Moscow and St. Petersburg with Veliky Novgorod and Valday8 Days | Moscow, Veliky Novgorod, Valday, St. Petersburg, Peterhof, Kronstadt

Moscow and St. Petersburg with Veliky Novgorod and Valday

From ancient fortresses and churches to imperial palaces, Soviet buildings, and beautiful scenery, discover ancient and modern Russia on this 8-day tour. Explore the national capital, Moscow, the elegant “European” city of St. Petersburg, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Veliky Novgorod, and the scenic lakeside town of Valday. If you have only a week to explore the biggest country in the world, our 1-week Russia tour itinerary suits you best.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Moscow – Arrival
 
Arrive in Moscow, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel (check in is possible from 14:00). Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Moscow
 
After breakfast, take a guided tour of Russia’s capital city, Moscow. Like Rome, this is a city on seven hills. Your tour of the metropolis starts at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) in the south-west of the city. Elevated 78 metres above the river, these hills are Moscow’s main panoramic viewpoint. They offer excellent views of most of the city’s attractions: the Kremlin, Stalin’s famous “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers (such as the main building of Moscow State University), the modern Moscow City skyscrapers, the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, Russia’s “White House”, Shukhov Tower, Luzhniki Stadium, and the Ostankino TV Tower. After visiting Vorobyovy Gory, descend to the Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) to see the Church of St. George the Victorious, the Triumphal Arch, and the major street of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Then, visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. The original cathedral was destroyed in the 1930s on Stalin’s orders and only rebuilt in the 1990s. The cathedral has a 69-metre-high dome, on the inside of which are beautiful images from the New Testament. Continue the tour at the famed Red Square, walking past St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the famous GUM department store, the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden. The day ends at the impressive Kremlin and its cathedrals (closed on Thursdays and replaced with an alternative sight). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours

During your free time in Moscow, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Armoury in the Kremlin (except Thursdays);
Night city tour: ‘Evening lights of Moscow’;
River cruise on the motor ship ‘Flotilla Radisson Royal’;
Tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre, concerts, the circus, or other performances.

Day 3: Moscow – Tsaritsyno – Veliky Novgorod
 
After breakfast, visit the largest museum complex in Moscow, the Tsaritsyno State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum-Reserve (closed on Mondays and replaced with an alternative sight). Explore the late 18th century Palace Complex, which was the residence of Empress Catherine II near Moscow. The tour includes visits to the permanent exhibitions of the Grand Palace and Bread House, as well as exhibitions at the Middle Palace (Opera House) and Small Palace. End the excursion with a walk through the historical Tsaritsyno Landscape Park to see the ponds and pavilions and the modern park with its fountain and flower beds. Free time with a car and driver at your disposal. In the evening, transfer to the train station to take the overnight train from Moscow to Veliky Novgorod (550 km). Overnight on the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 4: Veliky Novgorod – Valday – Veliky Novgorod
 
Arrive in Veliky Novgorod early in the morning and transfer to the hotel for an early check-in. After breakfast, take a day trip to Valday (140 km), an old Russian city founded in the 15th century on the shores of Lake Valday. The area is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, with attractions including crystal-clear lakes, tranquil forests, and golden domes. The tour of Valday begins at the Iversky Monastery, located on an island in the middle of the lake. Visit the museum and the monastery’s oldest building, the Assumption Cathedral, and admire the other beautiful buildings. Valday is also famous for its tradition of bell-casting and has a fascinating Bell Museum. Here, you’ll learn about the history and casting of Valday bells, see examples of bells from different eras and countries, and hear bells being rung. Return to Veliky Novgorod. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 5: Veliky Novgorod – St. Petersburg
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel. The first half of the day will be devoted to the more than 1,000-year history and architecture of Veliky Novgorod, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tour will encompass the Novgorod Kremlin; Vladychny Dvor; the Episcopal Chamber (Chamber of Facets), an impressive example of Gothic architecture with beautiful 15th century frescoes; the Golden Storeroom, a collection of unique and beautiful golden, religious, and decorative items; and St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the oldest surviving stone buildings in Russia. Continue to the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, a fascinating open-air museum with various houses, churches, and other structures built between the 12th and 18th centuries. End the sightseeing at St. Yuryev Monastery, where you’ll visit St. George's Cathedral, preserved from the pre-Mongol period, and see the tombs of many Russian princes. Transfer to the train station to take the evening train from Veliky Novgorod to St. Petersburg (200 km, 3 hours). Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 6: St. Petersburg
 
Breakfast, followed by a guided tour of St. Petersburg. The tour starts at Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s central “artery” and the main place for Petersburgers to meet each other and take walks. As you follow this famous thoroughfare, you’ll come across numerous historical attractions including the Anichkov Bridge over the Fontanka River (one of the symbols of the city), Catherine's Garden, Gostiny Dvor, Griboedov Canal, the Admiralty, the Field of Mars, Palace Square (the location of the stunning Winter Palace), and Senate Square (the site of the “Bronze Horseman”, the impressive statue of the city’s founder). Continue to the famous religious monuments of St. Isaac’s Cathedral (the world’s fourth largest Christian church), the colourful Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood (which is decorated with beautiful Byzantine mosaics), and Kazan Cathedral (the city’s main church, where the main icon of the Kazan Mother of God is kept). Explore the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra, the city’s first and largest monastery, before walking past the legendary revolutionary naval cruiser, Aurora, which played a key role in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. End the day with a tour of the Peter and Paul Fortress, a fascinating monument of military history and architecture. In addition to the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, where all Russian emperors are buried, see the Triumphal Gate of the fortress, the Petrovsky Gate, the fortress bastions that became Russia’s political prison in the 19th century, the Mint, and the Commandant’s pier. Return to the city. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Boat tour along the rivers and canals;
Night city tour, which includes watching bridges open;
Tickets to performances at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Day 7: St. Petersburg – Peterhof – Kronstadt – St. Petersburg
 
After breakfast, drive out of the city to Peterhof (40 km), learning about the history of the old Peterhof road on the way. Visit the Great Peterhof Palace, the former summer imperial residence and the centre of social life in the 18th century. Admire the stunning gardens and fountains and see many of the more than 1,500 rare exhibits of furniture, paintings, fabric, and porcelain. Continue to the old port city of Kronstadt (33 km) on the island of Kotlin, via the tunnel under the Sea Canal that connects the mainland to the island. Explore this former centre of maritime trade and defence, including the defensive and hydraulic structures, the monument to Admiral Makarov, the Petrovsky Marina, the Italian Palace, and the Arsenal building. End the tour of Kotlin Island with a visit to the Naval Cathedral, the main church of the Russian Navy and a monument to the country’s dead sailors. Return to St. Petersburg. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 8: St. Petersburg – Departure
 
Breakfast. Check-out of the hotel (by 12:00). Free time until your transfer to St. Petersburg International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus);
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Tickets for trains Moscow – Veliky Novgorod – St. Petersburg;
  • Visa support for Russian tourist visa;
  • In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Russia tourist visa;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated).

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Moscow - 2 nights
Veliy Hotel Mokhovaya Moscow, Sverchkov 8 Hotel, Starosadskiy Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel Moscow - BaumanskayaGodunov Hotel, Arbat House Hotel, Pushkin Hotel, Brick Design Hotel
Veliky Novgorod - 1 night
Intourist, Sadko, mini hotel RachmaninoffVolkhov, Park Inn, Yuryevskoye Podvorye boutique hotel
St. Petersburg - 3 nights
Ibis St. Petersburg Centre, Station Hotel L1, Hotel Bristol, Mini-hotel CentreSolo Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky, Original Sokos Olympia Garden, Vedensky Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky

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