Why I love Russia
“A traveller's relationship with Russia is never an easy one, but over two decades of exploring this multifaceted country, I've yet to tire of it or be disappointed. It's a thrill to discover the latest on the dynamic and liberal art scene in the major cities and I particularly relish the serene countryside, with Lake Baikal a favourite location. Above all, it has been encounters and passionate conversations with...” Read More
Top experiences in Russia
Tour of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) and Catherine Palace
A pleasant walk through the park will let you feel like you're an important guest in the Residence of an Empress.The town of Pushkin, which was called Tsarskoye Selo until 1917, is 24 km (14.9 miles) south of St Petersburg. It was the residence of the Tsars from the beginning of 18th century onwards (from the mid-18th to the early 19th century palace and park complex were built, including the Catherine and Alexander Parks). The Catherine's Palace is one of the best examples of Russian baroque. It’s also famous for housing the world famous Amber room, a complete chamber decoration of amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. Due to its singular beauty, it was sometimes dubbed the "Eighth Wonder of the World". After several other 18th-century renovations, it is covered with more than 55 square meters and contained over six tonnes of amber. Then stroll along the alleys of the Catherine Park, a wonderful work of the Russian art of gardening from the 18th and 19th centuries, which combines the masterpieces of architecture with the beauty of the transforming nature of the north.You have the opportunity to include with your tour a visit to the magnificent Pavlovsk Palace, which was the summer residence of the great Paul I, which is only a 5 miles drive from Pushkin. The interiors have influences of many cultures, as there were several architects throughout the years. Inside the palace you'll see the Egyptian Vestibule, the Italian Hall, a Greek Hall with French furnishings and Paul's War Hall.After visiting the Pavlovsk, you can relax in the beautiful palace gardens, where where Johann Strauss once performed with his orchestra. Have a seat in one of the many pavilions -- the Temple of Friendship, the Colonnade of Apollo, the Pavilion of the Three Graces, the Dairy Farm or the Rose Pavilion.
2-Day St. Petersburg Shore Excursion
Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, St. Petersburg remains one of the world’s most beautiful cities. This comprehensive, 2-day shore tour makes it easy to discover its many charms, from palaces and parks to canal trips and cultural evenings out. Lasting for roughly 17 hours across two days (or 20 hours, should you sign on for an optional, 3-hour evening extension), this tour is the perfect introduction to the city. On the first day, disembark from your ship after arriving in the city, and head straight out on a city orientation tour of the city center. You’ll have interior visits to landmarks like the Hermitage Museum, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace, punctuated with a stop for lunch. You'll also take an hour-long cruise on the River Neva. At 5:30pm, choose to return to your ship or use your 3-hour extension to see the city after dark. Explore or dine out independently, or sign on for optional evening activities (available for an extra fee), including a visit to the Faberge Museum, a pub crawl, a visit to the ballet, or a guided walking tour. On the second day, meet your guide at 8am at your port and venture just beyond the city limits to Pushkin, where the Catherine Palace — one of the world’s great palaces — is located. Spend the morning exploring the palace and its grounds before breaking for lunch, after which you’ll visit Peterhof, a seafront palace complex that’s famous for its sprawling gardens and many fountains. Wind down the tour and return to St. Petersburg, where you’ll go for a ride on the metro, famous for its baroque decoration. The tour concludes when you’re returned to your ship one hour before departure.Please see the Itinerary for details on each day of the tour.
Grand Tour of St Petersburg
You have the option to combine the Grand Tour St Petersburg with the following tours: Grand Tour St Petersburg + Peter and Paul's FortressThe Peter and Paul Fortress - the oldest and most historical construction in Saint Petersburg and put up for fortification purposes but never been attacked. It had for almost two centuries served as a burial place for Russian emperors. The last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were buried in the cathedral's small St Catherine chapel in 1998. Grand Tour St Petersburg and St Isaac's CathedralSt Petersburg Highlights Tour visiting magnificent St Isaac's Cathedral, formerly the Russia's principal cathedral. Grand Tour St Petersburg and Hermitage MuseumHermitage - the second largest art museum in the world and the main tourist attraction of St Petersburg. See all the great masterpieces of the world's art in several hours with a comment of a knowledgeable expert-guide. Grand Tour St Petersburg, Peter and Paul's Fortress, St Isaac's Cathedral,Savior-on-blood Church , Lunch and Hermitage MuseumComprehensive all-day tour of St Petersburg sites, including Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral, spectacular St Isaac's Cathedral, an elegant lunch and a 2-hour guided excursion to the famous Hermitage Museum.
Small-Group St Petersburg Hermitage Museum Tour
Meet your art-loving guide in Palace Square and walk to the nearby Hermitage Museum. As you stroll, hear how the legendary building was founded in 1794, when Catherine the Great used it to house her small, private art collection, and then became a public museum in 1852. Since then, the Hermitage has grown into one of the world’s greatest art museums with a vast collection of more than three million items spanning Western European, Oriental, Classical, Egyptian and prehistoric treasures.The museum draws the crowds, and entrance lines can be long. If you’re visiting between May and September, enjoy early access to the museum, heading inside with your guide before the doors open to the general public. At other times, your skip-the-line ticket gives you fast-track access: simply walk past the main entrance line with your guide and start your tour.Once inside, absorb the museum’s grandeur as your guide explains how it’s laid out over five different buildings, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of Russia’s Romanov Tsars.Explore the opulent state rooms and chambers of the Winter Palace with your guide for a window into the Tsars’ extraordinary extravagance.After your 3-hour tour finishes, say goodbye to your guide in the museum and either stay longer to view more of main collections on your own — your ticket is valid for the whole day — or leave the Hermitage there and then.Please note: Early access to the Hermitage Museum between May and September is subject to approval by the museum.
Moscow Metro Tour
Meet your expert guide outside the Kremlin and head underground with your Moscow metro ticket to discover the city’s underground treasures. See the most interesting stations with extravagant Soviet-era architecture and hear the history surrounding the metro stations from your expert guide.Widely praised as one of Stalin’s finest architectural achievements, Moscow's subway was created to symbolize his rising regime and a recognized empire. Learn about his successors, who later toned down the ornateness of the subway’s architecture, and see how the different eras are reflected in the character of each station. If you're lucky, you may even find the secret entrance to the unconfirmed Metro-2, a parallel underground system used by the government -- a mystery which has neither been denied nor confirmed today.Visit Revolution Square Station (Ploschad Revolyutsii) and admire the 72 magnificent bronze sculptures that depict the people of the former Soviet Union, set underneath marble arches designed by the legendary Russian architect Alexey Dushkin. Another Dushkin-created station is Novoslobodskaya, and you’ll head here next to admire its dazzling stained-glass panels. Discover Baroque décor, vaulted ceilings and chandeliers at Komsomolskaya Station, and then marvel at the grandiose and pompous design of Kurskaya Station -- one of the first stations to be built. Its design reflects Stalin’s communist ideals and you’ll note its left-wing slogans on the walls, next to mosaics that symbolize the ‘victory’ of his regime over poverty and starvation.Finally, pay a visit to Mayakovskaya, the station that’s named after Russian poet Vladmir Mayakovsky, and see why it’s often considered the most beautiful and iconic Moscow Metro station. Gaze upward at some 30 fascinating mosaics that depict Stalin’s vision for a bright Soviet future, and then admire the features of typical pre-World War II architecture that the station embodies. Your tour ends here.
The Russian Tea Room Dining Experience
Founded by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927, The Russian Tea Room exudes the extravagance of 20th-century Russia. With antique brass samovars, intricately decorated Fabergé eggs and glistening chandeliers, this restaurant possesses a grandeur essence unlike any other. In addition to its reputation as a social hotspot, The Russian Tea Room is also a popular filming location; scenes from Manhattan, Tootsie, and The Turning Point were filmed inside this famous restaurant. The menu at The Russian Tea Room (see itinerary section below) is in keeping with the restaurant's luxurious atmosphere, created to lavish your taste buds with Russian and continental cuisine. The restaurant's classic dishes include the Borscht, Chicken Kiev, Beef Stroganoff and Vareniki.The Russian Tea Room is a New York City attraction that should not be missed. Visit for a memorable lunch or dinner, or why not make your day extra special and enjoy a pre-theater dinner before viewing a show at the Carnegie Hall? Whatever your New York visit includes, make sure the Russian Tea Room is on your list!