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 the ancient bells ringing in the medieval towns of the Golden Ring, where we savor two meals with local 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 enjoy a private boat ride on the atmospheric canals of this World Heritage city. At the time of our trip, we experience the long summer twilight of Russia’s “White Nights,” and our cultural odyssey is filled with unique opportunities to meet Russians and learn about their lives.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3

After exploring monumental Red Square, we have lunch with an artist at a gallery café and learn about the local art scene. 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. A walk in Izmailovo Park brings us to its flea market full of Soviet memorabilia.

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Days 4-6
Golden Ring / Volga River / Plyos and Suzdal / Family Lunches

In Sergiev Posad, we visit the blue-domed Trinity Monastery and have a chance to paint our own matryoshka dolls in an art class. We view Rostov’s ancient Kremlin, a sweeping ensemble of monasteries and churches, and the golden domes of World Heritage-listed Yaroslavl. After a private boat ride on the Volga, we head to the Holy City of Suzdal, where we learn about the ancient Russian art of bell ringing and hear the giant bells sounding across the land. In Suzdal and the small, tranquil town of Plyos, we are welcomed in for lunches with families in their homes.

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Days 7-11
St. Petersburg / Pushkin

Our early admission to the Hermitage gets us in ahead of the crowds and we’ll enjoy special access to one of the Gold Rooms, which holds fabulous Imperial jewelry. We take a private boat ride on the city’s canals, and visit Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin met his end, and Catherine the Great’s grand Rococo summer palace in Pushkin, with its famous Amber Room. Depart on Day 11, or join our Baltic States Extension.

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Discover Old Russia in history-filled medieval towns along the Volga River
Explore romantic St. Petersburg, capital of the czars, with a private boat ride on the canals
Enjoy meals with local families in their homes for a true experience of the local culture


Length: 11 days
Cost From: $6195  
Arrive: Moscow, Russia
Depart: St. Petersburg, Russia
Lodging: 10 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 4 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration, city walking tours, and easy country walks