Best of Russia Trip Notes
Discover the Best of Russia over 9 days from St Petersburg to Moscow, including the Golden Ring!
Start off with the culture-rich St Petersburg and the incredible Hermitage museum. Hop on board an overnight train to Moscow, the vibrant heart of Russia. Witness the might of the Kremlin and beauty of St. Basil’s Cathedral before embarking on a cultural adventure through the famous Golden Ring! Discover ancient capitals decorated with beautiful monasteries, onion-domes and wooden cottages. Explore the impressive ancient towns, ‘open-air museums’, that have shaped Russian history, religion and culture over centuries.
Duration : 9 Days
Destination : Russia
Start/Ends in : St Petersburg / Moscow
Group Size : 13-35 People
Age Req. : 18+
Trip Theme : In-Depth Explorer, Overland
Hotels : 4 & 3 Star
Departs : March to December
Why you will love this tour
- * Experience the best Russia has on offer with a 9-day journey in 4-star comfort through the capital Moscow, St Petersburg, and the famous Golden Ring region.
- * All aboard! Jump on an overnight sleeper train as you journey through the countryside in cabin accommodation before waking for a new day in Moscow.
- * Enjoy an abundance of included activities with sightseeing and city walking tours accompanied by your local guide.
- * Marvel at the confusion of colours and architecture as you capture those postcard-perfect pictures at the St Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square.
- * Explore the magical palaces, charming monasteries, churches and medieval towns throughout the Golden Ring region.
- * Learn all about the country’s intriguing history at an optional Folklore Show of traditional Russian dance and music!
- * The fast-pace itinerary means you don’t miss out on any of the sites. From overnight trains to 4-star hotels and private modern coaches, the best of Russia gives a taste of it all!
The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.
The meeting point for this tour is:
Address : 10/118, Ligovskiy prospect, Saint Petersburg
Phone : +7 (812) 578 14 76
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Airport Transfers :
All tours starting in St.Petersburg include arrival airport transfer if your flight lands in St.Petersburg on the first day of your tour between 5am and 11:59pm or if you have booked pre-accommodation with us.
To arrange your airport transfer please email us the following information at least 2 weeks before your departure date. [email protected]
Travel Date, Flight Number, Local Arrival Time, Name/s of the Passengers
Making Your Own Way to the Starting Point
The hotel is located in the historical heart of St. Petersburg, in the center of business, cultural and entertainment life of the Northern Capital. If you are making your way from Pulkova Airport , you can use BUS 39 and BUS 39EX to get to Moskovskaya Metro Station. The bus ticket cost is 55 Ruble. The trip from the Airport to Moskovskaya metro station takes around 30 min. Buses depart from the airport every 30 min. between 05:20 and 00:20. From Moskovskaya metro station, go to the metro station Technologicheskiy Institut (2) blue line and go to the station Technologicheskiy Institut (1) red line – the platform opposite.From station Technologicheskiy Institut go to metro station Ploshchad Vosstaniya/Moskovsky railway station on a direct metro line.(Exit to Vosstaniya street).Exit the metro turn right and cross Ligovsky Avenue. Walk 50 meters to the left on Ligovsky Avenue to the entrance to the hotel under a visor. You can also use airport taxis, which cost 1050 Ruble from airport to your hotel.
The finishing point for this tour is:
Izmailovo Delta Hotel
105613, Russia, Moscow, Izmailovskoe shosse, house 71, corps 4 G-D
Phone : +7 495 737-70-70 Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36
Church of Spilled Blood: An architectural masterpiece with the combination of baroque, classical and modernist styles. This church was built where Tsar II Alexander was assassinated.
Hermitage: The spectacular palace built in the 18th century by Catherine the Great became one of the world’s largest museum complexes with more than three million art pieces.
Kremlin Palace: Also one of the largest museums in the world, this breath-taking complex from the 14th century includes 5 palaces, 4 cathedrals, the Kremlin Wall and Towers.
Moscow: Explore the fascinating history of the Red Square, visit the spectacular Kremlin and let the architecture of the St. Basil’s Cathedral leave you speechless.
St. Petersburg: Get surrounded by the glorious monuments of the cultural capital of Russia; discover the Nevsky Prospect, Church of the Spilled Blood, Hermitage, and many more.
Suzdal: Suzdal is a town northeast of Moscow, Russia. It’s part of the Golden Ring cluster of ancient towns. The Suzdal Kremlin is a centuries-old fortress.
The Red Square: The Red Square is the heart of Moscow, home to Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Tomb and the number one witness of Russia’s history.
Vladimir: Vladimir is a former capital of medieval Russia. its UNESCO sites as the Golden Gates, St Demetrius’ Cathedral and the Dormition Cathedral.
Zalessky Pereslavl: Pereslavl-Zalessky is a Russian town on Lake Pleshcheyevo, northwest of Moscow. It’s known for its green-domed Monastery. The Iron Museum showcases vintage flat irons.
Sergiyev Posad: Sergiev Posad is a city in northeast of Moscow. It’s part of the Golden Ring cluster of ancient towns and known for the 14th-century Trinity Lavra St. Sergius.
Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.
Inclusions & Exclusions
The tour price covers the following services:
Accomodation : 4 star hotels and sleeper cabin train
Airport Transfer : From St. Petersburg airport to the Travel Talk hotel (on day 1)
Meals : 8 breakfasts
Transportation : A/C, modern coach or mini-bus, Sleeper Cabin Train
Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licensed by the Ministry of Tourism
Sightseeing : Hermitage Museum, Nevsky Prospect, Kremlin Palace, Red Square, St. Basil Cathedral, Moscow Metro, Old Arbat Street, Spilled Blood Church, Sergiyev Posad, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy, Suzdal, Vladimir
What is NOT included in the tour price?
- Any flights not mentioned above
- Travel insurance
- Meals not stated above
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips & gestures
- Entrance fees to the sights and museums
- Optional activities
- Other services not stated in the itinerary
Hotels & Accommodation
Solo travellers will be roomed with another solo traveller of the same gender in a twin or triple room, or can upgrade to a solo room by paying the single supplement. You may choose the solo room option when booking online or contact us to arrange a private room. Your tour leader will allocate rooms upon arrival at the starting hotel in accordance with the rooming lists, last minute changes may not be guaranteed.
PERESLAVL HOTEL – PERESLAVI ZALESSKY – 4 Star
Pereslavl hotel is in center of the town, very close to Krasnaya Square, this hotel has sauna where you can enjoy after a long day, relaxing.
ECO HOTEL SUZDAL INN – SUZDAL – 3 Star
This hotel is located in the city center near Nevsky Prospekt. The hotel is set a 2-minute walk from the River Neva. Free Wi-Fi is available in the entire hotel.
IZMAILOVO DELTA HOTEL – MOSCOW – 4 Star
This hotel is located near Moscow Izmailovsky Park, The Partizanskaya Metro Station is only 150 m away. Moscow city center is a 15 min metro ride.
SLEEPER CABIN TRAIN – ST.PETERSBURG to MOSCOW
Sleeper cabin is for 4 travelers with 2 upper and 2 lowers beds. Each compartment has a table, a mirror, lockable doors, and a panoramic window.
MOSCOW HOTEL – MOSCOW – 4 Star
This hotel is located in the city center near Nevsky Prospekt. The hotel is set a 2-minute walk from the River Neva. Free Wi-Fi is available in the entire hotel.
OKTIABRSKAYA HOTEL – ST. PETERSBURG – 4 Star
Located in the center of Athens and 500 m from Panormou Metro Station, President Hotel offers comfortable accommodation and a beautiful rooftop terrace with a swimming pool.
Please note that entrance fees to sights and optional activities are not included in the tour price. Optional activities are not operated by Travel Talk and may require a certain number of attendees to run. Your guide will be happy to inform you further about the available optional activities at the start of your tour. Optional activities are also listed under each day in your tour itinerary.
Kremlin Palace – RUB 700 ( Approx. EUR 8
Please note that optional activities are not operated by Travel Talk.
Group Dinner — EUR 15-20
The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). We recommend carrying a small amount of local currency on you, which can be retrieved from ATMs in the local region. However, in larger tourist regions and major cities both debit and credit cards are widely accepted. While every traveller’s spending habits may differ
slightly, we have estimated the average daily expenses to help with budgeting for your next trip. Here you will find the average cost for a meal or drink and advice for best practice in tipping.
Lunch at restaurant US$ 6-8
Dinner at restaurant US$ 8-13
Pirogi (pastry) at a stall US$ 1-2
Pelmeni – Russian Dumpling US$ 3-5
Bottle of water US$ 0.5
Coffee US$ 3-4
Tea US$ 2-3
Bottle of beer US$ 3-5
Tipping for good service is commonplace in Russia, but not compulsory. In restaurants and cafes, we suggest tipping 5-10% of your bill, if a service charge has not already been applied. Your Guide and Driver would also appreciate tipping as a sign of gratitude at the end of your tour.
The Russian cities of Moscow and St Petersburg are any shopper’s dream! Filled with ample markets, souvenir stalls, malls and boutique shops – all shopping lovers will be wishing they had more time here. Haggling is not commonplace in Russia with items in both shops and markets being sold at a fixed price.
It’s no secret that Russians love their vodka! While the popular spirit can be bought at any supermarket, some brands are sold in exclusive souvenir bottles to make for the perfect gift. The more expensive the bottle, the better the vodka quality. Prices start at 30 USD per liter for a souvenir bottle.
Lacquer Boxes are among the most beautiful crafts in Russia, made from papier-mâché. The material is lathered in lacquer and intricately painted with miniature landscapes, fairy tales or Russian history. You can expect to pay at least 20 USD for a small lacquer box in the marketplace.
The Matryoshka Dolls (Babushka Dolls) are immensely popular and widely available across Russia. Consisting of tiny wooden dolls stored within other dolls and decorated in a traditional form of Russian wood painting, known as Khokhloma. The size, quality, and price of these dolls can vary significantly. However, it is possible to buy a souvenir-quality Matryoshka Doll set for 8 USD in markets across Russia. More expensive, ornamental dolls can cost 1,000+ USD.
Essential Information: Russia
Passport & Visas
At present, all foreign passport holders are required to obtain a tourist visa to travel to Russia. The visa cannot be obtained at the Russian border. Therefore, you should apply for your tourist visa prior to travelling. A Russian tourist visa can only be provided to passengers who have booked and confirmed their travel arrangements. Processing times and fees vary per application location, nationality and travelling dates. Visas are typically issued for a maximum of 30 days.
- Australian residents, please visit https://sydney.mid.ru/web/sydney-en
- New Zealand residents, please visit https://newzealand.mid.ru/en/
- UK residents, please visit https://russia-visacentre.com/en/visa/united-kingdom/russia
- American residents, please visit https://washington.mid.ru/en/
- Canadian residents, please visit https://canada.mid.ru/en/
To apply for a Russian tourist visa you will need several documents including;
- Original passport, valid for more than 6 months with at least 2 blank pages for visa
- Application form
- One passport-style photograph
- Other documents such as proof of address
- Tourist visa support documents (to be provided by Travel Talk upon full payment)
- Applicable fees
Travellers entering Russia must also carry a passport with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining.
This information is provided as a guidance, we strongly advise that you check with the consulate or embassy as this information can change. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the required travel documents are ready when travelling.
We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to Russia and follow the advice of the UK Foreign Office. For the latest travel advice from UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia
We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:
Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/
New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/
All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance
Health & Safety
The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels
Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers canexperience ‘Safe Travels’.
Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.
Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.
Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.
Russia experiences a dominantly continental climate, the winters are long and cold, and summers are brief. The summer months of June – August are certainly a drawcard for many travellers. Due to Russia’s proximity to the Artic Circle, the peak of Summer is accompanied by endless hours of warmth and daylight that stretch as late as 11pm. The Autumn months (September – October) are short lived but beautiful, with less crowds of tourists and a golden hue of autumn leaves swathing the nation. From November to February winter sets in and the country is blanketed in crisp white snow with temperatures sitting below zero degrees Celsius.
Despite these freezing temperatures, Russia is a magical place to visit in the winter with far fewer tourists’ crowds making for the perfect opportunity to interact with locals and enjoy the breath-taking decorations and festivities of Christmas.
Check out our weather guide for the best time to visit Russia.
The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). We recommend carrying a small amount of local currency on you, which can be retrieved from ATMs in the local region. However, in larger tourist regions and major cities both debit and credit cards are widely accepted. We recommend you do not exchange bulk sums of
money at the airport as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.
Please remember that everyone has different spending habits, some prefer to spend more on souvenirs, some on experiences, and others on a night out! Make sure to budget your trip to your spending habits for shopping, drinking, and tipping.
Tipping for good service is commonplace in Russia, but not compulsory. In restaurants and cafes, we suggest tipping 5-10% of your bill if a service charge has not already been applied. Your Guide and Driver would also appreciate tipping as a sign of gratitude at the end of your tour.
Eating & Drinking
Visitors to Russia will be surprised by the variety in flavors of Russian cuisines, influenced by the nation’s connections to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Russian food is typically heavy and hearty with pickling also common due to harsh winters that can result in minimal produce harvests. Major cities such as Moscow
and St Petersburg offer a diverse cosmopolitan food scene, showcasing a fusion of new and traditional Russian dishes. Searching for unique and authentic dishes can often be overwhelming if you’re not a local, so here’s a few must-try meals to get you started.
Borsch: A humble beetroot soup that originated in Ukraine and was quickly adopted as a Russian specialty. The soup can include other ingredients such as meat and sautéed vegetables including cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes. It can be served hot or cold and is best served with a dollop of fresh cream on top.
Blini: Like a crepe, Blini is a wheat pancake rolled with a variety of fillings including jam, cheese, sour cream, caviar, onions, or chocolate syrup.
Beef Stroganoff: Consisting of strips of beef in a creamy sauce with mushrooms or tomatoes. Stroganoff is served with rice, noodles, or potato and is a hearty meal perfect for Russian winters.
Pirogi: Baked sourdough dumpling stuff with anything from minced meat to onion, eggs, and potatoes. This Russian dumpling can be found at street stalls for less than 1 USD!
Pirozhki: Pirozhki is a Russian fast food of sorts involved a bread-like bun stuffed with fillings such as cabbage, potato, meat, liver, and mushroom. The bun is either fried or baked and best served warm or hot.
Pelmeni: Dumplings made from unleavened dough and filled with a combination of potatoes, mushrooms or meat and served with sour cream.
Okroshka: A cold soup made from chopped, raw cucumbers, radishes, spring onions, potatoes, egg and cooked meat. The ingredients are mixed with a fermented drink called Kvass and can come with ice cubes to keep the soup chilled.
Alcohol consumption in Russia is amongst the highest in the world and vodka is undeniably as much a cultural experience as much as it is an alcoholic spirit for tourists and locals alike. Usually served straight from the freezer and accompanied by a toast and cheers, vodka is an easy way to bond with the locals at any
restaurant or bar across the nation. Kvass is another traditional drink worth trying while visiting Russia. This low-alcohol beverage is made by fermenting rye bread and has a low alcohol concentrate. If beer is your drink of choice, you have come to the right place! While vodka may be Russia’s national libation, beer comes in at a close second. The most popular beers include Soviet Stalwart, Zhigulevskoe, or Baltika.
Essentials to Bring & Internet
-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/
-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)
-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)
-Personal medical kit and medicine
-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)
-Reusable water bottle
-Ear plugs and eye mask
-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
-Comfortable, closed walking shoes
-Wind/water proof jacket
-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather
-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather
Free Wi-Fi is common in hotels, cafes, and restaurants across Russia. Many internet cafes can be found in the cities as well. Alternatively, purchasing a Russian SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective option. Your tour leader will be happy to advise on this.
Culture, Religion and Etiquette
Russia is the largest country in the world by area, spanning Europe and Asia from west to east and populated by over 160 various ethnic groups with a vast and diverse history. Russians have a reputation for being cold, but most locals are engrained to value camaraderie and hospitality. The nation has a rich cultural heritage and history, which its people are openly proud about. Due to the country’s multi-ethnic make up, Russia is home to many religions. 75% of Russia’s population follow Christianity through Russian Orthodox Church, Islam is followed by 5%, then Buddhism, Judaism and Protestantism. As travellers become acquainted with Russian culture and acquire stories and knowledge from their local guide, it becomes far easier to understand the large role that religion plays within everyday Russian society.
Etiquette and How to Dress
Russians have a tendency to dress quite conservatively, however, a more relaxed dress code can be seen in metropolitan cities. Women are recommended to avoid low-cut tops and short skirts while men should not wear shorts except in an informal setting.
Please also keep in mind that when visiting religious sites, appropriate attire is required. It is recommended to pack at least one set of modest clothing that covers both shoulders and knees, to be worn when visiting churches and other religious complexes. A headscarf for women is also necessary when visiting religious
We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us.
Rules to Follow
We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.
We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.
You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.
If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.
Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/
Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.
We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/