AUD 4178 / pp

DATES & RATES

Russian Winter & Northern Lights

Russia

Amazing natural scenery and highlights of Russia

Make your Christmas truly magical. Explore majestic St Petersburg and vibrant Moscow in spectacular winter glory, then hunt for the Northern Lights at the North of Russia. Real Russian White Christmas - an incredible journey awaits!

Itinerary

Moscow → St Petersburg → Murmansk → Lovozero → Sam-Syyt → Murmansk

Day 1: Arrive Moscow

A tour to Russia is not complete without a tour to Moscow, the heart of Russia and one of the oldest cities in the country. It was founded in 1147. Moscow is a city of bright contrasts where quiet patriarchal courts and small streets adjoin to futuristic business centres, and old neighbourhoods are interspersed with modern high-rises. World-famous sightseeing spots such as St Basil's Cathedral, the Kremlin & Red Square, the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, hundreds of amazing sights and beautiful places attract tourists from all around the world. Your driver will be waiting at the airport/train station to take you to the cosy hotel in downtown.

Day 2: The Kremlin and the city

Full-day (8 hours) guided sightseeing tour in Moscow. Take the bus city tour covering the city's most remarkable highlights such as Novodevichy Convent, Sparrow Hills, Arbat and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Visit the Moscow Kremlin, the very heart of Moscow and Russia! Walk along monumental walls, golden-domed cathedrals and, of course, most recognizable towers with iconic red stars. Explore the treasure of its world-famous museums including the Armory. The Red Square Christmas market is set around one of Moscow’s largest ice rinks and surrounded by the imposing walls of the Kremlin, the colourful St Basil’s Cathedral and famous GUM shopping centre. This is the main Christmas market in Moscow, where you can enjoy a pleasant and nice atmosphere of New Year, buy different traditional Russian presents and taste many types of traditional Russian food and drinks.

Day 3: Moscow Tour

Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in Moscow. A short ride from the city centre will take you to Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve, where you can get an idea of what Medieval Moscow looked like. Today, visit the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits. You also take a ride by the famous Moscow metro with its lavishly decorated “underground palaces”. End a day at VDNKh with its world's largest open-air skating rink (skating is optional). In the evening, join your fellow travellers to celebrate New Year at Gala Dinner.

Day 4: Arrive St Petersburg

After check out of the hotel in Moscow, you will be transferred to the railway station to board the high-speed train for 4 hours journey to St Petersburg. On arrival at St Petersburg, take a transfer to your hotel and check-in. Welcome to the Venice of the North! Founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on 27 May 1703, St Petersburg was planned and built as the capital of newly emerged Russian Empire. Today, it is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winter is a very special time to Russia and its people. You will see one of the most beautiful cities in the world covered with snow and ice — it feels like you’re stepping into a famous Russian novel! See how the locals deal with cold and snow — and participate! Open-air skating, snowball play in the parks, tobogganing down hills, walking along the frozen river banks of the Neva — experience the winter in one of the Snow Empire’s two capitals!

Day 5: The Hermitage and iconic cathedrals

Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in St. Petersburg. Today, you visit one of the most important sites in Russian history and heritage, the world-famous Palace of the Hermitage. Our experienced guides will make it interesting to follow the tricky path of the centuries behind it and give a better understanding of sophisticated Russian history. This former residence of the Romanovs Royal Family, the Hermitage today is the second-largest art museum in the world; its collection includes over 2.7 mln items. Then, take a tour to see the city’s iconic landmark: Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood — one of the most powerful constructions in Russian Orthodox Christian architecture, and an enthralling must-see.

Day 6: Catherine's Palace and Troika ride

Day (6 hours) guided tour to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo (30 km south of St. Petersburg). A splendid example of Russian Baroque, Catherine Palace delights its visitors with sumptuous Great Hall and Golden Enfilade of staterooms, including the world-famous Amber Room. The exposition of the palace covers almost 300-years history of the former imperial summer residence. A widely acknowledged masterpiece of garden and landscape art, Catherine Park includes variously styled pavilions, bridges, monuments and exotic garden structures that carry visitors away to other countries and bygone ages. Today you will also enjoy Troika ride experience. Troika is a traditional harness driving combination using a team of three horses abreast and pulling a sleigh or a carriage. Return to St Petersburg. Extra tours are available, please inquire.

Day 7: At leisure

Today optional tours are available: visit Faberge museum, Russian museum or go out of the megapolis to discover Veliky Novgorod. Veliky Novgorod was Russia's first capital in the 9th century, as well as a centre for Orthodox spirituality, Russian democracy, literacy and architecture. The city boasts medieval monuments, churches and monasteries. In the evening, enjoy the folk show "Feel Yourself Russian" and dinner at the Nikolaevsky Palace. It is a unique performance, which allows feeling the history and soul of Russia. The classical music, performed by the quartet "Classique", create the gorgeous atmosphere of the XIX century.

Day 8: Arrive Murmansk

At an appropriate time, take a transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Murmansk. Arrive Murmansk. Transfer to your hotel, luggage drop off and city tour. Murmansk is the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. Founded in 1915 as a supply port in World War I, it was a base for the British, French, and American expeditionary forces against the Bolsheviks in 1918. We shall visit either the Naval Museum or the Historical Museum. After lunch, visit the museum of ice-breaker “Lenin”, the first nuclear ice-breaker in the world! Murmansk played an important role as a Russian trade link with the Allies during the Second World War II. Various supplies were brought to the city with the help of the Arctic convoys. Murmansk was heavily damaged during the war. It was restored at the beginning of the 1950ies. Evening free at leisure as we prepare to the Northern Lights adventure. In good conditions, it might be possible to observe northern lights in Murmansk city itself!

Day 9: Northern Lights Hunt

Transfer to Lovozero village (270 km, 4-5 hours drive). Lovozero is the top destination of Kola Peninsula for Aurora Borealis viewing, there are very high chances to observe it directly at the eco-lodge. NOTE: clear skies and solar activity are the critical conditions to watch Aurora Borealis, the best timing is from 8:00 pm till 2:00 am.

Day 10: Ice fishing

Today is a fun day filled with various winter activities. We will drive snowmobiles to the lake - a great chance to admire the unique northern landscapes! Fans of fishing get the opportunity to join ice fishing, a popular northern type of entertainment. We will use fresh fish to prepare a tasty picnic. It won 't be cold - tasting real Russian vodka will help not to freeze. Also, don 't miss the chance to ski. All these activities are included in your travel package. Enjoy full day fun tour with activities in the middle of nowhere!

Day 11: Sami Village Tour

Transfer to Sami Village Sam-Syyt in the morning. Meet & greet in the Sami language, a guided tour around the settlement. Acquaintance with national Saami culture: plagues, kuvaksami and utensils; visiting the mall charmed idols. Then, get to know about traditional Saami way of life and wildlife of the area (deer, elk, husky, foxes and rabbits). Feed a deer, play a Saami game "tug of Six", "deer and wolves", "Sami football", throw wicker rings and more. Skate on a reindeer sleigh, take a snowmobile sleigh, skating on a snow banana, drive slides - feel yourself Saami! Lunch serving traditional meals "lim" (ear salmon), soft drink "Pakula ', black tea, Lovozersky bread, etc. Then, make colourful photos in traditional clothes. And don’t forget to buy magical local talismans and amulets! Overnight in a traditional local Saami house.

Day 12: Departure

Enjoy a private transfer to the airport at the time of your choosing.

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Russia

Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa only personally (63 GBP for a visa, issued in 20 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (120 $ NZ for a visa, issued in 10 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa through Visa Application Service Centers (120 AUD, issued in 4-10 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can apply for visa personally or through Visa Application Service Centers (160 USD for the USA citizens and 112 CAD for the citizens of Canada).

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What's included

Accommodation

3 nights at the hotel in Moscow (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)

4 nights at the hotel in St. Petersburg (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)

1 night at the hotel in Murmansk (3* or 4* accommodation of your choice)

2 nights at 3* Ulinskaya Salma in Lovozero

1 night at the traditional Saami house in Sam-Syyt

Meals

Full breakfast at the hotels (exсept Day 1)

New Year Gala Dinner

Dinner after Nikolaevsky Palace performance on Day 7

Full board at Ulinskaya Salma in Lovozero

Guided tours

2 Moscow full day (8 hours) guided tours

St. Petersburg full day (8 hours) guided tour

Murmansk day (6 hours) city tour

Guided tour to Saami culture centre and reeds ride

Transportation

Meet & greet at the airports/train stations

Private return airport/train station transfers

Private transportation on tours as per program in a comfortable a/c car/minivan/bus (except on walking tours)

Metro pass in Moscow

High-speed train Moscow to St Petersburg, standard class, 4 hours ride

Domestic flight St Petersburg - Murmansk (economy fare)

Support

24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line

English-speaking guides

Russian local SIM card with data

Not Included

International flights

Meals not mentioned

Personal expenses

Highlights

Watch the fascinating Aurora Borealis

Stroll around Red Square and tour the Kremlin

Visit the world-famous Hermitage Palace in St Petersburg

Book

Our reviews

Lyn Lennard

Australia

We have finished our trip in Mongolia and I busted to say thank you very much for all your assistance while we were on the ground in Russia. By far the best guide we had was Yuri in Moscow - he was excellent. We had a very good visit to Novgorod where Natalia was an excellent guide too, and we learnt much about Russian history: It was very good to have the car to take us around the Golden Circle and Victor was a good driver. and the guide in Peterhof and Faberge museum was very nice, approachable, taxis were always waiting for us when we got off the boat etc. We both had a very good holiday and learnt a lot about Russian history and culture: thanks again.

Rick, Emily and John Stewart

Australia

Impeccable service, incredible Trans Siberian! In fact, the great services provided by your team started from my first correspondence with Julie. She has been very professional with providing details of the itinerary and assuring and re-assuring that the trip will be well-planned, It was because of her assurance that gave us the confidence to take the next step and book our Trans Sibetian holiday. And everything ran like clockwork from Moscow to Vladivostok. The Russian people were extremely friendly throughout. The Trans Siberian was a great experience and fulfilled our dreams. The scenery and ever changing vistas were spectacular. The train facilities were adequate but perhaps a shower facility in 1st Class would have been nice. I will recommend your services in the future!

Alison Danesh

Iran / USA

We just returned from the World Cup in Russia where we followed Team Iran. This involved travel to three different stadiums many miles apart. Thank goodness we booked through World of Discoveries (Discovery Russia branch)! They arranged our lodging and transport. They even set us up with local English speaking guides to take us to see the interesting and historical sights of this beautiful land. We had a blast. We met new friends, ate great food, drank great vodka and cheered our team on. It was a trip of a lifetime.

David Wellnet

Australia

Georgia in autumn! We had a wonderful trip - one that will stay with us for a long time. Everything was so well organized. All our guides were very informative, and accommodations were just fine. Pre-tour service was very good too and we had travel a lot. My husband’s grandparents are from Georgia and we wanted to explore family routes. All our guides were great in terms of looking after us and they really were so interesting to speak to. Altogether, we had a wonderful time and I would love to explore more of the region and visit neighboring counties.

Katherine Ratcliff

Australia

CENTRAL ASIA, I’LL BE BACK! Central Asia was on my bucket list for years but I was reluctant to travel alone and my partner did not want to go. I found World of Discoveries most helpful in arranging my age/gender travel companion in our small group tour in October 2019. Everything run smooth from inquiry to farewell dinner in Nur-Sultan The tour was good value for money. Most meals included and great. Lots of local experiences. Great people on tour, helpful guides. I would love to return to explore more of Uzbekistan and would love to visit Tajikistan (that was not part of the tour). Yurt experience was just amazing. Such a great scenery and heartily people.

Michael Morcos

Australia

The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it

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