Itinerary Highlights
  • Sailing along the rivers, lakes and canals of the Volga-Baltic Waterway
  • Stopping in the cities of the Golden Ring which exude the charm of historic Russia
  • Stay in prestigious accommodation in Moscow and St Petersburg
  • Visit the Kremlin and the Hermitage in private with local guides

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SAILING ON THE VOLGA

Some rivers make you breathe more deeply. The Volga is one of them. This part of Russia is dominated by a maze of rivers, canals and lakes, like Lake Beloye, Lake Onega and Lake Lagoda. This trip starts in Moscow and finishes in St Petersburg. You'll spend three days in each of the two, worlds in themselves, each with so much to discover. In both you'll stay in luxury hotels that reflect their history and modern development. Private tours punctuate the stays, covering must-sees and short-cuts, accompanied by guides or locals. In between, enjoy a week-long cruise on the Volga, visiting Uglich and Yaroslavl, then Goritsy and Lake Beloye further north, the wonderful Kizhi island on Lake Onega and, finally, Lake Ladoga, before reaching St Petersburg.
The itinerary is punctuated by churches and monasteries, frescoes and flamboyant icons. Tours are arranged every day so you don't miss anything essential. It's a packed but not exhausting journey. In town, you'll have a lot of free time. When sailing, there are good beaches to relax on. You'll be staying in great accommodation in Moscow and St Petersburg and full board on the boat so you can enjoy it to the max. And then if you have any issues or if you're after suggestions of things to do, you can contact our local Concierge.

YOUR CRUISE VESSEL

The motor ship, the Volga Dream provides privileged sailing conditions: originally carrying 200 passengers, it has been refurbished for 100 passengers, which has significantly increased its comfort in all areas of life on board. Its cabins, lounges and dining room are most pleasant and decorated in a charming 'new Russia' style. The staff are attentive and completely professional. The cabins are spread over four decks, each with a real bathroom with shower, and bay windows to the outside. Promenades and sun decks allow plenty of space to move around, for relaxation, and evenings under the stars. The restaurant is serves delicious Russian and European fare, which is full board for this trip. Talks are provided for passengers, and cultural tours are arranged every day. And there are many more experiences on board: Russian cooking lessons, vodka tasting and concert night. From Moscow to St Petersburg, the six nights of this cruise are designed for discovering a Russia other than that of the great cities, and experiencing high-quality living afloat.

Route

Everything is 100% tailored to you
DAY 1

Flight to Moscow

You'll be welcomed on arrival, by our team on the ground and privately transferred for three nights' accommodation in the heart of Moscow, on the Moskova River, opposite the Kremlin. The hotel is a perfect expression of stylish luxury. Built in the late 19th century it's an elegant and refined hotel with contemporary influences and The swimming pool and sauna are great for relaxation, with friendly touches characteristic of Russia. The service is also impeccable throughout.

DAY 2

Moscow

Included in the itinerary - Moscow Highlights in private. Accompanied by a guide, visit the main districts and major sites of Moscow. Splendid monuments mark the route, including Pashkov House, a stunning neoclassical achievement by Vasili Bazhenov (1788); the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Constantine Tuna, 1883), destroyed by Stalin and rebuilt identically in the 1990s; the lovely church of St Nicholas des-Tisserands (1682), typical of the Naryshkin Baroque; the main building of Lomonosov University (Lev Vladimirovich Rudnev, 1953), from which one has a magnificent view of the city. There is also GUM, the famous department store on Red Square. Founded in 1893, it is the Moscow equivalent of John Lewis, where more than 200 major brands share 1.5 miles of the shopping mall. On your way out, you can stroll around the square, where you'll also find Lenin's Mausoleum, the 16th century Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (or St Basil's Cathedral).
Optional - Private tour of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow's prestigious and iconic art scene and/or your tickets to a performance.

DAY 3

Moscow

Included in the itinerary - The Kremlin in private. A city within the city, the Kremlin is Russia's legendary fortress. Stop at Cathedral Square, the site of famous churches, such as the Cathedral of the Annunciation (15th century), whose iconostasis contains paintings by Andrei Rublev, that of the Archangel Saint Michel (16th century), reflecting the Venetian spirit, and that of the Dormition (15th century), where Ivan IV the Terrible was crowned. You'll visit the fabulous collection of decorative art and jewellery in the Armoury Chamber: the imperial crown of Russia, Faberge eggs, the Orlov diamond, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, etc.

DAY 4

Moscow - Cruise on the Volga

Included in the itinerary - Moscow accompanied by a local resident. Spend a few hours in the company of a local guide; discovering a capital full of energy and inspiration, it's a great opportunity to learn about modern, everyday life in Russia.
In the afternoon, a private transfer, then board the M/S Volga Dream. The cruise departs on the Russian river network, which begins with the artificial Moscow-Volga canal connecting the Moskova River with the Volga River.

DAY 5

Cruise - Uglich

You'll wake up north of the Golden Ring. Uglich was founded in the tenth century on the right bank of the Volga.
Included in the itinerary - A visit to two emblematic monuments of the kremlin: the Church of St Dmitry on Spilled Blood and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour. The first was built in the 17th century at the place where Tsarevich Dmitry, the last son of Ivan IV, died. The second is a beautiful building from the beginning of the 18th century, whose domes can be seen from the outskirts.

DAY 6

Cruise - Yaroslavl

Spared from the devastation of the 20th century, Yaroslavl has a beautifully preserved collection of religious monuments from the 16th and 17th centuries, and an enchanting old Russian atmosphere.
Included in the itinerary - Built between 1647 and 1650 by the Skripin family (who made their fortune from fur), the church of Prophet Elijah presents a rich set of icons and an exceptionally dense row of frescos evoking not only the history of the great prophet and other biblical episodes, but also the daily life of the inhabitants of the city and its surroundings in the 17th century. This church is one of the most impressive in Russia. The Spassky Monastery was founded in the 12th century; the oldest of its buildings is the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (1506-16), which features a collection of 16th-century frescoes. The tour ends with a short shopping trip through the city's quaint streets.

DAY 7

Cruise - Goritsy

The route north from the Rybinsk Reservoir is through the network of rivers, lakes and canals that make up the Volga-Baltic Waterway. Stop at Goritsy, south of the White Lake.
Included in the itinerary- Sailing on the lake, one of Europe's ten largest natural lakes. On the South Bank stands a very old Russian city, Belozersk (ninth century). Visit its monastery, founded by St Cyril of the White Lake in the 14th century, which by the end of the Middle Ages had become an important spiritual and intellectual centre. The Cathedral of the Assumption (early 16th century), the main one of the site's 11 churches, is famous for its splendid icons.

DAY 8

Cruise - Kizhi Island

Included in the itinerary - The small island of Lake Onega, 250 miles north-east of St Petersburg, is a wonder both for its parish enclosure (18th century) and for the wooden buildings that have been brought together here (in particular the 14th century St. Lazarus Chapel, and the oldest windmill in Russia). The Church of the Transfiguration is a masterpiece of carpentry, made entirely from interlocking pine; its twenty-two domes form an astonishing silver cluster on the roofs. Next door, the church of Intercession to the Virgin has a more restrained nine domes.

DAY 9

Cruise - Mandroga

Sailing on the beautiful Svir River, which connects Lake Onega to Lake Ladoga.
Included in the itinerary - A visit to Mandroga. This village of Veps fishermen, a small Finno-Ugrian people, was wiped out during World War II. In the 1990s, a Russian businessman decided to resurrect it as a tourist destination: traditional wooden houses, a vodka museum, a matryoshka doll workshop and much more.

DAY 10

End of the cruise - St Petersburg

You'll be staying for three nights in a hotel within walking distance of St Isaac's Cathedral, the Hermitage Museum and the Nevsky Prospekt. The hotel is one of St Petersburg's iconic palaces. It has just celebrated its centenary, having passed through the Bolshevik revolution, two world wars, perestroika, the fall of the Soviet regime and the renewal of the country's economy. The interiors, rejuvenated by the designer Olga Polizzi, ooze freshness and modernity, without losing any of the soul of the place. The elegant period furnishings, antique objects and paintings have been complemented by the light-coloured walls, fresher tones in the rooms, and some refined decorative elements. But the key words are (absolute) comfort and (wholly aristocratic) elegance.
Included in the itinerary - An overview of the city taking in its finest monuments with a private guide. The city of the Tsars is home to three centuries of heritage: the State Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, sumptuous palaces and buildings… and many other jewels, including the spectacularly large St Isaac's Cathedral, built between 1818 and 1858 by some 400,000 workers. Everything here is on a grand scale: it rests on 24,000 piles, has 350 statues and reliefs on its facade and 112 columns; its sumptuous interior required 880lbs of gold, 1,000 tonnes of bronze, 16 tonnes of malachite and more than 110 square feet of lazurite. You can't help admiring the frescoes and murals, like that of Karl Brioullov which adorns the main dome, covering 8,600 square feet.

DAY 11

St Petersburg

Included in the itinerary - Peterhof Palace, in private. Peter the Great had the palace and gardens of Peterhof built to surpass Versailles, on the south shore of the Gulf of Finland, some 18 miles from St Petersburg. From the top of a 65ft cliff, the large palace overlooks the garden where hills, fountains and pavilions abound... The great waterfall with seven steps, 60 jets of water and a population of sculptures provide a monumental link between the two. The upper gardens, developed around seven basins, do not have the strict geometry of the lower one. In the palace itself is an astonishing display of splendour and sophistication. Visit Peter's chambers, the throne room, the hall of paintings, the Chesma Hall and the Chinese rooms.

DAY 12

St Petersburg

Included in the itinerary - Private visit to the Hermitage Museum. A symbol of the city, it is at the same time a huge temple dedicated to art, a suite of sumptuous palaces and a collection of historical buildings, housing nearly three million works. Its collection of jewellery, the Tsars' private collection, has no equal in Russia, either in its diversity or in its breadth. It was started by Peter I and was added to by his successors. Today it features an extraordinary collection of jewels, goldsmiths' works and timepieces by the greatest Russian and Western masters. Also planned, and echoing that of Moscow, you will have a meeting with another local St Petersburg guide. Here again, you'll walk through the city, without a pre-planned itinerary, to suit your interests.
Optional - Access to the Hermitage Museum one hour before opening to the general public, for a visit with privileged access (subject to obtaining authorisation from museum management one week before the visit).

DAY 13

St Petersburg - Return flight

Private transfer to the airport and catch your flight home.

A la carte

MOSCOW BOLSHOI THEATRE

More than a theatre, the Bolshoi is one of Moscow's symbols. The Bolshoi troupe was established in March 1776, when Empress Catherine II asked the Prince to arrange plays, carnivals, balls and other forms of entertainment. The Bolshoi Theatre was built in 1856 and quickly rose to second place after La Scala in Milan. It is still today Moscow's most prestigious, emblematic art venue. It was here that the greatest Russian composers created their operas and the place where all the great Russian artists have performed, whether they are actors, singers, dancers or conductors.
Optional - Tour with a private guide or tickets for a performance

On return, we take care of returning the router, so that it can be recycled.
Optional

A Rough Idea of Price

Dependent on season, accommodation and activities
The estimated cost for this trip is £5,600 to £7,000 per person. This trip is tailor-made to your exact specifications so prices will fluctuate. The cost varies according to several factors, including the level of service, duration of the trip and how far in advance you book. The final cost will vary according to several factors, including the level of service, length of trip and advance booking time. The exact price will be provided on your personalised quote. The average price for this trip is £6100 per person. *:
  • International flight to Moscow, return flight from St Petersburg
  • Airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Welcome on arrival in Moscow
  • Private transfers included in the itinerary
  • Three-night stay in Moscow in a superior double room, breakfast included
  • The six-night cruise aboard the Volga Dream, double cabin, full board, onboard activities and tours included
  • Three-night stay in St Petersburg in a double room, breakfast included
  • Half-day tour of Moscow's must-sees, with a private guide
  • Half-day tour of the Kremlin, with a private guide
  • Meeting with a Moscow local, for a walk around the city
  • Half-day tour of the St Petersburg must-sees, with a private guide
  • Visiting the Peterhof Palace and its gardens, with a private guide
  • Visiting the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg with a private guide
  • Meeting with a St Petersburg resident for a free walk in the city
  • Our local Concierge service
  • A few of the benefits of travelling with us
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    Contact one of our Russia specialists