Winston Churchill famously said that Russia was "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma." If you travel to Russia with Exeter International we hope to be able to unwrap some of the mystery and we will ensure you have the inside track. Our team travel to Russia numerous times a year and no one knows Russia like we do, we are uniquely positioned to make your trip perfect.
Russia strikes a delicate balance between ancient and avant-garde. From medieval history to haute cuisine; incense filled churches to roof-top bars; and Pskov masonry to chrome high-rises – Russia is in a constant state of evolution (or revolution!). Be it Anna Pavlova, Catherine the Great, Leo Tolstoy or Ivan the Terrible, Russia’s extravagance is a result of the larger than life characters who have created her story – Russian art, politics, literature, music, dance, drama, and even architecture have an intense flamboyance unlike anywhere else.
Travel to Moscow and explore the Kremlin, the center of Russian history and intrigue, and take in a performance at the gloriously revamped Bolshoi Theater.
Continue your Russian adventure to, what many refer to as, the “Venice of the North.” The footsteps of the Tsars are evident in St. Petersburg and the surrounding countryside. The Hermitage Museum contains the largest art collection in the world, with over three million pieces, and Peterhof, the Palace of Peter the Great, features spectacular gardens and golden fountains too numerous to count.
A visit to St. Petersburg would not be complete without seeing Catherine Palace and the recently restored Amber Room. Take time to explore the Church of Spilled Blood, covered completely inside and out by mosaics - and don’t leave Russia without experiencing a performance at the world famous Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater.
As you travel through Russia with us, you will step behind-the-scenes, beyond closed doors, and learn about the culture first-hand from the locals.
For custom luxury travel and tours to Russia, please contact one of our travel experts, or read on below for more information about where to go and when, along with our Insider's Guide.
Russia is a year round destination! Go in the winter (November – March) for empty museums and snow thick on the ground. Find out why to travel to Russia in Winter here.
April and October are perfect, if deep winter is not for you but you still want to skip the summertime crowds.
The late spring and summer months, from May to September, are very popular times to visit. There is no doubt that White Nights in St. Petersburg, at the end of June and beginning of July, are mystical – with 24 hours of daylight a day, there is an almost dream like quality as you look at your watch and realize it’s midnight when you thought it was only 8:00PM!
July and August can be hot, and if the ballet & opera of the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky (formerly the Kirov) are your passion, avoid travel from mid-July to mid-September as that is when the theaters go dark.
Our handpicked guides lead you on tours along the inside track of bustling Moscow and St. Petersburg. Our behind-the-scenes, closed-door Exeter International Extraordinary Experiences take you a step beyond the ordinary, creating the ultimate luxury Russian vacation. Why just watch the ballet at the Bolshoi or the Mariinsky when we can take you backstage? Descend into a real Cold War Bunker and step back in time to Russia’s Soviet past.
Enjoy and after hours visit to the Hermitage, allowing you to see the art without the crowds. Get an insider sneak peek into the Amber Room workshops at Catherine Palace and the Grottos of Peterhof.
Travel to the ancient fairy-tale towns of the Golden Ring, the name given to the necklace of towns and villages that circle Moscow and were created between the 11th and 15th centuries. These towns are some of the most important centers of Russian Orthodoxy, from a time when the number of monasteries and churches told you how prosperous a town was. Many of these churches served as a template for the Moscow Kremlin cathedrals built many years later.
Our team of travel experts can customize a unique program for you, based on our Essential Russia itinerary.
We suggest you allow a minimum of three nights in Moscow and four nights in St. Petersburg. If you wish to include the Golden Ring, we suggest that you travel there after your initial stay in Moscow, and before you travel to St. Petersburg.
If you are on a Baltic cruise, and in port in St. Petersburg, we can arrange a private shore excursion with your own Exeter hand-picked private guide. Our private shore excursions ensure that you’ll receive, not only the best experience possible, but personalized service throughout, allowing you to maximize your time in port.
On the Volga Dream, you can explore the waterways between Moscow and St. Petersburg including the stunning wooden village on Kizhi Island and the Golden Ring town of Yaroslavl, with its ancient churches. In Moscow and St. Petersburg you will stay in central hotels in the heart of each city before embarking on your cruise between the two capitals.
Just as exciting is the southern route from Moscow to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea on the Lower Volga, a sailing that takes you into the heart of the real Russia. Reliving the history of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and seeing the perfectly preserved fortress of Nizhny Novgorod is something most travelers never have the chance to experience.
The most epic rail journey in the world – the renowned Trans-Siberian Express! Travel 6,500 miles on the luxurious Golden Eagle, your luxury hotel on wheels. During the two week journey, you will see some of the most unique places in the world, Lake Baikal, Ulaan Baatar, Vladivostok – almost inaccessible by any other route and certainly not in the same level of comfort or luxury.
If you have longer, extend your stay and continue on to the Baltic States or Scandinavia. It is easy to get from St Petersburg to Helsinki, via a high-speed direct train.