the Big Chill - 9 Days
From 2020-12-24 to 2022-12-24
Departure dates & prices
Dates Availability Price
8 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 3 dinners (including a Welcome Dinner on day 1).
1 overnight train from Novgorod - Moscow in an 4-berth cabin including bed linen.
7 nights 3-4 star hotels.
Escorted by an English speaking Russian tour guide.
Specialist Russian guides at local sights.
Guided sightseeing - St Petersburg, Novgorod and Moscow.
Airport arrival transfer on day 1.
All relevant transfers and transportation on tour.
Moscow Metro travel card - 6 journeys.
Russian banya (sauna) experience.
Day 1 - St Petersburg 24 December. Welcome to St Petersburg and the start of your winter holiday! Upon arrival you will be met at St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport and transferred to your hotel for check-in. This evening meet at 8pm for a group dinner at the hotel, followed by an informative welcome meeting. Remainder of the evening at leisure - your tour guide can recommend some local bars for you to try out.
Day 2 - St Petersburg Merry Christmas! St Petersburg is known as the city of the tsars and this morning we head out of city to explore beautiful Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo. At Catherine Palace the exterior and the interior of this lavishly decorated building really catch the eye - particularly the spectacular Amber room.
The rest of the day is free for you to relax and independently explore the city. Most of the city sights are dotted along and just off the main thoroughfare - Nevsky Prospekt. It’s an easy city to find your bearings and get around. St Petersburg has a spirited restaurant, bar and jazz club scene, plus some of Russia’s best beers.
During our time in St Petersburg there will be the chance to book optional excursions such a night at the Russian Ballet or a traditional Cossack Show. Today there will also be an optional dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 - St Petersburg This morning we get a wonderful overview of the city as we drive along the famed Nevsky Prospekt, past the museum and university districts and a few photo stops will be made along the way at places such as the magnificent St Isaac's Cathedral and The Bronze Horseman. Our city tour this morning includes the impressive Peter & Paul Fortress which was built on the orders of Peter the Great and was at one time at political prison. Within the compound is the beautiful Peter & Paul Cathedral, which houses the tombs of the Romanov monarchs. We also visit the exquisite Church on Spilled Blood.
After a hearty traditional lunch we take a guided tour of the remarkable Hermitage Museum in the Winter Palace - which houses one of the biggest and best art collections on earth.
Day 4 - St Petersburg St Petersburg – Novgorod. Today gives you the opportunity to shop for some last minute souvenirs, maybe some traditional nesting dolls or Russian memorabilia found at the canal side market near the striking Church on Spilled Blood. Alternatively a walk along St Petersburg's main street - Nevsky Prospekt. Later we travel on to ancient Novgorod, where we will enjoy a steamy Russian banya (sauna) and hearty dinner.
Day 5 - Novgorod Novgorod – Moscow. Novgorod is one of Russia’s oldest cities, located within reach of the Volkhov River and Lake Ilmen that was formed as a town in the middle of the 10th century. A guided tour of Novgorod takes in the riverside fortified Kremlin, cathedral and other sights of interest. The Kremlin fortress was mentioned in chronicles as early as in 1044, whilst today’s walls and towers, despite being re-built in 15th century, are impressive all the same. Tonight we have dinner before travelling by overnight sleeper train from Novgorod to Moscow.
Day 6 - Moscow Early this morning, we arrive into Moscow - the capital that spawned dozens of spy novels! Today we will ride on the capital’s efficient Metro to Red Square. From here, we’ll take in the jewels of Russia’s capital on a guided walking tour, taking in sights such as the epitome of Russian power – the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum and the ritzy GUM department store. At the south end of the square, feast your eyes on the wildly coloured, turban domed St Basil’s Cathedral, an enduring Russian symbol commissioned by Ivan IV (also known as Ivan the terrible) in 1555.
Spend the remainder of the day at your own leisure. During our stay in Moscow there will be the chance to join our optional Moscow by Night coach tour (book and pay locally).
Day 7 - Moscow This morning we head back to Red Square to pay our respects to Lenin - the grandfather of Communism, at his eerie mausoleum. It is here that his embalmed body has lain in state since his death in 1924. Later we will continue to the Kremlin - Russia’s bastion of political might, where we enjoy a guided walk through the grounds, seeing numerous government buildings, gold-domed cathedrals and the tsar bell.
The rest of the day is free for you to independently explore the city. As well as boasting some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, Moscow is also home to internationally acclaimed museums and art galleries, respectable retail havens in the form of malls, markets and boutique-style shops, and hundreds of restaurants and cafes serving a wide variety of cuisine.
Day 8 - Moscow Today is free for you to explore Moscow on your own. For souvenirs, Izmailova Market is the place to go. Behind its whimsically decorated walls you’ll find one of the best markets in Moscow, whether you want to pick up some tacky souvenirs, genuine fur hats or some traditional handmade crafts.
Alternatively you can book our optional Inside a Soviet Bunker Add-on and head 65 meters underground to explore a Stalinist-era bunker that up until recently was a top secret symbol of Soviet Power and is now a museum.
This evening we head into the city to ring in the New Year among the crowds and offer an optional New Year's Eve dinner (book and pay locally). While Red Square is certainly one of the most popular places to count down to midnight, it can also get extremely busy making it often difficult to find a place. But fear not, there are plenty of other exciting activities happening around Moscow’ capital city, whether it’s watching the fireworks as they light up the night sky over Christ the Savior Cathedral from Patriarshy Bridge or dancing in the New Year in one of the city’s trendy bars or clubs.
Day 9 - Moscow 01 January. Happy New Year! Our tour comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check-out.
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