Russia: Land of the Czars

Moscow, the Golden Ring, and St. Petersburg


Our journey in Russia is a wonderful insider’s experience, with our native-born Trip Leaders sharing their homeland’s culture and history. We’ll see Red Square on a nighttime walk and hear ancient bells ringing in the medieval towns of the Golden Ring, where we enjoy two lunches with families in their homes. In romantic St. Petersburg, we have a special early admission to the opulent Hermitage Museum, see the famed Amber Room, and take a private boat ride on the atmospheric canals. We’ll have many opportunities to meet Russians and learn about their lives, and our trip is timed for St. Petersburg’s Belye Nochi (“White Nights”), the long twilight of summer when the sun barely drops below the horizon—it’s a magical time.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Moscow / Armoury Museum / Izmailovo Park

After exploring monumental Red Square, we have lunch with an artist at the Artist’s Gallery cafe on Red Square, an opportunity to learn about the local art scene, then visit the Tretyakov Art Gallery, the ultimate museum of Russian art. At the Armoury Museum, we see treasures including Fabergé’s bejeweled eggs, and we’ll ride to some of the city’s famously ornate metro stations. Our walk in Izmailovo Park brings us to a flea market full of Soviet-era memorabilia.

Moscow Marriott Grand Hotel
Moscow, Russia
Days 1 to 3 (3 nights), Day 6 (1 night)
Days 4-6
Golden Ring / Volga River / Plyos and Suzdal / Family

Lunches In the scenic Volga River region, known as the Golden Ring, we visit Sergiev Posad, a small town that grew around the UNESCO-listed Trinity St. Sergiev Lavra monastery. We’ll have a chance to paint our own matryoshka dolls here in an art class. We view Rostov’s ancient Kremlin, a sweeping ensemble of monasteries and churches, and World Heritage-listed Yaroslavl. In the Holy City of Suzdal, we learn about the traditional Russian art of bell ringing and hear them sounding across the land. Both in Suzdal and the tranquil town of Plyos, we are welcomed in for lunches with families in their homes.

Days 7-11
St. Petersburg / Hermitage Museum / Pushkin

In St. Petersburg, one of the loveliest cities in Europe, we visit the Winter Palace, the principal home of the czars, known today as the Hermitage Museum. Our early admission gets us in ahead of the crowds and we’ll enjoy special access to the Gold Room, with its Scythian and Greek gold and fabulous Imperial jewelry. We take a private boat ride on the beautiful canals, visit Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin met his end, and see Catherine the Great’s grand Rococo summer palace in Pushkin, with its dazzling Amber Room. Depart on Day 11, or join our Baltic States Extension.

Hotel Helvetia
St. Petersburg, Russia
Days 7 to 10 (4 nights)



Discover Old Russia in history-filled medieval towns along the Volga River
Explore romantic St. Petersburg with a private boat ride on the canals
Enjoy insights from our native-born Trip Leaders, and meals in family homes


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6595  
Arrive: Moscow, Russia
Depart: St. Petersburg, Russia
Lodging: 10 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration, city walking tours, and easy country walks

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