Russia, the world’s largest country, is a land of superlatives matched by its epic history, monumental architecture, incredible culture and sweeping landscapes of immense beauty.
Perhaps the best way to cover the breadth of its myriad gems and feel the might of empires past is on a relaxing river cruise, where every turn reveals a fascinating new view.
The most popular cruise is between Moscow and St Petersburg, which lasts from 12 days such as the Imperial Waterways of Russia cruise.
The itineraries are activity-intensive in St. Petersburg and Moscow, the traditional embarkation and debarkation ports, with more time to relax while sailing from one to the other Russian metropolises.
Moscow has a fascinating history with very humble beginnings but is now Russia’s richest city. Exploring the Red Square, paying a visit to Lenin (if you wish), enjoying a cup of tea at the Metropol hotel and climbing up the winding wooden staircase in the St Basil Cathedral will only make up a tiny fraction of the activities you can do in Moscow. It offers endless seeming attractions. If you can, do watch a ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre. Not only will you be mesmerised by the exceptional performance but will also enjoy the beautiful architecture of this wonderful building which has been extensively renovated over a period of six years.
Most cruises will ensure that you stay at least 2 days in Moscow; some even do three days such as the Volga Dream Platinum cruise.
On the other side of your river cruise awaits St. Petersburg – the Venice of the East. Even though it’s a mega city just like Moscow, it has a very different feel to it. This might be due to its closer proximity to Europe. A real treat is a visit to the Hermitage Museum which is the second largest museum in the world. St. Petersburg is still the cultural centre of Russia. This is underlined by the sheer abundance of palaces surrounding St. Petersburg such as the Peterhof Palace also known as the Russian Versaille or the Catherine Palace located just outside of St. Petersburg and famous for its Amber room which was fully restored after the second World War.
Most cruise itineraries will include entrance fees to the Hermitage Museum and selected palaces. The Imperial Waterways of Russia cruise for example includes a total of 18 excursions including 5 UNESCO world heritage sites.
While the landmarks and cultural experiences in the urban areas are the key reasons to book a river cruise to Russia, cruising the rivers in between has its own charms. Smaller “Golden Ring” cities, so called because of their historic significance, are full of fresco-bedecked Orthodox churches and icon-riddled monasteries.
In our destination section, you will find a great overview of available river cruises in Russia. For more details, please give us a call (0800 471 4754) or send us an email.