K905M - Moscow to Baltic States, Poland & Prague 18 Days / 17 Nights
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight, join your Tour Director and gather with your traveling companions for a Welcome Dinner.
Moscow, one of the largest cities in the world, is the symbolic heart and soul of the country. Your sightseeing tour begins at Red Square, dominated by colorful St. Basil's Cathedral and by the massive red walls of the Kremlin. Visit the Armory Museum, with its impressive collection of Tsarist, Russian, and foreign jewelry, armor, and other artifacts. Then walk by Moscow University. Continue with a drive along the wide boulevards and a stroll through GUM, Russia’s largest department store. Continue, on the north bank of the River Moskva, passing by baroque Novodevichy convent; ending the tour at the popular Arbat shopping district, time to shop or enjoy lunch on your own. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Today we travel 75 km North of Moscow, to a small town of Sergiev Posad, former Zagorsk – founded in the 14th century and renowned as a center of ancient Russian art and architecture. For centuries it served as a place of pilgrimage and the religious capital of Russia. Within the old walled city admire the fairy-tale golden and blue domes of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra, one of the most beautiful of all monasteries. After lunch at a popular restaurant, return to Moscow, the rest of the day at leisure. This evening take an Optional tour Moscow by night & Subway, to see the metro stations which Stalin called “Palaces for the People.”
Time at leisure in Moscow, before transfer to railway station for our four hours high speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg. Upon arrival at the St. Petersburg train station, transfer to your hotel. Dinner at hotel.
There are not many cities in the world that can match the grace of St. Petersburg. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he hired Europe’s best architects, craftsmen, and artists to build and decorate it. Spread over 100 islands and linked by over 600 bridges, it is often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Today the main sites to be visited on the tour are Palace Square with the Winter Palace, Senate Square with the monument to Russian Emperor Peter the Great, the founder of the city, St. Isaac’s Square with St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Smolny Cathedral, Cruiser Aurora, Field of Mars, and Nevsky Prospect. Granite embankments of the Neva River. Visit to Peter and Paul Fortress, Built in 1703 on a small island it was meant to protect the city from enemy attacks; and the first construction of St. Petersburg. Visit Peter and Paul Cathedral, which towers in the center of the fortress served as the burial place for Russian Emperors from Peter I. It is a museum nowadays. Your evening is free or join an optional Russian Folklore evening or Evening Canal Cruise.
This morning you’ll make a highlight visit to the world-famous Hermitage, housing more than four million works of art. It ranks among one of the largest and oldest museums of the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Admire the world-famous masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco, Velasquez, Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya, and French Impressionists. The Hermitage occupies five buildings, the largest is the Winter Palace, the former residence of Russian Emperors. Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the city on your own or perhaps you may choose to take an optional tour to visit Catherine Palace & Park in Pushkin or to Petrodvorets, Peterhof Summer Palace of Peter the Great. Tonight, enjoy dinner.
Today journey will take us to Estonia, where your first stop is Narva, set just across the border with Russia. Continue to Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland.
Take a walking tour of Tallinn’s Upper and Lower Old Town, visiting the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. On to visit Toompea Castle and see the 14th-century gothic Town Hall. Later, travel to Riga, the capital of Latvia.
On a morning sightseeing tour, see Riga Castle on the banks of the Daugava River, the magnificent Dome Cathedral, St. Jacobs Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, the Parliament building, Liberty Monument, and the district of Art Nouveau houses. Your afternoon and evening are free to explore more on your own.
Depart this morning for Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The rest of the day is at leisure to begin exploring the city with its interesting architecture, do some shopping, or relax in a tavern with a krupnikas.
The city of Vilnius is located on the confluence of the Neris and Velnele Rivers. In Old Vilnius, visit baroque St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church and striking St. Anne’s Church. View Vilnius University, dating back to 1570, Gediminas' Tower in the Upper Town, and Vilnius Castle. The afternoon is free to continue exploring, or you may want to join an optional excursion to the town of Trakai, beautifully set on three lakes.
Drive through the landscapes of Lithuania on your way to cross the border into Poland. Then take in the Polish countryside, cities, and towns as you head to Warsaw, arriving at the day's end.
(B, L, D)
The 700-year-old capital of Poland has been called the “Phoenix City” because it rose again after being destroyed during World War II. Your sightseeing tour here includes a drive along the famous Royal Route from superb Castle Square to Lazienki Park and Palace, the summer residence of the last king of Poland. Then see the Palace of Science and Culture (known as a “wedding cake”), the Saxon Gardens, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Barbican. Next, on a walking tour, see the Old Town, Old Market Square, and St. John’s Cathedral. The rest of the day is free to stroll through a park, shop, relax, or perhaps attend an optional late afternoon Chopin concert.
Travel to Czestochowa, known for the blackened picture of St. Mary in the Yasna Gora Monastery, known as the "Black Madonna." In the afternoon, tour somber Auschwitz-Birkenau. The notorious World War II concentration camp is now on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Then continue to Krakow.
A sightseeing tour today starts with a visit to Wawel Hill, where you’ll view the Royal Castle and visit the Royal Cathedral. Then take a walking tour of the Old Town, and see the Main Market Square, Renaissance Cloth Hall, and St. Mary's Church. The afternoon is free. You might want to go for a stroll, shop, or relax over some szarlotka.
After a drive through unspoiled Polish landscapes, cross the borders of Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Then, on to Prague, with its Baroque churches, promenades, parks, and ancient city walls.
Prague has a long and colorful history, from its early days as a bishopric, to becoming the residence of the Bohemian kings, and later the capital of both Bohemia and the Holy Roman Empire. The city was built across seven hills on both banks of the Vltava River more than 1000 years ago. Today, it is one of the most attractive cities in Europe. Your sightseeing starts with panoramic drive to famous Wenceslas Square, Strahov Stadium, and Castle Square. Then, on a walking tour, visit the Royal Castle of Hradcany with the Cathedral of St. Vitus, the Old Royal Palace, St. George's Basilica and the Golden Lane with the Daliborka Tower. Cross the Charles Bridge and walk through the old quarter of Prague to view the Jewish Ghetto, Town Hall and world-famous Astronomical Clock. The rest of the day is free. You might want to attend an optional cultural performance.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner
NOTE: Russia requires citizens of most countries to obtain a visitor visa prior to travel. CIE Tours can assist you with obtaining the necessary forms for the visa.