AUD 7840 / pp

DATES & RATES

Christmas Adventures & Northern Lights

Finland

Norway

Russia

Winter adventures and northern lights hunt

Spend your holiday in one of the most famous winter wonderlands in the world, Russia. See the vibrant capital, Moscow, then travel to the majestic St Petersburg. Experience Russia of Leo Tolstoy's novels & celebrate New Year as Russians do. Enjoy the spectacular nature of the wilderness centre Camp Tamok, the scenic destinations of Tromsø and Kirkenes, as well as action-packed arctic activities like dog-sledding. You will also have a chance to stay at the famous Snow Hotel and have many opportunities to view the northern lights!

Itinerary

Moscow → St Petersburg → Helsinki → Tromsø → Kirkenes

Day 1: Arrive Moscow, Russia

A tour to Russia is not complete without a tour to Moscow, the heart of Russia and one of the oldest cities in the country. It was founded in 1147. Now Moscow is a city of bright contrasts where quiet patriarchal courts and small streets adjoin to futuristic business centres, and old neighbourhoods are interspersed with modern high-rises. On arrival at Moscow, take a private transfer to your hotel. Check-in. Afternoon at leisure. Group tours enjoy welcome dinner & vodka tasting! Overnight in Moscow.

Day 2: Mighty Kremlin & The City

Full-day (8 hours) guided sightseeing tour in Moscow. Take the bus city tour covering city's most remarkable highlights such as Novodevichy Convent, Sparrow Hills, Arbat and Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Visit the Moscow Kremlin, the very heart of Moscow and Russia! Walk along monumental walls, golden-domed cathedrals and, of course, most recognizable towers with iconic red stars. Explore the treasure of its world-famous museums including the Armory. The Red Square Christmas market is set around one of Moscow’s largest ice rinks and surrounded by the imposing walls of the Kremlin, the colourful St Basil’s Cathedral and famous GUM shopping centre. This is the main Christmas market in Moscow, where you can enjoy a pleasant and nice atmosphere of New Year, buy different traditional Russian presents and taste many types of traditional Russian food and drinks. Manezhnaya Square Christmas market is right next to Red Square. Here you’ll get the opportunity to see the highest Christmas tree of the festival (20 meters!). Overnight in Moscow.

Day 3: New Year in Moscow

Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in Moscow. A short ride from the city centre will take you to Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve, where you can get an idea of what Medieval Moscow looked like. Today, visit the Tretyakov State Art Gallery, the foremost depository of Russian fine art in the world. The collection contains more than 130,000 exhibits. During the tour, you also take a ride by the famous Moscow metro with its lavishly decorated “underground palaces”. End a day at VDNKh with its world's largest open-air skating rink (skating is optional). In the evening, join a New Year Celebration Party in the Russian capital! In Russia, the New Year holiday trumps even Christmas in importance. Major celebrations take place all over the country in recognition of the holiday. Overnight in Moscow.

Day 4: Arrive St Petersburg

After check out of the hotel in Moscow, you will be transferred to the railway station to board the high-speed train for 4 hours journey to St Petersburg. On arrival at St Petersburg, take a transfer to your hotel. Check-in. Founded by the Tsar Peter the Great on the 27th of May 1703, St Petersburg was planned and built as the capital of newly emerged Russian Empire. Today, it is arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Winter is a very special time to Russia and its people. You will see one of the most beautiful cities in the world covered with snow and ice — it feels like you’re stepping into a famous Russian novel! See how the locals deal with cold and snow — and participate! Open-air skating, snowball play in the parks, tobogganing down hills, walking along the frozen river banks of the Neva — experience the winter in one of the Snow Empire’s two capitals! Overnight in St Petersburg.

Day 5: The Hermitage & Iconic Landmarks

Full-day (8 hours) guided tour in St Petersburg. Today, you visit one of the most important sites in Russian history and heritage, the world-famous Palace of the Hermitage. Our experienced guides will make it interesting to follow the tricky path of the centuries behind it and give a better understanding of sophisticated Russian history. This former residence of the Romanovs Royal Family, the Hermitage today is the second-largest art museum in the world; its collection includes over 2.7 mln items. Then, take a tour to see the city’s iconic landmarks: Isaac Cathedral, Kazan Cathedral, Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral, and the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood — one of the most powerful constructions in Russian Orthodox Christian architecture, and an enthralling must-see. Overnight in St Petersburg.

Day 6: Catherine’s Palace

Day (6 hours) guided tour to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo (30 km south of St Petersburg). A splendid example of Russian Baroque, Catherine Palace delights its visitors with sumptuous Great Hall and Golden Enfilade of staterooms, including the world-famous Amber Room. The exposition of the palace covers almost 300-years history of the former imperial summer residence. A widely acknowledged masterpiece of garden and landscape art, Catherine Park includes variously styled pavilions, bridges, monuments and exotic garden structures that carry visitors away to other countries and bygone ages. Today you will also enjoy Troika ride experience. Troika is a traditional harness driving combination using a team of three horses abreast and pulling a sleigh or a carriage. Return to St Petersburg. Extra tours are available, please inquire. Overnight in St Petersburg.

Day 7: At Leisure

Today optional tours are available: visit Faberge museum, Russian museum or go out of the megapolis to discover Veliky Novgorod. In the evening, enjoy the folk show "Feel Yourself Russian" at the Nikolaevsky Palace. It is a unique performance, which allows feeling the history and soul of Russia. The classical music, performed by the quartet "Classique", create the gorgeous atmosphere of the XIX century. Overnight in St Petersburg.

Day 8: Arrive Helsinki, Finland

After breakfast, take a transfer to the train station to board the special “Allegro” train to Helsinki, Finland. Your driver will be waiting at the train station in Helsinki to take you to the hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight in Helsinki.

Day 9: Helsinki Tour

Set off for a guided walking city tour in Helsinki. Start with the City Hall, pass by the Parliament House, the great Lutheran Cathedral and the Sibelius Monument. Helsinki is one of the world’s top 10 most livable cities, it is also famous for its Art Nouveau architecture. Enjoy the day in the city. Overnight in Helsinki.

Day 10: Welcome to Tromsø & Norterhn Lights Hunt

At an appropriate time, take a flight to Tromsø, Norway. Upon arrival at Tromsø Airport, meet the driver to take a transfer to the cosy hotel in the city centre. We recommend spending the rest of the day exploring the charming city of the "capital of Northern Norway". There are many restaurants in the city centre for an early dinner to start the holiday with a taste of a true arctic meal. Overnight in Tromsø.

Day 11: Dog Sledding & Aurora Borealis

After breakfast at the hotel, spend the first half of the day at leisure in Tromsø exploring many attractions such as the Polar Museum, Arctic Cathedral and the Fjellheisen cable car. In the late afternoon, you will be taken to the wilderness centre, Camp Tamok. There you will join a thrilling dog sledding tour into the white landscapes, through an uninhabited forest landscape surrounded by majestic mountains. After the tour, you will have another opportunity to look for northern lights while enjoying dinner in a lavvu, a traditional Sami tent, at Camp Tamok, before being transferred back to your hotel. Overnight in Tromsø.

Day 12: Experience Tromsø

After breakfast, explore Tromsø at your leisure today. You can choose one of the optional tours or stroll around the city. Notable city attractions include the Art Museum of Northern Norway and Polaria. For a fantastic bird’s eye view over the city, you can take a ride up the Fjellheisen cable car to Mt. Storsteinen (421 m / 1382 ft.). Another alternative is booking an optional activity such as a reindeer sledding tour. Overnight in Tromsø.

Day 13: Journey to Kirkenes

After breakfast, meet the driver and take a transfer to the airport to take a domestic flight further north to Kirkenes. Kirkenes is located about 400 km (240 miles) above the Arctic Circle in northern Norway. With just over 3,000 inhabitants, including the native Sami people, this is a remote, scenic slice of Norway. Surrounded by fjords, mountains, forests and lakes, this area is a heaven for nature lovers, especially winter sport enthusiasts. On the arrival at Kirkenes meet the driver and take a transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight in Kirkenes.

Day 14: The Snow Hotel Experience

After breakfast at the hotel, spend the morning at leisure exploring Kirkenes including the Border Country Museum (Grenselandsmuseet), which tells the story of war and peace along the border, or the Andersgrotta Cave, a vast underground bunker that sheltered the town's residents during WWII. In the afternoon, meet the driver and take a transfer to the one-and-only Snow Hotel. There you will enjoy a drink at the Snow Bar and feast on a 3-course meal by the fireplace at the Høyloftet Restaurant before preparing for an amazing night in your special suite made of snow and ice*! Spend the night at the Snow Hotel. Please note that we offer the option of choosing to stay in a private cabin instead of in an ice room at the Snow Hotel.

Day 15: The Arctic North & Kirkenes

Spend the morning warming up in the Snow Hotel’s sauna and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Visit the hotel‘s on-site friendly reindeers and meet some happy Huskies before travelling back to Kirkenes. Overnight in Kirkenes.

Day 16: Departure

After breakfast, meet the driver and take a transfer to the airport in Kirkenes for your departure flight.

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Reindeer Sledding & Camp Tamok

You’ll start the morning with a transfer from Tromsø to Camp Tamok, where you’ll meet the reindeer herd. For the reindeer sledding, you’ll be provided with warm clothes before taking your seat in the sleigh. You will be driving in pairs with one reindeer pulling each sleigh. All you need to do is make yourself comfortable, sit back and enjoy the magical scenery. You’ll then have time to enjoy the cabins, tents and facilities at the camp. Warm-up over a bonfire in the cosy lavvo (Sami tent), where you will learn more about Sami people, their culture and history, feed the reindeer, and try the lasso-throwing method that Sami people use to catch reindeer when they are rounded up for marking. You’ll then enjoy a hot meal by the open fire of a cosy dining lavvu (Sami tent) before joining the evening dog sledding tour, as per your schedule. Please note this is a full-day program where you join both the snowmobiling tour and, as scheduled, the dog sledding & northern lights tour. Pickup in the morning is at 9:00 and you’ll return to Tromsø around 24:00 (midnight).

Russia

Citizens of the UK should apply for a visa only personally (63 GBP for a visa, issued in 20 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (120 $ NZ for a visa, issued in 10 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa through Visa Application Service Centers (120 AUD, issued in 4-10 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can apply for visa personally or through Visa Application Service Centers (160 USD for the USA citizens and 112 CAD for the citizens of Canada).

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What's included

Accommodation

3 nights at the hotel in Moscow (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)

4 nights at the hotel in St Petersburg (3*, 4* or 5* accommodation of your choice)

2 nights at the hotel in Helsinki (3* or 4* accommodation of your choice)

5 nights at the hotel in Tromsø (3* or 4* accommodation of your choice)

1 night at the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes (Please note that we offer the option of choosing to stay in a private cabin instead of in an ice room at the Snow Hotel)

Meals

Full breakfast at the hotels daily (except Day 1)

Welcome dinner & Vodka tasting in Moscow on Day 1

Nikolaevsky Palace performance with dinner in St Petersburg on Day 7

Gala Dinner, New Year Celebration on Day 3

Dinner on Day 11

Dinner at the Snow Hotel on Day 14

Guided tours

Moscow 2 full-day (8 hours) guided tours

St Petersburg full-day (8 hours) guided tour

Day (6 hours) guided tour to Pushkin/Tsarskoye Selo

Helsinki guided tour

Northern Lights Tour in Tromsø

Dog Sledding

Transportation

High-speed train Moscow to St Petersburg, standard class, 4 hours ride. Please inquire about business or 1st class upgrade and flight options

Meet and greet at the airports/train stations in Russia

Metro pass in Moscow

Private return airport/train station transfers in Russia

Transportation on tours as per program in a comfortable a/c car/minivan/bus in Russia (except Nikolaevsky Palace dinner)

Transfers to and from the Snow hotel

Domestic flight (Tromsø to Kirkenes)

Support

Russian visa supporting documents

Russian local sim card with data for the Russian part of the trip

24/7 English-speaking support line

Group tours are fully escorted by a bilingual tour director

Entrance tickets

Entrance tickets to all listed attractions (except optional)

Not Included

International flights

Visa fee

Porters

Extras of personal nature

Lunches and dinners

Travel insurance

Highlights

Watch the fascinating Aurora Borealis

Experience a dog sledding tour

Stay overnight at the Snow Hotel

Stroll around Red Square and tour the Kremlin

Visit the world-famous Hermitage Palace in St Petersburg

Discover the most beautiful stations of Moscow Metro

Book

Our reviews

Coco Bermudez

Australia

I was extremely satisfied with my trip. Everyone at the agency have been courteous and helpful from the very beginning, trying to organize our 17 day World Cup experience. The guides and drivers are very professional and friendly, and the accommodations were simply superb. I highly recommend World of Discoveries as I know they will turn your trip into an unforgettable experience.

Douglas Schroeder

Australia

Everything worked like clockwork, when someone was suppose to be there they were. Yuri and Cathrine were excellent guides in Moscow and St. Petersburg and we learned a lot from both. We chose the 4 star hotels, and were very satisfied. Would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested.

William Watt

Australia

I am a Sydney-based journalist who travelled to the 2018 World Cup with Discovery Russia, the sister company of World of Discoveries. Following is my review of that fabulous experience ... What a trip ... the World Cup, five cities, amazing camaraderie, and great tour leadership against the background of one of the globe’s most amazing countries ... Russia. My World Cup tour with Discovery Russia was one of the great experiences of my travel life. The Discovery Russia team provided a wonderful platform with an itinerary both practical and flexible. The local tours in each of the venue cities - Moscow, Kazan, Samara, Sochi and St Petersburg were informative and, importantly, fun. Considering the accommodation pressures created by the huge influx of Cup tourists, the hotels selected by Discovery Russia were more than adequate. Special mention goes to the Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky In St Petersburg. The tour leadership provided by the company was both expert and considerate. Importantly each traveller’s individual enjoyment and safety appeared to be the paramount consideration. This World Cup holiday was meant to be a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience for me but I am now planning for the next Cup. Bring on 2022 in Qatar!

Lyn Lennard

Australia

We have finished our trip in Mongolia and I busted to say thank you very much for all your assistance while we were on the ground in Russia. By far the best guide we had was Yuri in Moscow - he was excellent. We had a very good visit to Novgorod where Natalia was an excellent guide too, and we learnt much about Russian history: It was very good to have the car to take us around the Golden Circle and Victor was a good driver. and the guide in Peterhof and Faberge museum was very nice, approachable, taxis were always waiting for us when we got off the boat etc. We both had a very good holiday and learnt a lot about Russian history and culture: thanks again.

Stacey Filrose

Australia

Me and my family just returned from an Easter break to Moscow. I found the tour very good value for money and the company's assistance with the visa application was also helpful. Reservations, payment, visa letter, and pre-departure correspondence prior to trip (via email) was prompt and well explained with no problems. Final arrangements information were detailed. We knew exactly what to expect, who will be waiting for us, time and venue to meet even with any guides with us. Transport transfers and driver were punctual.

Katherine Ratcliff

Australia

CENTRAL ASIA, I’LL BE BACK! Central Asia was on my bucket list for years but I was reluctant to travel alone and my partner did not want to go. I found World of Discoveries most helpful in arranging my age/gender travel companion in our small group tour in October 2019. Everything run smooth from inquiry to farewell dinner in Nur-Sultan The tour was good value for money. Most meals included and great. Lots of local experiences. Great people on tour, helpful guides. I would love to return to explore more of Uzbekistan and would love to visit Tajikistan (that was not part of the tour). Yurt experience was just amazing. Such a great scenery and heartily people.

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