Peterhof - St. Petersburg, Russia Church of Spilled Blood - St. Petersburg, Russia

Town & Country Grand Tour St. Petersburg

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

We are honored to be featured in the Town & Country Grand Tour. Created in conjunction with Wendy Perrin, the Exeter International destinations included are St. Petersburg and Prague. Gwen Kozlowski and Greg Tepper are the Wendy Perrin WOW experts for Central Europe and Russia, and are waiting to plan a dream trip for your client.

The Grand Tour was a travel term invented by Richard Lessels, in this 1670 book 'Voyage to Italy'. By the eighteenth century the roads of Europe were busy with elegant carriages taking gentlemen - and some ladies - to complete their education by way of travel.

No one knows this part of the world better than us. Our Staff has lived and worked in the region, so we are uniquely positioned to make a trip to one of our regions of expertise perfect. Many of our destinations were on the original Grand Tour, and today, our local knowledge will ensure that your client's Grand Tour is exactly as it should be!

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

From $8,280 per person, based on two guests touring together, including private after hours at the Hermitage experience.

Day 1
Arrival | St. Petersburg

Midday arrival into St. Petersburg where you will be met by your private driver and guide. Your guide will be waiting for you just outside of Customs, after you pick up your luggage.

Transfer to the luxurious Hotel Astoria, located in the center of the city. On the way to your hotel, your guide will point out sights of historical significance, including one of the last remaining statues of Lenin and the monumental Stalinist apartment buildings that line the route from the airport. Check in at your hotel.

To get you acquainted with Peter the Great’s “Venice of the North,” you will start your tour where it all began at Peter Paul Fortress, the birthplace of St. Petersburg. After walking through the many gates and across the bridges and moats, you will start start to feel the late 18th century city that required such fortification. As Peter’s original outpost against the Swedes, St. Petersburg was born from this fortress and its historical significance is still felt to this day by the presence of every Romanov tomb from Peter the Great to Nicholas II.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

Today you will be invited as VIP guests of Peter Paul Cathedral, even allowed to enter on the day it is closed to the public (Wednesdays in the Autumn to Spring months). You will enter into 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 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 very fit travelers who are comfortable in tight spaces and climbing ladders at times. The views from the windows near the top are unforgettable as the steeple is the tallest building in all of historic St. Petersburg.

Day 2
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

This morning, your driver and guide will take you out into the Russian countryside to see two of the city’s most elegant and beautiful palaces, Catherine Palace (formerly Pushkin) and Pavlovsk, in the nearby village of the same name.

Your first stop will be Pavlovsk Palace, built by Paul I and his wife Maria. This was the understated summer palace of the Romanov tsars. Construction was started by Catherine the Great’s favorite architect, Charles Cameron (a Scotsman), but was later finished by Paul and Maria’s preferred architect, Andrei Voronykhin, a Russian serf who later became one of the greatest architects ever to work in Russia. (For those interested in Russian history, with a focus on architecture and design, you won’t want to miss reading Suzanne Massie’s Pavlovsk: the Life of a Russian Palace.)

Afterwards, you will visit the lavish Catherine Palace and its fabled Amber Room. This palace was originally designed in the 1750s in the Rococo style by the famous architect Rastrelli (who also designed many of St. Petersburg’s grandest buildings like the Winter Palace, parts of Peterhof, the Stroganoff Palace, and the Smolny Cathedral) for 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 are ongoing in some parts of the palace. 

 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.

After touring in the countryside and a small break, you will be met at your hotel at 6:00 PM and escorted to Palace Square and the Hermitage Museum. Your walk will take you to the heart of the city and Palace Square (Dvortsovaya Ploshchad) - the most grandiose of all squares of the city.

The focal point of the square's architectural ensemble is the Winter Palace, both a masterpiece of Russian Baroque style and once the royal residence of all Russian Emperors, less Paul.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This evening the museum will be opened specially for you after the general public has left.  Your visit to the Hermitage Museum will take you to another world; a time when Catherine the Great commissioned whole buildings to house her ever growing collection of the world’s finest art.

The former Winter Palace now spans just about every artistic period from Greek and Roman collections to Matisse. This museum holds the largest collection of art in the world. Your guide will escort you through the highlights of the collection, from Rubens to da Vinci and beyond!

 

Day 3
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

Today you will enjoy a visit out to Peter the Great’s summer palace, Peterhof, to see first-hand the palace’s  infamous fountains and countless gardens.

Peterhof Palace (or Petrodvorets in Russian) is often called the Russian Versailles due to the prominence of the gardens and fountains. The view from the palace through the grand colonnade of fountains to the Baltic Sea is one of the true masterpieces of Russian artistry. There are many parts to the palace complex and to view them all, you will need to devote most of the day.

When you walk to the upper gardens, you can enter the Grand Palace of Peterhof. This stately palace overlooks the gardens and smaller palaces, as well as, the Baltic Sea. The ornate baroque interiors of the Grand Palace will no doubt amaze you, particularly the unique Chinese Room filled with lacquer ware and ancient silk. 

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

After a ride back to the city, you will be invited backstage for an exclusive and rare tour of the historic Mariinsky Theater. Starting from the Tsar’s Box, you will explore the sets, costumes and technology of the theater. You may also see firsthand the backstage preparations for an upcoming performance. This tour is by appointment only and cannot be moved to another time or day. All theater visits are based on the approval of Maestro Gergiev. Please note: Due to the performance schedules, this excursion may not be confirmed until the week prior to your travel.

That evening, enjoy a ballet or opera at the Mariinsky theatre.

Day 4
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

This morning meet your guide for a return visit to the Hermitage.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

You will be joined by one of the top curators who will escort you through the newly opened General Staff Building. Now home to the Hermitage’s modern art collection, including the French Impressionists.  A visit not to be missed!

He will be glad to head directly to the parts of the museum that are of particular interest to you, or perhaps show you his personal favorites, including some extraordinary, but normally missed, pieces. This is a VIP art experience of a lifetime and perfect for travelers who take art very seriously.

Enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. Take this time to do some shopping and sightseeing!

Day 5
St. Petersburg | St. Petersburg

Meet your driver for a transfer to the airport. From there, you will take a flight to Prague. The cost of the flight is not included. Flight times vary by day.

Meet a ballerina in St Petersburg
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