|Aktivitets nivå :||Kultur & Tema reiser (standard) - Togreiser|
Arrive in the early evening and transfer to our centrally located hotel in Moscow. The journey takes approximately 1 hour from Domodedovo Airport, during peak season this can be longer due to heavy traffic. The closest subway station to our hotel is Arbatskaya on the blue line (the only station where all four lines meet). After dinner, we recommend an evening walk to Red Square *Arbat House Hotel or similar*
This morning we enjoy a guided walk across Red Square, past Lenin’s Mausoleum visiting the infamous leader’s tomb. After we gain our bearings, there is free time to visit the magnificent St Basil’s Cathedral, which was built by Ivan the Terrible and remains one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. We then hop aboard the efficient Metro system, for a short tour of some of the most beautiful stations. Later there is time to see Moscow’s premier art collection at the Tretyakov Gallery, where the priceless Russian Icon collection is kept along with other highlights. Or you may choose to do some shopping at the souvenir market. Evening visits to the Bolshoy Theatre are very popular and are available to book online (subject to availability). The circus is also a popular choice - however, live animals are used in some acts so this may not be to everyone’s taste. Please note that Exodus are unable to pre-book these tickets as we are not official ticket agents and tickets can only be booked in advance. *Special Spasskaya Tower Military Festival departures - 25th August and 01st September 2018* For those who choose one of these special departure dates, the evening is spent on Red Square at this famous military music event. Participating in the festival are Russian and foreign military orchestras, folk groups and the honour guard units from other countries, including bagpipers from Scotland. All perform against the back drop of St Basil’s Cathedral and the walls of the Kremlin. This truly is one of the most spectacular events in Moscow’s cultural calendar. Please note that Red Square (including Lenin’s Mausoleum) is closed during the day at this time, however seeing it from the grandstands during the parade more than makes up for it. A sight not to be missed. *Arbat House Hotel or similar*
Today we head straight to the highlight for many who visit Moscow, the Kremlin - a city within a city. It is still the seat of much political power and contains many of Russia’s greatest treasures. We visit the magnificent cathedrals of St. Michael the Archangel, the Annunciation and the Assumption, as well as the Tsar Bell and the golden domes of Ivan the Great Bell Tower. Also included is a visit to the famous Armoury, a museum of opulent treasures including fabulous gold coaches and the famous Faberge eggs. There is some more free time in the afternoon before we meet at the hotel for the short transfer to the train station. There will be time to visit the shops to buy some snacks and drinks for the journey, before boarding our late night sleeper train to Novgorod. *Sleeper train*
No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its historical monuments. We spend a relaxing morning on a gentle walking tour through the riverside Kremlin dating back to the 10th century. We take in the sites of St Sofia’s Cathedral Yaroslav's Court and the Millennium Monument, created to celebrate 1000 years of Russia. The afternoon is free, a chance to experience a less visited city with a truly Russian feel. Most choose to head out into the countryside to enjoy the Yuriev Monastery and the Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, to learn more about rural life in Russia For many Novgorod is a real highlight and a welcome break from hectic Moscow before moving on to St Petersburg. *Volkhov Hotel or similar*
In the morning we transfer to the small town of Pushkin to see the incredible Catherine Palace and gardens. Every room in this huge palace is as opulent as the last, lined with gold and marble. The highlight, however, is The Amber Room, which was dismantled by the Nazis during the war and its content lost somewhere in East Prussia. It has recently been restored to its former glory and is a sight to behold. After the tour there is free time to enjoy the gardens, visit the Lyceum School where Pushkin studied, or return to the hotel for a traditional banya a traditional Russian sauna. *Hotel Natalia or similar*
After a short transfer, by train, we arrive in one of the finest and most extravagant cities in Europe - St Petersburg. This is a relatively young city, which only celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. It was the vision of Peter the Great and was part of his desire to bring ‘old Russia' into the modern European age. Much of its design and work was contributed to by foreign designers and craftsmen - the result being some of the finest 18th and 19th-century buildings to be found in Europe, but with a distinct Russian influence. Our hotel is located just off Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s most famous street, full of fine mansions, cathedrals and shops, all with a story to tell. We enjoy an orientation tour before free time for an optional visit inside the Peter and Paul Fortress and the famous cathedral that contains the tombs of the Romanovs, St Isaac’s Cathedral or the Church of the Spilt Blood. We will meet again in the early evening, for a visit to the new Fabergé Museum housing 4,000 pieces of fine decorative art, the highlight of which is a group of nine imperial Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the last two Tsars. *Asteria Hotel or similar*
We make the most of our final full day in Russia, with a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764. Here every room is a piece of art in its own right, you will marvel at the Pavilion Hall, Peacock Room, and Hanging Gardens and that’s before you’ve even seen any art! The afternoon is free. Why not take in the sights of the city by boat on a relaxing canal trip? Please note that this day may operate in reverse due to entrance slots at the Hermitage. *Hotel Asteria or similar*
After breakfast, there is some free time before the group flight back to London. **
* 6 nights at comfortable 3 star hotels and 1 night sleeper train * Group normally 6‐16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs * Travel by minibus, train and metro
6 breakfasts included. There are not many restaurants and cafes in these cities where you can try pure Russian cuisine. Nowadays Russian food is a mixture of cuisine from neighbouring countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and those of Central Asia. You can try pancakes and pies with different fillings, delicious khachapuri (traditional Georgian pie with home-made cheese suluguni), caucas kebabs, Uzbekistani plov (rice dish with meat and vegetables) and soups (traditional Russian schi with solty cabbage or Ukrainian borsch with beetroot). Your leader will arrange group dinners in different restaurants to get the most out of this gastronomic mix throughout your journey. Restaurant Chekhov in St Petersburg and Cafe Chekhov in Moscow can be considered as places to try Russian cuisine (fish soups, solty black milk mushrooms, aspics, poultry, jellies). Vegetarians are well catered for in Moscow and St Petersburg but lesser so outside of these main cities. Expect to pay £20-30 per person for dinner and between £8-10 for a lunch snack.
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