Premium Russia
from $3820
Duration: 8 Days
Russia’s story is big enough to burst a bookshelf. This 8-day Premium adventure will guide you through the country’s multi-layered history and deep-rooted culture. Get to the heart of Russia’s heritage in Moscow, marvel at diverse architecture in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal, walk in the footsteps of Tsars in Strelna and experience old-world opulence in St Petersburg. Travel with an experienced local leader who will help to solve the riddles of a country that for so long guarded their treasures from the west.
  • Join in local life and customs in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal as you share a traditional meal in a Russian home and take part in a pastry making demonstration.
  • Soak up the atmosphere of Moscow’s Red Square and Kremlin, and marvel at the opulence of Peter the Great’s grand palace, gardens and fountains in Peterof.
  • Discover treasure-upon-treasure at the incredible art collection housed in St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, with the expert guidance of an art historian.
  • Enjoy an elegant feature stay in a prestigious location – your hotel sits on the beautiful grounds of the Konstantin Palace, former home of the Romanov Tsars.
  • Step into the resplendently decorated Polovtsov Mansion for a tour of the historical building, followed by an unforgettable private concert paired with champagne.
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Moscow - Welcome dinner
  • Suzdal - Home-cooked meal and pastry baking demonstration
  • Suzdal - Guided sightseeing walking tour
  • Moscow - Leader-led metro tour
  • Moscow - Kremlin & Armoury Guided Tour
  • Moscow - Red Square
  • St Petersburg - Peterhof Park & Fountains
  • St Petersburg - Peterhof Palace (Summer Palace)
  • St. Petersburg - Polovtsov Mansion & private music concert
  • St Petersburg - Guided Hermitage Museum tour (by art historian)
  • St Petersburg - Final dinner
  • Day 1 Location: Moscow
    Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Russia. The great city of Moscow has survived centuries of revolution and tumult. Beneath its modern veneer – a sign of Russia's recent embrace of capitalism – Moscow is a fascinating, historic city with a wealth of sights to see. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel, where your adventure begins with a 6pm welcome meeting. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the city on Day 3 and 4, but if you arrive early you may like to head to historic Arbat street and peruse its elegant cafes and shops. After your meeting, join your leader and fellow travellers for dinner at a local restaurant that feels like stepping into the welcoming home of a Russian grandmother. Delight in an array of traditional dishes made with recipes passed down from generation to generation, such as beef stroganoff, borsch and Olivier salad.
    Day 2 Location: Suzdal
    Head to the train station and take the Strizh high-speed train to Vladimir. From there you will transfer to Suzdal, a main stop on Russia’s legendary Golden Ring, the circle of ancient and former capitals that played an important part in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The historic small town of Suzdal is filled with contrasting examples of early Russian architecture, where onion-domed monasteries stand next to decorated little wooden cottages. For lunch, join one of our local friends for a special home cooked meal featuring classic Russian dishes, then enjoy a Russian pastry baking demonstration to learn the tricks of the trade. In the afternoon, your local guide will introduce you to more of Suzdal. Echoes of the city’s history are everywhere – take in the grandeur of the Kremlin, the opulent frescoes of the Cathedral of the Nativity, the trading square, market and monastery. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.
    Day 3 Location: Moscow
    Take the train back to Moscow this morning. In the afternoon, get beneath the surface of Moscow’s fascinating metro system during a short tour with your leader. So much more than a simple means of transport, luxuriantly decorated stations show off the best of Soviet architecture and serve as an underground museum of Moscow’s history. Travel to some of the most beautiful stations, learn the stories behind their intricate designs and hear the myths, legends and superstitions of Europe’s busiest metro system. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. Perhaps take a stroll around the always lively Gorky park, or watch a performance of classical or contemporary ballet. Speak to your leader for tips on how to spend a perfect night in this animated city.
    Day 4 Location: Moscow
    Today, with a local expert on all things Moscow by your side, enter cobbled Red Square, surrounded by the brightly coloured domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, the stylish GUM Department store, the fairy-tale building of the State Historical Museum, and the imposing walls of the Kremlin. From the days of Ivan the Terrible to the military parades of the Cold War, the square has long been at the heart of Russian history. Enter the Kremlin grounds, home to the oldest and most important churches in the country, and the tombs of Tsars and Tsarinas. Walk through the soaring towers and cathedrals of the political and spiritual heart of Russia before entering the Armoury Museum. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city’s wonders. You may like to travel back to the beginnings of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery, or step inside the colourful St Basil's Cathedral on Red Square.
    Day 5 Location: Strelna
    Take a high-speed train from Moscow to St Petersburg, then transfer to the elegant town of Strelna. Overlooking the Gulf of Finland, Strelna is dotted with grand buildings, estates and palaces. In the afternoon, arrive at the illustrious Baltic Star Hotel, your feature stay accommodation for the evening. Built in 2001 on the grounds of the State Complex and next to the historic Konstantin Palace, the property offers a unique glimpse into Tsarist Russia. A favourite with foreign leaders and politicians, the Baltic Star has a prestigious roster of guests passing through its doors. Spacious rooms blend the aesthetics of a Russian estate with 21st-century amenities. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover the magnificent grounds of your hotel, perhaps taking a look inside the Konstantin Palace and the Russian Congress Hall. You may like to hire a bicycle to explore the surrounding area, or enjoy a marvellous dinner at one of the hotel’s two gourmet restaurants.
    Day 6 Location: Peterhof/St Petersburg
    This morning, visit the stunning Peterhof Palce, summer home of Peter the Great. Built to impress guests with the Tsar’s wealth and taste, the grounds of the park are filled with European inspired fountains, cascades and landscaped gardens. Your local guide will regale you with stories of the ruler and explain how the palace was accurately restored after being destroyed during Nazi occupation in World War II. In the afternoon, make the journey to St Petersburg and arrive at your centrally located hotel. After settling in, head to the opulent Polovtsov Mansion. A pot of gold in the heart of the city, step past its unassuming façade and uncover resplendent furnishings and eclectic architecture. Discover the rich history of this incredibly decorated building during a guided tour, followed by a private concert and champagne. Listening to classical Russian music under glorious gold ceilings is a magical memory that will surely stay with you.
    Day 7 Location: St Petersburg
    Wake up in St Petersburg, a glorious city brimming with history. Today you will visit the famous Hermitage museum, built by Catherine the Great in 1764 and home to one of the world’s premier art collections. With nearly three million items, exploring the museum on your own only reveals half the story. Today you will tour the museum with an art historian who will offer expert insight into the stunning building, the stories behind it and the exhibits within it. Marvel at the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Rodin. Enjoy a free afternoon in this beautiful city before regrouping for a final dinner together. Russia has wholeheartedly embraced the flavoursome cuisine of Georgia, a former Soviet country. Head to a cheerful Georgian restaurant and enjoy a chicken chakhokhbili, spicy lobio beans or a cheesy khachapuri, then raise a glass of wine to toast the end of an adventure.
    Day 8 Location: St Petersburg
    Your Russian adventure will come to an end today after breakfast. An airport transfer is not included, however you can arrange one in advance, or your leader or hotel staff can help you book a taxi for your flight. St Petersburg has much to offer, so we recommend that those that wish to see more extend their stay a day or two.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    15APR2022
    Return Date:
    22APR2022
    3820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    13MAY2022
    Return Date:
    20MAY2022
    3820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    20MAY2022
    Return Date:
    27MAY2022
    3820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    27MAY2022
    Return Date:
    03JUN2022
    3820NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03JUN2022
    Return Date:
    10JUN2022
    3970NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10JUN2022
    Return Date:
    17JUN2022
    3970NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17JUN2022
    Return Date:
    24JUN2022
    3970NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    24JUN2022
    Return Date:
    01JUL2022
    3970NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    01JUL2022
    Return Date:
    08JUL2022
    4125NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    08JUL2022
    Return Date:
    15JUL2022
    4125NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Premium Russia

    Trip code

    WMPR

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2022

    Introduction

    Russia’s story is big enough to burst a bookshelf. This 8-day Premium adventure will guide you through the country’s multi-layered history and deep-rooted culture. Get to the heart of Russia’s heritage in Moscow, marvel at diverse architecture in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal, walk in the footsteps of Tsars in Strelna and experience old-world opulence in St Petersburg. Travel with an experienced local leader who will help to solve the riddles of a country that for so long guarded their treasures from the west.

    Style

    Premium

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    High Speed Train,Private Bus,Metro

    Physical Rating

    2

    Joining point

    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel Гостиница Марко Поло Пресня

    123104, Moscow, 9, bldg. 1, Spiridonjevskij Lane

    Moscow

    RUSSIAN FEDERATION

    Phone: +7495 6600606

    Joining point description

    Marco Polo Presnja Hotel is situated in historical Moscow center, close to the Patriarshiye Ponds and the main city attractions, such as the Red square, the Kremlin, the Bolshoy theaters as well as several ancient churches and the synagogue, are located just few blocks away. It is also near Tverskaya street with numerous boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. The hotel offers comfortable rooms including en-suite bathroom, TV & AC. For more information, please go to http://www.presnja.ru/en/default.html

    Joining point instructions

    Moscow has 4 international airports (Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky). Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo are the most commonly used by our travellers. ARRIVAL TRANSFERS: Arrival transfers are available - if you have pre-booked a transfer with us. You'll need to provide us your flight details at least 14 days prior to your travel. The driver will be waiting for you inside the arrival hall, after you get luggage and clear customs. As you exit to the arrivals – you’ll see plenty of drivers holding signs, just look for a sign Intrepid + Your Last Name If you can't allocate the driver - call the following number of the local supplier: Ilya 007 916 156 49 69 In rare case if local supplier is not answering – call Russia Emergency Number listed below Please note that driver will be waiting for you for 1 hour after your arrival time If you experience flight delay or luggage lost, please don’t hesitate to call above numbers so we can coordinate your transfer more efficiently By taxi: The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes at least one hour depending on traffic and should cost around 4000 RUB (approx. US$65, to be paid in local currency). Avoid taxi touts. From all airports we recommend you use the services of one of the official taxi desks (such as MosCab, Gett) located on the ground floor inside the arrival terminal. Your leader will put a welcome note on the reception. Please look for it as it contains important information. BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT: All airports have public transport links that allow you to get to our starting point hotel cheaply and quickly. From Sheremetyevo you can take the airport express train (RUB500, 30-40 minutes) to metro station Belorusskaya (Белорусская) on the dark green & brown (circle) lines. The train runs every hour from 6am to midnight. You can find timetables and buy aeroexpress ticketы on-line at www.aeroexpress.ru. From Domodedovo, the airport express train runs every hour to metro station Paveletskaya (Павелецкая, RUB 500, 40 to 50 minutes) on the brown (circle) & dark green lines. From Vnukovo airport, the airport express train goes to Kievskaya (Киевская) metro station on the dark blue & brown (circle) line and takes approx. 35 minutes (RUB 500). From these stations, take the metro (RUB55) to the green line. Our starting point hotel is located 15 minutes walk from metro station Tverskaya (Тверская). Exit the metro, cross by the underground walkway to the south west side of Tverskaya street. Head south west towards MacDonalds (the first one in Russia and once the biggest in the world). On the first intersection after MacDonalds turn right to the Sytinskiy lane (Сытинский переулок). Keep walking till the hotel. The lane will turn left soon and become Bolshoy Palashevskiy lane and then Spiridonievskiy lane. Once the lane turned left, our hotel will be on the right hand side after the forth intersection. Please note the address for Marco Polo Presnja Hotel below in Russian which may be useful to show to a taxi driver or to ask for directions: Отель Марко Поло Пресня Спиридоньевский пер., 9, стр. 1 Москва, 123001 м. Тверская

    Finish point

    Catherine Art Hotel

    32 Nevsky prospect, Tsentralny

    St Petersburg

    RUSSIAN FEDERATION

    Finish point description

    The Hotel is located in the heart of St. Petersburg, a favourite among the guests and the citizens of the Cultural Capital of Russia. The Kazan Cathedral, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, The State Russian Museum, the Field of Mars, the Summer Garden and the Hermitage – it’s possible to start this sightseeing route almost from the main entrance of the Hotel. ‘Gostiny Dvor’ and ‘Nevsky Prospect’ metro stations are just a few steps away. The Hotel is designed in the unique Petersburg style, featuring fully furnished rooms and European and Georgian restaurants on site.

    Finish point instructions

    If you have pre booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time. If you plan to make your own way to the airport, the hotel can help you book a taxi. It'll take about 30 minutes to an hour to the airport, depending on using tolled highway or not. Otherwise, by public transport: From Nevsky Prospekt (НЕВСКИЙ ПРОСПЕКТ) take 7 stops to “Moskovskaya” (МОСКОВСКАЯ) metro stop, it’s blue line. Follow the signs to the airport exit. From the bus stop take the bus #39 to the Pulkovo airport (40RUB, 20 minutes).

    Important information

    1. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel. 2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information. 3. Please provide the following details exactly as they appear in your passport at the time of booking so that we can book your train tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket if an amendment occurs. • Your full name (first, middle, last) • Passport details (number, nationality, issue, expiry dates, date of birth)

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Premium leaders are Intrepid’s most experienced, with in-depth knowledge and extensive local networks to make it a trip of a lifetime. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. When not already included in your trip, your leader will be able to recommend a local guide service who can share more detailed or specialised information at specific sites should you be interested in delving deeper.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    RUSSIA Most visits to Russia are trouble-free, but petty crime does happen in cities. In St Petersburg there have been reports of street crime where tourists have been specifically targeted. These crimes are carried out by well-organised gangs. Be aware of pickpockets in the main tourist areas and around the main railway concourses. Bogus police officers have harassed and robbed tourists. If you are stopped always insist on seeing identification.Avoid openly carrying expensive items. Avoid walking about late at night alone. Incidents of violence in major cities are usually linked to criminal/business activities and are not usually directed against foreign visitors. If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat. Don’t leave your sleeping compartment unoccupied as some compartments only have a simple lock on the sliding door. On some trains there may be an additional security device, which can be attached to the fitted handle/lock unit. There may also be a steel switch at head-height on the door panel which, when pulled down, prevents the closed door from being slid open. Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveller or allow it to be stored in your compartment. When on international trains crossing borders, you should be extra vigilant and pay special attention to your luggage to be sure that no one else has put anything in your luggage.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. RUSSIAN VISAS Most nationalities require a visa for Russia.  RUSSIA - LETTER OF INVITATION (LOI) You will need a Letter of Invitation (LOI), sometimes called a Voucher or Visa Support Letter in order to apply for your visa. Logins and your trip code will be sent to you at the time of booking so that you can obtain your LOI online through our local partners in Russia, Parallel 60, via this link:  https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/russian-letter-invitation-loi-and-visa You will then be able to download your LOI instantly. Please note that the LOI included in the cost of your tour is for a Single Entry Tourist Visa. We will also add 3 days to the LOI duration before and after your trip dates for your convenience in case you have booked pre or post accommodation. If you require a different visa type or are planning to stay longer than these dates please contact Parallel 60 (www.visain.ru) directly to request a LOI to fit your specific travel plans. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN VISA APPLICATION: Once you have obtained your LOI you can apply for your visa. You must apply for your Russian visa in advance. Visas are not available on arrival or en-route. It is your responsibility to apply for your own visa either directly through a consulate or by using a visa agent. We do not recommend trying to obtain your Russian visa outside of your home country or place of residence as your application may be refused. Use ONLY the information and dates on your LOI when filling in your visa application. There is no need to reference us or include a copy of your itinerary as Parallel 60, our Russian partners, are the official inviting organisation. Do not be concerned if the destinations and accommodation listed do not match your trip exactly. This information is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel and stay once in Russia. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN VISA APPLICATION: * Letter of Invitation (LOI) * Photocopy of your passport * Passport size photos  * Flight or other transport details (if requested) * Please check with the consulate for any other specific requirements VISA EXTENSIONS IN RUSSIA Please be aware that visa extensions are NOT possible in Russia. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR RUSSIAN TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS Train tickets in Russia are booked with passport numbers. Please make sure you provide us with your correct passport number. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip. If we receive changes to passport numbers less than 35 days prior to departure we cannot guarantee purchase of train tickets. We do NOT recommend travelling on multiple passports for trips that involve border crossings by train. This can cause difficulties with train ticket bookings and cause significant issues delays at immigration. RUSSIAN MIGRATION CARDS All foreign citizens entering Russia are required to fill in a migration card on arrival. The entry portion of the card will be retained by immigration upon arrival. The stamped exit portion of the card must be kept with your passport during your stay in Russia and submitted to immigration upon departure. If you are not given a migration card at immigration on arrival you must request one, even if the immigration official says that you do not need one. Loss or failure to receive the exit portion of the card will result in you not being able to travel on our trip as all hotels require this card for registration and may result in significant delays or fines upon departure. If you travel to Russia from one of the Custom Union countries – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, please ask for one when going through immigrations into one of these countries or make sure to get one when entering into Russia.

    Why we love it

    Join in local life and customs in the Golden Ring town of Suzdal as you share a traditional meal in a Russian home and take part in a pastry making demonstration.

    Soak up the atmosphere of Moscow’s Red Square and Kremlin, and marvel at the opulence of Peter the Great’s grand palace, gardens and fountains in Peterof.

    Discover treasure-upon-treasure at the incredible art collection housed in St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum, with the expert guidance of an art historian.

    Enjoy an elegant feature stay in a prestigious location – your hotel sits on the beautiful grounds of the Konstantin Palace, former home of the Romanov Tsars.

    Step into the resplendently decorated Polovtsov Mansion for a tour of the historical building, followed by an unforgettable private concert paired with champagne.

    Is this trip right for you

    This trip is a comfortable way to see the highlights and learn the history of Russia’s most iconic sights, using private transport and high-speed day trains. We pack a lot into this short itinerary, so be prepared for days full of activities. We highly recommend staying additional days in St Petersburg and Moscow to get the most out of these fascinating destinations. We recommend packing light and compact for this trip, as you will need to be able to carry your luggage on and off trains.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 RUSSIA GIARDIA Giardia intestinalis, a parasite that causes severe diarrhoea has been reported from time to time in the water supply in Russia. For this reason, we recommend against drinking unboiled tap water in all Russian cites. IMPORTANT - BANNED MEDICATIONS By law, travellers bringing prescribed medicines into Russia must carry a prescription in the patient's name, that includes the name of the drug and prescribed quantity. According to official channels, if your medication contains "narcotic or psychoactive substances", a notarised translation into Russian is also required. This may include medications containing codeine or opiates, sleeping pills, medication for ADHD, antidepressants and strong painkillers. Some medicines that you can buy over the counter in your home country may require a prescription in Russia. There have been cases of travellers being detained at border crossings when undeclared or banned medications have been discovered by customs sniffer dogs. If you’re unsure whether you need to provide a prescription and notarised translation to bring your medicines into Russia, check with the Russian Embassy before you travel. TICKS In spring and early summer in rural areas of Russia ticks are prevalent. Please take precautions when walking in these areas by wearing long trousers and covered shoes, and check your clothes and body thoroughly. HYGIENE The diet and hygiene standards on this trip may be very different from what you are used to so please take care with washing hands before meals etc. and bring some medication/re-hydration salts etc if you commonly experience stomach problems with a change in diet.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure. RUSSIA What is food in Russia really like? See our blog here for some must try foods: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/5-foods-really-need-try-russia/ Vegetarians in Russia certainly won't go hungry as there are usually plenty of meat-free options on menus including salads, certain soups, and cooked dishes such as mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, buckwheat, dumplings with vegetable fillings, savoury pancakes etc. Vegans will need to look for options without mayonnaise, sour cream and cheese which are common in Russian dishes. Moscow, St Petersburg and increasingly other towns have an ever growing number of excellent vegetarian and vegan eateries. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may wish to supplement inclusions with their own supplies from markets or supermarkets.

    Money matters

    TIPPING Tips are included on all Intrepid Premium trips, covering hotel staff, local guides and the people who will take care of you during your travels. This amount does not include a tip for your leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your leader for outstanding service provided during your trip. You are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length and involvement of your leader on your trip. Tips are greatly appreciated as a gesture of thanks for their professionalism and leadership during your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however, as a guideline, US$3-6 per person (in a currency relevant for your destination), per day can be used. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. RUSSIA The official currency of Russia is the Ruble (RUB). 1 ruble = 100 kopeks. ATMs are widespread in Russia so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit or debit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart and note that recent travellers have experienced difficulties in using credit cards without a debit function from US banks for purchases or withdrawals. If you are travelling to remote parts of the country you will need to prepare cash exchanged into local currency. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange as what is advertised is sometimes only for transactions above US$500, carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt. Due to restrictions on changing money in Russia, only US$50 and US$100 notes/bills printed after 1996 and in good condition (no creases, marks, stamps or tears) will be accepted. Avoid bringing US$ notes in smaller denominations. By law, all purchases in Russia must be made in local currency.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. We recommend you pack as lightly as possible, ensuring that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Help will be on hand in most locations, but there may be times you need to handle your own luggage, for example in airports and train stations. A lockable suitcase with wheels is ideal for this trip. It is recommended that you keep your main luggage weight around 15kg and certainly no more than 20kg. A small or medium-sized backpack (45-50 litres) is another good option. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, jacket, etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below is a link to our ultimate packing list, a guide to get you started:

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    Climate and seasonal

    RUSSIAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day: 1 Jan New Year Holiday Week: 2-8 Jan Orthodox Christmas Day: 7 Jan Defenders of the Fatherland Day: 23 Feb International Womens Day: 8 Mar Spring & Labour Day: 1 May Spring & Labour Day Holiday: 2 May Victory Day: 9 May Russia Day: 12 Jun Russia Day holiday: 13 Jun Unity Day: 4 Nov

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    Can’t stop thinking about your adventure? Tell us all about it! We read each piece of feedback carefully and use it to make improvements for travellers like you. Share your experience with us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +7 918 6151572

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. BOOKING THEATRE TICKETS IN ADVANCE 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 which performances you are going to want attend and make sure that the dates correspond to your trip. If you are unsure about when to book your tickets please get in touch with your booking agent and find out what times and dates are free for you to see a show. As we don't want you to double book yourself! In particular we recommend you see what's playing at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, as it may be difficult to get tickets when you are there especially during White Nights in St Petersburg. Here are some useful internet sites to check for what will be on (ballet, opera, exhibitions, etc) in Moscow and St Petersburg: www.mariinsky.ru, www.bolshoi.ru and www.mikhailovsky.ru

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