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St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

St Petersburg Tour 7 days/6 nights

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Join us on a 7 day Expert-led tour of St Petersburg

From guided tours of the city’s finest museums and attractions, including the Hermitage and State Russian Museum to a hydrofoil boat trip to Peterhof palace, you will discover the grand sweep of Russia’s epic history.

Led by our Expert in Russian cultural history, you will learn about a world of tsarist opulence and artistic genius.

With authentic dining experiences at some of St Petersburg’s best restaurants and the opportunity to stay in an iconic hotel, your stay will be comfortable, safe and enjoyable.

Tour Highlights

  • Curator-led tour of the Hermitage (Special Early Morning Opening)

  • St Petersburg City Walking Tour including Peter & Paul Fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral, The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospekt and The Hermitage

  • State Russian Museum at Mikhailovsky Palace

  • Yusupov Palace and the Rasputin exhibition

  • Catherine’s Palace (Tsarskloe Palace) and Pavlovsk Palace & Park

  • Pushkin Museum and Apartment

  • Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Museum with private piano recital

  • Peterhof Palace, known as the “Russian Versailles” (arrival by Hydrofoil)

  • Private Canal Boat Cruise of St Petersburg

  • Special afternoon lunch at Café Idiot and Follow in the Footsteps of Dostoevsky Guided Walk

Options include:

  • A Performance at Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre

  • A Performance at the Grand Philharmonic Hall, Saint Petersburg Philharmonia

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Day 1*

Evening | Welcome to St Petersburg Dinner with Introduction to Tour, includes Russian Vodka Tasting Experience

Meals included: D

*Please aadvise your Grand Cultural Tours representative if you require transfers from the airport.

 

Day 2

Morning | City Orientation Tour of St Petersburg including Peter & Paul Fortress, St Isaac’s Cathedral and Saviour of the Spilled Blood, Nevsky Prospekt and The Hermitage

"It is too early to thank God" and with that, Ignacy Hryniewieck, a young member of the Narodnaya Volya (“People's Will") movement, threw a bomb at tsar Alexander II. Mortally wounded, the tsar was taken to his study at the Winter Palace, where he later died at 3.30pm on the 13th March 1881.

Built on the spot where the assassination took place, the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood is just one of many of the city’s landmarks you will visit during this morning’s tour.

Other sites include Nevsky Prospect, Peter & Paul Fortress, St. Isaacs Cathedral & Square, Senate Square, the Kazan Cathedral and the Singer Sewing Machine Head Quarters, which today is the Dom Knigi, the House of Books.

You will also pass The Hermitage buildings including the Winter Palace, Small and Large Hermitage and walk along the Neva River with its many canals and bridges.

Afternoon | Lunch followed by Guided Tour of Yusupov Palace

On the night of the 16th December 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the Russian peasant & mystical faith healer, was brutally murdered in the basement of Yusupov palace. Despising of Rasputin’s influence over the Romanov tsar Nicholas II, a group of monarchists, led by the wealthy aristocrat Prince Felix Yusupov, committed the gruesome crime.

During your tour of the palace, you will enter the exhibition dedicated to this historical event.

Constructed in the neoclassical style, Yusupov palace was completed by renowned architects of the time, during the period from 1760 till 1850. The stately rooms are richly decorated and contain unique West European works of art as well as 19th century musical instruments. The highlight of the palace is the Rococo style theatre, built as a miniature of the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre.

Yusupov Palace was also used in the filming of the recent BBC War & Peace TV Series.

Evening | Private Canal Boat Ride* and Dinner at Russian Empire restaurant

It’s a completely different experience to view St Petersburg from the water.

During your private canal boat ride you will see how the sloping granite embankments appear as pedestals upon which the city’s magnificent architecture sits.

With an open air terrace on the upper deck you can marvel at the views, whilst the lower deck provides tables and chairs in which to relax and take in the sights in comfort. All the while, your guide will bring to life fascinating tales of the city’s rich history.

*Private canal boat ride (season permitting).

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 3

Morning | Special Early Opening of the Hermitage with Tour by its Curator, Professor Alexei Lepork | Visits to the Winter Palace, Small & Large Hermitage Buildings

Upon entering The Hermitage, the force of Russian history hits you, as so many of the Russian Empire’s most momentous events took place within its walls.

The residence of the Romanov dynasty for almost 300 years, it encompasses a grand ensemble of buildings, including the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage and Large Hermitage and is now one of the largest museums in the world.

Housing an immense collection of masterpieces by some of the world’s greatest artists including works by Michelangelo, Veronese, Giorgione, Rembrandt, Rubens, El Greco, Goya, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso, a visit to the Hermitage is a “must” for anyone visiting St Petersburg..

It also includes the best collection of ancient Scythian Gold artwork. Scythian paganism and mythology would later inspire works by some of Russia’s greatest poets and artists, including Alexander Blok, Andrei Bely, Rimsky-Korsakov and Igor Stravinsky.

Within the palace complex, the White Dining Room, with its mantel piece clock stopped precisely at the moment Russia succumbed to communism (2.10am on the 25th October 1917) and the extravagant Pavilion Hall, which combines Renaissance, Gothic and Oriental motifs and has twenty-eight crystal chandeliers which illuminate the sumptuous room, are particularly evocative.

The Winter Palace has also played its role in mass popular culture. It not only appeared in the BBC’s recent War and Peace TV Series, but also Sergei Bondarchuk’s Oscar-winning 1967 Soviet era adaptation. It was at the heart of the action in the Russian film director, Sergei Eisenstein’s influential film, October: Ten Days That Shook the World, which included shots of the storming of the palace.

A tour of The Hermitage will be led by its curator Professor Alexei Leporc.

Afternoon | Lunch followed by Hydrofoil to Peterhof Palace

Often referred to as "the Russian Versailles", Peterhof was built by Peter the Great after his victory over the Swedes at Poltava in 1709.

Peter employed over 5,000 labourers, serfs and soldiers supported by architects, water-engineers, landscape gardeners and sculptors. The palace was officially opened in 1723.

As well as the most comfortable way in which to arrive at Peterhof, the Hydrofoil trip across the Gulf of Finland, is also a befitting way to travel, given the importance of maritime history to Peter and St Petersburg.

Evening | Optional Performance at Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre

Meals included: B, L

 

Day 4

Morning | Russian Museum Visit at Mikhailovsky Palace

The State Russian Museum is a remarkable collection of national art, tracing the development of the visual arts in Russia from its origin in Byzantine icon-painting to the richly varied avant-garde experiments of the early 20th century, when Russian art finally exploded onto the international stage.

Your Expert will introduce you to the breadth of the museum’s world renowned collections. 

Among the many masterpieces, is llya Repin’s Barge Haulers on the Volga painted in 1873. The most versatile of all the Russian Realist painters, Repin’s masterpiece, considered revolutionary at the time, celebrates the barge haulers’ dignity and fortitude whilst condemning those who sanctioned such inhumanity to man. 

Afternoon | Lunch followed by time at leisure

Evening | Dinner at leisure

Meals included: B, L

 

Day 5

Morning | Visit of Pushkin Museum and Apartment

On the afternoon of the 27th January 1837 Alexander Pushkin, considered by many to be Russia’s greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature, was killed in a duel. His brother-in-law, the dashing French military officer, George D’Anthès, who Pushkin believed to be his wife’s lover, was his killer.

You will discover more about this tragic incident, as well as other fascinating insights about this literary giant, during a guided tour of the Pushkin Museum and Apartment, where the writer lived between 1836 and 1837.

The apartment is a carefully preserved example of a nobleman's residence of the 1830s. Especially of interest is Pushkin’s study where he wrote the epic novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, and The Queen of Spades, both of which were later turned into operas by the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Afternoon | Visit Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Museum | Early afternoon lunch at Café Idiot | Dostoevsky’s World

The youngest and probably the greatest of the "Mighty Handful" of composers, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, strove to create a Russian style of classical music in the late 19th century.

A prolific composer, he is perhaps most famous for his fifteen operas, nearly all of which are based on Russian history or folklore. More than two thirds of them were composed whilst living in the Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Apartment Museum.

Four rooms in the museum are reconstructions of original interiors. The centrepiece is a grand piano once played by Scriabin, Rachmaninov, and Stravinsky (among others) at Rimsky-Korsakov's celebrated musical soirees, which attracted leading lights of St. Petersburg's cultural world, including the opera singer Feodor Chaliapin and the painters Ilya Repin, Vasiliy Serov and Mikhail Vrubel.

No Russian writer exemplifies more than Fyodor Dostoyevsky his St Petersburg literary credentials. Born in the city, he wrote most of his works here, the most famous of which, Crime and Punishment, was a literary sensation and is considered to be his first great work.

Today you will be introduced to Dostoevsky’s world, stepping back into 19th Century Russia, by first visiting the Dostoyevsky Memorial Museum before walking in the footsteps of Crime and Punishment’s protagonist, Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov.

The rooms of the Dostoyevsky Memorial Museum display the writer’s personal belongings and furnishings and are where he lived from 1878 until his death in 1881. Another part of the museum includes editions of Dostoyevsky's books published during his lifetime, a collection of illustrations and photographs signed by the writer (and famous contemporaries) and manuscripts and portraits.

Next you will visit the writer’s tomb at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra’s Necropolis followed by a walk in the old part of the city, then onwards to Sennaya Square and surroundings, before following the path taken by Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

Evening | Optional Performance at Grand Philharmonic Hall | Dinner in St Petersburg

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 6

Morning | Catherine’s Palace (Tsarskloe Palace)

When Natasha Rostova and Prince Andrei fell in love at the Tsar's New Year's Eve ball, it became one of the most memorable scenes of the BBC’s recent War & Peace TV Series. It was shot within the shimmering gold ballroom of Catherine’s Palace (Tsarskloe Selo), a lavish rococo-style mansion on the outskirts of St Petersburg.

Today you will walk in the footsteps of Tolstoy’s literary characters, Natasha and Prince Andrei, during a guided visit of the palace, gardens and park.

Designed by the architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli for Tsarina Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, the imperial palace was the summer residence of the tsars.

Later, the Scotsman Charles Cameron, was commissioned by Catherine the Great to redesign the palace’s interiors to her neo-classical taste. Cameron also constructed an ensemble of buildings next to the palace, including the Agate Rooms and Neo-Classical Cameron Gallery.

Perhaps the most impressive room is the Amber Room, an 18th century chamber decorated entirely with panels of amber and gold. The original, regarded as an “eighth wonder of the world”, had gone missing at the end of the Second World War, rumoured to have been stolen by the Nazis. In 1982 the Soviet government proceeded to build an exact replica, which took over 20 years to complete and was opened by President Putin in 2003.

And of course the palace’s magnificent parks and gardens provide the ideal setting for a morning stroll.

Afternoon | Lunch followed by Guided Tours of Pavlovsk Palace and Park

This afternoon you will enjoy a visit to Pavlovsk Palace and Park. Commissioned by Catherine the Great for her son, Paul, in celebration of the birth of his son, the future Alexander I, it has a distinct charm, as opposed to the grandeur of Tsarskloe Selo.

Designed by the architects Charles Cameron and Vicenzo Brenna, who were given precise directions by Paul’s wife, Maria Fyodorovna, the palace buildings are made up of a mixture of neo-classical and more elaborate designs.

Around the English style gardens are dotted a Palladian mansion, the Doric Temple of Friendship and the Apollo Colonnade. A most picturesque view is that of the Visconti Bridge, designed by Andrey Voronkin, which passes over the river Slavyanka that flows through the gardens.

Evening | Farewell Dinner at leisure

Meals included: B, L

 

Day 7         

Morning | Breakfast | Tour concludes*

 

Meals included: B, L

*Please let your Grand Cultural Tours representative know if you require transfers to the airport.

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  • 6 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast each day in high standard 4 star hotels

  • 6 lunches & 3 dinners

  • The services of an Expert in Russian Cultural History throughout the entire tour

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager throughout the entire tour

  • All activities and tours as described

 

Not included

  • Medical and travel insurance

  • Visa

  • Flights

Julia Korn

Julia Korn

Julia Korn, Senior Researcher, The National Pushkin Museum, St. Peterburg, is an English speaking lecturer and Guide renowned as an authority on the works and life of the great Russian literary poet, playwright, and novelist, Alexander Pushkin. 

Julia was born in St. Petersburg and in 1985 graduated from the Philological Department, St. Petersburg University, specializing in Russian Literature and History.

During the last 20 years Julia Korn has been Senior Researcher at the National Pushkin Museum in St. Petersburg and has published articles on Russian literature, history and the arts.

Fluent in English, she acts as the International Liaison Officer for the Museum. In this capacity she has travelled to the U.S.A. many times and in 1999 helped coordinate the renowned International Pushkin Conference at Stanford University, California. Julia is also the St. Petersburg Representative of the International Pushkin Charity Fund "Pushkin Legacy", which concerns itself with the preservation and conservation of the legacy of Alexander Pushkin.

In 1997, Julia became Director for the Stars of St. Petersburg Ballet Tours presenting fully staged productions throughout western America regularly and in 2003, Julia qualified with an Art Management Course from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.

Well travelled herself, Julia has a keen insight into the special needs of the discerning traveller, providing services for guests with special interests in the arts, music, ballet, history and literature.  Since 1993 she has applied her combined skills working as a tour leader and guide for groups as well as private clients and has qualified in numerous courses and acquired all the licenses to conduct tours in all the major museums and palaces in and around St. Petersburg.  

Distinguished past clients have included the Paul Getty Foundation, the Smithsonian Institute, the “Save Venice” Charity Foundation, Eugene O’Neil Theatre Centre, the  Florence Academy of Arts, the family of Vice-President Al Gore,  Sir Douglas Myers, Prince and Princess George and Katharina Yourievsky (descendants of the imperial Romanov family), The Earl and Countess of March as well as numerous cultural, business, and political leaders. 

Hotel

4 star centrally located hotel in St Petersburg, hand selected for its quality accommodation, service and location.

 

Passports and Visas

For general Foreign Office advice regarding passport validity for UK citizens, please click here.

A Visa is required for for all UK citizens entering Russia. Click here for further information regarding the Visa applicaiton process.  

If you require assistance with your Visa application, Grand Cultural Tours do provide a Visa processing service (at an additional charge).

 

Foreign Office Travel Advice including Health & Safety Information

Click here for general Foreign Office travel advice.

 

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a pre-requisite for booking a tour with Grand Cultural Tours. If you do not currently have travel insurance and would like to contact our partner travel insurance company, please click here for more details.

 

Currency

The currency of Russia is the Russian Ruble. The currency code is RUB and the currency symbol is руб. Click here for Foreign Office money advice.

 

Reading list

Dates & Prices

Start Date(s) Price excluding flights* Single supplement

* Please click here for more information regarding flights for this tour.

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