Easy Pace Spain - Insight Vacations

Easy Pace Russia with Christmas Markets (Winter 2017-18)

Duration: 9 days Visiting: Russia

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Highlights
  • Optional experiences
  • Accommodation
  • Reviews
  • Dates & prices

Russia is a whole new place come winter, with its snow-dusted cities and the festivities of Russian Orthodox Christmas in full swing.

  1. Day 1

    Your Journey Begins

    Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).

  2. Day 2

    Welcome to St. Petersburg

    Airport transfers depart from St. Petersburg Airport at 14:30 and 17:00. In the evening, meet your Tour Director for a warm, friendly Welcome Reception and an opportunity to mingle and get to know each other over a pleasant evening of dinner and wine.

  3. Day 3

    St Petersburg Sightseeing

    Morning sightseeing with a Local Expert includes views of St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Decembrists’ Square. Travel down Nevsky Prospekt for views of the great Cathedral of Kazan and onion-domed Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood. With the afternoon at leisure, why not explore the festivities of the annual International Winter Festival where St. Petersburg showcases an array of culture from the regions of Russia, combined with Christmas traditions from all over the world?

  4. Day 4 - Relaxed Start

    The City of Tsars

    In the little town of Pushkin, visit St. Catherine’s Palace with a Local Expert. A ‘Golden Enfilade’ of suites lead to the restored Amber Room, a truly unique and spectacular chamber solely decorated with amber panels, gold leaves and mirrors. Later, cross the Neva River to Peter and Paul Fortress, where St. Petersburg’s foundation stone was laid in 1703. With a Local Expert, visit the fortress to see the imperial tombs of the Romanov rulers and learn the secrets of Russian history.

  5. Day 5 - Relaxed Start

    The Hermitage Museum

    Visit the Hermitage, one of the world’s greatest museums. Located in the Winter Palace, wander through this fabulous collection of paintings and objets d’art, ranging from Egyptian carvings to Impressionist masterpieces. The rest of the day is free.

  6. Day 6 - Relaxed Start

    High-Speed Sapsan Train to Moscow

    In the morning, perhaps visit the former residence of the Yusupov family and the scene of Rasputin’s murder? Then board your high-speed Sapsan train to Moscow.

  7. Day 7 - Relaxed Start

    Moscow, a Russian Revelation

    Begin your exploration of the Russian capital with a Local Expert. Start in Red Square, lined by Moscow’s landmark buildings. At one end, rises the onion- shaped domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral. In front of the Kremlin, stands Lenin’s Mausoleum. During your stay, you will also visit one of the Metro stations that Stalin called ‘palaces for the people’. Gain a local insight into the themes depicted among the marble, mosaics, sculptures and chandeliers. You will also view the crown jewels and Fabergé Egg collection of the Imperial Russian Family. In your free time, you may like to wrap up warm and venture out to explore the dazzling festivities of the Christmas season. Snow-covered stalls are crowned with twinkling fairylights, while vendors serve warm drinks and food. When Moscow’s ‘Journey into Christmas’ begins, each district becomes part of the festival, offering everything from exciting street shows and concerts, to master cooking classes of traditional Russian foods. There really is something for everyone.

  8. Day 8 - Relaxed Start

    Exploring the Kremlin

    With the morning at leisure, you can use your time as the final chance to collect a few souvenirs. The Christmas Markets offer plenty of unique art pieces and classic Russian ornaments. Perhaps visit the Borodino Panorama Exhibition, or take an optional experience to Zagorsk - renowned as a centre of ancient Russian art and architecture? In the afternoon, walk inside the walls of the Kremlin Fortress to visit one of the cathedrals and the Armoury Chamber. On your last night, enjoy delicious food, great wine and wonderful company at your evening Celebration Dinner.

  9. Day 9

    Depart Moscow

    Departure transfers will arrive at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at 05:00, 08:00 and 11:00 and at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport at 05:00, 10:00 and 13:00.

Highlights

 

SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES

  • St. Petersburg: Sightseeing with a Local Expert will show you St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Decembrists’ Square, the great Cathedral of Kazan and the Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood.
  • St. Petersburg: With a Local Expert, visit St. Catherine’s Palace and the Amber Room. Learn the history of the city at Peter and Paul fortress.
  • St. Petersburg: With a Local Expert, explore the spectacular Hermitage Museum - one of the world’s great repositories of European art and housed in the stunning former Winter Palace of the Tsars.
  • Moscow: With a Local Expert, explore one of Moscow’s opulent Metro stations.
  • Moscow: A Local Expert will show you this wonderful city. Tour Moscow’s Red Square and see the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral as well as Lenin’s Mausoleum.
  • Moscow: Walk inside the walls of the Kremlin Fortress with your Local Expert.

TOP RATED HIGHLIGHTS

  • St. Petersburg Christmas Markets: Russian Christmas Markets are unique. St. Petersburg brings to life the traditions and festivities from the regions of Russia, combined with those from around the globe.
  • Moscow Christmas Markets: The entire city is involved in the celebration of the season with each of Moscow’s districts adding their own influence to the fair. Rare, handcrafted treasures are waiting to be found, while soul-warming, local and global foods will keep the cold at bay.
  • High Speed Train: ‘Sapsan’ in Russian means ‘falcon’. Relax in modern luxury and comfort while you swoop by rail, from St. Petersburg to Moscow in just four hours.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL FLAVOURS

  • Moscow: Join in a fun-filled Celebration Dinner that straddles the culinary East to West divide and includes drinks to toast to your new-found friends.
  • 7 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) both with wine, plus tea or coffee. 7 Jan departure is on tour for Russian Orthodox Christmas and will enjoy a festive Welcome Dinner.

STAY AT THE BEST ADDRESSES

  • St. Petersburg: The Solo Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge is centrally located on Vasilyevsky Island, the historical centre of St. Petersburg. Parts of the hotel date back to the mid-19th century and have been renovated from what was once the wine cellars of the famous Eliseev family.
  • Moscow: Perfectly located on the main street of Moscow, leading directly to Red Square and the Kremlin, the Marriott Grand Hotel features comfortable rooms with an art deco touch.

OUR FIVE-STAR SERVICES

  • Our highly-skilled Insight Tour Director will ensure your journey is seamless, serving as your expert guide, consummate organiser, and friend in a foreign land.
  • Enjoy the comfort of Insight's luxury, air-conditioned, 40-seat touring coach, with extended Business Class legroom and on-board restroom.
  • Personal radio headsets give you the freedom to wander during visits to famous highlights, without missing any of your Local Expert's fascinating commentary.
  • We carry your bags for you and promptly deliver them to your hotel door.
  • Hotel and restaurant tips are included; you'll never have to worry about how much to give, nor search for foreign currency. Plus, we include all taxes and porterage charges at hotels.
  • Stay connected with friends and family with our complimentary coach and hotel Wi-Fi.
  • From time to time, your Tour Director will enchant you with an Insight Flourish - a local tidbit representing authentic food or beverages unique to the destination.
  • Complimentary transfers from St Petersburg Airport are available at scheduled times only, on arrival day. Complimentary transfers to Moscow's Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports are available at scheduled times only, on departure day. Should your flights not coincide with complimentary transfers, charged transfers are available on arrival and departure days, or when additional accommodation is booked through Insight Vacations. Alternatively, please make your own way from/to the airport.

Optional experiences

Most Insight trips already include a host of bonus highlights and comprehensive sightseeing. There may also be an exciting array of Optional Experiences which will turn an already amazing experience into the trip of a lifetime! These are entirely optional and can be booked through your Travel Director/Local Representative at the commencement of your trip. Please note, many Optional Experiences are operated by independent third party suppliers, not Insight Vacations.

Prices and availability of Optional Experiences are subject to change.

Russian Folklore Show

Come and hear the balalaikas ringing out! A spectacular evening of traditional music, song and dance! This fun-filled show will have you clapping along to the rollicking Cossack dancers and girls in brightly coloured costumes as they sing their sweet harmonies.

Adult Price: EUR 58.00

Code: ST 0003

Russian Ballet Performance

With its flawless, graceful movements, heartfelt music and spectacle, Russian ballet can conjure up a range of powerful emotions. While in St. Petersburg, there may be the opportunity to attend a ballet performance. This optional experience is subject to the availability of tickets and performance. Pending on availability and the venue, the price may vary from €80-€110. This optional involves reservations and entrance prepayments. If you decide to cancel this optional, a 50% cancellation fee will be incurred.

Adult Price: EUR 110.00

Code: ST 0007

Yusupov Palace

Don't miss this chance to visit the former residence of the Yusupov family and scene of Rasputin’s murder. Hear the fascinating story of the Siberian monk and his influence on the Imperial Family as you are led through the beautifully restored interiors to the room where his murder took place!

Adult Price: EUR 49.00

Code: ST 0008

Moscow By Night

As the sun goes down Moscow takes on a completely different complexion. A local expert shows you the major monuments of this bustling city by night. Admire the evening magic of the famous Red Square once the day time crowds have dispersed - the floodlit towers of the Kremlin, twinkling Gum Department Store and magical domes of St Basil's Cathedral bathed in romantic light.

Adult Price: EUR 29.00

Code: MOS0002

Russian Mosaic

The complex history of Russia is fixed in the soul of the people and this experience focuses on historical events that have shaped the nation. Drive out to the Victory Park Complex - an emotional tribute to those who fell on the battlefronts of a war. Continue with a visit to the Borodino Panorama Exhibition which brings to life the Battle of Borodino, one of the most important events in Russia’s history and immortalized in Tolstoy’s epic, ‘War and Peace’. Finally at the Novodevichy cemetery, see memorials to such greats as Khrushchev, Chekhov, Mayakovsky, Prokofiev and Eisenstein(On occasions when Borodino is closed we will visit the Memorial Park complex instead).

Adult Price: EUR 42.00

Code: MOS0003

Excursion to Sergiyev Posad

A wonderful excursion takes you to Sergiyev Posad (known as Zagorsk in the Soviet era), renowned centre of ancient Russian art and architecture. For centuries it served as a place of pilgrimage and the religious capital of Russia. Within the old walled city, admire the fairy-tale golden and blue domes of the Troitse Sergiyevo Lavra, one of the most beautiful of all monasteries. Afterwards, enjoy time to browse for locally made Russian handicrafts, wooden toys and Matryoshka dolls at the local market.

Adult Price: EUR 53.00

Code: MOS0004

Accommodation

 

Sokos Palace Bridge

St Petersburg (Central) - Russia

Marriott Grand Moscow

Moscow (Central) - Russia

Marriott Grand, Moscow

Guest Reviews & Experiences

Our guests rate us 4.5 out of 5 based on
11477 independent user reviews received during the past year.

  • 27 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: All major sights were well covered. Local guides were excellent and knowledgeable and of a very high standard. Optional tours were terrific and overall pace of the itinerary was very comfortable.

    Service: As always, the high standard of hotels, expert and seamless co-ordination of all aspects of the tour were outstanding. In particular, the excellent flourishes incorporated in this tour were very much appreciated and added to what was a very memorable experience.

  • 23 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Trip overall was very good, and would definitely recommend. Local guides in both St. Petersburg and Moscow were outstanding. Easy pace itinerary built in enough free time to not feel like we were constantly rushing around. Skip the optional excursion to the ballet - very expensive and completely not worth it. Could have used an additional day in Moscow.

    Service: The travel agent we were assigned to help with booking was very good. Tour leader was great - friendly, knowledgeable, and always around to assist with whatever. Very nice level of service overall.

  • 14 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: I saw all of those things that were only in my imagination up to this point. The palaces and churches of a bygone era. Mind blowing. The optional extras were a good idea, so that we could choose when we wanted to do our own thing.

    Service: On our arrival in St Petersburg we were met immediately on arrival even though the transfer was not occurring for another hour. It immediately took the pressure off a potentially disorienting moment. The tour director Gennady was very clear in what was happening and how and when. The transport driver Ruslan was amazingly competent. As for the local guides Goula and Vera were very accomplished and informative. Easy to understand and humorous. I enjoyed the tour immensely. Even though it was cold.

  • 13 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Could have the Hermitage visit include a 'HoHo' (hop on/big red bus style) bus tour and not so much free time that day, whether you used tour bus driver or for a couple of hours. use a local driver.

    Service: Easy Pace Russia was just like its name with optional tours allowing you to choose the amount of time you wanted to be with the tour or whether your wanted more time sightseeing on your own. Gennady our tour director and our two local experts - Gula?/Julia in Russian but unsure of spelling but pronounced Goola) in St Petersburg and Vera in Moscow who I would have crawled on hands and knees to both have as history teachers, all made the 8 day trip so enjoyable. They all were so knowledgeable and obviously because they had been tour director and guides for a while and are known by the places we visited they were also respected by the staff at these places. The tour just glided along easily and along with our brilliant bus driver it was a terrific experience. The two hotels Crowne Plaza in St. Petersburg and Marriott Grand Moscow were very good. Breakfasts at both were top notch.

  • 13 January, 2019

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: A Great Holiday Nice People

    Service: Very Much it was Great

  • 15 March, 2018

    TRIP:
    SERVICE:

    Trip: Very pleased with everything except Christmas markets. Were not very interesting.

    Service: Very pleased. Our guide was extremely competent, very knowledgeable, and a heck of a lot of fun. Staff at both hotels was were friendly, polite, and helpful. Christmas fairs were disappointing. Rather tacky merchandise.

*Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Prices displayed reflect available discounted rates such Early Payment Discount or Last Minute Deals (discounts are not combinable). Discounts may be withdrawn at anytime, book early to confirm space. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however is subject to change, please confirm all details at time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.
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