See the best of St Petersburg over two days and encounter the many highlights of this historic city.
Peterhof Palace was built to rival Versailles and is situated on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Finland. Peter the Great personally drafted the layout of the 300-acre park, giving detailed instructions on the design of its spectacular system of fountains. Most famous is the Grand Cascade, with its gold statue of Samson prying open the jaws of a lion. The Cascade is aptly named; water flows down terraced steps leading from the Palace down to the Lower Gardens. Spouting fountains spray streams of water over marble statues, culminating in a man-made canal leading out to the Gulf of Finland. In addition to exploring the Palace grounds, you will have the opportunity to tour the sumptuous interior and marvel at the opulence of the Throne Room, Portrait Room and the White Dining Room.
What the Louvre is to Paris, The Hermitage is to St Petersburg. Here, in what was once the splendid home of the Czars and Czarinas, you will find one of the world’s greatest art collections. The Hermitage is so vast it would take a lifetime to experience all of its treasures. Built during the reigns of Elizabeth and Catherine the Great, the grandiose Baroque ‘Winter Palace’ and its four adjacent buildings house works of Da Vinci, Raphael, Titian and Rembrandt, among others. Just as dazzling are the patterned parquet floors, ornate staircases, moulded and painting ceilings, gilded furniture, decorative malachite, lapis lazuli and jasper appointments of the Palace itself. Walk through a selection of display rooms with your guide who will relate fascinating facts about the Museum’s history, art and architecture. (Routes around the Hermitage are determined on the day by museum curators therefore we cannot guarantee which works of art will be seen during your tour.)
Visit the home of one of Russia's most wealthy families -Yusupov Palace. Built in 1760, the Yusupovs acquired the Palace in 1830 to house their collection of paintings. The unique collections of art assembled by the Yusupovs and their reputation as well-educated hosts attracted the most outstanding representatives of Russian cultural life to the Palace. The Palace was also the site of the infamous murder of Rasputin, whom Prince Felix Yusupov feared was a bad influence on Czar Nicholas II.
Originally built to protect the city from Swedish attack, the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral became Russia’s ‘Tower of London’, a place for imprisoning political prisoners, including Peter the Great’s own son. Visit the Cathedral, one of the tallest structures in the city.
Join a cruise boat and pass the Cruiser Aurora before entering the Fontanka River. Continue as far as Michael's Castle, residence of the most mysterious Russian Czar – Paul I. Enter the Moyka River and pass by the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood and the Winter Canal as you sip Russian ‘champagne’.
Luncheon is included on each day at a leading city restaurant.
During your two days of touring St Petersburg your coach will pass through the city’s residential suburbs en route to Peterhof.
Note: Each of the sites included in the tour description will be visited at some point during the two days. The tour order may vary to avoid crowding at venues and traffic. The touring on the first day will return to the ship at approximately 5.30pm, which allows you to choose from any of the evening tours available on your voyage. Camera and video fees are included in the cost of the tour. Flash photography restrictions may apply in certain rooms at the venues. At the Grand Palace of Peterhof, photography and videography are prohibited in the Palace. The Palaces and Hermitage can be crowded Crowds and you may be expected to queue outside in all weathers. There is extensive walking on this tour including many steps and gravel pathways. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended. Peterhof fountains are subject to maintenance work without notification. Protective overshoes are provided, which can make the floor slippery in the Palaces. Special overshoes have to be worn in Yusupov Palace during wet weather conditions to protect the floors. These will be available on entering the Palace. It is forbidden to take long overcoats, large bags, umbrellas or bottles inside. There is limited opportunity for shopping. Credit cards are accepted, and US Dollars and Euros may be accepted, unofficially. The boat route is subject to change depending on the water level and weather conditions. It may also be necessary to cross other boats to reach your specific vessel.