Back Roads of Russia: St Petersburg - Moscow
Russia is the world’s largest nation, which means there’s no shortage of things to see or do here. With us, you won’t just stick to the main sights in Moscow and St Petersburg. Head beyond these two cities to see Russia’s quieter side in the villages of Petrozavodska and Kizhi Island, or the cluster of ancient towns known as the Golden Ring. Discover standout landscapes like Ruskeala National Park’s marble canyon. Want a little bit of everything? You’ll find it in Russia.
Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
Your Foodie Moment: Karelian Cooking Class, Kinerma
Your Hands-On Moment: Matryoshka Painting Class, Sergiyev Posad. St Petersburg walking tour. Kizhi Island boat tour. Ruskeala Quarry walk. Kinerma walking tour. Karelian cooking class. The Sergiev Posad Lavra and Monastery tour. Matryoshka painting class. Pereslavl-Zelesskiy guided tour. Barbecue with local family. Tour of Alexandrov Kremlin. Red Square visit. Kremlin and Armoury guided tour. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Get to know St Petersburg on a walking tour, Learn how to cook a Karelian specialty, Take a boat trip to Kizhi Island, Let creativity flow with a matryoshka painting class, Wander around the Red Square
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. OFFICIAL LETTER OF INVITATION
You will require a Letter of Invitation for Russia in order to get your Russian visa. You must complete the visa information form which will be automatically sent to you or your travel agent via email upon time of booking.
2. IMMIGRATION CARD
On arrival in Russia you will receive a double immigration card, you must fill out both parts and one is taken away upon entry, the other must remain with your passport at all times and you must have it when you are leaving Russia to hand to the relevant authorities.
Please confirm the tour with the same passport you will be travelling with in Russia. If you happen to change passports before departure, please reach out to our Sales team with your new passport details so they can notify our teams on the ground.
4. BOOK THEATRE TICKETS IN ADVANCE
To avoid disappointment we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow in advance. Please consider carefully which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow when you are there. In particular we recommend you see what’s playing at the Bolshoi, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there. The most useful sites to check in English are www.bolshoi.ru and www.ticketsofrussia.com.
Due to the bank restrictions on changing money in Russia only notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition will be accepted for exchange. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rates.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 16, avg 12
7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private vehicle, overnight train, boat.
About our Transportation
The overnight train is 2nd Class Kupe Soft sleepers: 4 berth compartments that have lockable doors. There an overhead locker and storage space under the bottom bunk that is sufficient space for your luggage. Bed linen is provided on all trains. Each carriage has two toilets and one hot water boiler. There is at least one train attendant in each carriage to take care of passengers and maintain the facilities. Most of the trains (but not all) will have dining car. This being said, it is always a good idea to bring your own snacks aboard for more variety of food options while travelling.
We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Hotels (9 nts), guest house (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
My Own Room Exceptions
Night 6, Sleeper Train
A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used on this trip. In some local guest houses used in smaller towns, the rooms can be small and simple with shared toilet facilities and showers. In the main cities, hotels will be used.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
The St. Petersburg’s only airport Pulkovo is located south of the city, about 20km from the city center (Nevsky avenue) and 9km from the nearest metro station Moskovskaya, a point to which lead all public and commercial transport routes from the airport. Our Joining hotel, “Dostoevsky” is situated in the centre of St Petersburg, near the metro stations Dostoevskaya and Vladimirskaya which are connected underground.
From St Petersburg Airport (Pulkovo International Airport) take a Bus Number 39 which runs every 10-15 minutes from Pulkovo Airport to Moskovskaya metro station. Go to the Metro station, take 5 stops until you reach metro station Tekhnologichesky Institut (Технологический институт), at this station change the line to red line. From here, you need to take 2 more stops till metro station Vladimirskaya (Владимирская), this is the station where you exit. Vladimirskaya metro station has one exit. When you are outside you will see the Church of the Vladimir icon of the Mother of God. You will find hotel Dostoevsky in front of the Church across the street.
By Taxi: If you would like to take a taxi from the airport there are few official taxi companies like Taxi Pulkovo which has a desk at the airport, when you exit from a customs area & have fixed rates depending on the part of the city you are going. There might be people at the airport offering you a private transfer, please avoid accepting their offer.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at: ++992 48 701 9900
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Central Asia:
Mr Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager – Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +99890 963 4779 (24h)
Mobile 2: +99897 921 7087 (24h)
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10kg / 22lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage. Please, note that we use public transport on this trip – the walking distance is never too far, but there will be up and down stairs in train stations, getting on and off metros, cobblestoned streets, etc and having a backpack makes travelling easier. We don’t recommend bringing suitcases.
It is important that your bag can be locked. We recommend an overnight pack for the long train journeys, sparing you from going in and out of your luggage in the small compartments. This should be big enough to carry a spare set of clothes, towel, book, cards and basic toiletries (approx. 30 litre/8 gallons capacity).
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
Health & Safety:
• Face masks (required)
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Rubber gloves
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Sleep Sheet (Lightweight sleep sheet / liner)
Train Travel (Optional):
• Slip-on shoes
• Small container with lid
• Travel cutlery
• Travel or camp cup
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: We recommend using a backpack or soft suitcase for your main luggage. As we will be travelling on trains with limited storage space (typically inside your sleeping compartment) we recommend that your luggage dimensions be approximately 76×50×40 cm.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
PLEASE READ THE ENTIRETY OF THE TEXT BELOW AS THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOUR ENTRY INTO RUSSIA***
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself with the Embassy of Russia. Please, keep in mind that all countries require passports valid for at least 6 months from the moment of departure from the country.
To apply for a Russian visa, all nationalities must present an official Russian Letter of Invitation (LOI).
It is the responsibility of the traveller to check with their nearest Embassy and confirm the requirements for entry into Russia***
IMPORTANT: Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Russia, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Russia and as a Russian visa is only valid for 90 days once it is issued, you will be emailed your Russian Invitation Letter about 10 business days after submission. Russian LOI’s can be rushed in extreme circumstances.
As Russian visas are dated specifically for entry and exit, please ensure you enter the correct dates. We also recommend that you add an extra day to the end of your trip so your visa length will cover any unexpected delays. Please also remember to put exactly the same dates when you fill out the visa application at the Russian Embassy.
Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names – all of them have to be listed under “first name”).
If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the english alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue).
Please note: Our Supplier will provide the Russian LOI by email only. This Supplier is based in Russia, so please make sure to check your SPAM folder – emails from addresses ending with .ru often get redirected as SPAM.
Some nationalities may require an original copy of the LOI – please contact the Russian Embassy or Consulate to confirm. If you do require an original copy, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request this. You will be required to provide a valid mailing address and cover the cost of postage to receive this document.
The LOI will contain 2 sections. The section on the right in Russian is identical to the section on the left in English. Beside ‘Confirmation voucher SPC’ you will find the confirmation/application/approval number you will need when filling out your visa application. The Supplier information can be found at the bottom of the left page in English (Supplier name can be found in the quotations, address, email, website and phone number follow).
At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy):
1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa
2. 2 colour, passport sized photos (taken within 14 days)
3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank – check with your Embassy to confirm details)
4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity
5. Russia Letter of Invitation
6. We also recommend bringing your vouchers as well as proof of onward travel (flight tickets entering and leaving the country) and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed.
Please carefully check all the information below prior to submitting***
Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the Russian Embassy. Please remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct.
Please confirm the tour with the same passport you will be travelling with in Russia. If you happen to change passports before departure, please reach out to our Sales team with your new passport details so they can notify our teams on the ground.
Information accurate as of January 21st, 2016
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
During this tour the local currency you will use is the Russian Ruble. As currency exchange rates in Central Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies.
You will find that USD and EUR are the easiest to exchange in Russia (AUD and CAD can be exchanged also, mostly in big cities).
IMPORTANT: Due to bank restrictions, you will not be able to exchange banknotes printed earlier than 1996; and also notes with stamps or marks on them.
The most consistent way to get local currency is to exchange USD or EUR cash into Rubles but please understand the security risk of carrying large sums of money. A mix of cash, credit and debit cards are recommended but it is always good to have some cash on hand for situations where there are no other options available. A money belt is highly recommended to carry cash and important documents through Russia.
There are ATMs in each big city on the way: in all of them you can withdraw local currency. Major credit cards are accepted in the shops and restaurants almost everywhere in Russia.
Some banks in Moscow will allow cash advances against a credit card but these are subject to steep service charges and interest rates and should only be used in an emergency.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets in Russia.
In Russia some restaurants include 10% service charge into the bill – check the menu before leaving a gratuity.
Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1-$2 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
At the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person per week can be used
- Midnight Canal Boat Tour (800RUB per person)
- Peterhof Visit (1500RUB per person)
- Hermitage Museum Visit (400RUB per person)
- Museum of Flat Iron
- Alexander Garden Visit (Free)
- Saint Basil’s Cathedral
- Lenin’s Mausoleum (Free)
- Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (300RUB per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they utilize the services of paid sex workers, in any capacity.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures
Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program – Make Every Day Count – Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation.
Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment.
Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.
When packing, be aware of local dress standards. Russia will definitely display the full spectrum from high fashion to extremely conservative. As a visitor, it’s always best to dress conservatively, especially travelling into the more remote regions, as some areas are more religious/modest than others. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and practical. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered when visiting religious sites – shorts, singlets and tank tops are not suitable. For the train journey, comfortable “lounging” clothes are recommended with slip-on sandals and light layers to pile on and take off as temperature on the train fluctuates.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
PRODUCT_LINE: ARSM, ID: 24826