Moscow, Russia Faberge Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

Imperial Capitals

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Take a step back in time as we introduce you to the Tartar history of Moscow and the imperial splendor of St. Petersburg under the Romanovs. From architecture to the arts, this tour brings you the very best of Russian history and culture with the finest service.

From the concentration of Russian power in the 15th century by Ivan the Terrible in Moscow, to the founding of Peter the Great’s new “window on the west” in the 17th century in St. Petersburg, our Imperial Capitals tour traces the historical

 

timeline of Russia through each era.

Trip Departures:

2017 dates coming soon!

 

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

May 13, 2016:  $4,800 per person / Single Supplement $1,000                  June 24, 2016:  $4,800 per person / Single Supplement $1,000                 September 9, 2016:  $4,625 per person / Single Supplement $800 Please contact Exeter International for specific pricing and availability for your preferred departure date.

Day 1
Arrival | Moscow

Upon arrival in Moscow, you will be met at the airport after you clear baggage claim and customs and transferred to your deluxe hotel, which is just steps from Red Square and the Kremlin.

After time to drop off your luggage and have a quick bite of lunch on your own, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 2:00PM to begin your sightseeing of this dynamic city center. 


This afternoon you will visit the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Pushkin is best known for its French Impressionist collection, originally acquired by two famous Russian industrialists who lost their collection after the Revolution. 


Afterwards, stop in the enormous and only recently completely renovated Cathedral of Christ the Holy Redeemer. Demolished during Stalin’s rule, it was completely rebuilt by Mayor Luzhkov of Moscow in 2001 to its turn of the century splendour.

End with a short stroll to Red Square. Once a large open-air market, Red Square is now the heart of Russian political and social activity. With the imposing red walls of the Kremlin to one side and the glitzy show windows of G.U.M. (the largest Russian department store) on the other, Red Square lies at the center of Moscow’s urban landscape.

Evening
Tonight we welcome you to Moscow with a casual dinner at Café Ararat, located in your hotel.

Exeter Services: Transfer, Half Day Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel:
 Ararat Park Hyatt

Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2
City Tour | City Tour

This morning your guide and driver will meet you for an overview city tour. Drive by the beautiful Novodevichy Convent and stop at Sparrow Hills for gorgeous views over the city, to include landmarks such as the Russian White House, Arbat Street and the Moskva River. We also recommend a stroll through the Novodevichy cemetery. From cultural icons to artists to military heroes, every tombstone is wrought with symbolism. You will stop here for a short visit of the cemetery’s highlights, weather permitting.

You will also visit the Tretyakov Gallery. Zamoskvoreche, where it is situated, is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in the city and dates back to the 13th century. Quaint by-lanes twist around church steeples and mansions of the elite dating back to the 19th century. The Tretyakov Gallery is situated in one of these beautiful period homes that belonged to Pavel Tretyakov, a formidable industrialist and art collector of high repute. From Andrei Rublev’s icons to famous 20th century Russian painters (Repin and Aivazovsky), this is one of the world’s greatest collections of Russian art.

Next visit the Church of St. Nicholas, the Tretyakov’s private chapel, where you will find the Theotokos of Vladimir, Russia’s most celebrated icon, which the Patriarch of Constantinople gifted to the Grand Prince of Russia in 1132.

Your guide and driver will return you to your hotel where you can enjoy lunch on your own.

This afternoon your guide will take all interested shoppers via Metro to Izmailovsky Park for the weekend “Bazaar”: the best shopping in Russia. The park is only open on the weekend and is by far the best place to stock up on matrioshka dolls, fur hats, Russian art and more. Ride the escalators down into the deep Moscow Metro stations and be awed by the elegance of their frescoes, statues, mosaics and stained glass.

Exeter Services: Full Day Guide, Half Day Vehicle & Driver
Hotel: Ararat Park Hyatt

Meals Included: Breakfast at your hotel

Day 3
The Kremlin | The Kremlin

This morning your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel to walk you across Red Square to the Kremlin Complex. Visit the Armory Museum with its antique collection of Faberge Easter Eggs, the prized Cap of Monomachus, as well as several other vestiges of Moscow’s imperial history. Continue to the magnificent Diamond Vaults whose treasures include the scepter of Catherine the Great and the legendary Orlov Diamond.

As you continue to explore the Kremlin’s vast complex, your guide will show you the world’s largest bell and the world’s largest canon – neither one has ever been used, but they stand as proud testimony to the might of Russia’s empire. If you are interested, your guide can also take you to visit the Kremlin churches – our favorite one is the Assumption Cathedral.

Exit the Kremlin grounds to enjoy a light lunch at a neighborhood restaurant.

As you walk back across Red Square, don’t miss the church and Imperial Gates. Destroyed during the Stalin era, they have been completely rebuilt and restored to their original splendor. As you walk along with the formidable walls of the Kremlin to your right and the glittering designer store windows of GUM to your left, St. Basil’s Cathedral’s majesty dominates your view. Commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in the 1500s, legend claims that Ivan had the architect blinded so that he would not be able to replicate it. While the beauty of the Cathedral lies in its imposing façade, each of the eclectically colored domes houses a small chapel within it.

Note: All services today are on foot. Please wear comfortable walking footwear.

Exeter Services: Full Day Guide
Hotel:
 Ararat Park Hyatt
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4
To St. Petersburg | To St. Petersburg

Enjoy a morning at leisure in Moscow.

This afternoon you will depart on the new luxury high-speed Sapsan train from Moscow to St. Petersburg through the picturesque Russian countryside. Business class seats are confirmed and a hot meal will be served at your seat.

Upon arrival in St. Petersburg early this evening, embark immediately on a short overview city tour to include Nevsky Prospect, the buzzing artery of the city, and Vasilievsky Island for the best views over St. Petersburg.

Transfer to your hotel and enjoy this evening at your leisure.

Exeter Services: Transfer (Moscow), Transfer & 2 Hour Guide, Vehicle & Driver (St. Petersburg)

Hotel:
 Rocco Forte Astoria
Meals Included: 
Breakfast & Lunch on the train

Day 5
Hermitage Museum | Hermitage Museum

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
This morning, your guide will escort you to the Hermitage Museum, the world’s finest collection of art, housed in the original Winter Palace of the Tsars. We have pre-arranged an early entrance for you approximately one hour before the general public, so that you can explore the collection at greater leisure.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
Visit the Shuvalov Palace, which houses Viktor Vekselberg’s private collection of Faberge objets d’art. By far the finest collection of these prized pieces in the world today, this tour is limited to very few people and is by special appointment only.

Next walk to St. Isaac’s Cathedral with its columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli. If you feel strong enough, climb up to the pinnacle of its massive golden dome for some of the most gorgeous views over St. Petersburg.

The remainder of this afternoon is at your leisure. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore a bit of St. Petersburg on your own. Stroll along Nevsky Prospect – St. Petersburg’s main avenue, interspersed periodically by meandering canals. Stunning Art Nouveau architecture, charming cafes and several boutiques make this a delightful afternoon promenade. Step into the mysterious hush of the inner sanctum of the Kazan Cathedral or in through the doors of the Art Nouveau bookstore, Dom Knigi.


Note: Most touring today is on foot. Please wear comfortable footwear.

Optional Evening Event
Enjoy a night at the theater and experience one of St. Petersburg’s finest performances, depending on schedule. Theater schedules for this event will be available approximately 60 days prior to departure. This evening includes premier tickets to a performance at the Mariinsky Theater (opera, ballet or concert) as well as round-trip theater transportation. Please inquire for cost.

Exeter Services:
 Full Day Guide, Half Day Vehicle & Driver
Hotel:
 Rocco Forte Astoria
Meals Included:
 Breakfast at your hotel

Day 6
Amber Rooms | Amber Rooms

Today drive out into the countryside around St. Petersburg to visit two of St. Petersburg’s most stunning palaces – Catherine Palace (formerly known as Pushkin) and Pavlovsk.

The understated summer palace of the Tsars, Pavlovsk was started by Cameron, a Scot and a favorite of Catherine the Great, but it was finished by Andrei Voronykhin – a Russian serf who rose to become one of Russia’s finest architects, under the patronage of Paul I and his wife Maria. Lunch today has been arranged for you at a quaint local restaurant serving Russian cuisine.

In stark contrast to Pavlovsk, the Rococo style Catherine Palace bears the extravagant signature of Rastrelli, the architect who designed much of St. Petersburg’s royal precinct. Named for Catherine I by her daughter Tsarina Elizabeth, it was later embellished by Catherine II (The Great). Razed by the Nazis during the second siege of Leningrad, the palace and its fabled Amber Room have been painstakingly restored to exquisite perfection.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
Learn how the Amber Room has been restored by Russian craftsmen after World War II on a private tour of the Amber Room workshops (by private appointment only).

Exeter Services: Full Day Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel: Rocco Forte Astoria
Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 7
Peterhof Palace | Peterhof Palace

Today hop on the hydrofoil to Peterhof (Petrodvorets) Palace.

Cascading fountains on lush manicured lawns that roll down to the Baltic Sea make it reminiscent of a Russian Versailles. Enter the Lower Gardens and watch out for sprays of water from the trick and treat fountains. Walk to the Upper Gardens and mount the steps to the Grand Palace. Its grandiose Baroque façade gives way to an eclectic interior. Visit the grottos beneath the palace and learn more about the incredible vision and engineering behind the fountains that spout streams of water across the gardens.

Lunch has been arranged for you at the Orangerie at Peterhof. Today’s lunch is casual and buffet style.

Note: Touring at Peterhof involves a lot of walking. Please wear comfortable footwear.

This afternoon, continue with a visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress: the birthplace of St. Petersburg. The Peter and Paul Fortress evokes tremendous period atmosphere. Cross the gates, bridges and moats dating back to the 18th century, discover how it served as a bastion against the Swedes, and listen to your guide tell the fantastic stories of each of the Romanovs who are buried within its walls.

Evening
Farewell dinner in your hotel’s restaurant, Café Astoria. Dinner consists of three courses, mineral water, and coffee and tea.

Exeter Services: Guide, Vehicle & Driver
Hotel: Rocco Forte Astoria

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8
Departure | Departure

Today you will be transferred to the airport to meet your onward flight.

Exeter Services: Transfer
Meals Included: Breakfast at your hotel

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