Imperial Splendors of Russia

Imperial Splendors of Russia

Explore Russia’s grandeur on an eight-night, small-group experience that reveals Moscow’s imperial riches, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Metro stations and other treasures. Travel by high-speed train to St. Petersburg to visit the State Hermitage Museum, Peterhof Palace, Mariinsky Theater and more. Enjoy first-class hotels, enriching lectures, extensive meals and wine with dinner.

Trip Itinerary:

August 15 USA

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Moscow, Russia. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your 
arrival city.

Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service

August 16 Moscow, Russia

Arrive at Moscow’s international airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the designated meeting spot, where an AHI Travel representative will meet them. The meeting location will be provided with your final documents.

Transfer to the Intercontinental Moscow. Please note if you arrive at the hotel before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

After settling into your room, get acquainted with your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception, and enjoy dinner at the hotel afterward.

Accommodation - Intercontinental Moscow
Meals - Appropriate in-flight meal service and dinner

August 17 Moscow

Enrichment: Russian Art. Examine the diverse historical trends of Russian art, including Byzantine-influenced icons, neoclassical paintings and the modern art movement, typified by pioneering artists such as Kandinsky and Chagall.

Discovery: Moscow Highlights. With approximately 11.9 million people, Moscow is Russia’s most populous city, as well as the largest one on the European continent. In recent decades, the city has dramatically reshaped itself, as sleek, modern skyscrapers have sprung up across the landscape, and old relics of the Soviet era have been demolished. On a panoramic tour, become acquainted with its notable landmarks within the Garden Ring, the network of streets that form 
a circle around the city center. See the vast fortifications of the Kremlin, bustling Tverskaya Street, Red Square, Manezhnaya Square and the Arbat, a pedestrian-friendly area and one of the city’s oldest streets. Other highlights include the “Seven Sisters,” known as “Stalinskie Vysotki” by Muscovites, a collection of skyscrapers commissioned by Stalin and constructed from 1947-1953. Finish with a visit to the copper-domed Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Discovery: The State Tretyakov Gallery. Witness the evolution of Russian art as you walk through the museum’s galleries, containing impressive masterpieces spanning a thousand years.

Accommodation - Intercontinental Moscow
Meals - Breakfast

August 18 Moscow

Discovery: Metro, Kremlin and Red Square. Go underground to discover Moscow’s uniquely beautiful Soviet-era Metro stations, featuring marble floors, chandeliers, mosaics, sculptures and decorative artwork. Then travel inside the red-walled Kremlin, a self-contained 15th-century city that includes palaces, gold-domed cathedrals and a medieval fortress. At the Armoury Chamber, marvel at the glittering treasures of Russian emperors and empresses, including Faberge eggs, gold and silver works of art, royal carriages and armor. Cross Red Square, visit the ornate GUM department store and then stroll to St. Basil’s Cathedral to admire its wildly colorful, fanciful onion domes. Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the area.

Free Time: The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Accommodation - Intercontinental Moscow
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

August 19 Moscow

Discovery: Novodevichy Convent and Cemetery. Explore within the walls of this convent complex, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Once an important part of the city’s defense system, the convent is especially noted for the gold-and-silver-domed Smolensk Cathedral with its 16th-century frescoes. The adjacent Novodevichy cemetery is the burial site of many prominent artists and political leaders, including Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin.

Free Time: Create your own agenda for the afternoon.

This evening, savor Russian delicacies during dinner at one of the city’s fine restaurants.

Accommodation - Intercontinental Moscow
Meals - Breakfast and dinner

August 20 St. Petersburg

After an early breakfast, transfer from the hotel to the Leningradskaya rail station for your high-speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg. Sapsan is the Russian word for the peregrine falcon, and like its namesake, this train is incredibly fast, moving at an average speed of 100 miles per hour and a maximum of 155 mph.

Transfer to the Angleterre Hotel in St. Petersburg and check in.

Discovery: St. Petersburg Highlights. Marvel at this scenic city, founded in 1703 and filled with canals and hundreds of bridges, due to its location across numerous islands in the delta of the Neva River. See the Bronze Horseman, the famous statue of Peter the Great on a rearing horse; the neoclassical gold-spired Admiralty; the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood; as well as other historic monuments, palaces and churches that make St. Petersburg one of Europe’s most dazzling cities. Visit lavish St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress, home to some of the city’s oldest buildings. Its cathedral holds the tombs of the most famous Russian czars.

Tonight, delight in an appetizing dinner at a restaurant in St. Petersburg.

Accommodation - Angleterre Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and dinner

August 21 St. Petersburg

Enrichment: Russian Music and Ballet. Russian composers, choreographers and ballet dancers have reached the highest echelons of the classical arts. Learn how the national passion for music and dance fosters these talents. Discovery: Behind the Scenes: Mariinsky Theater. Enjoy a visit to this renowned center for musical and dance performance, home to the Mariinsky ballet and opera companies, as well as the Mariinsky Orchestra. Now in its 234th season, the theater was the site of premieres of important works by Russian composers including Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. In addition, legendary ballet icons Pavlova, Nijinsky, Nureyev and Baryshnikov electrified audiences from its stage. Conclude your tour with lunch at one of the unique restaurants near the theater. Spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring and dining on your own. Enrichment: Czarist Russia. Czar, the Russian word for emperor, was the title given to the rulers of the Romanov Dynasty who determined Russia’s destiny from 1613 to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The czars claimed a heavenly mandate, controlled the Russian Orthodox Church and stood at the pinnacle of the Russian aristocracy. Delve into the riveting story of how they dictated the history of the Russian Empire from St. Petersburg. Accommodation - Angleterre Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

August 22 St. Petersburg

Discovery: Peterhof. Be transported to the reign of Peter the Great at his spectacular palace, Peterhof, surrounded by expansive formal gardens, landscaped parkland and a remarkable collection of majestic fountains. Feel the cool mist as you stroll near the breathtaking Grand Cascade, which alone comprises 64 decorative fountains.

Discovery: Folkloric Russia. At a country house luncheon, savor traditional Russian dishes, sample vodka and then celebrate folk traditions during a festive show featuring live music and dancing.

Discovery: Catherine Palace. This afternoon, visit this splendid baroque imperial residence, built by Empress Elizabeth for her mother, Empress Catherine I, which was inspired by the palace at Versailles. Step inside the famed Amber Room, an exquisite chamber adorned with gold leaf and intricate inlaid amber panels. The original priceless decorations were stolen by the Nazis during World War II and later recreated through a joint German-Russian effort. Your evening is at leisure.

Accommodation - Angleterre Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and lunch

August 23 St. Petersburg

Discovery: State Hermitage Museum. Spend a half-day inside the Hermitage to view one of the world’s finest art collections, including paintings by French Impressionists and Dutch and Italian masters; Greek and Roman antiquities; fine Asian art; Egyptian mummies and much more. An early entry allows you to view the many exhibits before the museum opens to the public. Founded in 1764 after Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage is located within the opulent Winter Palace. It served as the main residence for Russian czars from the mid-18th century and was commissioned by Russian empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great.

Your afternoon is at leisure.

This evening, gather for a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers to share stories of your Russian adventures and celebrate your journey. Accommodation - Angleterre Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and dinner

August 24 St. Petersburg-USA

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for St. Petersburg’s international airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Accommodation - Angleterre Hotel
Meals - Breakfast and appropriate in-flight meal service



This trip was one of the best of my life and AHI’s services and guides on the ground were just top-notch.

- Laurie Talkington, 2015

This was one of our best trips ever, and I was relieved because our Illini pride was associated with its success!

- Vicky Coccoluto, 2015

The educational emphasis of our tour was great. I also enjoyed talking about the good old days at the University of Illinois with fellow travelers.

- Jane Hill, 2015

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