Siberia and Far East

Essential Russia

Tour Description (pdf)

Days: 16

Start: St. Petersburg

Finish: Irkutsk

Route cities:

St. Petersburg Vologda Moscow Yasnaya Polyana Yekaterinburg Irkutsk Baikal

We decided to add everything Russia is famous for in one trip. It is not about geography – we decided to choose some places, objects, ideas, personalities, which are vital for an understanding of Russian culture and people. It is a tour around Russia with our local vision of Russian heritage and attempt to exhibit a true and correct view on its history and modern times. See beauty of Russian nature and architecture, feel Russian hospitality, learn fascinating facts of Russian history, taste traditional Russian food, discover the main ideas of life from Leo Tolstoy as well as his favorite dish, travel along the longest railway in the world, make the true souvenirs by your own on a confectionery plant, try the most significant local public transport and try not to get lost in the biggest museum of Russia.

Privet and welcome to St. Petersburg.
We start from St. Petersburg, the so-called Northern capital of Russia, famous for its fascinating classic architecture, drawing bridges and the White nights.
Built on the western border of Russian State, St. Petersburg has a symbolic significance of the Gate to Europe. It used to be the capital for two centuries, home for Romanov imperial dynasty and witness of all three Russian revolutions. 

Arrival day (meeting with tour leader or company representative to discuss the program and route)
Stay overnight in hotel

Palaces and Imperial past

Breakfast

The Hermitage visit. You may think that it is somebody’s strange joke to call the biggest museum of Russia with more than 9000 visitors per day the Hermitage
(fr. “a place of solitude”). Our guide will tell you a few museum secrets and show you some masterpieces from enormous collection of art kept by the Romanovs, as well as
majestic interiors of the Winter palace, the former royal residence.
Free time
Optional Theatre Visit
Stay overnight in hotel

Tsarist summer residence

Breakfast
Half-day trip to Peterhof (20 km from St. Petersburg).
Peterhof park is signed as UNESCO World Heritage site for the unique fountain system consisting of more than 150 fountains and 4 great cascades where water flows under its own pressure. Enjoy the park landscapes and panoramic views, find the joke fountains of 18th century, have a look on St. Petersburg from the shore of the Gulf of Finland.
The tour includes a visit to one of the park palaces or engineering fountain tour to the Grotto (specify upon booking) 
Free time before train.
Overnight train

Beauty of traditional wooden architecture

Morning arrival at Vologda, old northern town with amazing wooden architecture district. Till 20th century wood was one of the most popular, convenient and cheap material for house construction and most of the cities were built in wood. By now there are just a few towns where you can see it and Vologda is the best choice. 

After breakfast we will have a city tour, with stops near the most decorative city mansions, we will visit a local Kremlin and learn about the special local craft in a Lace Museum.
Free time
Optional Belfry climbing for the city view
Stay overnight in hotel (one of the wooden buildings in the very heart of the city)

The Russian North national reserve Medieval northern monasteries and frescos

Breakfast
Today we have a trip 80 km from Vologda to a National Reserve Russian North, to a small village Ferapontovo to see former medieval Orthodox
Monastery with unique frescos by Dionysus (UNESCO Heritage site). A visit to Dionysus museum. The most impressive thing in the Russian North is how the time flows here.
It seems that the present and the past merge into one, and you can feel a touch of history. This feeling is intensified by the strict beauty of the northern nature and sincerity and simplicity of local people.
Transfer back to Vologda. Typical Russian Dairy products tasting. Russian cuisine is impossible to imagine without different dairy products. Let’s meet a technologist of one of the local milk and butter factory and try some local Vologda specialties (incl. very special kefir and ryazhenka (fermented baked milk), curd cheese desserts and condensed milk)
Free time till train
Overnight train to Moscow

 Early arrival at Moscow, one of the world’s largest cities, a modern metropolis, the capital and ancient center of the Russian state with a history going back many centuries. It is the city that everyone should visit as you can feel all Russian realities and contrasts. 

Transfer to a hotel, breakfast
We will explore the real wonder of Russian Capital: the Underground, constructed in Soviet times with the idea of becoming Palace for workpeople – that is why beautiful and unique decoration was used for each station. You will see expensive materials, mosaics, sculptures and the best architectural solutions of that time. Then we will have a tour to Space museum and a walk in the main Soviet park – the unique VDNKh architectural and park complex. The magnificent pavilions of VDNKh USSR became a precious symbol of the national school of architecture, the Soviet empire style, neo-classicism and modernism. When and for what purposes was this Exhibition created? Who were the founders and architects of the main USSR Expo? Experienced guides will help you understand the complicated history of the “Soviet Versailles” and answer all your questions about the architecture and landscape design.
Free time
Optional Boat tour
Stay overnight in hotel

Breakfast at the hotel
Day trip to Yasnaya Polyana (Tula region, 12 h.) where the family estate of renowned Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is situated. He spent most of his life here and by now museum curators preserve a special spirit of the place, carefully keeping all Tolstoy’s family traditions. Lunch at the estate restaurant with dishes made by Tolstoy’s wife recipes. 

Tula is famous all over Russia for its samovars and fancy gingerbread (pryanik). We will have a workshop on a local confectionary factory, which still preserves the old handicraft technology and make our own gingerbread for souvenirs.
Late arrival to Moscow.
Stay overnight in hotel

Breakfast
Free day in Moscow.
Optional Kremlin tour
Optional Stalin Bunker museum (64 m under the ground)Optional Tretjakov Gallery
Optional Moscow River boat trip
Meeting at the hotel, transfer to the train station
Train to Yekaterinburg

Day and night at the train

The Last Romanovs and the First President Boris Yeltsin

Morning arrival and breakfast
Yekaterinburg is important for us as the industrial center of the Ural Mountains, the city of hard workers and talented masters, the historical Gates to Siberia, the birthplace of the first Russian president Boris Yeltsin. It is also known as the place of the tragic death of the last Russian Emperor and his family. During our city tour our guide will tell you all facts and legends which will help you to understand the real event feed of that tragedy. Tour ‘Mysteries of the Last Romanov’You’ll see Ascension Hill and visit the ex-site of Ipatyev’s House (a place of the Romanovs’ imprisonment and brutal murder) and Cathedral on the Blood. 

After that you’ll have a trip to the monastery of Holy Majestic Martyrs at Ganya’s Pit - a place where the Romanovs' bodies were supposedly burnt. It is a wooden complex of orthodox Russian churches surrounded by beautiful and quite nature. On the way back to the city we have a stop at the symbolic border between Europe and Asia marked with a monument.
Free evening
Stay overnight in hotel

Breakfast

Free day to explore city sites. We highly recommend you to visit Boris Yeltsin cultural center, learn the beauty of constructivism buildings, visit one of the Mineral Stone museums or choose our unique optional program
Optional Ural Gold mining tour The Museum-Mine is not just an exhibition site with boring guides and huge halls - it's a small interactive attraction for adults. Two halls with an exposition, funny guides involving the whole group in mountain adventures, unforgettable legends. After mining gold as a true worker, you will visit and taste local craft beer and one of the owners will show you how it is produced.
Meeting at the hotel and transfer to the train station
Train to Irkutsk.

Trans-Siberian Railway
2 Days and 2 nights at the train

Morning arrival at Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city that can tell you all controversial history of Russian Siberia: this history is mostly about extraction of mineral recourses and exile of state prisoners. In some areas the city still preserves the atmosphere of the 19th century with old wooden houses of resettles.
Guided city tour (3 hours) We will visit the House Museum of Maria Volkonskaya. Sometimes called the Princess of Siberia, Maria was one of the many Decembrist revolutionaries' wives who voluntarily accompanied their husbands into exile.
Transfer to Baikal lake, free afternoon

Stay overnight in hotel

Spend all day on a shore of Baikal - the largest freshwater lake in the world. Breakfast We will have a nice walk in Listvyanka, learn the history of Baikal evolution in the unique Baikal Museum and climb on a picturesque Chersky
stone panoramic point (728 m above sea level). 
After a short break, let’s meet the locals. We invite you to spend your evening in a local house not far from Listvyanka. You will learn how to make Russian pancakes at the cooking class, prepare batter and fry them under the supervision of the host. Banya is also included.
Stay overnight in hotel

We highly recommend you to plan some extra days in Moscow.You can also book an Optional St. Petersburg Package tour to see the so called ‘northern capital of Russia’ that also won the prize as the best cultural tourism city at World Travel Awards-2017

Transfer to Irkutsk, departure day
Optional Plan some extra days on Baikal to see Olkhon Peninsula, try some boat cruises or Jeep adventures.

We highly recommend you to plan some extra days in Moscow.

You can also book an Optional St. Petersburg Package tour to see the so called ‘northern capital of Russia’ that also won the prize as the best cultural tourism city at World Travel Awards-2017.

Prices

The package price** (EUR) based on 6 pax starts from 2 729 €

*Please contact us in case you have less or more passengers for recalculations
**For this tour you can add an escorting guide en-route with the surcharge. Please reqeust us for additional price.

Included

  • Accommodation
  • 8 nights at central located hotels 3***- 4**** 
  • 7 nights at overnight trains
  • Train tickets 2 class (four-berth compartment) according to the route
  • Railway station-hotel transfers
  • Guided tours and entrance fees
  • Meals: 10 breakfasts
  • Emergency line support during the trip

Not included

  • Visa support issues
  • International flights
  • Personal travel insurance

Included activities

  • St. Petersburg Hermitage tour
  • Half day trip to Peterhof Royal residence
  • Vologda city tour
  • Museum of Lace visit
  • Ferapontovo half day trip
  • Typical Russian Dairy products tasting
  • Day trip to Yasnaya Polyana
  • Traditional Russian gingerbread workshop
  • Metro and city walking tour in Moscow
  • VDNH Soviet park visit and Cosmos museum visit
  • Yekaterinburg city tour
  • Irkutsk city tour
  • Walking tour in Listvyanka with a museum visit and hiking
  • Banya 
  • Tea party and a cooking class in Listvyanka