Backroads of Russia: Saint Petersburg - Moscow
Russia is the world’s largest nation, which means there’s no shortage of things to see or do here. With us, you won’t just stick to the main sights in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Head beyond these two cities to see Russia’s quieter side in the villages of Petrozavodska and Kizhi Island, or the cluster of ancient towns known as the Golden Ring. Discover standout landscapes like Ruskeala National Park’s marble canyon, or the fairy-tale architecture of Gethsamane Skete. Want a little bit of everything? You’ll find it in Russia.
Hands-On: Karelian Cooking Class, Kinerma
Hands-On: Matryoshka Painting Class, Sergiyev Posad
Local Living: BBQ with Local Family, Pereslavl’-Zalesskiy. St Petersburg walking tour. Valaam Island Boat Tour. Ruskeala Quarry Walk. Kinerma Walking Tour. Karelian Cooking Class. Kizhi Island Tour. The Sergiev Posad Lavra and Monastery Tour. Matryoshka Painting Class. Pereslavl-Zelesskiy Guided Tour. BBQ with Local Family. Tour of Alexandrov Kremlin. Red Square Visit. Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Get to know Saint Petersburg on a walking tour, Visit the monastery and forests of Valaam Island, Take a cooking class in the village of Karelian, Let creativity flow with a Matryoshka painting class, Shop, eat, and wander around the Red Square
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. OFFICIAL LETTER OF INVITATION
You will require a Letter of Invitation for Russia in order to get your Russian visa. You must complete the visa information form which will be automatically sent to you or your travel agent via email upon time of booking.
2. IMMIGRATION CARD
On arrival in Russia you will receive a double immigration card, you must fill out both parts and one is taken away upon entry, the other must remain with your passport at all times and you must have it when you are leaving Russia to hand to the relevant authorities.
3. BOOK THEATRE TICKETS IN ADVANCE
To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow when you are there. In particular we recommend you see what’s playing at the Bolshoi, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there. The most useful sites to check in English are www.bolshoi.ru and www.ticketsofrussia.com.
Due to the bank restrictions on changing money in Russia only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition will be accepted for exchange. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rates.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, avg 12
7 breakfasts, 3 lunches
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private vehicle, overnight train, boat.
About our Transportation
The overnight train is 2nd Class Kupe Soft sleepers: 4 berth compartments that have lockable doors. There an overhead locker and storage space under the bottom bunk that is sufficient space for your luggage. Bed linen is provided on all trains. Each carriage has two toilets and one hot water boiler. There is at least one train attendant in each carriage to take care of passengers and maintain the facilities. Most of the trains (but not all) will have dining car. This being said, it is always a good idea to bring your own snacks aboard for more variety of food options while travelling.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (9 nts), guest house (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 6, Sleeper Train
A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used on this trip. In some local guest houses used in smaller towns, the rooms can be small and simple with shared toilet facilities and showers. In the main cities, hotels will be used.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at: ++992 48 701 9900
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Central Asia:
Mr Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager – Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +99890 963 4779 (24h)
Mobile 2: +99897 921 7087 (24h)
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10kg / 22lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage. Please, note that we use public transport on this trip – the walking distance is never too far, but there will be up and down stairs in train stations, getting on and off metros, cobblestoned streets, etc and having a backpack makes travelling easier. We don’t recommend bringing suitcases.
It is important that your bag can be locked. We recommend an overnight pack for the long train journeys, sparing you from going in and out of your luggage in the small compartments. This should be big enough to carry a spare set of clothes, towel, book, cards and basic toiletries (approx. 30 litre/8 gallons capacity).
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
During this tour the local currency you will use is the Russian Ruble. As currency exchange rates in Central Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies.
You will find that USD and EUR are the easiest to exchange in Russia (AUD and CAD can be exchanged also, mostly in big cities).
IMPORTANT: Due to bank restrictions, you will not be able to exchange banknotes printed earlier than 1996; and also notes with stamps or marks on them.
The most consistent way to get local currency is to exchange USD or EUR cash into Rubles but please understand the security risk of carrying large sums of money. A mix of cash, credit and debit cards are recommended but it is always good to have some cash on hand for situations where there are no other options available. A money belt is highly recommended to carry cash and important documents through Russia.
There are ATMs in each big city on the way: in all of them you can withdraw local currency. Major credit cards are accepted in the shops and restaurants almost everywhere in Russia.
Some banks in Moscow will allow cash advances against a credit card but these are subject to steep service charges and interest rates and should only be used in an emergency.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets in Russia.
In Russia some restaurants include 10% service charge into the bill – check the menu before leaving a gratuity.
Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1-$2 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
At the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person per week can be used
Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
When packing, be aware of local dress standards. Russia will definitely display the full spectrum from high fashion to extremely conservative. As a visitor, it’s always best to dress conservatively, especially travelling into the more remote regions, as some areas are more religious/modest than others. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and practical. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered when visiting religious sites – shorts, singlets and tank tops are not suitable. For the train journey, comfortable “lounging” clothes are recommended with slip-on sandals and light layers to pile on and take off as temperature on the train fluctuates.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: ARSM, ID: 24826
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Saint-Petersburg
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Saint-Petersburg (1B)
Get to know St Petersburg with a morning walking tour visiting some of the city’s highlights.
Saint Petersburg Walking Tour
Day 3 Saint-Petersburg/Sortavala (1B)
Enjoy a free morning in the city. Opt for a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum and Armoury or explore on your own. This afternoon, drive to Sortavala (Karelia).
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours)
Day 4 Sortavala (1B, 1L)
Take a boat to Valaam Island and visit the sacred sites of the monastery, Transfiguration Cathedral, Church of the Resurrection, and fairy-tale Gethsemane Skete. Enjoy lunch on the island of a typical meal from the monastery.
Valaam Island Boat Tour
Day 5 Sortavala/Petrozavodsk (1B, 1L)
In the morning, transfer to Ruskeala to visit stunning marble quarries, the source of stone for St.Petersburg palaces. Transfer to the traditional Karelian village of Kinerma and enjoy a walking tour of the village. Learn to cook a local traditional Karelian pie, “Kalitki”. End the day in Petrozavodsk.
Ruskeala Quarry Walk
Kinerma Walking Tour
Karelian Cooking Class
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours)
Day 6 Petrozavodsk (1B)
Take an early morning drive to the boat for a trip to Kizhi Island. Visit the wooden village and enjoy the scenery of the beautiful lake. This evening, board an overnight train to Sergiev Posad.
Kizhi Island Tour
Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))
Basic overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))
Day 7 Moscow/Sergiyev Posad
Arrive into Moscow and transfer by private bus to Sergiev Posad. Explore the sacred Sergiev Posad Lavra and Monastery. Later, participate in a Master Matryoshka painting class.
The Sergiev Posad Lavra and Monastery
Matryoshka Painting Class
Arrive at the train station in Moscow and transfer by private bus to Sergiev Posad.
Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Sergiyev Posad/Pereslavl’-Zalesskiy (1B, 1L)
Transfer to Pereslavl-Zalesskiy and enjoy a guided city tour. Opt to visit one of the many historical museums in the city. Drive to the shore of the lake for a BBQ lunch and spend some time at the lake beach swimming and relaxing. Spend the night at a local guest house.
Pereslavl-Zelesskiy Guided Tour
BBQ with Local Family
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 9 Pereslavl’-Zalesskiy/Moscow (1B)
After breakfast drive to Alexandrov. Enjoy a guided tour of Alexandrov Kremlin, the former residence of Ivan the Terrible. In the afternoon, drive to Moscow.
Tour of Alexandrov Kremlin
Day 10 Moscow
Enjoy an orientation and walking tour of Moscow, visiting Metro & Old Moscow alleys & red square. In the afternoon, enjoy free time exploring the city.
Red Square Visit
Day 11 Moscow
In the morning, take a leap into the past with a guided tour of the historical Moscow Kremlin & Armoury. In the afternoon, enjoy free time in the city.
Kremlin and Armoury Guided Tour
Day 12 Moscow
Depart at any time.