Arrival to Moscow airport, passport control. Transfer to the hotel, check-in. Later, a walk around Moscow: along the famous pedestrian Arbat Street with the statue of Bulat Okudzhava, Moscow University (the highest of 7 characteristic communist skyscrapers in Moscow).
Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, a whole day city-tour of Moscow: visit the Kremlin with the State Regalia and Armoury, the Cathedral of the Dormition (where tsars were coronated), the Orthodox Cathedral of the Archangel, with 46 tombs of Russian tsars and princes. Lastly: the Tsar Cannon and Tsar Bell.
Walk to Red Square: visit Lenin’s Mausoleum, the main shopping mall – the Moscow GUM, the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed – the symbol of Moscow, the restored Kazan Cathedral, the famous Lubyanka prison (nowadays the headquarters of the Federal Security Service) and the Solovetsky Stone, dedicated to all victims of the Gulag. Mass at Lubyanka Church.
Drive to the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – in 1930 it was the biggest Orthodox church in Russia, the Peter the Great Statue (taller than the Statue of Liberty). Dinner and overnight stay.
In the evening, an optional performance at the Bolshoi Theatre (70 €).
After breakfast, visit the famous Tretyakov Gallery – see the icons by Andrei Rublev. Ride through and visit the most beautiful stations of the Moscow Metro.
In the afternoon: the Donskoy Monastery and Cemetery, with the graves of numerous prominent people from Russian culture (Solzhenitsyn, Denikin, the Decembrists). During the day – mass in the Catholic Cathedral of Moscow. Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast – drive to Sergiyev Posad – the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. Visit the Holy Trinity- St. Sergius Lavra (Monastery) – the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Chapel-at-the-Well, which according to tradition, miraculously appeared during the Polish Siege in the 17th century. Pereslavl-Zalessky, a historic town with wonderful monuments – a Golden Ring City. Visit the remains of the Prince’s kremlin, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, St. Nikita’s Monastery.
Transfer to Rostov – the Dormition Cathedral (Rostov Kremlin), the Church of the Saviour with its famous frescos. Finally, a cruise along Lake Nero. Dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, drive to Suzdal – the ‘open-air museum’, thanks to the large quantity of monuments from old Russia on a small territory: 200 monuments within 9 km². The town is often shown in Russian films and its centre has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Walk: visit the Suzdal Kremlin – the oldest part of the city, the open-air Museum of Russian Wooden Architecture & Peasant Life, with two 17th-centrury Orthodox churches. Later: the Market Halls, and the Monastery of the Deposition of the Robe from the 13th century.
Drive to Vladimir, the former capital of the Kievan Rus’ (old East Slavic Lands): the Cathedral of St. Dmitrii (Demetrius), the Golden Gate, the Dormition Cathedral and the Museum of Crystal and Laquer Miniatures.
In the evening, transfer to Moscow; free time for dinner and night train travel to St. Petersburg.
After breakfast, a city tour of Saint Petersburg with a local guide: visit the Petropavlovsk (Peter and Paul) Fortress, the oldest building in the city, erected by order of tsar Peter I on 27 May 1703 (this day is considered to be the foundation date of the city). The most precious part of the fortress is the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, with a 122-metre high spire.
In the afternoon, visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Bronze Horseman, walk along the Neva River, visit the Kazan Cathedral with one of the most important icons of the Russian Orthodox Church. Lastly: Mass in the Church of St. Catherine, where the last kind of Poland is buried.
Dinner and overnight stay.
Breakfast and transfer to the State Hermitage Museum – one of the richest museums in the world, with 3 million exhibits, including masterpieces of Raphael, da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Renoir, Picasso and others.
Later, drive to Tsarskoye Selo (known as the ‘Russian Versailles’) – visit the Catherine Palace with the reconstructed Amber Room.
Return to St. Petersburg for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, drive to the centre of St. Petersburg: visit the Fyodor Dostoevsky Museum (located at his former apartment), Sennaya Square, later the Alexander Nevski Lavra – the high-ranking monastery. The local cemetery places tombs of e.g. Fyodor Dostoevsky, marshal Alexander Suvorov, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Mikhail Lomonosov.
Some free time in the centre. Later, transfer to the airport, check-in and flight back home.