Expert-Led Group Tour

Russia Group Tour - Jewels of St Petersburg

6 days

from £2,995pp
  • Katya Galitzine explores a very different side of St Petersburg
  • See hidden treasures of the Hermitage
  • Discover delicate jewels at the Faberge Museum
  • Take tea at the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library

Absorb the splendour of the Tsars in St Petersburg with a focus on some of the jewels and treasures of pre-Revolutionary Russia. Explore the vaults within the Hermitage and uncover exceptional gems, not on public display. With Katya's expert eye and narrative, trawl through the riches of Russia at the Mining Institute and see the fantastic private collection of Faberge eggs in the new museum at the Shuvalov Palace, showcasing a collection of over 1,500 pieces. The group tour finishes at the majestic Catherine's Palace, home of the meticulously restored Amber room, considered as the 8th wonder of the world and the filming location for the grand Tsar Ball in the BBC Production.

Named and re-named over the years, from St Petersburg to Petrograd and Leningrad then back to St Petersburg. Arrive into the city by train and spend three days uncovering the splendour of the Tsars. As well as iconic sites such as Catherine Palace, the Faberge Museum and the treasures of the Hermitage. The expertise and insight of Katya Galitzine will open doors and your eyes to a very different side of St Petersburg.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR TO RUSSIA?

This tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the highlights of St Petersburg and gain a personal insight into the countries fascinating history through the Galitzine family experiences.

The tour is led by Princess Katya Galitzine, part of one of the oldest noble families in Russian History. Katya’s grandfather, Prince Vladimir Galitzine fled his Russian homeland after the Bolshevik revolution and settled in London where he became an art and antique dealer. Her father was just three years old at the time. Katya is also a direct descendant of Catherine the Great and in 1989, 70 years after the Revolution forced her ancestors to flee their native Russia, Katya returned to Russia to study.

In memory of her father, Katya set up the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library, in 1994, in the house of her grandmother’s family, a mansion they moved to after the tsar ordered them out of the Mikhailovsky Palace. The library houses a large collection of books about Russia, printed abroad and is now a cultural institution of the city.

In 1999, Katya wrote a ground-breaking book "St Petersburg - The Hidden Interiors" – a history of St Petersburg, told through the lesser known palaces of the city and the families who lived in them. Katya has written articles for many newspapers and magazines and was the Chief Executive of the Hermitage Foundation UK and is now working on a history of the Russian country house.

IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS? 

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a TourExpert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

DO I NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL TO RUSSIA?

British passport holders do require a visa for travel to Russia. Other nationalities please ask and we will be happy to provide further advice.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN RUSSIA?

Accommodation is excellent and you will stay in a 5 star hotel in St Petersburg.

HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE TO JOIN THIS TOUR?

General overall fitness is required. Much of your time will be spent exploring the sites of St Petersburg on foot, so we would suggest that you make sure you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN RUSSIA?

Expect to dine on traditional, fresh and wholesome dishes such as Borshch, a tart soup made of beetroot or cabbage and filled dumplings known as pierogi. One of the country’s most famous dishes is blini, traditionally served with caviar, sour cream or a variety of sweet accompaniments. Vodka to accompany your meal is a must and wonderful with a selection of pickles and honey.



Departing on:
  • 26th February 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
26th Feb 2019 3rd Mar 2019 £ 2,995 £ 500 £ 785 Available

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Day at leisure in St Petersburg


Extolled by many great Russian poets and artists, St Petersburg was the capital of Russia before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and is today regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cosmopolitan and cultured, Russia's former capital city boasts an architectural identity and Bohemian ambience unique to the city. It is a dazzling place, and it is easy to see why it is known to some as 'Northern Venice'.


You will be staying at Astoria Hotel (no), bed and breakfast

Day 2

Catherine Palace at Tsarskoe Selo
Given by Peter the Great to his wife Catherine, this summer palace was rebuilt by Rastrelli in 1752-6 for Empress Elizabeth and altered by Charles Cameron in 1780 by order of Catherine the Great. About an hour from the city, it is a dazzling display of gilt and glorious parquet. Among some of the more beautiful rooms are the Great Hall, the Knight's dining room, the State dining room, the Picture Gallery, the Blue Drawing room, the bedroom of Alexander I's wife Elizabeth and the Palace Church.

The finest of all the rooms is the restored Amber Room. Gifted by Frederick the Great of Prussia, the original panels disappeared during WWII never to be found, creating an enduring mystery. The modern restoration has been painstakingly undertaken by hand from old photographs.

The palace is set in a beautiful park with elaborate gardens, canals and pavilions.


Pavlovsk Palace
The beautiful estate of Pavlovsk is situated 35 kilometres to the south of St Petersburg and is a great favourite of everyone who visits. The yellow palace, which was given as a present by Catherine the Great to her son Paul on the birth of his son, was designed by Charles Cameron in classical style. The park, which was designed by Pietro Gonzaga, extends to some 1,500 hectares making it one of the largest landscaped areas in the world and is scattered with ornate temples, pavilions and statues.


Lunch included at Podvorie


You will be staying at Astoria Hotel (no), bed and breakfast

Day 3

City Orientation with the Mining Institute
During this orientation of the city, stops will be made to explore Peter and Paul Fortress and to gain an overview of the city. The Peter and Paul Fortress stands on a small island in the Neva River and is the original citadel of St Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it was built according to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706 to 1740. At the centre of the fortress, with its tall gold spire, is the cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, burial place of all but one of the Tsars.

Visit the Mining Institute, home to one of the world's finest collection of gems. Originally built as the first technical college in Russia in 1811, it is housed in a splendid Neo-classical building with remarkably ornate interiors, classical murals and marble columns. The director will be here to meet the group.


Half Day at The Hermitage
The Hermitage was originally commissioned by Catherine the Great in the 1760s as a small building to house her growing art collection. Today it occupies four buildings adjacent to the Winter Palace and the extraordinary collection of European art numbers over two million exhibits. The Imperial Family State Rooms are exquisitely decorated in neo-classical style with the most impressively decorated rooms.


Lunch included at Legran


You will be staying at Astoria Hotel (no), bed and breakfast

Day 4

Hermitage Gold Rooms and Diamond Fund
A morning spent exploring The Treasury at the Hermitage, one of the most unique collections of early primitive art work in the world. The Treasury got its name in the 18th century during the reign of Catherine the Great and consists of two sections, the Gold and Diamond Room collections. The Gold Room, concentrating on gold from Ancient Greece, boasts the best collection of Scythian gold in the world and showcases some extremely fine jewellery from Eurasia.


Contemporary Wing of the Hermitage
Further time this afternoon spent at the Hermitage to explore the Contemporary Wing of the General Staff Building.


The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library
Visit the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library. This public library was founded in memory of Prince George Galitzine in St Petersburg in 1994 by the London based charity- "The Galitzine - St Petersburg Trust"-. It is the only Anglo-Russian Library in St Petersburg abd the theme of the library is "20th Century Rossica" and focuses on books about Russia published abroad in Russian and English, publications by Russian emigrés and houses a collection of rare literary journals and magazines, known as 'Tamizdat'.

Among the donations to The Galitzine Library are books from members of the British Royal family, scholars, politicians, statesmen, and many established British and Russian institutions.


Lunch at Pushka Inn


You will be staying at Astoria Hotel (no), bed and breakfast

Day 5

Church of the Spilled Blood
Visit the Church of the Resurrection of Christ (also known as the Church of the Spilled Blood), built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Its brightly coloured domes are reminiscent of St Basil’s cathedral in Moscow.


Russian Museum
Visit the Russian Museum, the largest collection of Russian art in the world, from Orthodox icons to present day contemporary artists. The Mikhailovsky Palace was built by Carlo Rossi (1819-27) for Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, a brother of both Alexander I and Nicholas I. In 1898 Alexander III ordered the family to sell the palace to the state so that it could become the museum of Russian art. Today the museum contains a magnificent collection of over 300,000 exhibits ranging from Kievan Rus through to the 1920's.


Ethnography Museum
Visit the Ethnography Museum. The array of artefacts on display at the Ethnography Museum provides some marvelous insights into the history and culture of Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians, as well as the peoples and tribes of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Siberia. However the main reason to visit this museum is its secret archive, a special vault with a unique collection of articles made of gold, silver and other precious metals.


Fabergé Museum
Private tour of the Fabergé Museum, housed at the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Canal. The museum is dedicated to the art of Peter Carl Fabergé, as well as his contemporaries and followers. The museum houses the celebrated Fabergé collection of the Link of Times Foundation owned by Russian entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg, which, with over 1,500 choice pieces, now surpasses the collection found at the Kremlin Armoury Museum. The museum is a centrepiece for some of Fabergé's most famous creations, such as the Imperial Coronation Egg, which was created in 1897 by Fabergé masters Mikhail Perkhin and Henrik Wigstrom.


Lunch included at the Eliseev Restaurant

Day 6

Morning at leisure

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Russia

Katie Benden, Travel Expert

"Katie was brilliant and very helpful. Helped to put together the itinerary I was dreaming of for my honeymoon and she was excellent with communication."

"Very happy with Katie Benden. Great service – always prompt reply to queries and always polite, attentive and informative. A wonderful holiday."

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Paul Craven, Travel Expert

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"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Departure Date (S):

  • 26th February 2019

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