(Thu.) Along the coast to Hamina and the Russian border. After completing frontier formalities, cross the Karelian Isthmus on the way to St. Petersburg. (FB,D).
(Fri.) Founded by Peter the Great, construction began in 1703, and the city eventually spread over 100 islands linked by 700 bridges. It suffered severe damage during World War II, when a cruel 900-day siege claimed nearly a million victims. Sightseeing with a Local Guide today shows how the city has been restored to its former splendor. Drive along elegant Nevsky Prospect, admire ST. ISAAC’S CATHEDRAL, and continue to Pushkin, home of Russia’s last czar, and visit magnificent CATHERINE PALACE (if closed, visit PAVLOVSK PALACE instead). (FB).
(Sat.) Today visit the Winter Palace complex. Formerly the residence of the czars, it now houses the world-famous HERMITAGE MUSEUM with celebrated works by Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and the major French impressionists. Optional activities are available. (FB).
(Sun.) Today drive to Novgorod. Orientation features the restored Kremlin and venerable churches dating as far back as the 11th century. (FB,L,D)
(Mon.) Through the Valdai Hills to Tver on the Volga, the “Mother River” of Russia, where you will have lunch. Then via Tchaikovsky’s Klin on to Moscow. (FB,L)
(Tue.) Follow your Local Guide to RED SQUARE, the center of this 850-year-old city. At its core is the Lenin Mausoleum and St. Basil’s Cathedral. Inside the KREMLIN, a city-within-a-city, admire the medieval towers, cathedrals, and palaces. At the ARMORY MUSEUM see treasures such as Ivan the Terrible’s throne. O course you will also see the Bolshoi Theater. (FB)
(Wed.) Travel via Borodino, site of the cruel battle between Napoleon’s Grand Armée and the Russian.