Russia: Last Journey of the Tsars

9 days
from
1 645 €
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Trip code: 
ARA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–16

An exciting journey across Russia in the footsteps of the Tsars

On the night of the 17th July 1918, the Tsar of Russia and his family were executed in Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth largest city just east of the Ural Mountains, the gateway to Siberia and a whole other Russia. As the 100th anniversary of one of the 20th century’s most famous events approaches, our journey follows their final footsteps. From Moscow we travel by train across this historically fascinating, yet almost unknown region of Russia. Visiting ancient Suzdal and Vladimir, Kazan; capital of the Republic of Tartarstan - the centre of Russia’s Muslim culture; the once closed city of Gorky – now known as Nizhny Novgorod. Finally, on day 7 we will reach Yekaterinburg a city overflowing with history and culture.

Highlights

  • Explore some of Russia's lesser known cities
  • Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway
  • Visit cathedrals, monasteries and mosques
  • Evening dinner with a local family
  • St Petersburg Extension available

Key information

  • 7 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night sleeper train
  • 9 days land only / flight inclusive
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader
  • Normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private mini bus and sleeper train

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • Transfers on group flights
  • Letter of inviation for visa

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

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 Sheremetyevo Airport yet during peak season this can be longer due to traffic. The closest subway station to our hotel is Arbatskaya on the blue line (the only station where all four lines meet).
    After dinner we recommend an evening walk onto Red Square.

    Arbat House Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Full day sightseeing tour of Moscow. Evening train to Suzdal

    This morning we enjoy a walking tour of Moscow, surely one of the most iconic cities in the world. Our route takes us across Red Square, with time to visit Lenin's Mausoleum and the ornate GUM Shopping Centre. We then hop aboard the marvellous, efficient Metro system, for a short tour of some of the most beautiful stations. Many are lined with marble, stained glass and adorned with chandeliers.

    After lunch, we will explore the Kremlin - a city within a city. It is still the seat of political power in Russia and contains many of its greatest treasures. We visit the magnificent cathedrals of St. Michael the Archangel, the Annunciation and the Assumption, as well as the Tsar Bell and the golden domes of Ivan the Great Bell Tower.

    In the early evening, we transfer to Kurskaya train station for the train to Vladimir, with an onward transfer to Suzdal. It's an interesting run, firstly through the suburbs of soviet blocks and then pretty countryside that surrounds the Russian capital.

    Suzdal Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Guided tour of Suzdal and wooden architecture museum

    Suzdal is sometimes called the 'diamond in the Golden Ring' - a ring refers to the ring of ancient towns and cities of historic and religious importance surrounding Moscow. This small town of wooden cottages and fine churches once served as the capital of Russia, when Moscow was not much more than a cluster of cowsheds. It transformed into a major monastic centre in the times of Ivan the Terrible and also became an important commercial hub.

    Our morning walking tour will take in all the main sights, including the Kremlin and the Nativity of the Virgin Cathedral. After a lunch stop, we'll visit the Museum of Wooden Architecture, where buildings from all over the region were bought up to protect them from redevelopment. The museum really gives us an idea of how people in the past lived. The 'village' includes houses, workshops and even two whole churches.

    In the evening we visit a local family and enjoy a traditional evening meal with them.

    Suzdal Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Transfer to Vladimir; sightseeing and free time. Evening train to Nizhny Novgorod

    Today we return to Vladimir, somewhat more industrial than Suzdal, due to its location on the Trans-Siberian line, but no less significant. The town is another former capital of Russia and home to several UNESCO protected architectural masterpieces, including the Golden Gates, St Demetrius’ Cathedral and the Dormition Cathedral.

    In the late afternoon, we board the eastbound Trans-Siberian Express for Nizhny Novgorod arriving in time for a late dinner.
    Gorky Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    City tour of Nizhny Novgorod; optional afternoon excursion to Makaryev Monastery. Overnight train to Kazan

    Nizhny Novgorod, known as Gorky until 1991, was once a 'closed city' to foreigners to safeguard the security of Soviet military research and production facilities. It was also home to the exiled nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights. With these dark days behind it, Russias fifth largest city is now home to a beautiful restored cliff-top Kremlin overlooking the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers.

    After a morning tour of the main sights, there is free time or you may wish to take an optional excursion along the Volga River, to the 15th century Makaryev Monastery.

    After an early dinner back in the city, we once again board the Trans-Siberian Express, this time in 4 berth cabins for the overnight journey to Kazan the capital of the Tatarstan Republic.

    Sleeper train

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Full day in Kazan, Russia's Tartar Capital

    Kazan is sometimes referred to as 'Istanbul on the Volga', a city where East meets West, and the Orthodox domes and spires compete with the minarets to form the most unique skyline of any Russian city. This is the capital of the Tatarstan Republic, autonomous, oil-rich, but still firmly under Moscow's control. Since 2000 vast sums of money have been spent cleaning up the city, adding bilingual street signs and building a stunning new mosque. Kazan really is like no other city in Russia.

    Our morning tour includes the Kremlin, The Qul Sharif Mosque, Khan’s Mausoleum and the Temple of All Religions. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your leisure.

    Maksim Gorky Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    From Europe to Asia, cross the Ural Mountains

    After breakfast, we start out final journey by rail to Yekaterinburg. Boarding the Trans-Siberian Express we head east, leaving Europe behind and move into the Asian region of the colossal nation that is Russia. Our 14.5hr journey passes through the dense forest of pine, small industrial towns, wooden villages and the rolling foothills of the Urals, the journey really gives us a sense of what the rest of the country is like and an idea of just how vast and remote some parts are. Station stops are a real highlight of the day as there is time to leave the train, buy home cooked snacks from locals and meet some of our fellow passengers. This is a day to relax and watch the world go by, before reaching our final destination of Yekaterinburg late in the evening.

    Marins Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Morning tour of Yekaterinburg; free afternoon

    Yekaterinburg is our final destination on this epic journey, a city that has played a huge part in the recent history of Russia. Here, on the 17th June 1918, the Romanov Family met their fate, having been taken here from St Petersburg (then Petrograd) in April of the same year. In a dark cellar of a modest house, they were shot and stabbed by Bolshevik troops, changing the course of European history forever.

    The house no longer stands, having been pulled down in 1977 by the orders of Boris Yeltsin. Today the new Church on the Blood sits on the same site. As well as a city tour we visit the Museum of The Royal Family. We then have a free afternoon to enjoy the city and you may choose to visit the Museum of Military Glory, or maybe just relax with a coffee in one of the cities many cafes.

    Marins Park Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    End Yekaterinburg

    Our tour ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Extend Your Trip

St Petersburg Extension

Extend your adventure with our perfectly designed 2 night pre-extension to Russia's cultural capital, St Petersburg.

Prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917, St Petersburg (or Petrograd as it was known then), was the capital of Imperial Russia and seat of power of the Romanov Family. It was here that revolution began, the Winter Palace was stormed by the Bolsheviks and Tsar Nicolas II abdicated. Starting in St Petersburg allows us to follow the full journey of both the revolution itself Romanov family all the way to the sight of their execution, two thousand kilometres away in Yekaterinburg.  The detailed itinerary can be found here

Please ask your sales consultant for more details.

Essential Info

Visas

Russia

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 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 go to http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Russia.pdf

Please note: The visa application takes approximently 5 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. 

 

Vaccinations

Russia

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

Eating and Drinking

There are not many restaurants and cafes in Russia where you can try true Russian cuisine. Nowadays Russian food is a mixture of cuisine from neighbouring countries such as Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and other Central Asian countries. There are pancakes and pies with different fillings, delicious khachapuri (traditional Georgian pie with homemade cheese suluguni), caucus kebabs, Uzbekistani plov (rice dish with meat and vegetables) and soups (traditional Russian schi with solty cabbage or Ukrainian borsch with beetroot). Your leader will arrange group dinners in different places to get the most out of this gastronomic mix throughout your journey. 

Vegetarians are well catered for in Moscow but less so outside the capital. Meals are generally good value and you can expect to pay £20-30 per person for dinner and between £5 - 10 for a lunch snack.

Weather

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.

Is this trip for you?

Although this is not the exact final journey the Romanov family took in 1918 (they were taken from St Petersburg, then the capital of the country), it does give us a fascinating inside into Russia's recent history, from the Revolution of 1917, to the rise of the USSR, through to the reign of Vladimir Putin today.

This trip is graded as Leisurely/Moderate (2) and we visit as much as possible in some of Russia's lesser-known cities, certainly off most Western tourist maps. The itinerary is busy and we visit a lot of churches, monasteries and museums. Although we do have minibus transport please be prepared to walk some distance. Entrances to all sites listed in the itinerary are included.

At train stations, you will be expected to carry your luggage up and down steps through tunnels and over bridges. 

On occasion, the government may choose to close Red Square without warning. For the overnight train journey, we use second class compartments that comprise of 4 berths and are of a reasonable standard, with bed linen provided. Please note that cabins can be rather hot. We do not have our own private compartments and people not from the group may be sharing with us if the group is an odd number.

Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and sleeper train

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable 3 star hotels and 1 night on a sleeper train. All accommodation is offered on a twin share basis with private facilities. Our properties in all three cities are in central locations, 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. Each hotel offers a buffet breakfast.

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

Single supplement excludes sleep train between Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan.

Call for general departures:
015 407 558
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2017
    Catherine Jones

    Russia: Last Journey of the Tsars

    Just returned from the first departure of a new trip venturing to parts of Russia where foreign tourists are few and far between, travelling on sections of the Trans-Siberian route - but without the endurance test of days on end on a train.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure I'd describe moments as inspirational as much as very enjoyable and sometimes unexpected. Visiting Red Square at night on our first evening together as a group. The peace of small-town Suzdal after the tourist hoardes of the Moscow Kremlin. Seeing where the Romanovs were murdered in Yekaterinburg, and hearing conflicting theories about their fate. The attractiveness of Kazan. Hopping off the train to buy food from women selling meals on the platform at stations in the middle of nowhere. Eating great plov, khachapuri and shashlik all over the place....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Yvgeny was calm and organised, and I had absolute confidence he would get us safely from one destination to the next. He was happy to talk about the ins and outs of everyday Russian life, and it was interesting to hear about his plans for his family dacha - a welcome escape from the pressures of Moscow living.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't change too much money into roubles all in one go. Prices are a lot more reasonable once you leave Moscow, and there are money exchanges in every town/city. Take insect repellent, particularly for Suzdal where we we all fell victim to mosquito bites. And don't overpack. The trip involves a lot of getting on and off trains and carrying your bag up and down numerous flights of stairs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great trip if you want to see a slice of 'real' Russia and travel with real Russians, away from the main tourist route between Moscow and St Petersburg.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Simon Clifford

    There's more to Russia than Moscow and St. Petersburg!

    This trip is the perfect opportunity to explore Russia beyond the usual Moscow to St Petersburg tourist trail. Traveling east on the route of the Trans-Siberian railway we got to experience lovely towns and cities that welcome very few foreign tourists. The trip really changed my perspective of what Russia is actually like. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Nizhny Novogord probably surprised me the most. I was expecting a pretty dank, industrial city. However it was actually a lovely place with a real European vibe, great cafes, a small Kremlin with a good modern art museum and a fascinating history, especially during the Soviet period, when it was a closed city.The pretty town of Suzal was also lovely and a total contrast to Moscow.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide was cool, calm and organsied. Considering this was a first depart all went very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light, carrying cases on and off the train, over bridges and through tunnels isn't easy. Don't forget mosquito repellent, around Suzal was particularly bad.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go with an open mind about Russia and you'll be plesently surprised.
  • Reviewed June 2017
    Helen Porter

    Last Journey of the Tsars

    Just back from this very enjoyable trip. So interesting to see parts of Russia not on the usual tourist trail and experience the Trans-Siberian railway without spending multiple days and nights on the train. So few tourists, other than Russians, outside of Moscow, which was good.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No single moment but the day on the train from Kazan was very interesting as we were the only tourists on the train and it was fascinating to see the country side rolling by (despite the huge number of trees) and get off the train to purchase food from vendors at stations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very organised and helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wi-Fi is hit and miss so don't rely on it. More mosquitos around than I expected so take some repellent.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 015 407 558