russia in winter

Moscow to St Petersburg Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Trip Code:
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

This trip reveals the best of Russia’s three most fascinating cities and includes entrance fees to the key monuments and museums. Free time is also essential to absorb the atmosphere and make the most of other optional visits, such as the Russian State Historical Museum in Moscow, or a hydrofoil ride out to the stunning Peterhof Palace in St Petersburg. An overnight train to Novgorod, the birthplace of Russia, adds to the sense of adventure in this busy but rewarding itinerary.

At a Glance

  • 6 nights at comfortable 3 star hotels and 1 night sleeper train
  • Group normally 5‐16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by minibus, train and metro

Trip Highlights

  • Guided tour of Moscow's Kremlin and Armoury
  • Discover Novgorod, the birthplace of Russia
  • Visit the famous Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Pushkin
  • Enjoy St Petersburg's sites including the Hermitage Museum & Faberge Museum

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded as Leisurely/Moderate (2) and visits as much as possible in three of Russia's most historical cities. There is a lot to see in a week yet the pace is not rushed and plenty of time is left for self-exploration. Should you choose to take part in all the offered optional activities, the week will seem more demanding. As this itinerary is mostly sightseeing, please be prepared for a reasonable amount of walking between sites, especially in Moscow. 

For the overnight train journey, we use second class compartments which are comprised of 4 berths and are of a reasonable standard, with bed linen provided, please note that cabins can be rather hot. Breakfast is served in the hotel upon arrival.

Entrances are included for Kremlin and Armoury, Catherine Palace & Park and the Hermitage Museum. On occasion, the government may choose to close Red Square without warning.

If you are travelling between June and September then please be prepared for queues and crowds at major sites, such as the Armoury, Catherine's Palace and the Hermitage.

Should you require tickets for either the recently renovated Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow or Mariinskiy Theatre in St. Petersburg then please book your tickets direct via their websites (see Optional Excursions for details). Due to limited availability at certain times of the year and the theatres only being available to book 3-6 months in advance then we are unable to provide this service.

Many visitors find St. Petersburg a little overwhelming as there is so much to see. Exodus strongly recommends a couple of additional nights at the end of the tour. By which time you feel comfortable navigating the city alone.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
Min group size:
Max group size:


Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Moscow.

    Arrive in the early evening and transfer to our centrally located hotel in Moscow. The journey takes approximately 1 hour from Domodedovo or Sheremetyevo Airport, during peak season this can be longer due to heavy traffic. The closest subway station to our hotel is Arbatskaya on the blue line (the only station where four lines meet).

    After dinner, we recommend an evening walk to Red Square
    Arbat House Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Morning orientation tour including Red Square and Lenin’s Tomb. Free afternoon to explore the Russian capital.

    This morning we enjoy a guided walk across Red Square, past Lenin’s Mausoleum visiting the revolutionary leader’s tomb. After we gain our bearings, there is free time to visit the magnificent St Basil’s Cathedral, which was built by Ivan the Terrible and remains one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. We then hop aboard the efficient Metro system, for a short tour of some of the most beautiful stations.

    Later, if time allows, there might be chance to see Moscow’s premier art collection at the Tretyakov Gallery, where the priceless Russian Icon collection is kept along with other highlights. Or you may choose to do some shopping at the souvenir market.

    Evening visits to the Bolshoy Theatre are very popular and are available to book online (subject to availability). The circus is also a popular choice - however, live animals are used in some acts so this may not be to everyone’s taste. Please note that Exodus are unable to pre-book these tickets as we are not official ticket agents and tickets can only be booked in advance.

    Arbat House Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 3

    Guided tour of the Kremlin grounds and Armoury Museum. Free afternoon for shopping or sightseeing. Overnight sleeper train to Novgorod.

    Today we head straight to the highlight for many who visit Moscow, the Kremlin - a city within a city. It is still the seat of much political power and contains many of Russia’s greatest treasures. We visit some of the magnificent cathedrals of St. Michael the Archangel, the Annunciation and the Assumption, and have a look at the Tsar Bell and the golden domes of Ivan the Great Bell Tower from the outside. We visit the famous Armoury, a museum of opulent treasures including fabulous gold coaches and the famous Fabergé eggs. There is some more free time in the afternoon before we meet at the hotel for the short transfer to the train station. There will be time to visit the shops to buy some snacks and drinks for the journey, before boarding our late night sleeper train to Novgorod.
    Sleeper train

    Meals included:
  • Day 4

    Morning walking tour including visits to Novgorod Kremlin, St Sofia's Cathedral and Yaroslav's Court; optional afternoon to visit to the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

    No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its historical monuments. We spend a relaxing morning on a gentle walking tour through the riverside Kremlin dating back to the 10th century. We take in the sites of St Sofia’s Cathedral Yaroslav's Court and the Millennium Monument, created to celebrate 1000 years of Russia. The afternoon is free, a chance to experience a less visited city with a truly Russian feel. Most choose to head out into the countryside to enjoy the Yuriev Monastery and the Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture, to learn more about rural life in Russia

    For many Novgorod is a real highlight and a welcome break from hectic Moscow before moving on to St Petersburg.
    Volkhov Hotel or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Pushkin; visit Catherine Palace including the Amber Room. Free afternoon.

    In the morning we transfer to the small town of Pushkin to see the incredible Catherine Palace and gardens. Every room in this huge palace is as opulent as the last, lined with gold and marble. The highlight, however, is The Amber Room, which was dismantled by the Nazis during the war and its contents lost somewhere in East Prussia. It has recently been restored to its former glory and is a sight to behold. After the tour there is free time to enjoy the gardens, or return to the hotel for a traditional banya -  a Russian sauna.
    Hotel Natali or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 6

    Early departure to St Petersburg to explore the historic city centre; free afternoon. Evening visit to the Fabergé Museum.

    After approximately an hour transfer we arrive in one of the finest and most extravagant cities in Europe - St Petersburg. This is a relatively young city, which only celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003. It was the vision of Peter the Great and was part of his desire to bring ‘old Russia' into the modern European age. Much of its design and work was contributed to by foreign designers and craftsmen - the result being some of the finest 18th and 19th-century buildings to be found in Europe, but with a distinct Russian influence. Our hotel is located 10 minutes' walk from Nevsky Prospekt, St Petersburg’s most famous street, full of fine mansions, cathedrals and shops, all with a story to tell. We enjoy an orientation tour including a visit inside the Peter and Paul Fortress and the famous cathedral that contains the tombs of the Romanovs. Perhaps make an optional visit inside St Isaac’s Cathedral or the Church of the Spilt Blood. We will meet again in the early evening, for a visit to the new Fabergé Museum housing 4,000 pieces of fine decorative art, the highlight of which is a group of nine imperial Easter eggs created by Fabergé for the last two Tsars.

    Hotel Margarita or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 7

    Morning tour of the Hermitage. Free afternoon to see more of the sites of St Petersburg. Art lovers can choose to stay in the Hermitage.

    We make the most of our final full day in Russia, with a guided tour of the Hermitage Museum and Winter Palace. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded in 1764. Here every room is a piece of art in its own right, you will marvel at the Pavilion Hall, Peacock Room, and Hanging Gardens and that’s before you’ve even seen any art! The afternoon at leisure to see more of the sights of St Petersburg. Why not take in the sights of the city by boat on a relaxing canal trip?

    Please note that this day may operate in reverse due to entrance slots at the Hermitage.

    Hotel Margarita or similar

    Meals included:
  • Day 8

    End St Petersburg.

    After breakfast, there is some free time before the group flight back to London.

    Meals included:


Hotel and Sleeper Train

You will spend 6 nights in comfortable 3 star hotels and 1 night on a sleeper train. All accommodation is offered on a twin share basis. Our properties in all three cities are in a central location within walking distance of the main sights (no more than 20 minutes). Wi-Fi is available free of charge but may only be accessible in public areas and is often temperamental. Every hotel offers a buffet breakfast.

The sleeper train is based on 2nd class, 4 berth cabins. Linen is provided. If you have trouble climbing into an upper bunk, please let Exodus know at the time of booking.

Single supplement, excludes sleeper train between Moscow and Novgorod.

Pre- and post-tour accommodation available in Moscow and St. Petersburg on request.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £235.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

7 breakfasts included.

There are many restaurants and cafes in these cities where you can try Russian cuisine. Nowadays Russian food is a mixture of cuisine from neighbouring countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and those of Central Asia. You can try pancakes and pies with different fillings, delicious khachapuri (traditional Georgian pie with home-made cheese suluguni), shashlik (kebabs), Uzbekistani plov (rice dish with meat and vegetables) and soups (traditional Russian schi with pickled cabbage or Ukrainian borsch with beetroot).

Your leader will arrange group dinners in different restaurants to get the most out of this gastronomic mix throughout your journey. Vegetarians are well catered for in Moscow and St Petersburg but less so outside of these main cities. Expect to pay at least £20-30 per person for dinner and £10 for a lunch snack.


We will use a modern air-conditioned minibus, most of the drives are not long, the longest journey is by overnight train, which is comfortable, with bedding provided. The majority of our sightseeing in Moscow and St Petersburg is done on foot and by public transport.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

This part of Russia is in northern Europe and has a continental climate, with extreme highs in the summer and lows in the winter. Through the summer months, rain can be experienced at any time. Spring starts about a month later than in the UK and autumn finishes about a month earlier. Trips at this time should be warm and sunny, in the high summer, it can be hot, with temperatures of about 30°C or more. Winter departures are very different. Expect snow from early Dec through to April with temperatures between +10 and –5 in Nov, Dec, March and April dropping to between –10 and –20 in Jan and Feb. Russia is magical in winter and if you take good quality clothing for when you are out and about you will be fine. The hotels and restaurants are generally well heated and a sauna is a great way to end a day’s sightseeing.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed
until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Moscow and ending in St Petersburg

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Moscow in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent
approximately two weeks before departure.

If taking a taxi from the airport we recommend avoiding taxi touts and using an official taxi company located inside the arrival terminal.

It's much faster and cheaper to take the Aeroexpress (45 minutes, 500 roubles/ £6) to Paveletsky Station and take a taxi from there. The cost of a taxi is likely to be about 3000‐4000RUB (£40‐50 or US$50‐60) should you decide to make your way independently.

Accommodation check‐in times are normally from around 2pm.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you would like us to organise a private transfer, the cost is GBP72 and is payable before departure. Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.


Location start:
Location end:
St Petersburg

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Small secure daypack
  • Comfortable shoes for walking
  • Fleece or jacket Waterproofs and umbrella
  • Sunglasses & sunhat
  • Water bottle
  • Travel plug
  • Swimming costume and flip-flops (for Banya)

At the time of writing the standard weight limit for hold baggage on the recommended international carrier for this trip is 23kg. We recommend packing only one piece of checked baggage.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure.

Free drinking water coolers are available in most hotels. To avoid using plastic bottles, please make sure you bring a refillable water bottle from home. 

Optional Equipment

Please note that some museums and galleries have baggage checks where you will be required to leave large bags. These are usually manned by the elderly and a small tip (a few roubles) is

Reading List

Lonely Planet Moscow City Guide Mara Vorhees (2018) 7th Edition

Lonely Planet St Petersburg City Guide (2018) 8th Edition


Moscow and St Petersburg metro maps produced by Yandex in English and Cyrillic can be downloaded onto smartphones and are very useful.

Monument to Minin and Pozharsky, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Practical Information



All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.



All nationalities require a visa for Russia. These requirements will vary depending on your nationality. For British nationals visa applications must now be made in person at a visa processing centre, located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. At the time of application, fingerprints will be taken. We will be providing a new type of service to assist with the application process; however we will no longer be able to submit the application on your behalf. It is your responsibility to arrange a visa prior to travel, but we will provide you with more information after booking to help and advice with this. The cost of the visa is currently GBP108.40. For more information please click here

Please note: The visa application takes approximently 20 working days. You can arrange for your passport to be posted back to you or returned to the visa processing centre to collect it in person. There is a £20pp charge to create an invitation letter if any pre or post tour accommodation is not booked with Exodus.


Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit:

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Russia's Timezone:
Europe/Moscow MSK (GMT +03:00)


Russia's Electricity:

Russia uses European standard two pin plugs.


Russia's Currency

The national currency of Russia is the Russian Rouble (RUB), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 80 to the UK£ and 65 to the US$.

There are no restrictions on the import of currency, (subject to the maximum of US$ 3000 equivalent which may be brought into the country without declaration); though local exchange rates are invariably better than those in the UK. The exchange rate does fluctuate considerably, so it is best to check just before departure.

ATM Availability

We recommend that you do not bring travellers cheques. It is best to bring Russian Roubles, which can be ordered in advance. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in shops for larger purchases as well as restaurants. There is a good network of cash machines in all three cities.

Dollars and Euros are easily changed, however changing Sterling can be very challenging even in larger banks ‐ please do not bring it.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Moscow metro ticket ‐ these are charged per journey regardless of length. Current price per trip = 55 RUB (£0.70) in Moscow and 45RUB (£0.60) in St Petersburg. It is possible to buy travel cards valid for a certain number of trips or days. Our guide will talk you through this on the first day. 

Optional Excursions  

Please note these prices do not include a guide.  

Moscow (prices per person)

St Basil's Cathedral ‐ 700RUB winter / 1000RUB summer
Tretyakov Gallery ‐ 500RUB (free on public holidays)

Russian State Historical Museum ‐ 500RUB winter / 700 RUB summer
Moscow State Circus ‐ 1500RUB - 5000RUB

St Petersburg (prices per person)

St Isaac's Cathedral & Colonnade ‐ 600RUB
Canal boat tour ‐ 600‐800RUB (depends on number and time of day/night)

Peterhof Palace and Gardens – 2250RUB (summer only)

Hydrofoil to Peterhof – 800RUB         




It is a recognised practice, but not obligatory, to give a tip to the local guides and drivers. If you want to give a tip we would recommend allowing 1000 RUB (£11) for the tour leader; 200 RUB per day for local guides, and 100 RUB for drivers, depending on the service and size of the group. 

Please note that some museums and galleries have baggage checks where you will be required to leave large bags. These are usually manned by the elderly and a small tip (a few roubles) is much appreciated.

Catherine's Palace at Pushkin, St Petersburg

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employ local staff and use local produce. This thereby ensures that our visit directly benefits employment levels and the local economy. Quite a number of meals are not provided on this trip hence, our local guides will recommend and encourage clients to visit local cafes and restaurants to try authentic and varied cuisine available in Russia.

Our local partners support various local associations such as Nochlezhka which is a local NGO who runs a night bus service to offer mobile care for homeless people in St Petersburg. They provide tea, coffee, food, blankets, health care, warm clothing and links to social services. If interested, it is possible to contribute to this cause by donating any old clothing when we are in St Petersburg.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.



The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in-country,  please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here:

For this trip, the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.


Train Travel and non-refundable entrance fees:  £117 GBP / $148.20 USD / €130 EUR / $221 AUD / $234 NZD



Costs are accurate at the time of writing in September 2020

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.


These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.