Russia has been a YPT favourite for many years, from expeditions to remote gulags in Siberia to navigating Chechnya and the unstable North Caucasus region. Now, we bring you our ultimate Soviet Russia tour at a price even Lenin would be proud of!
Beginning in the heart of the revolution, Saint Petersburg, we’ll trace the footsteps of Lenin, Stalin and other revolutionaries of the Bolshevik uprising, we will then explore the incredible Tsarist era history of Russia’s Northern capital. In Moscow, we’ll explore this megacity and see it’s fascinating architecture, mountains of history and pay a visit to Lenin himself at the mausoleum! We’ll also pay a visit to the world famous Kubinka tank museum.
After Moscow, we begin our epic journey Eastwards toward Siberia. Hitting up the autonomous republic of Tatarstan with its beautiful mosques and distinct Islamic culture. In Ulyanovsk, the hometown of Lenin, we’ll visit the home and memorial centre of the big man and revel in Soviet nostalgia. We’ll cross the Volga, visit the Kalashnikov centre and see polar bears in Izhevsk.
Heading deep into the Ural mountains to reach Yekaterinburg, we’ll see where the 300 year old Romanov dynasty met a bloodthirsty end at the site of the killing and the infamous pit where the bodies were disposed of. We’ll then see the remains of the city’s Soviet history and round off at the monument of the official border between Europe and Asia. We’ll then round off on a final epic train journey back to Moscow!
This tour is the end of an epic trip which takes us through the most exciting parts of the Soviet Union!
This tour is a standalone section of a much longer tour, the other parts of which can be seen below:
Meet up in our centrally located hotel with those coming from Transnistria and have a pre-tour meeting
At 6pm we’ll head out for an evening meal and round off the night in a Ryumochnaya (the Russian word for shot glass), these drinking holes are as close as you’ll get to the drinking traditions of 19th-century Russia. Cheap and unpretentious, they were a step up from drinking at home (or in the street), the place to go if you couldn’t afford a restaurant in both the USSR and 90s Russia. At our local favourite, there is no sign outside but you can spot the place by the large head of Lenin in the window. The traditional order would be zakuski – Russian hors d’oeuvres of dill pickles, sausages, pickled herring – consumed with alcohol.
Overnight in Saint Petersburg.
Sunday 5th September – Saint Petersburg
We hit the ground running with a Soviet tour of Saint Petersburg.
First, we’ll visit the famous museum in The Cruiser Aurora, a famous vessel that fired the first shot that launched the Russian Revolution.
We’ll then visit the Finlyandsky Railway terminal, best known as the terminal that Vladimir Lenin used to return to Russia from Germany to start the 1918 Revolution, Lenin rode into St. Petersburg on engine #293 disguised as a railway worker, after previously previously fleeing persecution after the July Days riots.
We will then visit Tauride Palace, one of the oldest and largest palaces in St. Petersburg. It was built by Catherine the Great. This was the site where the revolutionary provisional government was formed in 1917.
We’ll visit the famous Lenin Memorial Museum, here we will view Lenin’s office and living quarters, the assembly hall in which Lenin spoke, as well as the former school for the girls. The gallery is one of the few Lenin museums still in existence.
Visit to the Apartment Museum of the Alliluevs, or ‘Lenin’s secret flat’ was home to Sergey Allileuv, a Russian revolutionary and his daughter Nadezhda Allilueva, Stalin’s second wife. Allileuv was also a participant in the October 1917 Revolution. The Allileuv’s provided refuge to Lenin and Stalin when both were fugitives.
We’ll then visit Uprising Square with its imposing Soviet monument, called so due to the numerous political uprisings and protests that have occurred there.
Dinner and overnight in Saint Petersburg.
Monday 6th september – Saint Petersburg
After breakfast, we indulge in the Tsarist history of Saint Petersburg.
We’ll be taking in the stunning Admiralty house, the Kazan cathedral and the picturesque church of the saviour of spilled blood.
We’ll then visit the world famous Hermitage museum, former winter palace of the Tsars, and explore its many world class artifacts. This is the 2nd biggest art museum on the planet, so we will assign a meetup point and time for you to explore areas specific to your interest.
Free time in the evening to explore any specific sights you wish to see yourself in Saint Petersburg.
We grab our bags and board the night train to Moscow.
Overnight on the train.
Tuesday 7th September – Moscow
We arrive in Moscow in the morning, grab some breakfast at the train station and transfer to our hotel to drop off our bags and meet our local guide for the day.
We’ll take in key sights such as the KGB Building, Metropol Hotel, Bolshoi Theater, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, GUM department store and round off at the incredible fallen monument park, With the fall of the USSR, the thousands of Soviet statues were destroyed or dispersed. Some of the most formidable ended up here in the Fallen Monument Park.
We’ll then head to a great local Georgian restaurant for evening meal.
Overnight in Moscow.
Wednesday 8th September – Moscow
After breakfast we head out early to see Lenin’s embalmed body in his mausoleum on Red Square.
We head out of Moscow in a private car to the famous Kubinka centre, the world’s biggest tank museum. It has a gigantic collection of Soviet tanks from pre-WWII to modern day. It also features a huge amount of captured German tanks from WWII, as well as tanks of other countries. Here you will have the rare chance to see stunning military equipment from all over the world. Featuring the huge German self-propelled mortar Karl Gerat and one of only two Maus tanks left in the world weighing 188 tons.
Return to Moscow where you will have some free time to explore any specific sights you wish to see yourself in Moscow.
We grab our bags and board the night train to Kazan, the capital of the autonomous Tatarstan.
Overnight on train.
Thursday 9th September – Kazan-Ulyanovsk
Morning arrival, we grab breakfast at the station or nearby then transfer to our hotel.
We will meet our local Tatar guide to take a tour around the beautiful city of Kazan.
Our first stop will be the Kazan Kremlin – one of the most beautiful kremlins in Russia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We will then take in sights such as the Qol-Şärif Mosque, Söyembikä Tower, Staraya Tatarskaya Sloboda – one of the oldest districts in Kazan where many historical buildings have been preserved and practically each of them are connected with a figure of Tatar culture, Bogoroditskaya Monastery – where the Vatican copy of the Our Lady of Kazan Icon is held, Ss Peter and Paul’s Church – one of the most beautiful churches in Tatarstan and perhaps even Russia with unusual decorations and mouldings, Kazan Registry Office – in the form of a giant Kazan cauldron, Kazan-Arena stadium – built for the 2013 Summer Universiade.
We will then board the train to the birthplace of Lenin, Ulyanovsk, arriving around midnight we will check into our hotel for a well earned rest.
Overnight in Ulyanovsk.
Friday 10th September – Ulyanovsk
After breakfast, we will head to the most famous site in the city: The Lenin memorial centre. This massive memorial centre dedicated to Ulyanovsk’s most famous son is crammed with busts, photos and portraits of Lenin, from his time as a young revolutionary to his evolution as the figurehead of a Soviet cult.
We will then visit the family home of Lenin in the city.
We will then walk across Russia’s most famous river, the mighty Volga!
Check out the impressive monument to Dmitriy Razumovskiy, a local special forces soldier who was slain whilst rescuing children during the horrific Beslan school siege.
We then check out the impressive aviation museum featuring over 40 planes and helicopters from the USSR, if we’re lucky, we’ll have the chance to walk out onto the wing of a rare Tupolev 144!
We enjoy an evening meal and a relaxing evening before taking the night train to Izhvesk, Russia’s weapons manufacturing capital.
Overnight on train.
Saturday 11th September – Izhvesk
We store our bags in the station and grab breakfast before heading to the Izhmash museum, dedicated to the Izhmash plant which produced motorbikes and Kalashnikovs. On display are many rare motorbikes and a relaxed arsenal of weaponry.
We then pay a visit to a centre dedicated to the man who created arguably one of the most lethal weapons of mass destruction in human history: The MIkhail Kalashnikov Museum, charting the creation of the weapon and the life of Kalashnikov. You will be allowed to fire a Kalashnikov if you wish as the museum basement has a firing range. Bring your passport and driver’s license if you wish to fire weapons.
After lunch, we’ll then pay a visit to the Izhvesk city zoo home to arctic foxes, Amur leopards and polar bears.
After dinner, we’ll then take the night train deep into the Ural mountains to the city of Yekaterinburg.
Overnight on the train
Sunday 12th September – Yekaterinburg
Arriving around 10am we’ll check into hotel and begin a tour of the city of Yekaterinburg.
We’ll see the Square of 1905, the square became the center of revolutionary events in the city during the early 20th century, In 1905, the Bolsheviks revealed the Manifesto of October 17. The rally was interrupted by the Black Hundreds and the Cossacks, and the ensuing fight resulted in several deaths.
We’ll check out the 5 story tall Yekaterinburg City Administration built during the Soviet Union period, it is to this day a spectacular sight to behold due to its marvelous architectural design.
City Dam built in 1723 and served as the base for the industrial expansion of the city. Today, it is home to a prominent monument of the Industrial Age, the statue of Tatishev and De Genin.
We’ll see the Keyboard Monument, 86 concrete keys arranged in the shape of a QWERTY keyboard. It represents Western technological culture, but maintains the tradition of Eastern stone gardens. The Keyboard Monument is thus perfectly situated, as it stands on the border of Europe and Asia.
We’ll see the State Academic Philharmonic which is one of the best in Russia. On the opening day of the Philharmonic, the State Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of U.S. conductor Vladimir Savich, performed Tchaikovsky’s “Sixth Symphony” and Respighi’s “Pines of Rome”. The latter was performed for the first time in the Soviet Union.
A historic highlight of the tour will be the Church of All Saints which is a Russian Orthodox church, built in 2003 on the site where the former Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and several members of his family and household were executed following the Bolshevik Revolution.
We’ll check out Rastorguev-Kharitonov’s Palace arguably the grandest palatial residence in the Urals. It’s former owner was jailed for life for the cruel treatment and torture of serfs.
We’ll check out the incredible Black Tulip Memorial, a recreated cargo space of a military transport plane that used to transport the bodies of dead Russian soldiers back home from the Afghan war. Such aircraft were called “Black Tulips” by the Afghan veterans. The names of the 240 soldiers killed in Afghanistan are carved on the ten pylons of the monument. After the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya, granite plates with the names of servicemen killed in Chechnya and Dagestan were added to the memorial.
We’ll see the Statue of Yakov Sverdlov a Bolshevik revolutionary and close ally of Vladimir Lenin before rounding off our walking tour at the opulent opera and ballet house built in a similar style to the Odessa and Vienna opera houses.
There is then the option of free time or a visit to the military technology museum, this vast indoor and open-air collection of tanks and armoured vehicles is located on the northern outskirts of Yekaterinburg in Verkhnyaya Pyshma. It’s one of the largest of its kind in the world, with an extensive range of large military tanks and helicopters located outdoors, and smaller military craft and retro automobiles on display indoors.
Evening meal and overnight in Yekaterinburg.
Monday 13th September – Izhmash
After breakfast, we check out and store our bags at the hotel and jump in the car to explore what makes Yekaterinburg infamous across the world. We show you the most dramatic period of Russian history, the time of the Revolution. After the brutal execution of the Romanov family, the corpses were transported out of the city and put in an open mine called Ganina’s Pit. Hand grenades were thrown down the mine shaft by their executioners. The bodies were taken out of the mine, dissected and burnt into ash. There is a monastery there founded in 2000 after the visit of Patriarch Alexy II – the Head of Russian Orthodox Church. The churches were built with the local timber without the aid of any nails.
After taking in this priceless historical area, we head into the Ural mountains, regarded as the border between Europe and Asia. To the west of the Urals lies European Russia, the cradle of the Russian culture and to the east lies the vast land of Siberia. You will visit the obelisk between Europe and Asia. You can put one foot in Europe and another one in Asia and take some unique photographs. On the way you will stop at the memorial complex, which was set up in 1995 in honour of the victims of Stalin’s repression.
Returning to the city, we grab our bags and take the epic 31 hour train journey back to Moscow.
Overnight on the train.
Tuesday 14th September – Yekaterinburg
Most of the day on the train where your YPT guide will keep you entertained, relax in the restaurant car and have some beers and vodka to celebrate the completion of your epic Russian journey!
We’ll be arriving in Moscow around 22:00 and check into our hotel for a last night in the capital city of Mother Russia
•LOI: We can provide same day invitation letters to Russia for €25
•Transportation to and from the beginning and end of tour
•Single Supplement (Not available on train/ 6 hotels nights : €210)
•Food and drinks
•Tips for the local guide and driver
We have expert guides ready to help answer any questions you may have.