Expert-Led Group Tour

Russia group tour - Jewels of St Petersburg

Departing 26th February - 1st March 2020

5 days

from $1,995pp
  • 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. Accompanied by Princess Katya Galitzine, 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. Katya's expertise and insight will open doors and your eyes to a very different side of St Petersburg.

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 eighth wonder of the world and the filming location for the grand Tsar Ball in the BBC Production.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR TO RUSSIA?

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 Russian revolution and settled in London. 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 late 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 the 4 star kempinski hotel moika 22 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 pelmeni. 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.

Can I extend my time in russia?

Yes, in fact we would recommend adding a few days at the beginning or end of the group tour to discover Moscow, offering a wonderful contrast to St Petersburg. Discover the magnificent golden domed cathedrals and churches, the grand political building of the Kremlin and the buildings surrounding red square, where the former founder of the Soviet state lies embalmed, and the infamous domes of St Basil's Cathedral. Trains between these two main Russian cities are readily available along with river cruises following the Volga River between Moscow to St Petersburg, taking in a wealth of Russian historic scenery along the way. Moscow offers a complete contrast to St Petersburg and is known as the central focal point of New Russia.

There are also options to go further afield in Russia, such as exploring the Golden ring. For more information, speak to one of our Russia specialists. 



Departing on:
  • 26th February 2020

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

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights $Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
26th Feb 2020 1st Mar 2020 $ 2,693.25 $ 405 $ 405 Katya Galitzine Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accompanied by an English speaking guide throughout
  • Accompanied by Princess Katya Galitzine
  • All transportation
  • Entrance to all sites mentioned
  • Farewell Dinner
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers and porters
  • Tea at the Galitzine Library
  • Visa support letter
  • Welcome dinner at Kempinski Moika Hotel 22 on day 1
  • Accommodation at the Kempinski Moika 22 Hotel

what is excluded

  • Additional meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Dinners on days 2 and 3
  • Drinks with meals
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Russian visa
  • Travel Insurance

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Dinner included at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22.


You will be staying at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Morning city tour of the The Mining Institute and Peter and Paul Fortress
During this morning orientation of the city, stops will be made to explore the Mining Institute, Peter and Paul Fortress and St Isaacs.

Originally built as the first technical college in Russia in 1811, the Mining Institute, housed in a splendid neoclassical building, has an absorbing museum in its remarkably ornate interiors. Founded in 1773 with the purpose of training engineers and geologists, the museum was originally housed in two residential buildings built to a template by Domenico Trezzini. The institute is home to one of the world's finest collection of gems.

Continue to the Peter and Paul Fortress, standing on a small island in the Neva River, it 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.



Afternoon visit to the Hermitage
In the afternoon, explore the Hermitage. Originally commissioned by Catherine the Great in the 1760s as a small building to house her growing art collection, today, the Hermitage occupies four buildings adjacent to the Winter Palace. The extraordinary collection of European art comprises of over two million exhibits. Explore the main building and the Diamond room.

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'.


Lunch is included at Yat. Dinner is not included.


You will be staying at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, bed and breakfast

Day 3

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 the 9th century through to the 1920s.


Faberge Museum
Private tour of the Fabergé Museum, housed at 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.


Light Afternoon Tea at the Galitzine Library
After time at the Russian museum, visit the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library - a public library founded by Katya Galitzine in memory of her father, Prince George Galitzine. Publications by Russian émigrés and a collection of rare literary journals and magazines, known as 'Tamizdat' are among the donations to the library. Other notable books are donations from members of the British Royal family, scholars, politicians, statesmen and many established British and Russian institutions. Katya will host this afternoon with drinks and the chance to study some of the fascinating books.


Lunch is included at Eliseev Shop. Dinner is not included.


Optional excursion to the Mariinsky or Mikhailovsky Theatre


You will be staying at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Pavlovsk Palace
Visit the beautiful estate of Pavlovsk which 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, 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.


Afterwards, enjoy a troika ride with hot chocolate.


Morning visit to Catherine Palace
Visit Catherine Palace. About an hour from the city, it is a dazzling display of gilt and glorious parquet. 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. Among some of the more beautiful rooms are the Great Hall, the Knight's dining room and the State dining room. The palace is set in a beautiful park with elaborate gardens, canals and pavilions.


Visit Fyodor church on the way back to the hotel.


Lunch is included at Podvorye. Farewell dinner included at Stroganoff included.


You will be staying at Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, bed and breakfast

Day 5

General Staff Building of the Hermitage
Visit the General Staff Building at the Hermitage. This spectacular, crescent-shaped neoclassical building, most famous for its central triumphal arch, was designed by renowned St. Petersburg architect Carlo Rossi and completed in 1829. Before the Revolution it housed not only the offices of the General Staff, in the East Wing, but also the Tsarist Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Finance in the West Wing. Now, it is home to one of the most celebrated and popular parts of the Hermitage's collection - the art of the impressionists and post-impressionists.


Church of the Spilled Blood
This afternoon 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.


Lunch included at the Hermitage cafe.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Kempinski Hotel Moika 22

Kempinski Hotel Moika 22

Kempinski Hotel Moika 22 is located in a quiet historical area, in the very heart of St Petersburg, on the Moika River, opposite the renowned Hermitage Museum and Palace Square....

View Accommodation

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

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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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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Thomas Frost, Travel Expert

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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.

Tour expert

Katya Galitzine

Katya Galitzine
Katya Galitzine is a direct descendant of Catherine the Great and went to live in the former Soviet Union in 1989 to learn Russian and study sculpture. She studied at the prestigious Repin Academy of Arts in the studio of Mikhail Anikushin, the People's Sculptor of the Soviet Union and ended up making St Petersburg her home for 10 years. In memory of her late 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 bought the Michael Palace from them. The library houses a comprehensive collection of ‘Rossica’ (books about Russia, printed abroad) and is now a cultural institution of the city.

During her time in St Petersburg, Katya, who is bilingual in Russian, embarked on several projects including her own radio show, presenting on television, hosting and guiding a number of international stars and rock bands and the organisation of corporate and private parties. She is very well known in the city by museum directors, curators, academics and gallery owners.

In 1999 she published her first book "St Petersburg - The Hidden Interiors", a history of the city told through the lesser known palaces of the city and their inhabitants. Katya has also written articles for many newspapers and magazines and has led cultural tours since the mid 1990's.

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Katya Galitzine

Departure Date (S):

  • 26th February 2020

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