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Cultural Treasures of Moscow and St. Petersburg

Program Number: 3318RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/8/2015 - 10/18/2015;
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Russia
Price starting at: $4,195.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Arts, Misc.
Meals: 18; 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Thanks to modern technology, anyone with a computer can take a peek inside the vast collection of the Hermitage and see a virtual image of Mesopotamian papyrus or the snuff boxes of museum founder Catherine the Great. While the times may have changed, the treasures of Russia have not. Enjoy unique access to premier arts institutions in Moscow and St. Petersburg for a firsthand experience of the nation’s artistic past and its visionary future.


• Explore the Kremlin compound, art museums and galleries, and experience the beat of modern Moscow.
• Attend a performance at the Bolshoi or Mariinsky.
• A visit to the renowned Amber Room and a walk in the gardens of the imperial Peterhof with its world famous fountains.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles daily, standing in museums; no wheelchair facilities.

No medically required diet can be guaranteed. However, vegetarian diet is O.K.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Moscow, 4 nights; St. Petersburg, 5 nights; departure.

Overnight flight from U.S.
1 night
Arrival Moscow
4 nights

Learn about art treasures in Moscow and Russian culture in the new political era. Participate in a discussion on Moscovites' passion for performing arts and current Moscow art scene. Learn about Russian national character reflected in national dance and paintings. Explore the Armory chamber and Kremlin cathedrals, Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, and the Tretyakov Picture Gallery. Enjoy independent time to admire the art of French Impressionists, Peredvizhniki, Russian Avangarde and Constuctivism. Attend an evening performance.

Afternoon Train to St. Petersburg
5 nights

Survey the cultural heritage of St. Petersburg as it is reflected in its history and stunning architecture. Spend a full day at the Hermitage, housed in five huge buildings, including the Romanov’s former Winter Palace. During a visit to Tsarskoye Selo enjoy the opulent summer palaces and magnificent gardens of the Russian tsars. Have ample time to explore on your own the city’s rich art treasures, unique museums and galleries. Attend an evening performance.


Russia developed under the influence of intellectuals, peasants, tsars and demagogues. Byzantine origins meld with Christianity in vibrant architecture, while religion, folkways and revolution inspired artists from Stravinsky to Chagall. Oppressive regimes helped to create the Iron Curtain, but the late 20th century ushered in glasnost, perestroika and a democratic nation of billionaires, ongoing reforms and an integral role in modern geopolitics.

Moscow: Four-star hotel, close to the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall and two miles from Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theater. St. Petersburg: Superior three-star hotel in the heart of city facing fashionable Nevsky Prospekt.
Meals and Lodgings
   Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
  Moscow, Russia 4 nights
   Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
  St. Petersburg, Russia 5 nights
 Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Moscow Marriott Tverskaya Hotel is housed in a beautiful, modern building in the city center; it is a rather small and comfortable hotel, recently renovated (162 non-smoking rooms and suites). It is located within walking distance to Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theatre (approximately 2 miles). Public transportation (metro [subway] and trolleybus) is easily available. This is a totally non-smoking hotel.
  Ship Information: n/a
  Contact info: 34 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow,  125047 Russia
phone: +7-495-258-3000
  Facility amenities: Two nice restaurants, a lobby bar, free internet connection on the ground floor and available for a fee in guest rooms, foreign exchange office, ATM machine in the lobby, small business center, concierge service, room service, laundry service, a small fitness center and health club, and safe deposit boxes at the front desk. This is a non-smoking hotel. It employs English-speaking staff and offers 24-hour security.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: approx $380 twin; $350 single. Additional hotel nights can be requested by contacting Road Scholar Travel Services. RSTS will confirm the reservation and rate, and you pay the hotel directly by credit card or by cash for the additional nights. Room rates are subject to change and can only be confirmed at time of reservation.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Opened in 2005 and located just off Nevsky Prospekt, the city's main boulevard, the impressive building that houses the Novotel St. Petersburg hotel is sleek and modern, and it blends nicely with its attractive historical surroundings. The hotel's interiors are bright and welcoming, and the 233 stylishly designed rooms and suites are equipped with comfortable, ergonomic furniture and excellent technical amenities. The hotel is located in walking distance or a short drive to major hotel museums and cultural venues.
  Contact info: 3 A Mayakovskogo Street.
St. Petersburg,  191025 Russia
phone: (+7)812/3351188
  Room amenities: All spacious air conditioned guest rooms are decorated in the same original, modern style, with plenty of natural wood and bright, welcoming fabrics and furnishings. All rooms are fitted with electric locks and feature a full range of modern technical amenities. The standard rooms are about 20-22 sq. meters (approx. 200 sq. ft), and feature modern designer furniture and bright, welcoming décor. The modern designer furniture includes two single beds, a writing desk and a coffee table, Other amenities include: telephone, a minibar, personal safe, a modern bathroom has basic toiletries and a hairdryer. all rooms have free Wi-Fi Internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a spacious modern air conditioned lobby, restaurant, lobby bar, small coffee/bakery station, a fitness center, tour and theater desk and a gift shop. The hotel restaurant offers international menu for lunch and dinner. Other dining options include a snack bar/deli and 24-hour room service. There is a fitness center and an on-site spa with Turkish bath/hammam and exercise room.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: to be confirmed at booking 
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 2: 3:00 pm - Room check-in starts. 6:00 pm - Meet at hotel lobby for Road Scholar registration. You will be staying at Marriott Tverskaya Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Day 11: 10:00 am - Program ends. 12:00 noon - Room checkout. You will be staying at Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains are available from major European cities.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Moscow
  Nearest city or town:  Moscow RF
  Nearest airport:  DME Domodedovo
  Transportation to site: If travelling independently, public transportation (bus or train) is not recommended. If you hire a taxi at either Domodedovo (DME), Sheremetyevo (SVO), or Vnukovo (VKO) airport upon arrival, please go to an official taxi stand in the arrival hall and reconfirm the taxi fare in advance (expected cost: equivalent of $50-60, payable in rubles). In order to obtain rubles, there are currency exchange desks and ATMs that dispense rubles located in the airport arrival halls.
  From End of Program
  Location:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest city or town:  St. Petersburg
  Nearest airport:  Pulkino Airport LED
  Transportation from site: If travelling independently, please arrange transportation to the airport through the hotel concierge desk.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: In Transit to Program
(Thursday, October 8)
 In Transit: Overseas flight from the US to Moscow

Day 2: Arrival in Moscow, transfers to hotel.
(Friday, October 9)

Note: This 'Active' Flex program is not suitable for participants with wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters. Be prepared to walk 2 plus miles daily, including on uneven terrain, and up/down stairs at museums without elevators, and to carry/roll personal luggage on occasion, and on/off the train. Group meals are fixed, special diets are limited, must be indicated in your PIFs and cleared in advance. A vegetarian (not vegan) diet is available. Special needs requests must be cleared before departure.

 Afternoon: Arrival transfers to the program hotel for all participants holding air tickets from Road Scholar. Independent travelers are welcome to join the pre-scheduled group transfers. The transfer schedule will be announced in 2nd mailing. Hotel check-in: available from 3 pm.

After passport and customs formalities look for an agent holding a Road Scholar sign. He/she will escort you to the transfer vehicle. Be prepared to carry/roll your luggage on your own to the vehicle and upon arrival at the hotel. Note: Travel time from DME to hotel is 1.5-2 hours, and from SVO about 1 hour. No rest stops are available en route. All participants meet the Group Leader at 6 pm in the hotel lobby. The expected number of participants on the program is 12.
 Dinner: Group dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Orientation meeting. Lecture, Moscow city drive: history and architecture, Evening Performance
(Saturday, October 10)

Note: Expected walking during stops is about 1 mile.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Attend a group orientation meeting and introductions of group members followed by a presentation on Russian cultural heritage and traditions. Begin your exploration of Moscow with an expert-led drive and a walk through central Moscow. Stop in front of the legendary Bolshoi Theater and other important landmarks for an on-site presentation of Moscow's cultural life, traditions, and major Moscow theaters.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in the city.
 Afternoon: Return to hotel for a short rest before the evening program.
 Dinner: Dinner in a city restaurant.
 Evening: Transfer to the Stanislavsky Musical Theater for a classical ballet performance: "La Bayadere" ( dress: evening attire, not formal, tie is optional)
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Tretyakov Picture Gallery
(Sunday, October 11)

Note: Expected walking in the museum -- 2-plus miles.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning enjoy an on-site, expert-led presentation on Russian painting during a field trip to the Tretyakov Picture Gallery, housing the world's finest and most extensive collection of Russian art. Learn about Russian spirituality and national values as represented in Russian paintings of all periods. Discover the art of Russian landscape painting by Isaac Levitan and other outstanding artists. Admire the ornate, Byzantine-influenced medieval icons as well as paintings by the famous Peredvizhniki (a group of 19th century artists, including Surikov, Kramskoi, Repin, and others).
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: This afternoon is free to explore on your own. Suggestions of interesting sights will be made by your Group Leader. Go to dinner via motor coach or take a ride on the famous Moscow metro (only if desired). Escorted by our representative, take time to admire the magnificent underground stations decorated with colorful mosaics, beautiful crystal chandeliers, and bronze statues (this is not part of the official program).
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the city.
 Evening: Evening free
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Medieval Russia: Kremlin compound grounds / Armory Chamber
(Monday, October 12)

Note: Expected walking 2-plus miles, including on cobble stones. No elevator in the museum. Be prepared for a full day in the city.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Today is dedicated to medieval Russian history. Enjoy an on-site presentation on medieval Russia led by a licensed expert during your visit to the legendary Kremlin compound, which for hundreds of years was the symbol of the powerful Russian state. It is a self-contained walled city (fortress), with an armory, cathedrals, and palace. See the exterior of the Kremlin palace, the legendary Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon, and examine the spectacular golden-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation and the majestic Cathedral of the Archangel, reflecting a harmonious melange of Italian Renaissance and traditional Russian architecture inside the Kremlin walls.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 Afternoon: Continue exploring the Kremlin compound with an expert-led visit to the Armory Chamber inside the compound, housing a unique collection of Faberge eggs and royal jewels of all eras. Later have free time in Red Square, where all Russian rulers left traces of their reigns; see the ancient Kremlin wall, the striking Kremlin Clock Tower, the GUM department store, and take pictures of St. Basil's Cathedral -- a multi-colored architectural wonder of the 16th century commemorating Russia's victory over the Tatars at Kazan (exterior only).
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant in the city.
 Evening: Evening free.
Accommodations: Marriott Tverskaya Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts / Travel to St. Petersburg
(Tuesday, October 13)

Note: Walking in museum 2-plus miles . Travel to St. Petersburg by high-speed train, 4 hours (facilities are available on board). Be prepared to carry your own luggage on and off the train.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Hotel check-out. This morning participate in an expert-led excursion to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Opened in 1912, the museum houses a collection of European art second in Russia only to St. Petersburg's Hermitage. Much of the strength of the collection is Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings. Also, explore a special attraction in the museum -- the collection of Schliemann’s Gold of Troy -- which is also on dispay here.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant or packed lunch on the train (tba).
 Afternoon: Take an afternoon high-speed train to St. Petersburg (facilities are available on board, travel time is about 4 hours).
 Dinner: Dinner on your own upon arrival.
 Evening: Evening arrival in St. Petersburg (8:30 pm). Transfer to the program hotel and check in.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Splendid St. Petersburg: City drive / Peter & Paul Cathedral / Evening performance
(Wednesday, October 14)

Note: Light walking including on cobble stones during stops, up to 1 mile.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning learn about the history and architecture of St. Petersburg during an expert-led motor coach excursion. Have an inside visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral -- the birthplace of the city and the burial place of the Romanov tsars. Enjoy the city, stopping at major architectural and historical landmarks. See (exterior only) the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, pass by the Bronze Horseman statue, which is a tribute to Peter the Great, the founder of the city; then drive through fashionable Nevsky Prospekt, and see numerous palaces, gardens, canals, and graceful bridges for which St. Petersburg is also called the "Venice of the North”.
 Lunch: Buffet Lunch at the hotel restaurant.
 Afternoon: Free time in the city or rest at the hotel before the evening program.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Transfer from the hotel to the historic Mariinsky Theater for a classical ballet performance: "La Sylphide" (dress- evening attire, not formal, tie is optional).
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Hermitage Museum
(Thursday, October 15)

Note: Extensive walking in museum. Rest areas are available.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning participate in an expert-led visit to the Hermitage Museum, one of the world's greatest art galleries. Enjoy the dazzling collection of Old Masters and French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, as well as numerous unique art treasures of all eras from all over the world.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own at the Hermitage Cafe or in town.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the afternoon at the Hermitage on your own or have free time in the city, returning to the hotel on your own. Suggestions of interesting sights to visit will be made by our local representative.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening free
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9: Presentation on the Romanov Dynasty: Catherine's Palace / Pavlovsk Palace and park.
(Friday, October 16)

Note: Be prepared for extensive walking in museums and parks (2-plus miles). Rest areas are available. A late evening return is possible due to city traffic.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: A full day is dedicated to visits to the summer estates of the Romanov tsars, who ruled Russia for 300 years. Have an on-site presentation on the Romanov dynasty and its ties with St. Petersburg. Take an inside visit to Catherine's Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) -- an elaborate baroque palace built in 1752 for Tsarina Elizabeth to honor the memory of her mother, Catherine I (not "the Great"). See the eighth wonder of the world -- the extraordinary Amber Room -- decorated with six tons of solid amber carved and framed in gold leaf. The original room was lost or confiscated by the Nazis during WWII, never found, and finally, meticulously reconstructed in 2003. The information is presented by a licensed expert.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Continue on to Pavlovsk - a small town near to Pushkin, and visit the summer residence of Tsar Paul (the son of Catherine the Great). See the beautiful Grand Palace built in elegant classical style at the end of the 18th century and have a short walk in the park. Return to the city. Have a stop at the memorial dedicated to the defenders of Leningrad. Hear the story of the 900-day siege from 1941 to 1944.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or a city restaurant.
 Evening: Free evening.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Lecture on Russian life / Free time in the city / Farewell Dinner
(Saturday, October 17)

Note: Walking at your own pace.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Join a discussion at the hotel on "Russia Today", presented by a university professor and focusing on various aspects of contemporary Russia. Q&A. The rest of the day is free to explore on your own; suggestions will be made of interesting sights to visit.
 Lunch: Time for lunch on your own
 Afternoon: Free time in Nevsky Prospekt. Led by your local host, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan (head covers for women!), spend time in the 'House of Books', a magnificent Art Nouveau building, have a cup of coffee or tea at the Yeliseyev gourmet deli, or... independently, explore a nearby museum of your choice. Return to the hotel on your own. Suggestions of other interesting sights to visit will be made by our local representative.
 Dinner: Enjoy your Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodations: Novotel St. Petersburg Centre hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11: Program Concludes
(Sunday, October 18)

Note: Group departure transfer schedules to be announced 24 hours in advance. Independent travelers are welcome to join these group transfers.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 In Transit: Departure transfers. Independent travelers are welcome to join the designated group transfer bus.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Moscow Bolshoi Theater
Out of 2 included performances, one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at either the Bolshoi Theater (in Moscow) OR the Mariinsky Theater (in St. Petersburg), but not in both. Then the 2nd quality performance is planned at and alternate theater. The exact performances and dates will be announced on the Road Scholar website 4-5 weeks prior to departure, or sooner. Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
Out of 2 included performances, one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at either the Bolshoi Theater (in Moscow) OR the Mariinsky Theater (in St. Petersburg), but not in both. Then the 2nd quality performance is planned at and alternate theater. The exact performances and dates will be announced on the Road Scholar website 4-5 weeks prior to departure, or sooner. Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater
Out of 2 included performances, one performance (opera or ballet) is planned at either the Mariinsky theater (in St. Petersburg) or the Bolshoi Theater (in Moscow), but not in both. The exact performances and the dates will be announced on the Road Scholar website 5-6 weeks prior to departure, or sooner. Additional tickets for these or other theaters may be purchased at the hotel theater desk or via the Internet.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

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