Want our free monthly newsletter?
Travel Experience: St. Petersburg/Moscow
Sample Itinerary for 12 Days
By Renee Stillings,
Director of Programs, SRAS
The following is a sample itinerary covering St. Petersburg and Moscow. It may either serve as an introductory tour, or may be tailored to follow a particular theme or topic, such as history or a particular period, literature or art. Contact SRAS for questions about what would work best for your group.
Students on Red Square.
Day 1 - Moscow
Arrival and transfer to accommodations. The rest of this day depends on your arrival time, but generally would be fairly light with orientation, a brief walk, and a buffet-style lunch or dinner.
Day 2 – Moscow
Our walking tour of Moscow is meant to introduce you quickly to Moscow as well as to Russian culture, history, politics, and economy. We walk past the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, over the river past great views of the Kremlin, through Red Square to the Bolshoi Theatre and end in front of the world-famous Moscow Art Theatre on beautiful Kamgerchesky Pr. The tour is fairly eclectic and concentrates on issues you will never likely learn about in your classes at home. Agricultural policy, building design, and the historical development of the relations between the sexes are some of the topics we will likely cover. Wear good walking shoes and be prepared to ask as many questions as you like!
Later this evening enjoy a welcome dinner at a traditional Georgian restaurant.
Day 3 – Moscow
Go behind the Kremlin's red walls to explore the armory and the surrounding cathedrals. The armory is the former treasure-house of the Kremlin that still contains royal gifts, military hardware, clothing, carriages, and other riches from czarist times. The surrounding ensemble of cathedrals, with their towering spires and shining domes provide a still wider backdrop for your guide to discuss the history that has shaped modern Russia.
Options (on own): Boat ride along Moscow river, embarking near Kremlin and disembarking near Gorky Park. Stroll over to the Park of Fallen Statues (Museon) near the New Tretyakov Gallery.
Day 4 - Moscow
Explore the sixteenth-century Novidevichy Convent for a brief discussion of Russia's political and religious history. Then move to the adjoining cemetery, which has for centuries been coveted as a place of burial for Russian elites. Here you can find everyone from Chekhov to Gogol, Khrushchev to Yeltsin, Tolstoy to Mayakovsky, Stanislavsky to Gorky, and Tupolev to Molotov. Everything you've learned about Russia will never seem more real as stand next to where the people who have driven Russia's history now lay.
Options (on own): Visit MGU campus, Christ the Savior Cathedral
Another of Moscow's unique museums is the
Museon, an outdoor sculpture park sometimes
called "the statue graveyard" as it contains many
statues pulled down and vandalized as the Soviet
era ended. Click for more on the Muzeon. Picture from Moscow-photos.com
Day 5 – Moscow
Free day for exploration/self-guided tours
Day 6 – Moscow
Visit the Tagansky Underground Command Post – a nuclear command post and shelter built in the 1950s- at the height of the Cold War. Take an elevator 65 meters below ground and see one of the most secret military facilities of the USSR. Late evening departure by train for St. Petersburg.
Options: Visit to Old Believers School
Day 7 – St. Petersburg
Arrive early morning in St. Petersburg and check in to your accommodations. This day will be a walking tour of the city center, with a stop for lunch and a visit to St. Isaac’s Cathedral where you will climb the colonnade for a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city.
Day 8 – St. Petersburg
Enjoy a two-hour guided tour of the Hermitage, after which you will have free time to explore the museum’s vast collections on your own.
Options: Evening canal tour
Day 9 – St. Petersburg
Take a boat along the Neva River to see one of the “ten wonders of Russia” – the fountains of Peterhof, the world-famous Imperial palace and park founded by Peter the Great.
Options: Instead, visit Pavlovsk and Pushkin, with a stop at Podvorie restaurant for traditional lunch and folk show.
A carriage passes by in front of the Hermitage.
Day 10 – St. Petersburg
Free day for exploration/self-guided tours
Options: Day trip to Novgorod
Day 11 – St. Petersburg
Visit Peter & Paul Fortress, the oldest building in St. Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great, it housed part of the city’s garrison and served as high security political prison. It is also home to Peter & Paul Cathedral, where almost all the Russian Emperors and Empresses are buried. Free time. Farewell dinner.
Day 12 – departure
Recommendations from Renee
In general we recommend only one "formal" excursion per day. If you wish to include a second activity we suggest that it be of either a more "experiential" or informal nature. Below are some additional recommended excursions and activities that could either be swapped in for any of the venues in this sample itinerary, or could be included by adding more days.
S = Self-guided tour sheets available from SRAS
H = Allot at least a half day to this
D = Day trip outside of city (allot at least a full day, overnights possible)
Moscow formal excursions/venues
Sergeiv Posad (S, D)
Peredelkino (S, H)
Contemporary History Museum
Literary museums/walking tours
Borodino (S, D)
Moscow – experiential/informal
Fallen Monument Park
St. Petersburg - experiential/informal
Folk art workshop
Lomonosov Porcelain Factory
St. Petersburg formal excursions/venues
Dostoyevsky walking tour and museum
Blockade of Leningrad Museum
In either city
Ballet, opera, symphony,
jazz, popular music, drama/puppet theater
folk performance, food market, cooking class,
picnics, special meals;
topical discussions (lunch, tea),
roundtables, guest speakers
Visits to companies,
Visits to NGOs and other organizations
Find Out More!
More on Faculty-Led Travel
SRAS Travel Services
Health and Safety in Russia
Individual Programs Abroad
SRAS Testing Services
The SRAS Newsletter
Journal for Students
More Free Resources!
Questions or comments?
Contact the editor