- Journey across Russia on one of the world's most legendary railways.
- Sip tea at a family home in the village of Listvyanka, perched along the shores of beautiful Lake Baikal.
- Learn about the history of Russian space exploration during a talk by a cosmonaut.
- Trans-Siberian Rail: Saint Petersburg Extension4 days from $2,995
Post-Trip, 4 Days
St. Petersburg is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its miles of canals, laced together with graceful bridges set amidst 18th-century buildings, have earned it the name "Venice of the North." Immerse yourself in the treasures of the city, discovering magnificent palaces and cathedrals, cruising St. Petersburg's waterways, and savoring the masterpieces of the splendid Hermitage.
The day begins with a tour of the 16th-century Novodevichy Convent and its spectacular Smolensk Cathedral, which rises from within the complex and is filled with stunning paintings, woodwork, embroidery, and illuminated books. Stroll through the adjacent cemetery, the final resting place of luminaries such as Gogol and Chekhov, as well as political figures like Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev, and Boris Yeltsin. Ride the high-speed train to St. Petersburg and, upon arrival, settle into your hotel in the heart of the city.
Designed by European architects of Peter the Great's choosing, St. Petersburg was conceived as Russia's link to the western world and served as the country's capital from 1712 until just after the revolution. Get oriented on a driving tour of the city, then take in incredible views of the Winter Palace and Peter and Paul Fortress from Vasilievsky Island. Admire the sparkling dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral, covered with 220 pounds of gold, and examine its beautiful columns faced with lapis, lazuli, and malachite. Step into the Church of the Savior on the Blood, built as a tribute to Czar Alexander II who was killed by a bomb here in 1881. After lunch, explore the world-renowned Hermitage museum and, by special permission, enter its Gold Room to view Scythian and Greek golden ornaments. Cap off the day with a leisurely boat cruise along the city's canals, and dine on your own this evening.
Travel by hydrofoil (weather permitting) to Petrodvorets, the country estate of Peter the Great. Stroll the palace's manicured gardens, intended to rival those at Versailles. Then journey to Pushkin, site of Catherine's Palace, originally built in 1717 by Catherine I. After lunch at a traditional restaurant, enjoy a guided tour of the estate, including the iconic Amber Room, clad in brilliant panels of amber. Return to the city for dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.