Moscow to St Petersburg Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Destinations:
Russia
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AVS
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

This trip reveals the best of Russia’s three most fascinating cities and includes entrance fees to the key monuments and museums. Free time is also essential to absorb the atmosphere and make the most of other optional visits, such as the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, or a hydrofoil ride out to the stunning Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg. A short stop in Novgorod, the birthplace of Russia, completes this cultural experience and offers a respite in a busy itinerary.

At a Glance

  • 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

Trip Highlights

  • Guided tour of Moscow's Kremlin and Armoury
  • Discover Novgorod, the birthplace of Russia
  • Vistit the famous Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Pushkin
  • Enjoy St Petersburg's sites including the Hermitage Museum & Faberge Museum
  • Special Spasskaya Tower Military Festival departures - 25th August and 01st September 2018

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded as Leisurely/Moderate (2) and visits as much as possible in three of Russia's most historical cities. There is a lot to see in a week yet the pace is not rushed and plenty of time is left for self-exploration. Should you choose to take part in all the offered optional activities, the week will seem more demanding. As this itinerary is mostly sightseeing, please be prepared for a reasonable amount of walking between sites, especially in Moscow. 

For the overnight train journey, we use second class compartments comprised of 4 berths and are of a reasonable standard, with bed linen provided, please note that cabins can rather hot. Breakfast is served on the train.

Entrances are included for Kremlin and Armoury, Catherine Palace & Park and the Hermitage Museum. On occasion, the government may choose to close Red Square without warning.

If you are travelling during June, July and August then please be prepared for queues and crowds at major sites, such as the Armoury, Catherine's Palace and the Hermitage.

Should you require tickets for either the recently renovated Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow or Mariinskiy Theatre in St. Petersburg then please book your tickets direct via their websites (see Optional Excursions for details). Due to limited availability at certain times of the year and the theatres only being available to book 3-6 months in advance then we are unable to provide this service.

Many visitors find St. Petersburg a little overwhelming as there is so much to see. Exodus strongly recommends a couple of additional nights at the end of the tour. By which time you feel comfortable navigating the city alone.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Moscow.

    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

  • Day 2

    Morning orientation tour including Red Square and Lenin’s Tomb. Free afternoon to explore the Russian capital.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Guided tour of the Kremlin grounds and Armoury Museum. Free afternoon for shopping or sightseeing. Overnight sleeper train to Novgorod.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning walking tour including visits to Novgorod Kremlin, St Sofia's Cathedral and Yaroslav's Court; optional afternoon to visit to the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Pushkin; visit Catherine Palace including the Amber Room. Free afternoon.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Early departure to St Petersburg to explore the historic city centre; free afternoon. Evening visit to the Fabergé Museum.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Morning tour of the Hermitage. Free afternoon to see more of the sites of St Petersburg. Art lovers can choose to stay in the Hermitage.

    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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End St Petersburg.

    After breakfast, there is some free time before the group flight back to London.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotel and Sleeper Train

You will spend 6 nights in comfortable 3 star hotels and 1 night on a sleeper train. All accommodation is offered on a twin share basis. Our properties in all three cities are in a central location within walking distance of the main sights (no more than 20 minutes). Wi-Fi is available free of charge but may only be accessible in public areas and is often temperamental. Every hotel offers a buffet breakfast.

The sleeper train is based on 2nd class, 4 berth cabins. Linen is provided. If you have trouble climbing into an upper bunk, please let Exodus know at the time.

Single supplement from £180, excludes sleep train between Moscow and Novgorod.

Accommodation - Pre trip

Pre-tour accommodation available in Moscow on request.

 

 

Accommodation - Post trip

Post-tour accommodation available in St. Petersburg on request. 

 

Single supplement from $279.00 USD

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

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.

Transportation

We will use a modernair-conditioned bus, most of the drives are not long, the longest journey is by overnight train, which is comfortable, with bedding provided. The majority of our sightseeing in Moscow and St Petersburg is done on foot and by public transport.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

This part of Russia is in northern Europe and has a continental climate, with extreme highs in the summer and lows in the winter. Through the summer months, rain can be experienced at any time. Spring starts about a month later than in the UK and autumn finishes about a month earlier. Trips at this time should be warm and sunny, in the high summer, it can be hot, with temperatures of about 30°C or more. Winter departures are very different. Expect snow from early Dec through to April with temperatures between +10 and –5 in Nov, Dec, March and April dropping to between –10 and –20 in Jan and Feb. Russia is magical in winter and if you take good quality clothing for when you are out and about you will be fine. The hotels and restaurants are generally well heated and a sauna is a great way to end a day’s sightseeing.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed
until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Moscow and ending in St Petersburg

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Moscow in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent
approximately two weeks before departure.

If taking a taxi from the airport we recommend avoiding taxi touts and using an official taxi company located inside the arrival terminal (such as MosCab).

It's much faster and cheaper to take the Aeroexpress (45 minutes, 320 roubles/ £7) to Paveletsky Station and take a taxi from there. The cost of a taxi is likely to be about 2050‐2200RUB (£50‐60 or US$80‐100) should you decide to make your way independently.

Accommodation check‐in times are normally from around 2pm.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you would like us to organise a private transfer, the cost is GBP72 and is payable before departure. Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

 

Location start:
Moscow
Location end:
St Petersburg

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Small secure daypack
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • Fleece or jacket Waterproofs and umbrella
  • Sunglasses & sunhat
  • Water bottle
  • Travel plug
  • Swimming costume and flip-flops (for Banya)

At the time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 23kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Optional Equipment

Please note that some museums and galleries have baggage checks where you will be required to leave large bags. These are usually manned by the elderly and a small tip (a few roubles) is
expected.

Reading List

Lonely Planet Moscow City Guide Mara Vorhees (2015) 6th Edition

Lonely Planet St Petersburg City Guide (2018) 8th Edition

Maps

Moscow and St Petersburg metro maps produced by Yandex in English and Cyrillic can be downloaded onto smartphones and are very useful.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Practical Information

Passport

Russia

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Russia

All nationalities require a visa for Russia. These requirements will vary depending on your nationality. For British nationals visa applications must now be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London and Edinburgh. At the time of application, fingerprints will be taken. We will be providing a new type of service to assist with the application process; however we will no longer be able to submit the application on your behalf. It is your responsibility to arrange a visa prior to travel, but we will provide you with more information after booking to help and advice with this. The cost of the visa is currently GBP108.40. For more information please go to http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Russia.pdf

Please note: The visa application takes approximently 5 working days. You can arrange for your passport to be posted back to you or returned to the visa processing centre to collect it in person. 

 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Russia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Russia's Timezone:
Europe/Moscow MSK (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Russia's Electricity:

Russia uses European standard two pin plugs.

Russia uses European standard two pin plugs.

Money

Russia's Currency

The national currency of Russia is the Russian Rouble (RUB), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 81 to the UK£ and 65 to the US$.

There are no restrictions on the import of Russian currency, though local exchange rates are invariably better than those in the UK. The exchange rate does fluctuate considerably, so it is best to check just before departure.

ATM Availability

We recommend that you do not bring travellers cheques. It is best to bring Russian Roubles, which can be ordered in advance. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in shops for larger purchases as well as restaurants. There is a good network of cash machines in all three cities.

Dollars and Euros are easily changed, however changing Sterling can be very challenging even in larger banks ‐ please do not bring it.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Moscow metro ticket ‐ these are charged per journey regardless of length. Current price per trip = 55 RUB (£0.70) in Moscow and 45RUB (£0.60) in St Petersburg. It is possible to buy travel cards valid for a certain number of trips or days. Our guide will talk you through this on the first day. 

Optional Excursions  

Please note these prices do not include a guide.  

Moscow (prices per person)

St Basil's Cathedral ‐ 350RUB
Tretyakov Gallery ‐ 400RUB (free on public holidays)

Russian State Historical Museum ‐ 450RUB
Moscow State Circus ‐ US$25‐70

St Petersburg (prices per person)

St Isaac's Cathedral & Colonnade ‐ 250RUB
Canal boat tour ‐ 600‐800RUB (depends on number and time of day/night)

Peterhof Palace and Gardens – 1300RUB

Hydrofoil to Peterhof – 800RUB         

 

     

Tipping

It is a recognised practice, but not obligatory, to give a tip to the local guides and drivers. If you want to give a tip we would recommend allowing a total of 2000 RUB / GBP20 cash per client, depending on the service and size of the group. Please ask your tour leader for advice on tipping local guides and drivers.

Please note that some museums and galleries have baggage checks where you will be required to leave large bags. These are usually manned by the elderly and a small tip (a few roubles) is much appreciated.

Catherine's Palace at Pushkin, St Petersburg

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.