This morning meet your guide and driver outside your cruise ship.
One option is a visit to the General Staff Building, the Eastern Wing of which is now a part of the Hermitage. Designed by Carlo Rossi, one of the central architects that conceived St Petersburg, the General staff building was the headquarters of the army in Imperial times. At just under 2,000 feet it is the longest building in Europe. This is now the home of the Hermitage’s contemporary art collection, including its collection of French Impressionists.
Alternatively, you can visit this morning the famous Yusupov Palace on the banks for the Moika Canal. Enjoy a tour of the palace including its famous theater and Arabian Room. You will hear the story of Rasputin’s murder and more history of Russia leading up to the Revolution.
You may wish to have lunch today in the village of Pavlovsk at the restaurant, Podvorye. This charming restaurant is made of wood and features lively folk entertainment at lunch. Lunch cost is not included in your tour and is payable locally.
Later today 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) and its fabled Amber Room. This palace was started by Catherine I (Peter the Great’s second wife and not Catherine the Great) and it bears her name. The baroque design is truly a masterpiece and this palace, with its striking blue and gold exterior, is one of the symbols of St. Petersburg.
Exeter International Extraordinary Experience: 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. This tour is by appointment only and cannot be moved to another time or day.
Afterward, head back to the city center. Depending on your interests, you have the choice of exploring the fabulous French Impressionist collection of the Hermitage or delving more into Russia’s history at the Yusupov Palace.