20 Day Russia & Scandinavia - IRS

Number of Days: 20
Destination: Russia
Overview
Itinerary
Inclusions
Available Dates
  • Discover the intrigue of Russia with the sights of grand Moscow and the old-world charm of St. Petersburg. Experience stylish, modern capitals of Scandinavia, the Finnish appeal of Helsinki and the medieval delights of Tallinn, Estonia. You’ll be wowed by the interesting port cities and dramatic landscapes of the Norwegian coast’s stunning fjords on your seven-night luxury cruise.

  • DAY 1 Home - Moscow

    Zdravstvuyte! Welcome to Russia. Its capital Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and tumult, from the days of the tsars, through the Communist era to the growing pains of democracy. It’s a fascinating city. Beneath its modern veneer, it has a rich history and the landmarks and grand monuments to show for it. It’s also home to renowned museums, theatres and art galleries. You’ll find lovely green spaces, like Sparrow Hills and Gorky Park, also home to an open-air movie theatre. Please note: To avoid disappointment, we recommend that you book any theatre performances that you wish to attend in Moscow or St. Petersburg in advance. Please consider carefully and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. In particular, we recommend you see what’s playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to secure tickets, especially during White Nights in St. Petersburg.

    Hotel - Izmailovo Vega, or similar


    DAY 2 Moscow

    We’ll start with a welcome meeting this morning at 8:30am in the hotel lobby to discuss some tour logistics and to give you a chance to meet your fellow travellers. Please note: At your welcome meeting this morning, as well as providing insurance and next of kin details, you’ll need to have two copies of your passport, visa and migration cards ready. Your tour leader will collect one; the other is for you to keep on you at all times on the trip. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - Izmailovo Vega, or similar

    Optional sightseeing - Moscow Underground ***

    Explore the spectacular stations of Moscow Metro some of the most decorative and beautiful structures in Moscow, sample a traditional Russian snack and learn about Soviet life. Please note that the optional tour is a walking tour. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours. Please wear suitable footwear for walking and bring an umbrella or rain jacket in case of rain. During this tour you will travel using the Moscow metro system.


    DAY 3 Moscow

    We’ll head for the city centre to visit Red Square today, modern Russia’s most recognisable icon. This used to be a market square, now it’s surrounded by interesting architecture and sites like St. Basil’s Cathedral, with its iconic rainbow domes, the Kremlin and Lenin’s Mausoleum. Vladimir Lenin was the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution that ushered in the era of Communism. We’ll visit his austere eternal resting place on Red Square. Be warned, the queues can be long!

    Afterwards, we’ll enter the active fortress of the Kremlin grounds, home to the oldest and most important churches in the country, where many tsars and tsarinas are laid to rest. Walk through the soaring towers and cathedrals of the political and spiritual heart of Russia before entering the Armoury Museum, home to an incredible former royal collection of ambassadorial gifts, Fabergé eggs, coronation robes and glittering jewels.

    Please note that although a private bus is included for the transfer to the city centre and return, the tour of the Kremlin and the visit to Red Square are done on foot and takes approximately 3hrs.

    The Diamond Fund isn’t included in your tour, but after the Kremlin and Armoury there may be time to visit. It’s open for visitors from 10am-1pm and from 2pm-4pm, closed on Thursday. Entrance tickets can be purchased in the ticket office at the Armoury. Afterwards, the rest of the day is free for you to explore and enjoy your last night in the Russian capital.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - Izmailovo Vega, or similar

    Please note: Depending on the day of the week your tour departs, you will either go to the Red Square and Mausoleum on Day 2 and visit Kremlin Armoury Museum the following day (valid for all Wednesday departures) OR have Red Square, Mausoleum and Kremlin Armory Museum on Day 2 (valid for all Tuesday departures). During the high season, there are big queues to enter Lenin’s Mausoleum, therefore, we suggest leaving as soon as possible after the group meeting.

    Please note: On occasion, Lenin’s Mausoleum and Red Square may be closed to the public during regular opening hours without prior warning. As Moscow’s premier tourist attractions, tickets for the Kremlin and Armoury are in high demand, and the Moscow Tourism Administration sets strict quotas to control visitor numbers. Time in each area is also limited to 90 minutes, with any exceptions possibly resulting in the guide losing their license. While we appreciate that some travellers would like to spend longer in the Armoury Museum, we ask for your understanding that the guide is under pressure to keep to the schedule.


    DAY 4 Moscow - St. Petersburg

    You’ll be taken to the train station this morning to board a fast train bound for St. Petersburg.

    Note: There's a toilet/bathroom at the end of each carriage with a small sink and cold water. An attendant is assigned to every carriage to look after your comfort and safety (although service standards can vary greatly). There's hot water available for making drinks or instant meals, tea and coffee. Sometimes snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board and most trains also have a dining car, although with a limited menu.

    Please note that in many cases, due to high demand for tickets on this route, the group is not always together. It's likely that at least some members of the group will be sharing compartments with other travelers, either foreign or local, particularly if your group does not divide evenly into two.

    On arrival, settle into your accommodation and enjoy lunch before viewing the sights of St. Petersburg from the comfort of your coach. You’ll see some of the best architectural monuments belonging to different time periods and styles, beautiful Neva River embankments, majestic palaces, cathedrals and unique bridges. You’ll be charmed by the views of St. Petersburg – it really is stunning and, although very modern, still manages to retain its old-world charm.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch | Hotel - Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky, or similar


    DAY 5 St. Petersburg

    This morning you’ll see one of the oldest, largest and most famous museums in the world: The Hermitage. The former Winter Palace, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and houses one of the world’s premier art collections.

    Your tour will begin around 10am and continue until 2pm, and then the afternoon is yours to continue to explore. There’s no shortage of things to see – there are more than three million exhibits here. The Hermitage displays a diverse range of art and artefacts from all over the world and throughout history, from Ancient Egypt to early 20th-century Europe.

    The collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, a unique collection of Rembrandts and Rubens and many French Impressionist works and several sculptures by Rodin. Fun fact: If you watch each item for no longer than a minute and spend eight hours here every day, it would take you almost 15 years to see every exhibit!

    When you are ready, make your own way back to the hotel using the easy to navigate Metro system. In the evening, you’ll have dinner and enjoy some true Russian cuisine at a local restaurant with your tour leader and fellow travellers

    Meals included Breakfast, Dinner | Hotel - Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky, or similar

    Optional sightseeing - A day in the eye of a local in St. Petersburg ***

    See St Petersburg through the eyes of a locals and discover the history left behind by Rasputin and Lenin, visit the oldest and most beautiful railway station in St Petersburg and discover the beauty and unusual design of the metro. Please note that the optional tour is a walking tour. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours.


    DAY 6 St. Petersburg - Helsinki

    In the morning, your tour leader will transfer you to Finlyandsky train station where you will board a high-speed train to Helsinki, capital of Finland. Over 70% of Finland is covered by forest and it's also known as the land of a thousand lakes – 188,000 of them, to be precise.

    You will travel unescorted however you'll be met on arrival into Helsinki station and be transferred to the hotel. The train terminates at Helsinki so there is no chance of missing your stop. In the evening you have the option of heading out for dinner with your tour leader and group to enjoy your first taste of Scandinavian food.

    Please note: Train travel today is by 2nd class high-speed train.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - Scandic Hakaniemi, or similar


    DAY 7 Helsinki - Tallinn - Helsinki

    This morning we make our way to the Port of Helsinki, where you’ll board a ferry to Tallinn, capital of Estonia. A historic city dating back to medieval times, Tallinn was first recorded on a world map in 1154 and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 for its well-preserved old town.

    It’s a free day for you to explore this charming Baltic city. The city of Tallinn mixes old and new effortlessly; given its location it's no wonder it has a strong Scandinavian influence, but it's steeped in medieval Baltic history. Take in the spirit of medieval times in its famous Gothic Town Hall or wander the old town with its winding cobblestone streets, colourful medieval houses and fairytale charm.

    Optional Sightseeing - Highlights of Tallinn bike tour ***

    Take a bike tour along the most popular sights and the harder-to-reach spots of the wonderful Estonian capital. Your English-speaking guide will take you on a leisurely bike ride to show you the life of the locals, as well as the most important sights by the seaside. Enjoy the history, stories and sights of this beautiful city and see places like the Fat Margaret Tower, Kadriorg Palace and Park, the presidential residence, the location of the Eurovision Song Contest, the World War II monument, Pirita Convent ruins and the Olympic Center.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - Scandic Hakaniemi, or similar


    DAY 8 Helsinki

    You’ll have the day to explore this gorgeous seaside city. Enjoy the old market, the green parks and the Russian influence in its buildings and churches. After dinner with the group, you’ll board an overnight ferry to Stockholm. Note: You will travel in a nice, comfort class inside cabin for 2 persons on decks 5 and 6. The cabin has a 140-cm double bed with extra thick mattresses to guarantee a great night’s sleep. No extra bed option. The cabin is equipped with phone, TV, radio and a hair dryer. Floor area 8.3 m².

    Optional Sightseeing - Beautiful Canal Route ***

    On this popular boat sightseeing cruise, you will get to see the beautiful shorelines of Helsinki. We pass many famous sights, including the historic Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki Zoo on Korkeasaari Island, the fleet of icebreakers and Degerö Canal. Along the way you will hear fascinating stories about the archipelago. Please note that transport to and from the optional tour is not included. The tour lasts approximately 1.5 hours. Refreshments from the cafeteria are not included but are available for purchase.

    Meals included Breakfast, Dinner | Hotel Overnight Ferry, or similar


    DAY 9 Stockholm

    You’ll be transferred to your hotel by taxi when you arrive in Stockholm this morning. While you wait for your room to be ready, we’ll embark on a walking tour of Stockholm. See the top attractions and monuments, including where the Nobel Prizes are handed out and where IKEA got started. You’ll visit the main streets Drottninggatan and Kungsgatan, The Concert Hall and the King’s Garden.

    Please note that the included tour is a walking tour. The tour lasts approximately 2-3 hours.

    The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Stockholm is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” given its appealing architecture, clean and open waterways and numerous parks. Consider just wandering this coastal capital, built on 13 islands joined together. It's a great city to explore on foot and take in the mix of old and new that defines this city. There's the maritime Vasa Museum and the world's first open-air museum, Skansen. There is the medieval cathedral, built in 1279, and the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish monarch.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - Frey's Hotel Lilla Radmannen, or similar


    DAY 10 Stockholm - Copenhagen

    After breakfast we’ll board a high-speed train to Copenhagen. The journey takes about 5 hours.

    From the station in Copenhagen, it’s a short 10-minute walk with your luggage to your hotel.

    Copenhagen is the largest Scandinavian city, and full of contrasts: the popular Tivoli, Christiansborg Palace, the terraces of Nyhavn, the Little Mermaid statue. There's no shortage of things to do here in Denmark's capital. Copenhagen is the epitome of cool, a renowned design destination that boasts plenty of Scandi inspiration. It's a foodie's delight, known for its fine dining scene and street food markets alike.

    Copenhagen is relatively small, so it's easy to get around. Hire a bike and make like the locals (rain or shine!), seeing quintessential waterside neighbourhoods like Nyhavn, with colourful row houses lining the canal. Wander through Copenhagen Botanical Gardens or visit the world-class museums and attractions like Amalienborg Palace or Frederiksberg Garden. Design lovers will be in heaven, with no shortage of home accessory and furniture stores to peruse for your design-savvy souvenirs.

    Please note: Train travel today is by 2nd class high-speed train.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - First Hotel Twentyseven, or similar


    DAY 11 Copenhagen

    Copenhagen is a small, compact city that’s great to explore on foot, so you’ll enjoy a walking tour today with your guide. With a rich history as a major city on the edge of the Baltic, Copenhagen grew from a little fishing town to the capital of Denmark. You’ll hear how it became the fantastic city it is today and learn about the city’s founding father, the best place to get Danish smørrebrød, and of course – why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world. Please note that the included tour is a walking tour. The tour lasts approximately 2-3 hours.

    Optional Sightseeing - Hygge & Happiness ***

    If you want to understand Denmark, you need to understand hygge. The concept can be difficult to explain but is easy to experience — and once you have it in you, you’ll know why Danes are some of the happiest people in the world! Get a better understanding of Danish culture and why the concept of hygge is so important and visit city sites that ooze hygge and find out how you can bring some of that vibe back home with you. Walk around the famous Nyboder district, Kongens Have and Strøget with a local guide by your side and enjoy a Danish pastry and a cup of coffee at one of our favourite little local haunts. Please note that the optional tour is a walking tour. The tour lasts approximately 3.5 hours. Public transport may be used during this tour.

    Meals included Breakfast | Hotel - First Hotel Twentyseven, or similar


    DAY 12 Copenhagen

    You’ll be taken to the port to embark on your cruise. Welcome aboard! You’ll spend seven nights aboard this new, premium mega-ship MSC Meraviglia. Enjoy the stunning views of Norway’s landscapes, with spectacular mountains and fjords, and stops in interesting port cities.

    Embark on cruise Meals included Breakfast, Dinner | Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 13 At sea

    You’ll enjoy the perfect experience at sea onboard this stylish, upmarket mega-ship. Relax and explore at your own pace as we spend the day at sea today. There’s shopping, loads of poolside space, a luxurious spa and 12 dining venues. With new panoramic areas, a two-deck ‘inside promenade’ with a 480-square-metre LED dome and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park… you won’t be bored.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 14 Hellesylt/Geiranger

    We’ll dock at Hellesylt today, the cosy little town on the shores of the Geiranger fjord. For a view from land of the stunning fjord, head up the steep Eagle Route (Ørnevegen) for two perfect observation posts – Dalsnibba, 1500 metres above, and Flydalsjuvet with terraces that open onto the ice valley – surrounded by impressive peaks.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 15 Alesund

    A day in Alesund makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale. When the town was rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century after a devastating fire, it was built in an amazing Art Nouveau style. The streets are filled with turrets, spires and splendid decorations.

    Get a great view by climbing the 418 steps that lead you to the heights of Mount Aksla – you’ll get a wonderful view of the islands that surround the town and of the Sunnmøre Alps.

    To see traditional architecture, head to the island of Godøy, where you can visit the picturesque fisherman’s village of Alnes. Close to the beach, you’ll find local crafts and food sold in the courtyards.

    You may choose to take an optional excursion to Geirangerfjord, a 15km-long branch of Storfjord. Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, it’s one of Norway’s most popular attractions. The fjord offers archetypal scenery as it follows the S-shaped profile of the fjord, encircled by high mountains, where abandoned farms cling to the hillsides.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 16 Flam

    To reach Flåm today, the cruise ship will navigate into the Sognefjord, the longest of the hundreds of Norwegian fjords – it extends over 204 kilometres and 1308 metres deep. You’ll reach Flåm, set amidst mountains of dense forest reaching up to the sky.

    Take a train ride from Flåm to Kjosfossen: 20 incredible kilometres up to the station of Myrdal on the Bergen railway line. You’ll see unforgettable landscapes; nature at its most beautiful and wild.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Hotel Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 17 At sea

    You’ll enjoy the perfect experience at sea onboard this stylish, upmarket ship. Relax and explore at your own pace as we spend the day at sea today. There’s shopping, loads of poolside space, a luxurious spa and 12 dining venues. With new panoramic areas, a two-deck ‘inside promenade’ with a 480-square-metre LED dome and a spectacular amusement area connected to an outdoor water park… you won’t be bored.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Hotel Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 18 Kiel

    You’ll enjoy this laid-back maritime city on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Home to the busiest artificial waterway in the world, you can stroll the promenade along the harbour to admire the sailboats. Visit the Kiel Maritime Museum to learn about the city’s maritime history. The botanical gardens are a lovely retreat and you can see all the way to the fjords from the hilltop pavilion.

    Meals included Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Hotel Ship: MSC Meraviglia, or similar


    DAY 19 Disembark cruise - Copenhagen - Home

    Enjoy one last delicious breakfast this morning, before your Russia and Scandinavia adventure comes to an end. When you dock at Copenhagen, you’ll be transferred to the airport to board your flight home. We hope you’ve enjoyed this extraordinary journey.

    Meals included Breakfast


    DAY 20 Home

    Arrive home today. We hope you've been inspired. Please note - some flights may arrive home the following day.


    *** You’ll have the choice between 2 of 5 bonus sightseeing experiences to enhance your journey. You may choose to include two optional sightseeing throughout your tour, free as part of your package. Please note that you are required to take public transportation to and from the optional tour at an additional expense. Your tour guide will be able to assist you with the best mode of transportation.

  • WHAT'S INCLUDED

    • Small group tour - 20 people max 
    • Return international airfares with Emirates 
    • 11 nights, mostly 4-star accommodation 
    • 7 nights premium Norwegian fjords cruise in a balcony cabin on-board the new MSC Meraviglia mega ship 
    • Travel by fast train between Moscow and St.Petersburg, the most famous and romantic way to travel between these two cities 
    • All airport and port transfers - shared service 
    • 17 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 9 dinners 
    • The services of a professional fully escorted English speaking guide 
    • In depth sightseeing including all entry fees as per the itinerary 
    • All coach, rail and ferry transportation where applicable

    Excludes MSC gratuities

    EUR 10 per person, per cruise night - For your convenience MSC Cruises will automatically add a daily Hotel Service Charge to your shipboard account, based on your chosen itinerary and the number of days for which the services are actually provided. The Hotel Service charge serves to ensure MSC maintains the highest quality standards of service to their guests. However, should you wish to remove any of the daily Hotel Service Charge in the unlikely event that you do not receive satisfactory service, you may do so by contacting the Guest Relations Manager on board.

  • Available Dates

    • From just $8,999 per person based on twin share. Contact us for available departure dates!

    Enquire Now

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