To Russia With Love. Beyond the Onion Domes.
Join R. Crusoe for a look at two distinctly different Russian cities—Moscow first, then St. Petersburg—to get a handle on the nation's past, present, and future. We also visit Sergiev Posad Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
When Czar Peter the Great returned from his Grand Tour of Europe at the end of the 17th century, he had stars in his eyes. They would twinkle brightly as he created Russian’s version of a Western European city. It would be a paean in stone to all that he saw—and admired—on the Continent. The new city, St. Petersburg (modesty wasn’t part of the equation, after all), would replace Moscow as his empire’s capital, at least for a while. Today's Moscow, on the other hand, is the economic, financial, and intellectual heart of Russia.
For more of Russia, consider our intriguing extensions to historic Vladimir, Suzdal, and Novgorod. Speak to a Crusoe travel specialist for more information.
This is a 12-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Russia journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Russia.
Overnight in flight
Day 2-3: Moscow, Russia
• Land in Moscow.
• City tour including the Kremlin and its Armory Palace and State Diamond Fund, Red Square including St. Basil's Cathedral.
• Leisure time.
Overnights in Moscow
Day 4: Sergiev Posad, Moscow
• Day-trip to Sergiev Posad including Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius (UNESCO World Heritage site), lunch with a resident monk, vestry tour.
• Return to Moscow with option en route to visit Cosmonautics Memorial Museum.
• Evening option to attend Moscow Circus or Bolshoi performance.
Overnight in Moscow
Day 5: Moscow
• Tretyakov Gallery, Novodevichy Convent (UNESCO World Heritage site), State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia.
Overnight in Moscow
Day 6: Moscow, St. Petersburg
• Late-morning high-speed Sapsan train to St. Petersburg, option for Neva River private boat tour.
Overnight in St. Petersburg
Day 7-9: St. Petersburg
• Peter and Paul Fortress, Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Lodge House of Peter the Great, St. Isaac's Cathedral.
• Option for Mariinsky, Philharmonic, or Hermitage Theater evening performance.
• Hermitage tour including Gold Room and Jordan Staircase.
• Church of the Resurrection of Christ (Church of the Spilt Blood), Yusupovsky Palace.
• Option for Nikolaevsky Palace folk performance with champagne and caviar.
Overnights in St. Petersburg
Day 10: Peterhof, St. Petersburg
• Day-trip to Peterhof including Monplaisir Palace, Marly Palace, Upper and Lower parks.
• Return to St. Petersburg, leisure time.
Overnight in St. Petersburg
Day 11: Pushkin, Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg
• Drive to Pushkin, Catherine Palace including the Amber Room.
• Drive to Pavlovsk, Paul's Palace.
• Return to St. Petersburg.
Overnight in St. Petersburg
Day 12: St. Petersburg; United States
• Fly home, or continue on in Russia.
Per person sharing room from $10,980 for this 12-day sample itinerary.
For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.
Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Options
If you’ve got extra time to spare, there’s more of Russia you ought to see. Come with R. Crusoe on a customized, luxury tour to visit Novgorod, founded in the fifth century, and/or Vladimir and Suzdal, two villages that are part of the Golden Ring. There’s plenty of medieval history here that shouldn’t be missed. Speak to an R. Crusoe & Son travel specialist for details.
Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create Russia pre-tour and post-tour itineraries of any length to meet your exact specifications.
Ararat Park Hyatt. A modern and luxurious property located in the very heart of the capital of Russia just a few minutes’ walk from the Kremlin, Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and the Bolshoi Theater. 203 guest rooms including 29 suites. Amenities: fitness center, full-service spa, heated indoor pool, in-house chapel, 3 restaurants, 2 bars.
Ritz-Carlton Moscow. At the edge of Red Square, this beautiful hotel boasts some of the largest guestrooms in the city. 334 guestrooms and suites. Amenities include a health club, spa, indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam rooms, beauty salon, 2 restaurants, 2 bars.
Baltschug Kempinski, Moscow. Since Ivan the IV, the Baltschug has played a central role in Russian history. A classic European grand hotel, it is part of a gracious 19th-century architectural ensemble with a direct view of the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Located just across the Moskva River from the Kremlin. Amenities include a spa/fitness center with a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, solarium, and massage services, boutiques, two restaurants, a café, and two bars.
Four Seasons, Moscow. In an historic building just steps from Red Square, the Kremlin, and the State Duma. Its 180 guest rooms and suites are decorated using elements of the 1930s Russian constructivist design of the original Hotel Moskva, with bright, airy, and contemporary spaces. Amenities include a spa with full services, three restaurants, and two bars.
Grand Hotel Europe. For more than 130 years, this historic hotel has played an important role in the life of St. Petersburg as a cultural and culinary landmark. Among the guests that have come before you? Royalty from all over the world. Tchaikovsky spent his honeymoon here. Ivan Turgenev loved the place, as did Grigori Rasputin, George Bernard Shaw, Maxim Gorky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Elton John, Bill Clinton... The list goes on and on. 301 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center, sauna, pool, hair salon/barber, shopping arcade, 3 restaurants, 3 bars.
Hotel Astoria. This historic hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in town. It offers charming turn-of-the-century interiors as well as all the modern facilities and services one would expect from a world-class hotel. An excellent location, just a few minutes walk from the Hermitage and the Mariinsky Theater. 155 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: spa, sauna, Turkish bath, fitness center, 1 restaurant.
Four Seasons St. Petersburg. Within a 19th-century royal palace, this restored luxury hotel stands in the historic Admiralteysky district, just two blocks from the Hermitage Museum and close to Nevsky Prospekt and the Mariinsky Theater. 183 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center with dry sauna and Jacuzzi, steam room, indoor pool, 3 restaurants, 2 bars.
Angleterre Hotel. In the heart of St. Petersburg, adjacent to Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and close to the Hermitage. The hotel also stands within a walking distance to Nevsky Prospect and all major sightseeing and shopping spots in town. 192 guestrooms and suites. Amenities: fitness center, full-service spa, pool, 1 restaurant/bar.
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
Alfred Hitchcock demonstrated that identifying with characters in a challenging situation was a more important element of suspense than knowing the ending.
With this in mind, we urge you to read Robert K. Massie’s page-turner of a biography, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
Although we all know how the story ends, Massie does a brilliant job of bringing into sharp focus this extraordinary 18th-century leader. His biography is a vivid, engrossing account of Russia at a pivotal moment in world history.
As Catherine ascended to the throne, great change was afoot in the larger world. The Enlightenment influenced thinkers in Europe and the colonies, and governments were overthrown. Following Massie’s recounting of the empress’s trials and tribulations—and her strategies for dealing with a quite incredible royal family—kept us on the edge of our seats.
The characters who surrounded Catherine were themselves the stuff of great fiction, though none of this is made up: Peter, Catherine’s ineffectual husband, who she quickly deposed (Peter was dethroned, said Prussia’s King Frederick the Great, “like a child being sent to bed);” childless Empress Elizabeth, who removes Catherine’s children to raise them herself; and Catherine’s various lovers, among them Gregory Potemkin, who Catherine described as “one of the greatest, most bizarre, and most entertaining eccentrics of the iron age.”
The book also documents Catherine’s immense efforts to modernize Russia and to elevate the realm in the eyes of the rest of Europe. As Massie makes clear, she succeeded brilliantly.
Massie is a keen storyteller, and his account of a young girl’s transformation into Russia’s longest-ruling female leader (she ruled for 34 years) is a stunner. Don’t miss it.
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