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From dynamic Moscow to the glitteringly romantic St Petersburg, there is much to discover in this vast country. It's easy to overlook the sheer vastness of Russia when so many of the best known highlights are concentrated in Moscow and St Petersburg. Certainly these two key cities contain more than enough astonishing sights to occupy the most seasoned travellers. A dynamic and intriguing city, the traditions, culture and customs of Moscow were long quarantined by politics and conflict but today offer a fresh appeal. You can explore Red Square, characterised by the imposing spires of St Basil's Cathedral, and visit the famous Armoury museum and Russian Crown Jewels at the Kremlin. The second largest city in Russia is a city of haunting magnificence and undoubtedly the country's cultural heart. A dazzling metropolis, St Petersburg still feels like a city frozen in time. You can visit architectural wonders such as the Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral, and lose yourself in the cavernous Hermitage Museum, home to over three million works of art including some of the most famous paintings and sculptures in the world. But there is so much more to see in the towns along the riverbanks and canals that connect these two magical cities. Northeast of Moscow, the Golden Ring is a ring of ancient picturesque towns that have preserved the memory of the most significant events in the nation's history. In the country's wild, barren interior you'll find a litany of Soviet-era cities, stunning landscape and, of course, that most famous of train journeys: the Trans-Siberian Express.
Russia with A&K
It's known as oiling the wheels - and nobody does it better than A&K. Absolutely nobody. Guy Richards would agree. As he landed in Moscow, anticipation mingled with dread at the prospect of the lengthy entry formalities. He needn't have worried. Stepping off the plane, he was greeted by our representative and escorted past long queues before enjoying a VIP fast track through customs and passport control. While other passengers waited in a chaotic arrivals hall, Guy was half way to his hotel in our chauffeured limo.
That start sets the tone. We understand exactly how to make your Abercrombie & Kent Russian holiday, or short break to Moscow and St Petersburg, run as smoothly as possible. Two of our five European offices are based there with staff on call round-the-clock, superb local guides - their fluent English is matched by a desire to share wide-ranging knowledge - and top notch contacts to arrange exclusive experiences. Given the country's wonderful architecture, history and culture, it can add a new dimension to your visit, from private tours of the Hermitage's off-limits departments, to expert vodka and caviar tasting.
Travel to Russia with A&K and we'll show you Moscow's iconic highlights from Red Square with St Basil's Cathedral and Lenin's tomb, to the Kremlin - don't miss the Armoury Palace's 190-carat Orlov diamond - and eye-popping opulence of Tretyakovsky Street. Head northwest to St Petersburg for canals, palaces (Peter the Great's summer pad rivals Versailles) and awe-inspiring cathedrals. Recent renovation has spawned sumptuous hotels, a new Hermitage contemporary art wing and modernist Marinksy Theatre with amazing rooftop amphitheatre.
Outside the two blockbuster cites, we can ensure comfortable visits to Black Sea resorts, Siberia's vast frozen tundra and the Kamchatka Peninsula's UNESCO listed volcanoes, where you're closer to America than Moscow. Alternatively take a Volga cruise for a very different Russia of serene historic villages, Uglich's 12th century wood houses and the black-domed Goritsky Monastery.
It's vast, sprawling, diverse, but our guides make it manageable and intimate. You've written to tell us about Mila. During the Cold War, her commentary was scripted. Now she revels in the freedom of speech, providing insights into her fast changing country. She's utterly compelling.
Best time to be there
May to October is the best time to enjoy the summer days. Russian winters can be extremely cold, but if well protected against the elements, is a romantic time to visit.
St Petersburg (British Airways) or Moscow (British Airways and easyJet)
3.5 to 4 hours
GMT +3 hours
Yes, obtainable in advance
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
Nights: 14 | from £9,895pp
Undoubtedly the world's greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across Russia, connecting east and west from Moscow... Find out more
Holiday type: Group departure
Adventure & Culture
Call 01242 547 922 Enquire
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Hotel Astoria opened in 1913 and has been the venue of choice for novelists, dancers, artists, poets, actors, photographers, presidents and royalty. Outside,...Find out more
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To find out more about our Europe team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 703 or enquire online
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Our recent awards
The hotel (Intercontinental Moscow) was brilliant, nothing too much trouble and they seemed genuinely pleased to see us and our rooms were very comfortable, room service really good and the food excellent as well as the service in the restaurant.
- Bedford, RH