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Russia

Beyond Red Square: An In-Depth Exploration of Western Russia

Learn the true story of Russia through the country’s monuments and people on this educational adventure. Join experts at sites from the Kremlin to the towns of the Golden Ring.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22350RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
5,999
Flights start at
875
Russia

Beyond Red Square: An In-Depth Exploration of Western Russia

Learn the true story of Russia through the country’s monuments and people on this educational adventure. Join experts at sites from the Kremlin to the towns of the Golden Ring.
Length
17 days
Starts at
5,999
Flights start at
875
Program No. 22350 RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 20 - May 6, 2022
Starting at
5,999
Jul 13 - Jul 29, 2022
Starting at
5,999
Aug 17 - Sep 2, 2022
Starting at
6,299
Sep 14 - Sep 30, 2022
Starting at
6,299
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 20 - May 6, 2022
Starting at
6,929
Jul 13 - Jul 29, 2022
Starting at
6,929
Aug 17 - Sep 2, 2022
Starting at
7,199
Sep 14 - Sep 30, 2022
Starting at
7,199

At a Glance

Discover authentic art, architecture and culture on an educational adventure that goes far beyond the Red Square as you join experts to learn about classic sites and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Explore the Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin’s Armory Museum and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum. Discover the preserved traditions of Russia’s Golden Ring towns. And dive deeper into the region’s culture as you savor traditional cuisine in a private dacha, learning the true story of Russia through its monuments and people.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles per day on cobblestone streets. Unavoidable stairs.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Discover historic architecture and authentic culture in Russia’s Golden Ring towns.
  • Ride an overnight train from Moscow to St. Petersburg in the grand tradition of Russian travel.
  • Enjoy a traditional meal in a Russian family’s private “dacha” outside St. Petersburg.
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17 days
16 nights
37 meals
15 B 12 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Moscow, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Moscow
D
Holiday Inn Lesnaya

Activity note: Note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. local time.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Unless otherwise specified, transportation throughout the program will be provided primarily by motorcoach requiring ascending/descending a few steps when getting on/off. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, celebrate the beginning of the program as we enjoy a welcome to Moscow dinner with plated meals, plus coffee, tea, water and one glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Moscow City Field Trip
Moscow
B,L
Holiday Inn Lesnaya

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; At Pushkin Museum, climbing 18 steps to entrance and interior main staircase with 48 steps, no railings; no elevators.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal with a variety of choices including juices, milk, coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: Following the introductory lecture by our expert Group Leader, set out via private transportation on an introductory field trip to see some of Moscow’s most famous highlights. We will see the Duma building where Russia’s governing body meets; the Bolshoi Theater; the forbidding Lubyanka prison where the KGB was headquartered; Moscow State University on the Sparrow Hills for a panoramic city view; the moving World War II Memorial and Victory Park on Farewell Hill; and drive along the Sofiyskaya Embankment past the the Moscow “White House.” We will stop at Novodevichy Cemetery for a guided tour. We will make an expert-led visit to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Built from 1839-1883 to commemorate the Russian victory over Napoleon in 1812, it was destroyed in 1931 to make way for a Palace of Soviets. However, the soft ground could not support the huge building, and so the excavation was used for the world's largest outdoor swimming pool. In the 1990s the Moscow government meticulously rebuilt the cathedral, completing it in 1998.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will continue our exploration with a visit to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts' Impressionists' Department, boasting the finest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in Moscow. Upon completion of visits, return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Moscow State University, Tretyakov Gallery, Home Dinner
Moscow
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Lesnaya

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; The group will take a short walk from the entrance of the new portion of the university to the elevators, which they will then take up to the floor where the lecture is presented.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Departing the hotel via private transportation, we will begin the day with a field trip to the renowned Moscow State University, founded in 1755 by Mikhail Lomonosov, a respected academic in many subjects. The current building, located on the panoramic Sparrow Hills, was one of seven neoclassical towers commissioned by Joseph Stalin in the 1950s. Here we will attend a lecture and discussion led by a Moscow State University professor on the subject of Russian politics past and present.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to the world-renowned Tretyakov Gallery. The Tretyakov was founded by 19th century Russian merchant, Pavel Tretyakov, who spent 40 years and much of his fortune collecting and preserving works of Russian art. The history and trajectory of Russian art are displayed here, encompassing pieces from the 11th century to the present, and including mosaics, icons, paintings and sculptures. The collection is rarely seen outside of Russia.

Dinner: As a special highlight, enjoy dinner of favorite traditional foods in the private home of a local family. Warm hospitality, friendly conversation and a home cooked meal offer a rare glimpse into the lives of local people. To show your appreciation, it is appropriate, although not required, to present the hosts with a small token of friendship.

DAY
5
Treasures of Red Square, Kremlin, Evening Performance
Moscow
B,L
Holiday Inn Lesnaya

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 4 miles; uneven streets and sidewalks. Armory Museum, State History Museum, and St. Basil's Cathedral accessible only by staircases; no elevators.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we embark on an in-depth exploration of the Moscow Kremlin. Inside the fortress walls are palaces, cathedrals, government buildings and the Armory Museum. Built in the 16th century as a warehouse for the Kremlin's weaponry, the Armory was transformed into an exhibition hall and museum in 1814. We will see the museum that now houses Russia's national treasures, such as religious icons, Fabergé eggs, a bejeweled chalice belonging to Prince Yuri, and Catherine the Great's ball gowns and shoes.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, our plated meals include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will continue our educational adventure at the State History Museum at the northern end of Red Square. Each hall of the renovated building is lavishly decorated in a different historical or regional style. The huge collection focuses on the Russian Empire from its prehistoric Neandertal beginnings through the unification of the area's different indigenous groups into the Kievan Rus and beyond to the present day. Highlights are a 5000-year-old longboat found near the Volga River, golden Scythian equestrian armor from the 1st century BC and Napoleon's bed. Afterwards, explore the famed St. Basil's Cathedral. Built to celebrate Ivan the Terrible's victory at the Tatar stronghold of Kazan in 1552, St. Basil's is named after Vasily, the "holy fool" who predicted that Ivan would murder his own son. The interior of St. Basil’s is a labyrinth of small vaulted chapels, corridors of ornamental brick and frescoed arcades, each leading to the next.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: Attend a performance at one of Moscow's world-class theaters. Our program is planned far in advance when details of performances are not yet confirmed. When available, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment. We’ll return to the hotel late tonight after the performance.

DAY
6
Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Metro, Free Time
Moscow
B,L
Holiday Inn Lesnaya

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Getting on/off a public subway; The Moscow Metro excursion by public transportation includes stations in the city center only.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today, we'll start off with an educational lecture by our expert Group Leader. Afterwards, we'll depart for the visit to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, opened in 2012 with a ceremony attended by Israeli President Shimon Perez. The state-of-the-art facility focuses on bright spots in the long history of Russian Jews, as well as on the Holocaust. Interactive displays, photos, and artifacts help to show what being a Jew in Czarist Russia and the Soviet Union was like.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, our plated meals include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Moscow Metro, one of the largest metro systems in the world. The first Metro station opened in 1935, and today there are more than 200 of them along the 200 miles of track, serving nearly 2.5 billion travelers each year. The stations in the city center are showpieces of Socialist art, furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, and with marbled, gilded, and bronzed walls and ceilings. Following the Metro tour, the rest of the afternoon is yours on your own to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Depart Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal
Suzdal
B,L
Pushkarskaya Sloboda

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day; uneven streets and sidewalks. Some sites accessible only by staircases, no elevators. 100-120 steps in total. Drive from Moscow to Vladimir is 120 miles and takes 4-5 hours. Drive from Vladimir to Suzdal is 25 miles, about 30-40 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After breakfast, we will depart via private transportation, leaving the hustle and bustle of Moscow for the Golden Ring. The Golden Ring is a modern name given to the ancient towns that form an elliptical circle to the north and east of Moscow. Many of these were seats of political and economic power long before the rise of Moscow. Today these are mostly quiet and sleepy towns dotted with the remnants of defensive kremlins, with active monasteries and with some of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Russia.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Vladimir, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Vladimir was founded by the last of the great Kievan princes, Grand Duke Vladimir Monomakh. It is one of the oldest towns in Russia, between 900 and 1,000 years old. The capital of Kievan Rus’ from the 12th to the 14th centuries, Vladimir subsided into a small provincial town after power shifted to Moscow. Via private transportation and walking, we will explore two of Vladimir’s historical landmarks that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage Site “White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.” The 12th-century Cathedral of the Assumption (Uspensky Cathedral) rises gracefully from the surrounding countryside. Its six pillars and twelve blue and gold gilded domes made it one of Russia's largest churches for more than 300 years. The graceful little white stone Church of the Intercession with its single dome is set in the middle of a meadow on a man-made hill by the River Nerl. Built in the 12th century by Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, the walls still have the original carvings. It is considered one of the most perfectly proportioned churches in Russia. We will continue to Suzdal in the evening.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Suzdal, Kideksha Estate
Suzdal
B,L,D
Pushkarskaya Sloboda

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Walking up to 1 mile; uneven streets and sidewalks; some sites accessible only by staircases; museums do not have elevators.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will spend the morning exploring Suzdal, founded in 1024. The city was named by Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev, who came to the region to quell a peasant uprising. Its UNESCO-listed monuments have been remarkably preserved over the ages. At the very heart of Suzdal is the Kremlin that may date to as far back as the 10th century. Inside the walls are several churches and historic buildings, such as the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral and the Archbishop's Chambers. The Kremlin now houses the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum's impressive collection of religious icons, one of the largest and oldest such collections in Russia at over 1,800 pieces.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Suzdal, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Enjoy an opportunity to sample several varieties of the ancient honey wine called mead. Smooth and sweet, mead has accompanied feasts since written history began. We will then venture out of town via private transportation about 3 miles (5km) to the Kideksha Estate of the Suzdalian Princes with the 12th century white stone Church of Saints Boris and Gleb. Standing next to it are the 18th century Church of St. Stephen and the 17th century tent-roofed bell tower. Afterwards, we will visit the UNESCO-listed Savior Monastery of St. Euphinius. The monastery was founded in 1352, and its protective brick walls and towers date from the 17th century. Inside the walls stands the five-domed Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior, whose interior was frescoed by Gury Nikitin in the late 17th century. Watch and listen to the ringing of the monastery's 16th century bell tower, which still chimes every hour.

Dinner: At a private family restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Kostroma, St. Ipatiev Monastery
Kostroma
B,L,D
Ya Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Walking up to 1 mile; uneven streets and sidewalks; some sites accessible only by staircases. Drive from Suzdal to Kostroma is 120 miles, about 3 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will drive to Kostroma. This 12th-century town founded by Yuri Dolgoruky, founder of Moscow, lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Kostroma and the Volga. A fire in 1773 burned all the wooden structures in the town, and Catherine the Great had it rebuilt as a unit in the then-popular neo-classical style. Kostroma is one of the few Russian towns that have retained this layout, with streets fanning out from the central square.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Kostroma, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Across the Kostroma River from the main square, we will visit the St. Ipatiev Monastery. The monastery's Trinity Cathedral, with its thick white stone walls and gilded cupolas, was built by Boris Godunov and dates from 1590. The monastery is also associated with the Romanov family, who considered it their family's personal sacred place. It was here that messengers brought the news that Mikhail Romanov had been chosen to take the Russian throne in March 1613. Other features include the former chambers of the Romanov family and the great five-tiered bell tower that commands a magnificent view of the town. We will also visit small local museums before returning to hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Yaroslavl, Spassky Monastery, Museums
Yaroslavl
B,L,D
Park Inn

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Drive from Kostroma to Yaroslavl is 50 miles, about 1.5-2 hours. Walking up to 1 mile; uneven streets and sidewalks; some sites are only accessible via staircases; museums do not have elevators.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we set off for Yaroslavl, founded in the 11th century by Kiev's Grand Duke Yaroslavl the Wise. By the 17th century, the city became a major bastion on the Volga, and the residence of the Metropolit of Russia. Yaroslavl's historical center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Upon arrival, visit the Spassky (Savior) Monastery, originally founded in the 12th century, one of the Volga’s oldest monasteries. Its handsome white walls and green roofs can be seen from the Volga. The oldest of its remaining structures - the Holy Gate and the Transfiguration Cathedral - were built in 1516. The former governor's house houses the Yaroslavl Russian Art Museum, featuring art of the 18th-20th centuries. The museum displays 16th to 18th century furniture, glass, china, and medals as well. The "Governor's Garden," laid out from 1820-1830, is renowned for its profusion of wonderful flowers in the summer.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, our plated meals include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will explore the History of Yaroslavl Museum, situated in a renovated merchant’s house from 1893. Artifacts, photos, costumes, weapons and jewelry that represent Yaroslavl’s long history are displayed here. While at the museum, a local expert will give a presentation on Russian traditions of matchmaking and marriage. We will also participate in a demonstration of the ancient matchmaking ceremony, with members of our group playing the roles of the bride, groom, family, and matchmaker. After the ceremony, taste a freshly baked loaf of wedding bread, a symbol of the unity of two people in Russia. Weather permitting, we will board a boat on the Volga River for a scenic cruise.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, our plated meals include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Return to hotel after dinner.

DAY
11
Rostov, Sergiev Posad, Moscow, Train to St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg
B,L,D
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Getting on/off a public train; On the evening high-speed train from Moscow to St. Petersburg, a trip of approximately 4 hours, departing early evening and arriving at night. Drive from Yaroslavl to Rostov Veliky is 40 miles, about 1 hour. Drive from Rostov Veliky to Sergiev Posad is 95 miles, about 2 hours. Drive from Sergiev Posad to Moscow is 50 miles, about 1-2 hours depending on traffic.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we make our way back to Moscow, then on to St. Petersburg by an evening express train. We will stops en route, first in the town of Rostov Veliky. Rostov is one of Russia's oldest towns, and one of the most beautiful in northwestern Russia. Rostov's greatest contributions to Russian culture are its kremlin and the art of bell ringing. Built in the 17th century, the immense ensemble of the Rostov Kremlin took 30 years to build and used over twenty million bricks. An expert led field trip includes the Rostov kremlin with its restored 16th century Uspensky Cathedral, and the famous bell tower where the Russian art of bell ringing was born.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Rostov, our plated meals include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Before reaching Moscow, we will make another stop in Sergiev Posad. Known during Soviet times as Zagorsk, Sergiev Posad grew around the Trinity St. Sergius Lavra (meaning “exalted monastery”) founded in the 1340s by St. Sergius of Radonezh, now the patron saint of Russia. We will visit the UNESCO-listed monastery, its history interwoven with that of Russia. Today this working monastery remains an important center of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the summer residence of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Upon arrival in Moscow, we will transfer to the railway station and board the evening train to St. Petersburg.

Dinner: We’ll have boxed meals aboard the train with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Arriving in St. Petersburg just before midnight, we will transfer to the hotel for check-in.

DAY
12
Fortress of Peter and Paul, Boat Ride Along the Canals
St. Petersburg
B,L,D
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Getting on/off a public boat. Walking about 3-5 miles total throughout the day; flat and cobblestone surfaces, some steps. The boat ride is about 13 miles; approximately 1 hour.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served on board the train prior to arrival in St. Petersburg.

Morning: Our exploration of St. Petersburg via private transportation begins with a visit to the log home of its founder, Peter the Great. Peter's log cabin was the first living quarters built in St. Petersburg. This 645-square-foot cabin was where Peter lived while he planned and worked on the new city of St. Petersburg. Now enclosed by a small stone building, Peter's house still contains some of his belongings. We will continue across the Neva River from the Hermitage to the Fortress of Peter and Paul on Hare Island, one of the city's first large structures. Peter the Great laid the cornerstone of the earthen fortress in May 1703. It is the burial place for most of the czars beginning with Peter the Great.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Embark on a leisurely boat cruise along the city’s canals. Our local expert will tell you about the pre-revolutionary buildings along the embankments as we float along the waterways that originally drained the swamps of Peter the Great’s capital. Enjoy the breezes as you see the sights from a unique perspective.

Dinner: At our hotel's restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
St. Isaac's Cathedral, Yusupov Palace, Dacha Dinner
St. Petersburg
B,L,D
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; The drive to the Dacha is about 50 miles (80 km) - approx. 1.5 hours each way. To show your appreciation for dinner in the home of a local family, it is appropriate (not required) to bring a small token of friendship for the hosts.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will continue to explore St. Petersburg with a visit to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which took 40 years to complete. The cathedral is bursting with sculptures, frescoes, stained glass works and woodcarvings. Next, tour the Yusupov Palace, which looks ordinary from the outside, but its interior is exquisite, with a marble staircase, crystal chandeliers, gilded candelabras and magnificently painted ceilings. It was here that the plot against the sinister Rasputin came to fruition.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will travel by motorcoach outside the city to experience Russian dacha life. A dacha is a city-dweller’s house in the country and can vary from a summer cabin with no running water to a fine home suitable for living year-round. But it is more than that. Going to the dacha for the summer or over weekends has important cultural significance and underscores Russians’ love of the land, nature, and family. We will see artist Ilya Repin's estate, poet Anna Akhmatova's "booth," and the estate of Prime Minister Medvedev's parents.

Dinner: At the dacha of our St. Petersburg hosts, we’ll enjoy a family-style dinner of traditional favorites, toasting friends old and new. A shot of vodka, as well as juice, coffee, tea, and water are included.

Evening: We will return to our hotel late tonight.

DAY
14
Fabergé Museum, Church of Savior on the Blood, Nevsky Ave
St. Petersburg
B,D
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Participants should be prepared to walk approximately 2 miles during the course of the day while sightseeing, both in museums and on the street.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We begin the day with a lecture and discussion led by a specially invited local expert. Following the lecture, we will visit the Fabergé Museum, located in the former Shuvalovsky mansion on the Fontanka River Embankment. This museum features more than 4,000 items of jewelry, including the largest collection of Fabergé eggs in the world. Fabergé created a total of 50 eggs during the time he worked in Russia. Ten of them reside in the Armory Museum in Moscow's Kremlin and now 13 more are here in St. Petersburg. Other items of jewelry, porcelain and applied art are also displayed at the elegant museum. We'll also visit the Church of the Savior on the Blood, built on the spot where Czar Alexander II was felled by a bomb in 1881, and commissioned in the style of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow by his son and successor, Alexander III. The emblematic cathedral with its blue and green patterned domes is just off St. Petersburg’s main street Nevsky Prospekt on the Griboyedov Canal. The interior walls and cupolas are covered in fine mosaics of Biblical scenes, and four jasper columns mark the spot where the czar fell.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll continue on a walking field trip along Nevsky Prospekt, the three-mile avenue that is the backbone of the city. Landmarks include Gostiny Dvor, the city’s oldest and largest shopping center; Eliseyevsky Gastronom, the pre-revolutionary grocery whose beautiful Art Nouveau interior is adorned with crystal chandeliers and stained glass; the House of Books, one of Russia's largest bookstores; and the imposing Kazan Cathedral. Upon completion of the guided walk, the remainder of day is yours to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
15
Hermitage Museum, Theater Performance
St. Petersburg
B
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; Hermitage will involve walking 1-2 miles total within the halls of the museum, from the main museum building, across the Palace Square, to the Impressionists’ collection in the General Staff Headquarters building. Travelers should expect to be on their feet a lot on this day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We begin the day with a lecture and discussion led by a specially invited local expert. Following the lecture, we will set out to explore one of the great cultural wonders of the world and see priceless treasures at the Hermitage Museum. Originally a small private palace gallery begun by Catherine the Great with a purchase of 255 paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage today houses one of the largest museum collections in the world. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, the French Impressionists, Van Gogh, Matisse, Gauguin, and Picasso. The fabulous rooms with their inlaid floors and gilded woodwork and the grand double entry staircase are works of art in themselves.

Lunch: On your own at the Hermitage Café or elsewhere if you choose to depart.

Afternoon: Free Time. Continue to explore the Hermitage on your own, or take the opportunity to discover the beautiful St. Petersburg, or rest and relax.

Dinner: On your own to explore the local fare.

Evening: Attend a performance at one of St. Petersburg's world-class theaters. Our program is planned far in advance when details of performances are not yet confirmed. When available, the information will be posted on the Road Scholar website under this program number and will also be included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment.

DAY
16
Peterhof, Catherine Palace, Farewell Dinner
St. Petersburg
B,L,D
Helvetia Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, uneven streets and sidewalks. Stairs at entrance of Catherine Palace. The elevator inside is turned on only with advance notice, so be sure to inform us before we go if you expect to need it.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today, we’ll take an exciting hydrofoil ride from the Hermitage pier down the Neva and out into the Gulf of Finland to Peterhof. The hydrofoil takes only half an hour to arrive at Peter the Great's palace and park with its cascades of almost 150 fountains. The former imperial residence is surrounded with extensive parks and gardens intended to rival Versailles, complete with an array of gilded statues, magnificent palaces and gravity-fed fountains. Here visit Peter's first and favorite palace, the modest Monplaisir, which sits directly on the bluff above the Gulf, where Peter could observe passing ships. Peter’s famed fountains are Peterhof’s main attraction. The gravity-fed collection pools in Peterhof’s Upper Garden discharge their waters nearly 50 feet down to the Lower Park’s cascades and jets, creating enormous force and powering fountains all over the park.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad or soup and main course, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll visit the Catherine's Palace, the royal residence of Catherine I, originally built in 1717. The estate and palace buildings were almost completely destroyed by the Germans during World War II, but they have been carefully and expertly restored into a brilliant architectural monument. The fully restored Amber Room in the Catherine Palace has been years in the making. The beautifully crafted amber panels you see today were painstakingly re-created from photos and descriptions of the originals.

Dinner: At the local restaurant, we’ll have our festive farewell dinner featuring a variety of traditional Russian food, plus coffee, tea, water, and a glass of wine; other beverages available for purchase.

DAY
17
Program Concludes, In Transit From Program
St. Petersburg
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet as flight times permit. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.