Imperial Splendors of Russia

Imperial Splendors of Russia

Experience the opulence of the age of czars on this eight-night adventure through Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Moscow, stride across Red Square, wonder at St. Basil’s swirling domes and discover the city’s beautiful Metro stations. Inside the Kremlin walls, glimpse gilded crowns, carriages and Faberge eggs. Visit Baroque Novodevichy Convent and its cemetery, the resting place of notables including Chekov and Khrushchev. Then, travel by high-speed rail to St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultured “window to Europe,” and stroll among the city’s canals and lavish cathedrals. Visit Peterhof, the palace of Peter the Great, and Catherine Palace, the splendid summer home of the Romanovs. Watch dancers warm up at the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet School, and view the masterworks at the famed State Hermitage Museum. Along the way, local experts share the secrets of Russia’s culture and heritage. Enjoy a country lunch and vodka tasting, an extensive meal plan featuring wine with dinner and first-class accommodations.

Trip Itinerary:

August 31 Depart Gateway City

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Moscow, Russia. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: DME (Domodedovo Moscow Airport) or SVO (Sheremetyevo Moscow Airport).

Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

September 1 Moscow, Russia

Arrive at Domodedovo Moscow Airport or Sheremetyevo Moscow Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Get to know your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception.

Accommodations – InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya
Meals – Appropriate in-flight meal service

September 2 Moscow

Enrichment: Russian Art.
Examine diverse historical trends, including Byzantine-influenced icons, neoclassical paintings and the modern art movement, pioneered by Kandinsky and Chagall.

Discovery: Moscow Highlights.
Activity level: Moderate
With more than 12.1 million residents, Moscow is Russia’s most populous city, as 
well as the largest one on the European continent. In recent decades, the city has dramatically reshaped itself, as sleek, modern skyscrapers have sprung up across the landscape, and old relics of the Soviet era have been demolished. On a panoramic tour, become acquainted with its notable landmarks within the Garden Ring, the network of streets that form a circle around the city center. See the vast fortifications of the Kremlin, bustling Tverskaya Street, Red Square, Manezhnaya Square and the Arbat, a pedestrian-friendly area and one of the city’s oldest streets. Other highlights include the Seven Sisters, known as Stalinskie Vysotki by Muscovites, a collection of skyscrapers commissioned by Stalin and constructed from 1947-1953. Visit the copper-domed Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a 20th-century creation. Joseph Stalin ordered the demolition of the original 19th-century church in 1931 to build a towering government building. The German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II disrupted the construction, which never resumed after the war. Construction of the cathedral began in 1995 and took 15 years to complete.

Free Time: Enjoy some time for lunch on your own.

Discovery: Tretyakov Gallery.
Activity level: Moderate
See the evolution of Russian sculptures and paintings in a remarkable collection that spans a thousand years.

Free Time: The evening is at leisure.

Accommodations – InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya
Meals – Breakfast

September 3 Moscow

Discovery: Kremlin and Red Square.
Activity level: Moderate
Visit inside the red-walled Kremlin, a self-contained 15th-century city that includes palaces, gold-domed cathedrals and a medieval fortress. At the Armoury Chamber, marvel at the glittering treasures of Russian emperors and empresses, including Faberge eggs, gold and silver works of art, royal carriages and armor. Cross Red Square, visit the ornate GUM department store and then stroll to St. Basil’s Cathedral to admire its wildly colorful, fanciful onion domes. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the area.

Free Time: The remainder of the day is yours to plan.

Accommodations – InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

September 4 Moscow

Discovery: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery and Moscow Metro.
Activity level: Moderate
Explore within the walls of this lovely convent complex. Once an important part of the city’s defense system, the convent is especially noted for the gold-and-silver-domed Smolensk Cathedral with its 16th-century frescoes. Afterward, walk through the adjacent Novodevichy cemetery, the burial site of many prominent artists and political leaders, including Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin. Then, go underground to discover Moscow’s uniquely beautiful Soviet-era Metro stations, featuring marble floors, chandeliers, mosaics, sculptures and decorative artwork.

Free Time: Make your own plans for lunch and sightseeing this afternoon.

Gather for a group dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations – InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

September 5 St. Petersburg

After an early breakfast, transfer from the hotel to the Leningradskaya rail station for your high-speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg. Sapsan is the Russian word for the peregrine falcon, and like its namesake, this train is incredibly fast, moving at an average speed of 100 mph and a maximum of 155 mph.

Transfer to the Angleterre Hotel and enjoy time for lunch on your own.

Discovery: St. Petersburg Highlights.
Activity level: Mild
Marvel at this scenic city, founded in 1703 and filled with canals and hundreds of bridges, due to its location across numerous islands in the delta of the Neva River. See the Bronze Horseman, the famous statue of Peter the Great on a rearing horse; the neoclassical gold-spired Admiralty; the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood; as well as other historic monuments, palaces and churches that make St. Petersburg one of Europe’s most dazzling cities. Visit lavish St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress, home to some of the city’s oldest buildings. Its cathedral holds the tombs of the most famous Russian czars.

Tonight, delight in a delicious dinner at a restaurant in St. Petersburg.

Accommodations – Angleterre Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

September 6 St. Petersburg

Enrichment: Russian Music and Ballet.
Russian composers, choreographers and ballet dancers have reached the highest echelons of the classical arts. Learn how the national passion for music and dance fostered these talents.

Discovery: Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet School.
Activity level: Active
Delight in an intimate study of the graceful artistry of dancers with the Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet, founded in 1996. After an introduction from the ballet group’s director, observe the dancers’ intense warm-up exercises at the barre from your seat in the practice room. Then, watch as the dancers in costume gracefully leap, pirouette and glide en pointe during an exclusive performance of selected pieces from famous ballets such as the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Don Quixote.

Have lunch at a local restaurant.

Free Time: The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Enrichment: Czarist Russia.
Czar, the Russian word for emperor, was the title given to the rulers of the Romanov Dynasty who determined Russia’s destiny from 1613 to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The czars claimed a heavenly mandate, controlled the Russian Orthodox Church and stood at the pinnacle of the Russian aristocracy. Delve into the riveting story of how they dictated the history of the Russian Empire from St. Petersburg.

Accommodations – Angleterre Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

September 7 Peterhof | Catherine Palace

Discovery: Peterhof.
Activity level: Moderate
Be transported back in time to the reign of Peter the Great at his spectacular palace, Peterhof, surrounded by expansive formal gardens, landscaped parkland and a remarkable collection of majestic fountains. Feel the cool mist as you stroll near the breathtaking Grand Cascade, which alone comprises 64 decorative fountains.

Discovery: Russian Folk Traditions.
Activity level: Moderate
At a country house, savor lunch and sample vodka, then celebrate folk traditions during a show featuring live music and dancing. Listen to classic Russian songs being played on traditional instruments.

Discovery: The Catherine Palace.
Activity level: Moderate
This afternoon, visit this splendid baroque imperial residence, built by Empress Elizabeth for her mother, Empress Catherine I, which was inspired by the palace at Versailles. Step inside the famed Amber Room, an exquisite chamber adorned with gold leaf and intricate inlaid amber panels. The original priceless decorations were stolen by the Nazis during World War II and later recreated through a joint German-Russian effort.

Accommodations – Angleterre Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and lunch

September 8 St. Petersburg

Discovery: State Hermitage Museum.
Activity level: Moderate
Enjoy early access to the State Hermitage Museum, and spend a half-day inside the museum to view one of the world’s finest art collections, including paintings by French Impressionists and Dutch and Italian masters; Greek and Roman antiquities; fine Asian art; Egyptian mummies and much more. An early entry allows you to view the many exhibits before the museum opens to the public. Founded in 1764 after Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage is located within the opulent Winter Palace. It served as the main residence for Russian czars from the mid-18th century and was commissioned by Russian empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great.

Free Time: Your afternoon is at leisure.

This evening, gather for a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers to share stories of your Russian adventures and celebrate your journey.

Accommodations – Angleterre Hotel
Meals – Breakfast and dinner

September 8 Depart for Gateway City

After breakfast, bid farewell to the Imperial Splendors of Russia.

AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Pulkovo Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service

NOTE: Itinerary may change due to local conditions.


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