic symbol of Moscow. This magnificent church-museum was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and was completed in 1561. Rumor has it that Ivan had the architect blinded so he would never be able to design anything as exquisite again!

You may want to experience the fascinating interiors of the Moscow Metro stations, ornately decorated with beautiful paintings, carvings, and chandeliers! The Moscow Metro was created as a complex of monumental structures featuring designs of the very best Soviet architects. The stations, most built between 1930 and 1960 are underground palaces, featuring exquisite frescoes, statues, mosaics and stained glass. Each station has its own special theme- our favorite is Teatralnaya. Today this massive public transportation system is one of the largest in the world, carrying over 9 million passengers per day (twice as many as London or Paris!). Your guide will be delighted to show you as many stations as you like.

You can also walk over to the nearby Zaryadye park for sweeping views of the Red Square and St. Basil Cathedral. With 32 acres of recreation space right in the very centre of the city, the park is located steps from Red Square. Designed by Diller, Scofido & Renfro, architects who created the New York Highline, the concept is described as ‘wild urban’ – with the park merging historical streets with nature. There are many kid-friendly pavilions here, including an ice cave and a Soaring ride.

Exeter Services: Station Transfers; Guide (4 Hours)

Hotel: Metropol

Day 6
Moscow | Moscow Bunker 42 - Moscow, Russia

This morning your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby to begin your exploration of Moscow. You will begin with one of the most iconic sites of Moscow – the Kremlin. You will have an appointment to visit the famed Armory Museum, including its vast collection of Imperial Russian artwork. Here you’ll see the Kremlin’s world- famous collection of Imperial Faberge Easter Eggs. Also, in the Armory are many of the most important Imperial thrones and crowns, including the most historic, the Cap of Monomachus.

Included in your Kremlin visit today is entry into the Diamond Vaults. Admission to these extraordinary rooms is by special appointment with the Kremlin and your guide is not allowed to enter with you. Your entry to the Diamond Vaults is with a pre-set group of other visitors, and you will have approximately twenty minutes to browse these rooms on your own. You will see Catherine the Great’s scepter with its famous Orlov Diamond and one of the largest collections of diamonds and gem stones in the world!

Afterward, meet your driver to see a bit more of Moscow.

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The decommissioned Nuclear Bunker reveals the Cold War chapter in the history of Russia, when the country was on full alert and when tensions between the superpowers were at their highest. This visit will take you 50 years into the past into an era when many civilian constructions in Moscow (like the 3-story apartment block above the bunker) were there just to disguise military purpose objects.

The Cold War Nuclear Bunker was built 200 feet below Moscow and still bears its Cold War-period atmosphere: long dark corridors, metal stairs, and large detachments for storing generators, provision, and munitions. Built in the 1950’s to withstand a potential nuclear attack, the bunker’s main function was to sustain communication for the government in case of a nuclear attack. Upon entering the bunker, you may either walk 20 floors down for the tour or use the elevator. This experience is by appointment only and is private for you and your family.

Exeter Services: Guide (8 Hours); Vehicle and Driver (5 Hours)

Hotel: Metropol

Day 7
Moscow | Moscow Cosmonaut Museum - Moscow, Russia

This morning you will be met in your hotel lobby by your driver and guide to begin your tour of The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines. This is a private museum created by three young people and has become a labor of love for all things arcade. The museum is interactive, and allows guests to step back into the USSR, playing games that children played in the republics last two decades.

Next you will travel to Moscow’s Museum of Cosmonautics, a rarely visited museum that brings to life the history of Soviet and Russian space exploration. The museum is located at the base of the impressive (and famous) Monument to the Conquerors of Space, which is some 350 feet high and covered with titanium.

You can also see Cosmonaut Alley, which is lined with busts of cosmonauts, space scientists, and rocket engineers including Yuri Gagarin, the first man to fly into space, and Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to fly into space.

The Space Museum re-opened in 2009 after years of renovation and expansion and now houses an expanse of authentic exhibits focusing on the different stages of space exploration. You won’t want to miss the collection of space suits which shows how they were developed and improved through the years, the small capsule in which Gagarin flew into space, and the models of space stations, some of which one can actually walk through. There is also a café in the lobby area where “space food” is available for purchase!

Afterwards, end your touring today at the revitalized Gorky Park. What was once a rather desolate area is now a vibrant and fun city park for all. It’s an easy spot to rent bikes or simply enjoy the good weather.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Metropol

Day 8
Departure | Moscow Kremlin - Moscow, Russia

This morning you will check out of your hotel and meet your driver and assistant for the departure transfer to the airport. Here you will meet your onward flight home.

Exeter Services: Airport Transfer

Meet a ballerina in St Petersburg
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