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RESPLENDENT RUSSIA
  • Best Time to Visit

    May to September

  • Duration

    10 Days

  • Theme

    Food & Shopping, History & Architecture, Party & Nightlife, Vibrant City Settings

  • Accommodations

    Luxury and High-end boutique hotels

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

The largest country in the world brims with spellbinding history from the Russian Empire to the days of the Soviet Union, otherworldly architecture blending orthodox Russian and Byzantine influences, world-famous museums overflowing with priceless treasures, infamous legends of intrigue, and a wealth of cultural gems waiting to be uncovered. Can you skip the country famous for Tsar palaces, onion domes, ballet, vodka and Matryoshka dolls?

Itinerary

Day 1: MOSCOW

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Say hello to the capital of Russia, home of medieval fortresses and modern superstructures. Dive headlong into the historic hub of the city. Explore the aura of the Red Square and be swept away by the majesty of iconic landmarks like Kremlin, synonymous with all crucial events since the 13th century and St. Basil’s Cathedral, Russia’s most famous artistic work of architecture. Continue the grandeur theme at State Historical Museum, Vladimir Lenin’s Mausoleum and GUM, the largest and snazziest department store in Russia. Go gastronomic with authentic specialties like pelmeni, the dumplings or blini, the pancakes with kvas. Then lighten the mood at the famous Arbat Street and indulge in souvenir shopping .

Day 2: MOSCOW

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Plan on discovering the glory of Moscow’s opulent Metro stations. Think Baroque-style architecture, mosaic murals, grand chandeliers, majestic sculptures, fine stained glass and exotic marble columns. Then, pamper yourself with a wellness ritual at Sanduny Baths, the most aristocratic public bathhouse of Russia, converted from a palace. Melt into royal rejuvenation with a steam, cold pool plunge, and an invigorating massage. Reward yourself some more with a bar hop at Nikolskaya Street.

Day 3: MOSCOW

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Escape into the Russian countryside to soak in the sight of lush farmland and forests and discover the magic of the Golden Ring of Russia. Believe in fairytales at the medieval town of Sergiev Posad, find typical onion-domed churches and towers and hunt out a Matryoshka doll to adorn a shelf in your home. Marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Suzdal and Vladimir, two ancient capitals, famed for well-preserved wooden architecture and whitewashed stone churches. In the evening, surprise yourself with an astounding performance of human and 150 furry artists at the Moscow Cat Theatre.

Day 4: MOSCOW

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Carve out your own itinerary today. Learn all about space exploration at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. Loosen up in hip Park Gorky. Scout for symbols from the Soviet era at the open-air sculpture museum, Muzeon. Or stock up on Cold War trivia at the Bunker 42 Museum under the Taganskaya metro station. How about a tour of Stalin's Bunker or trip to the All-Russia Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Art? Dress up for a sophisticated evening at the Bolshoi Ballet. Maybe you can catch Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, Swan Lake.

Day 5: SAINT PETERSBURG

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Take the high-speed train to the City of a Thousand Palaces and rest in tastefully appointed accommodation before immersing in the decadence of St.Petersburg. Reserve a slot for the Faberge Museum to ogle at exquisitely crafted Easter Eggs and other extravagant exhibits from the Russia’s Imperial Era. Discover Russian food culture with a tour of the oldest market and traditional home-cooked meal at a local’s home. Or catch an opera show at the Mariinsky after being swept away by the grandiose interiors of the iconic theatre.

Day 6: SAINT PETERSBURG

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Get acquainted with the city that was the imperial capital for two centuries. Epic among the top sights here is the Church of Savior on the Spilled Blood, which makes a statement with its vibrant onion domes and a mosaic-coated interior. Another marvel is the 18th-century Peter and Paul Fortress. Don’t miss the ‘Bronze Horseman’ statue and the St. Isaac's Cathedral. An unmissable attraction is the State Hermitage Museum, where art lovers can gape at masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. Celebrate a glorious day with lively nightlife at Rubinstein.

Day 7: SAINT PETERSBURG

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Take a day trip to Pushkin and Peterhof to step back in time to the Russian Tsars. Be blown away by the Amber Room in the Palace of Catherine the Great at Pushkin. Soak in lavishness at the ensemble of palaces, theatres, museums and gardens of Peterhof, the Russian Versailles. Prepare for dramatic spectacles in the fountain-filled, crowning glory of the Grand Cascade, a brilliant example of impressive engineering and monumental beauty. Switch gears and go overboard with handmade Russian crafts and Baltic amber jewellery at the Gostiny Dvor Shopping Center.

Day 8: SAINT PETERSBURG

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Familiarise yourself with the 500-year old art of vodka distillation and its deep connect with local culture at the Museum of Russian Vodka and rejoice with a tasting session. Later, cruise along Russia’s intricate canal system for a unique perspective of the city built over 42 islands. Get a peek into the country’s obsession with sports by seeing the top sporting venues of the city. Conclude with a boat ride to witness the raising of the drawbridges at the river Neva against the backdrop of an illuminated cityscape.

Day 9: KAZAN

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Journey to Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and one of Russia's oldest cities to dig into a unique melting pot of Tatar and Slavic cultures. Backtrack to the Middle Ages at the white limestone complex of Kazan’s citadel, which houses the Kremlin, the seven-story leaning Tower of Soyembika, the picture-perfect turquoise and ivory Kul Sharif Mosque and the blue-gold domes of the Annunciation Cathedral. Sink into the hues of a romantic sunset at the Kremlin Embankment in the evening.

Day 10: KAZAN

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Head to UNESCO island town of Sviyazhsk, for a glimpse of 37 cultural monuments. The most remarkable attraction is a wooden church from the times of Ivan the Terrible, which was built without a single nail. Back in the city, swing it up at the pedestrian haven of Bauman Street. Locate quirky sculptures, witness street performances, pick up some embroidered tubeteika caps, chak-chak sweets and Central-Asian jewellery before wrapping up an incredible itinerary.


Pricing starts from INR 2,40,000 per person

Pricing is indicative and subject to change depending on travel month, duration and selected accommodations.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Return International Airfare to Moscow
  • Domestic flights and inter-city transportation in Russia
  • Accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • Private Airport and Station Transfers in all cities
  • Activities & Excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily Breakfast
  • Travel Insurance

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Lunch & Dinner unless specified in the itinerary
  • Visas
Teresa Fisher
Author
"

Teresa Fisher is a National Geographic author and freelance travel writer based in Portsmouth, UK. With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Exeter University, she initially worked in London for Sotheby’s auction house; then in Europe as a cross-cultural communications trainer, living in Germany, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan. While residing in Bavaria, she commenced a career in travel writing, focusing initially on Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy – destinations which still hold a special place in her heart. Teresa has since penned more than 30 guidebooks and children’s educational books on a wide variety of destinations from Europe to Japan, for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s and Fodor’s, and including National Geographic Traveler Switzerland. She specializes in European cities, adventure travel to far-flung destinations and all things Alpine, dividing her time between her family-oriented website, familyskinews.com, and photojournalism. Her stories have taken her round the globe, documenting wildlife and culture in some of the world’s more remote places. Highlights include tracking jaguars by dugout canoe in Guyana, tracking orangutan in eastern Sabah, backpacking round Japan, and being part of the first team of husky mushers to cross from Finland into Russia. When she’s not travelling or skiing, Teresa spends summer months aboard her houseboat in the world’s largest natural harbour, Poole Harbour. Teresa speaks French, German and some Italian, plays the violin and piano, and is a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and The Arts Society. She has been leading expeditions for National Geographic in Europe for more than half a dozen years.

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  • Jul 19-28, 2020
  • Sep 6-15, 2020
Patrick Hunt
Archaeologist Author
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Award-winning archaeologist, author, and National Geographic grantee Patrick Hunt earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and has taught at Stanford University for nearly 30 years. Patrick directed the Stanford Alpine Archaeology Project from 1994 to 2012, and has continued project-related fieldwork in the region in the years since. His Alps research has been sponsored by the National Geographic Society, and he frequently lectures for National Geographic on Hannibal and the European mummy nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman. He is also a National Lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as an elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club. He is the author of 21 published books, including the best-sellers Ten Discoveries That Rewrote History and Hannibal. He has a lifelong love of the Alps, having lived there for several months each year since 1994.

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  • Aug 2-11, 2020
  • Aug 16-25, 2020
Tim Jepson
Author
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Tim Jepson is a British, London-based writer, traveler, and broadcaster. He began his traveling life at the age of 12, exploring the mountains of Britain and Ireland. After graduating from Oxford University, he lived and worked in Italy, writing for a variety of British newspapers and leading high-level expeditions in the country’s remotest corners. His experiences were recorded in a book, Wild Italy. He has since written more than 20 books, including several titles for National Geographic, and numerous articles for publications worldwide. Tim worked as a travel editor for London’s Daily Telegraph, and continues to travel extensively, with a passion for the farthest-flung destinations and the untrammeled cultures of Bhutan, Laos, Tibet, and Myanmar. He recently completed The British World: An Illustrated Atlas for National Geographic.

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  • Jun 21-30, 2020
Alexander Murphy
Geographer
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Alexander (Alec) Murphy is at the forefront of the movement to combat geographical illiteracy in the United States. A geography professor at the University of Oregon, Alec is Senior Vice-President of the American Geographical Society, a past president of the American Association of Geographers, and a frequent advisor on National Geographic education initiatives. Research, speaking invitations, and travel have taken him to more than 100 countries on six continents. Throughout his career, much of Alec’s work has focused on Europe; his book, The European Culture Area (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), is the most widely used classroom text on the geography of Europe in the United States. In the late 1990s he began extending his focus to the Middle East and North Africa, and by the early 2000s Alec found himself increasingly drawn to various parts of Asia. He is now a regular visitor to China, and he recently became the first foreigner to give a plenary lecture at the opening session of the Chinese Geographical Society’s annual meeting. Alec holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from Yale University, a law degree from the Columbia University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Chicago. Drawing on his expertise in political, cultural, and environmental geography, he will offer his insights into the human and physical forces shaping the places we visit.

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  • Aug 30-Sep 8, 2020
Everett Potter
Author
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Travel writer Everett Potter has been covering the globe for three decades in pursuit of great stories. For the past 15 years, many of his pieces have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, including a recent feature, “Swiss Tracks,” for which he traveled by rail, cog-railway, tram, and lake steamer around the country. He’s also written about various destinations in the Caribbean, Canada, Central America, and other European destinations for the magazine. Everett received his B.A. in English from Boston University in 1974 and his M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976. He was a longtime columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, Smart Money, and Ski, and his work has appeared in most major publications, including Outside, The Wall Street Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, and Forbes Life. He is the author of The Best of Brazil and has been awarded four Lowell Thomas Awards for his travel writing. He lives in Pelham, New York, and spends summers in a rustic cabin in Western Maine.

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  • Jul 5-14, 2020
  • Sep 13-22, 2020
William Saturno
Educator Archaeologist
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William Saturno is an archaeologist and storyteller specializing in the myths and histories of early civilizations and the politics of empire. A National Geographic Explorer and a former NASA research scientist, he has conducted fieldwork around the globe, both on the ground and from space, to understand the ideological and environmental foundations of how the great Czars, Khans, Emperors, and Ajaws of the past ruled over their societies. As an avid student and scholar of the ancient world, Bill weaves together data from archaeology, anthropology, and history spanning from the jungles of Central America and Southeast Asia to the deserts and grasslands of Eurasia and from the shores of the ancient Mediterranean to those of Scandinavian fjords, narrating the tales of adventurers, artists, commoners, and kings alike to bring the past vividly to life. He has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years in diverse geographies, including Mexico, Guatemala, China, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, and beyond.

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  • Jun 14-23, 2020
David Silverberg
Geographer Geologist Conservationist
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David Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

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  • Jun 7-16, 2020
Tripoetic