(Moscow, St. Petersburg)
Fit for a Tsar, this opulent red carpet adventure takes you behind the scenes of Russia, offering a VIP look into one of the world's most dramatic and decadent countries.
Delve into the highlights of Moscow and St. Petersburg in luxury with expert private guide, chauffeur, a little caviar and a lot of champagne! From cocktails in the flag tower of St. Peter and St. Paul's fortress, to a private performance at St. Nicolas' Church, a backstage tour of the Bolshoi theatre and encounters with Russian elite, to a private before hours Hermitage visit, access to Voltaire's library, a tour led by Dostoevsky's Great Grandson, a private tea party at Pavlovsk Palace and feasting on the Tsar's favorite dishes at impossible-to-access restaurants, this is Russia at her richest.
The jewel in the crown of this avant-garde journey? Stay at the same 5* hotels as Pavarotti, Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky!
A Kensington Elite travel immersion gives you access to unique locations and exclusive experiences in true VIP style, our best take on the best that the world has to offer.
We will provide you with a letter of Invitation for your Russian Visa. Once payment has been received, the letter along with other important documents will be sent to you.
Upon arrival into Moscow airport, you will have a VIP Fast Track service in order to get you through customs as quickly as possible.
Upon arrival at Moscow airport, you will be met by your English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. Porterage assistance is included.
A welcome package with a city map, train tickets (if relevant), and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Familiarize yourself with the city centre of Moscow as you accompany a private guide on a walking tour. Get your first glimpse of the Russian capital while visiting the Red Square, the oldest and largest square of the city with the magnificent St. Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM - an elegant shopping centre built in Art Nouveau style, then take a walk in the historical city centre and absorb the atmosphere of Kitai Gorod, the district of merchants and handicrafts artists, the Zaryadie district, the Boyars’ Palace, and St. Trinity Church in Nikitniki. Entrance fees are not included.
Enjoy dinner this evening featuring Russian specialties in a typical restaurant located in the city centre.
The Ritz-Carlton (5*) is located at the edge of the famed Red Square, the site of countless coronations and celebrations. The 11 storey hotel boasts polished, dark cherry and burl wood décor and bathrooms finished with marble from Portugal and the Altai mountains. The property features a spa by ESPA with an indoor pool, hot pool, sauna and steam rooms, and has all of the amenities one would expect of a leading, first class hotel. Savour the selection of the many fine dining options available on-site and prepare your senses for a culinary experience like no other. One of Moscow’s hot spots, the O2 Lounge is the ideal venue for cocktails and the finest sushi with breathtaking views over the Red Square and the Kremlin. The Ritz-Carlton Bar and Lobby Lounge offers a relaxed and sophisticated ambiance to enjoy pre or post dinner drinks while the Café Russe offers an authentic Russian dining experience with world-famous dishes and boasts over 350 vintages of wine.
Enjoy a private tour with your own guide and visit Stalin’s bunker for a taste of WWII history. During this visit, you will have the unique chance to see the Hall of the Supreme Commander in Chief of The Red Army, Stalin’s working cabinet, and the dining room. The next place on the agenda is the Treasure Chamber of the Tretyakov Picture Gallery. The State Tretyakov Gallery is a national art museum that boasts the world’s largest collection of Russian art. In the Soviet period, the collection grew up to 100,000 pieces, some of which are kept in the New Tretyakov Art Gallery. Among the exhibits are the most famous Russian icons including the Holy Virgin of Vladimir of the early 12th century, Andrey Rublev's Holy Trinity, masterpieces by Repin, Surikov, Shishkin, Savrasov, Aivazovsky, and others. To finish off the afternoon, there will be a private concert of orthodox chants by the choir at St. Nicolas Church performed in your honour. At the end of the day, your driver will bring you back to your hotel.
This evening you will get to take a tour of the metro station of Moscow, where some stations look like gala rooms. After the metro station, you will take a short walking tour of the main street, Tverskaya, in the company of your guide, who will also take you to the Puskin Café, one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city. At the Puskin Café, you will enjoy a three course dinner with drinks (mineral water, tea and coffee, and a glass of wine). After dinner you can make your way back to your hotel independently.
Today you will go on a walking tour of Moscow where you will see the Kremlin, the historic cradle of the city, and three beautiful cathedrals in the Cathedral Square, among them the Assumption Cathedral where the Tsars of Russia were crowned. You will also visit the Treasure Chamber of the Kremlin within the Armory Palace before continuing with a visit of the Diamond Foundation with its famous imperial collection of diamonds.
Enjoy a private tour of the Bolshoi Theatre in the company of your own guide. The Bolshoi was originally founded in 1776 by Prince Peter Urusov and English impresario Michael Maddox, as the Moscow Public Theatre. The building itself is one of Moscow's most symbolic sites, a truly impressive example of classic Russian architecture that faces the Kremlin walls, and is the second biggest opera house in Europe after La Scala. After the Revolution, the theatre initially faced hostility from the Bolsheviks as a superfluous symbol of elitist bourgeois culture, and funding was cut dramatically. But traditions survived and after WWII the Bolshoi became a dominant force in ballet not just in Russia but throughout the world, producing star after star including ballerinas Galina Ulanova, Maria Plisetskaya, and Ekaterina Maksimovna, and male dancers such as Vladimir Vasiliev and Maris Liepa. In recent years the company has made every effort to increase the number of works by 20th century Russian composers not performed or little performed in the Soviet Union, and some of the most exciting recent additions to the repertoire have been ballets and operas by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky. Both the ballet and opera companies perform a range of Russian and foreign works here.
You may consider attending a performance at the Bolshoi theatre during your stay in Moscow. Please speak to your Sales Advisor for information on performances during your time in the city.
A transfer between the train station and your hotel or city with a private vehicle and driver is provided.
A porter will look after your luggage.
Watch the changing landscapes on your fast speed train ride from Moscow to St. Petersburg, departing in the afternoon.
A transfer between the train station and your hotel or city with a private vehicle and driver is provided. Before being brought to your hotel, take in the main sights of St. Petersburg on a panoramic city tour.
Positioned on Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg's most splendid avenue, Grand Hotel Europe (5*) is surrounded by some of the world's greatest cultural treasures, including the Russian Museum and Mussorgsky Theatre. Discerning travellers are charmed by the hotel's warm Russian hospitality, impressive architecture, and exceptional service. The Hotel offers spacious, tastefully decorated accommodations with antique furniture and period touches, but also incorporates all the comforts a modern traveler needs. The hotel has a wide range of dining options, including its own chocolate factory.
Take a panoramic tour and get acquainted with the main architectural and historical monuments of St. Petersburg. You will get to drive along the world famous Nevsky Prospect and view the Monastery of Alexander Nevsky with its magnificent Trinity Cathedral and its cemetery where Dostoevsky, Tchaikovsky, and other world celebrities were buried. Later you will visit Peter and Paul's Fortress, and enjoy a special cocktail in the flag tower, in which you will have to yourselves to watch the ceremony of the cannon shot traditionally given at noon daily by the fortress governor since the time of Peter the Great. Continue on in style with a unique visit of Voltaire’s library, which is normally closed for public access. During this visit you will discover the invaluable collection of Catherine the Great including pieces by the great encyclopedic philosophers and writers like Voltaire and Diderot great.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
St. Petersburg’s restaurants are as diverse as the food they serve. The city continues its historical mission as a ‘window to the West’ so besides traditional Russian fare, you can find cuisine from just about every other country here. Take a stroll to the prestigious Russian Empire Restaurant located in the Stroganov Palace on Nevsky Prospect, one of the oldest and most luxurious mansions of St. Petersburg. An English speaking escort will accompany you to the restaurant and drop you off to enjoy a wonderful four course set menu dinner including mineral water, coffee and tea, and a glass of wine. This restaurant has been called the most exquisite in Russia for good reason. Three luxurious dining rooms each have their own individual atmosphere and all are decorated in the finest style. Diners eat from Gianni Versace porcelain plates and drink wine out of Bohemian crystal glasses while surrounded by 24-carat gold ornaments. Many dishes were created according to the Tsar’s menu recipes: Gold and white caviar, cigal lobster, imperial oysters, and the Count’s beef stroganoff. The wine cellar boasts one of the finest wine collections in Europe. Fully sated, you may like to walk back to your hotel independently or take a taxi.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
Enjoy a private guided tour of the Hermitage before regular opening hours and admire the gems of the collection. During the tour you will see the State Rooms of the Winter Palace, a part of the collection of paintings of Old Masters and other exciting exhibits and works of art. Value the splendour of the Gala stairway, Peter's Memorial Hall, the Armorial Hall, the Gallery of 1812 with its numerous portraits, the Pavilion Hall and its various amusements, and other gala rooms. The Treasure Gallery, one of the most interesting collections of the museum, got its name in the 18th century during the reign of Catherine the Great. It consists of two sections. The first, called the Gold Room has works from Eurasia, the Black Sea Littoral in antiquity, and the Orient. It consists of around 1,500 works made from gold and dating from the 7th century B.C. to the 19th century A.D. The main idea of the second section, which is called the Diamond Room, is to show the development of the jeweler's craft over the course of mankind's many centuries of history from the third millennium B.C. to the start of the 20th century. Entrance fees to the Hermitage Museum are included.
During this walking tour of St. Petersburg you will get to walk around in the districts where Fedor Dostoevsky lived as well as where the episodes of his numerous novels took place in the company of none other than the Great Grandson of Dostoevsky himself. The backdrop for most of Dostoevsky’s writings is the city of St. Petersburg which he both loved and hated. You will learn about D.A. Dostoevsky's ancestor’s life during the walking tour before finishing up in the writer’s memorial apartment.
Enjoy an excursion out of the city to one of the most beautiful summer residences of the Royal family, the Peterhof Palace. A fun way to get there is by hydrofoil that leaves from the Hermitage. The world-famous palace, fountain, and park are outstanding landmarks of Russian artistic culture of the 18th-19th centuries. It was founded at the very beginning of the 18th century by Emperor Peter the Great. You will learn from your private guide about the fate of the palace and the parks during World War II and see pictures representing the palace and the restoration process. Enjoy the spacious and airy rooms of the palace, adorned with rich moldings, splendid parquet flooring, exquisite carving, painted ceilings, and canvases by great masters. You will have a chance to walk around the various individually sized fountains in the lower park, and admire the beautiful gardens before being met by your driver for the return to your hotel.
Because there is so much to see in the Peterhof Palace complex, we have not included entrance fees to all areas but rather, prefer to let you know that entrance fees can be arranged in advance if you would like a guided visit. Options include the Treasure Chamber, The Tsarina's Estate, My Pleasure Palace, Catherine Pavillion, The Baths Pavillion, Hermitage Pavillon, Palace of Nicolas I (The Cottage), Museum of Cards, as well as the smaller museums including the Palace of Peter I in Strelna, Museum of Private collections, Museum of Imperial bicycles, Museum of Imperial yachts, and The Chapel. More information can be found at http://peterhofmuseum.ru/?lang=eng. Please note that all private guided visits in Peterhof need to be booked in advance and as such, you would need to let your Sales Advisor know if you would like to have a private guided visit of any of these areas.
What better way to learn about Russian ballet or opera than from one of the professionals. Spend a unique evening over a three course dinner with a ballet dancer or opera soloist and gain insiders knowledge into this artistic side of life in St. Petersburg. Dinner will be in one of the restaurants in the Theatre district. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you have a preference of the artist’s discipline. Please note that this is based on the artist’s availability for the date in question.
Today is spent taking in the splendours of Pavlovsk and Pushkin. Pavlovsk is the site of the only fully restored former Imperial Palace following the Nazi’s ravage. The palace and park ensemble was presented by the Russian empress Catherine the Great to her son Paul on the occasion of the birth of his first son, Alexander. The palace's Greek Hall is adorned with green Corinthian columns making the ballroom the most elegant interior of the Palace in Pavlovsk. You will visit the restoration workshops of the Palace to see the intricate work that is required in the upkeep of the antiques and works of art. The park of Pavlovsk is the largest park in Russia with ponds, valleys, waterfalls, and various statues laid out at the end of the 18th century and the perfect spot for a contemplative stroll. Pushkin, originally named Tsarskoe Selo (Tsar's Village), is famous for the marvelous Catherine Palace and park. The town, also known as Pushkin, in honour of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, was the main summer residence of the royal family. The collection of the palace includes a large number of precious works of art, such as furniture, porcelain, statues, canvases, including personal belongings of Russian emperors and members of their families. Your private guide will tell you the story of Catherine’s Palace construction and about the tragic moments in the palace's history, connected with the Nazi occupation during World War II. Visit the Amber Workshop where the Amber room was reproduced. See how the craftsmen work with amber, how they cut and colour it. Hold the raw amber in your hands, and under the tutelage of one of the artists, you will forever be able to tell natural and unnatural amber apart. Entrance fees are included.
A Russian tea party will be arranged specially for you in one of the wings of the Pavlovsk Palace overflowing to the superb park surrounding the palace. Enjoy authentic samovars, pirozhki and sushki (typical Russian pastries) as you take in the beautiful surroundings.
The theatres in St. Petersburg have busy schedules throughout the year so there may be an opportunity to catch a performance in one of the majestic theatres during your stay. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you are interested in the possibility of attending a performance.
A transfer between the airport and the city or your hotel with a private vehicle and driver is provided.
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Our time in Dubrovnik and Split were awesome, in hind sight we both wished we would have went back to Split from Plitvice Lakes rather than carry on to Zagreb. We both found Split much more appealing and would have definitely preferred to spend another night there rather than Zagreb. We’ll know for next time! Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
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