The world’s largest country has a lot to offer for the curious traveller. From diverse landscapes, old resort towns and the most isolated area in the world (Siberia), Russia is a country that visitors can spend years returning to, only to find that they’ve still only just scratched the surface. A cross-country trip to Russia could potentially involve many medium-haul flights, so it comes with little surprise that most travellers concentrate on visiting the areas between St Petersburg and Moscow. If you’re planning on making a trip to Russia and have about a week to spare, this is the suggested itinerary that we would recommend.
Days 1 – 3 – St. Petersburg
Perhaps one of Europe’s most stunning cities, St. Petersburg was the capital of Russia during the Tsarist era when the country was still a monarchy. Today, you can still see remnants of Imperial Russia in the baroque and neoclassical architecture.
Start your stay in St. Petersburg with some sightseeing at the Winter Palace complex, which homes the world-famous Hermitage Museum, with celebrated works by Rembrandt and Leonardo da Vinci.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral
Following a morning spent at the Hermitage Museum, make your way to St. Isaac’s Cathedral, one of the most sumptuous and grandiose churches in St. Petersburg.
Formerly known as Tsarskoye Selo, Pushkin is one of the most popular day trips out of St. Petersburg. Just half an hour out of the city, Pushkin used to serve as the summer residence of the Romanov ruling dynasty in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
For this purpose, a luxurious palace and garden, Catherine’s Palace was constructed for use of the Royal Family. While the palace itself was destroyed during the Second World War, the interior has been renovated to its former glory.
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
One of the most famous and photographed buildings in the city; the Church of the Saviour On Spilled Blood is not to be missed. While you’re there, be sure to go inside (the admission is well worth it!) – the interior is just as stunning as the bright, bulbous exterior.
While it’s not typically included in city tours of St. Petersburg, a visit to the Yusupov Palace is a must for any history buffs. The building is one of two remaining St. Petersburg residences of the wealthy Yusupov family. The Palace, which resides along the banks of the Moika River is most famous for being the scene of the assassination of Grigory Rasputin in 1916.
Day 4 – SAPSAN high-speed train to Moscow
Enjoy travelling between the two cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow on the Sapsan high-speed train. The journey takes just under 4 hours.
Day 5 – 7 – Moscow
With a history that dates back to eight centuries, Russia’s capital has evolved into a mega city (it’s Europe’s largest city, following Istanbul). Despite what can be overwhelming to some, Moscow still has that European city flair; offering a wealth of history, culture and trendy restaurants.
Often described as the Eighth Wonder of the World, Moscow’s Kremlin is a sight to behold. The Kremlin houses a number of churches, an armory, several parliament buildings (including the president’s residence) and is Russia’s seat of Government.
A short walk from the Kremlin is the famous UNESCO World Heritage-listed Red Square. There are many landmarks within the complex, including the popular St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Spasskaya Tower, Kazan Cathedral, the Mint, Zemsky prikaz town hall, the GUM shopping centre, the Minin-Pozharsky monument, the State Historical Museum and Lenin’s Mausoleum.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Rebuilt in the 1990’s after the fall of the Soviet Union (the original was blown up on Stalin’s orders), the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the largest Orthodox Christian church in the world.
Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery
Situated in south-west Moscow is the Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery. The Convent and Cemetery a set in a complex of walled religious buildings that date back to the 16th century.
It’s not very often that you travel to a country to marvel at their public transportation, however, a trip to Moscow would not be complete without visiting a few Metro Stations. Lined with marble and decorated with chandeliers, mosaic artworks, statues and gilded trimmings, each station is a work of art; each with a unique design indicative of the era and political leader of the time. Some Metro Station highlights include Belorusskaya, Kiyevskaya, Taganskaya and Komsomolskaya.
Interested in exploring Russia? Check out our Russian Escape tour!