THE SUPER VALUE TOURS DIFFERENCE
A BETTER WAY TO TOUR: To us, 'value' means making a better way to tour. We love to surprise our guests with unique experiences, top-notch service, hidden local delights, & memories of a lifetime. Our tours are designed for the best balance of sightseeing and freedom while avoiding tourist traps.Russia is remarkably fascinating. We've designed this tour to share Russia's rich story through three ancient capitals.
HIGHLIGHTS OF RUSSIA
Suzdal and Vladimir:
Moscow Airport: Sheraton Moscow – Flying to Moscow can be tiring! Our first hotel is the best one near the airport so you can rest immediately after the long flight.
Suzdal: Pushkarskaya Sloboda – Traditional log cabins within walking distance of the Suzdal Kremlin (triple rooms not available).
Moscow: Baltschug Kempinski – This victorian hotel is just steps away from Red Square. Enjoy beautiful morning and evening views of the local area.
St. Petersburg: Taleon Imperial Hotel – Stay in a former palace where each room is uniquely decorated.
Arranging great culinary experiences is a specialty we are very proud of. Our development team samples each meal before presenting them to our guests. On this trip, you will have a chance to taste a variety of delicacies and renown local restaurants including expensive black caviar, authentic Russian Vodka, Caucasus BBQ, Cafe Pushkin, and more.
SUPER VALUE STANDARD
Charismatic and knowledgeable guide with extensive Super Value training.
A comprehensive travel insurance plan. Details
High quality headsets to hear our tour guide's presentation clearly.
Unlimited bottled water is provided throughout the entire trip.
Porterage service included at every hotel.
Visas for Russia
Please apply for a visa within 90-60 days before the departure date.
If you live in the states listed below, we can help submit an application package to San Francisco. The cost is $240USD per person (Additional $30 mailing fee will be charged if we need to mail your passport back when visa is done). If you do not reside in these states, we will prepare necessary materials so you may submit in person or by mail to your regional Russian visa office.
Health & Safety
Founded in 1108 by the Kieve Prince Vladimir Monomarch, the ancient city of Vladimir is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Once the capital of Russia, this Golden Ring city embodies a rich cultural and religious heritage. Between 1158-1165, Vladimir went through a period of prosperity and expansion. Today, Vladimir is the home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Golden Gates, the Assumption Cathedral, and the St. Demetrius Cathedral.
As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the original Cathedral of the Assumption was destroyed in the great fire in 1185. Over the centuries, the Cathedral has been rebuilt and restored into a masterpiece. The Cathedral was the principal church used in coronation ceremonies for princes of ancient Russia. Inside the Cathedral, guests can admire the beautiful 15th century frescoes depicting “The Last Judgment,” “Non-evening Light,” and “Abraham’s Bosom” as well as other lavish gold laced decorations. The Cathedral is still a functioning church where devotees can attend regular services.
The Golden Gate is one of Vladimir’s most well-known landmarks. Built in the 12th Century as a part of the city’s defense system, the Golden Gate has stood through the city’s celebrations and tragedies over the centuries. Today, the Golden Gate is no longer located at the edge of the city and has been moved to the city center as a symbol of Vladimir’s heritage and history.
The noteworthy and stunning white-stone façade of the St. Demetrius Cathedral is carved with over a thousand mystical creatures, King David, and other secular imagery. The Royal church is in a cube form with three internal naves and a helmet dome. While the interior of the Cathedral is not impressive, the intricate carving of the exterior is a must see for any visitor to Vladimir.
Dating back to 1024, Suzdal is one of the oldest towns in Russia and a part of the Golden Ring circuit. It was once the capital of several Russian principalities and later became an important religious center. This picturesque town is the perfect getaway for Russians and tourists alike. Although the town is only a little over four square miles, it is the home to more than 60 churches and monasteries. Suzdal showcases early examples of Russian architecture. The streets of Suzdal are lined with colorful traditional wooden houses with elaborate carving and white-stone cathedrals, visitors will feel like they have traveled back in time to a fairytale medieval town.
The heart of Suzdal is its Kremlin. Like other Russian Kremlins, it was originally a fortress used as a religious or administrative center. Once it held untold riches, the present day Kremlin has the oldest surviving monument –the 13th Century white-stone Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin. This UNESCO World Heritage site can be easily identified by its five colorful onion shaped domes. The lavish cathedral also features intricately crafted ancient double “Golden Gates” doors. The doors were constructed using a now forgotten craft of “fire gilding” fusing gold onto bronze. Across from the Golden Gates is the archbishops’ Cross Chamber, now a museum filled with historical Russian artifacts.
Matryoshka doll, also known as the nesting doll, is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed inside one another. The first set of dolls was created in 1890 and became internationally well known in 1890 when the dolls won a bronze medal at the World’s Fair held in Paris. The Matryoshka dolls are a unique Russian souvenir. With the help of a professional guide, you will learn and design your own Matryoshka doll to take home as a keepsake from this trip.
The monastery was built in the 14th century as a defensive fortress to protect Suzdal. This is the largest monastery in Suzdal. It contains the Assumption Church, a bell tower, the seven-domed Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior, a prison, and walls and towers surrounding the monastery. Guests will also appreciate the restored frescoes dating back to 1689 inside the Cathedral of Transfiguration. A unique tradition here is at the top of every hour, the bell tower will sound for 15 minutes.
This open-air museum consists of about twenty reconstructed wooden buildings brought here from various parts of the Vladimir region. The museum is a replica of a town in the 18th and 19th centuries, the architectural style and the interior decorations denote what life was like for an average Russian peasant during that time. The preserved wooden buildings include churches, farmhouses, barns, and windmills. Guests are invited to observe staff in traditional costumes performing live demonstrations such as pottery marking, bark weaving, and musical performances on ancient Russian stringed instruments.
This area is the heart of Moscow and often the first destination for visitors. Red Square is surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum, Europe’s largest department store, and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls. The cobble stones that make up the square are actually black and not red. The Red Square became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
Situated at the heart of Moscow, this area is a historic fortified complex often referred to simply as the Kremlin with St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square to the east and Alexander Garden to the west. This is one of the best known of Kremlins and is home to the president of the Russian Federation. The Armory Chamber holds a massive collection of Russian treasures including crown jewels, jewelry, artwork, and precious items from the Russian Tsars. Highlights include the Imperial Crown of Russia, Monomakh's Cap, the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible, and much more.
The Moscow subway system is highly efficient and a convenient form of transportation. It is also known as an underground palace, it has been recognized as the world’s most beautiful underground subway system. Nearly 200 stations, all uniquely designed by a famous artist using a variety of materials such as marble, mosaics, granite, ceramics, and multicolored glass. Each station, museum like, is rich in architecture history and design.
This large outdoor market is an exciting and colorful destination, often described as more of an event than a typical flea market. Rows of stalls line the market offering a wide variety of paintings, souvenirs, and handicrafts. Visiting the market also gives visitors an opportunity to interact with local Russians since many vendors speak some English and don’t mind bargaining.
This famous gallery in Moscow houses the foremost collection of Russian fine art in the world. The massive collection holds over 130,000 exhibits. Masterpieces include “Theotokos of Vladimir,” Andrei Rublev's “Trinity,” “Composition VII” by Wassily Kandinsky and the “Black Square” by Kazimir Malevich.
The Winter Palace was the official residence of the Russian monarchs from 1732-1917. The palace was constructed on a monumental scale to show the might of Imperial Russia. From the palace, the Tsars reigned over almost 1/6 of the Earth's total landmass and over 125 million subjects by the end of the 19th century. The Winter Palace would also become an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution. The Palace was brought to prominence largely by Catherine the Great who acquired artwork and building three adjoining palaces, known collectively as the “Hermitage. “ The Hermitage would later become Russia’s first public art gallery.
The Peter and Paul Fortress was founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and is the original citadel of St. Petersburg. From 1720 the fortress served as a prison for political enemies of Russia; famous prisoners include: author Fyodor Dostoevsky and revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Today the fortress houses the City History Museum, the Mint, and the Peter and Paul Cathedral.
Neva River is about 46 miles long and flows between Lake Ladoga to the Gulf of Finland. The Neva River is an integral part of St. Petersburg’s history, culture, and charm. The river is considered to be the first “main street” of St. Petersburg. Over the centuries, more than 400 bridges were built earning the city its nickname, “Venice of the North.” Super Value Tours will privately charter a boat to take our guests along with Neva River to see historical sites such as the Peter and Paul fortress.
Often regarded as the “Russian’s Versailles,” the Summer Palace was a personal favorite of Peter the Great. In the early 18th century, Peter the Great selected the location of the palace and sketched out the gardens, pavilions, and fountains layout. Today, the Summer Palace is one of the main attractions in St. Petersburg. The lower gardens, also the most beautiful, contain the world’s largest fountain system. While most tours do not cover the lower gardens, Super Value Tours felt it was important to see the grandeur of the palace in its entirety including the magnificent golden fountain cascades. The two-story regal Grand Palace sits between the lower and upper/formal gardens. Be awed by the lavish interior decorations, fine arts collection, and personal artifacts belonging to Peter the Great. The Summer Palace is one of the best examples of Russian palaces showcasing the wealth of the monarchs.
The Catherine Palace was the summer residence of Catherine the Great. The palace and gardens portrays the opulent lifestyle of the Russian tsars and emperors during that time period. Filled with 18th century paintings and decors, the white and gold palace is surrounded by 1400 acres of luscious gardens. The magnificent and well known Amber Room is one of the main attractions.
Commissioned in 1818, the construction of the St. Issac Cathedral took over 40 years. The magnificent gilded dome of the cathedral is plated with pure gold and still dominates the skyline of St. Petersburg. Adorned with incredibly detailed mosaic icons, paintings, and columns made of malachite and lapis lazuli, the lavish interior of the church is open as a museum to visitors. The church was designed to accommodate over 14,000 standing worshippers during major ecclesiastical occasions. Visitors can also ascend 300 steps up to the cathedral’s colonnade for a spectacular view of St. Petersburg.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is an important landmark showcasing classical Russian style architecture. Built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II, the Liberator, was assassinated, the construction of the church took nearly 25 years. The interior and exterior of the church features the largest collection (over 75,000 sq ft) of intricate mosaics in Russia, mostly designed by famous artisans. The principle architect on the project was Alfred Alexandrovich Parland. He designed the exterior of the church to mirror the St. Basil church in Moscow.
For more than two centuries, the Mariinksy Theatre has been one of the premier ballet and opera houses in Russia. During pre-revolutionary times, the theatre hosted many of Russia’s most celebrated classical performers such as Anna Pavlova, Vaslav Nijinksy, and Mathilde Kschessinska. The theatre’s interior has been well preserved; lavishly decorated interior is sure to take anyone’s breath away. Be sure to dress up for a visit to the theatre and enjoy a memorable night of beautiful ballet performances.
Located near the Moscow Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), the hotel was newly renovated in 2013. The close proximity to the airport allows guests to rest immediately after a long flight and adjust to the time difference. All the rooms are equipped with exclusive Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed, fully soundproofed walls, Nespresso coffeemaker, and high speed internet access. The two restaurants in the hotel also feature the best of European and Asian cuisines.
A stay in the Pushkarskaya Sloboda is like living in a real-life Russian fairytale. The hotel consists of several 19th-century buildings, traditional Russian log cabins, and a modern annex. The hotel offers a panoramic view of the Kamenka River and is walking distance to the Suzdal Kremlin. You will be staying in 4-star log cabins which offer a serene atmosphere and luxurious experience. The hotel also offers a variety of dining options specializing in delicious traditional Russian and European cuisines.
Located in the heart of Moscow, this 5-star Victorian style hotel offers you the best accommodations in Moscow. Walking distance to the Kremlin, Red Square, and St. Basil’s Cathedral, so you may easily visit these attractions multiple times throughout the day for different views. We have chosen this hotel not only for its top of the line accommodations but also for its central location. Traffic in Moscow is notoriously heavy, but by staying at the center of Moscow, we can get to many attractions on foot instead of wasting precious vacation time sitting in traffic.
Once a palace, the 5-star Taleon Imperial Hotel is the only privately owned palace hotel in St. Petersburg. Each room is uniquely designed and the hotel has been expanded and renovated to preserve the historic heritage of the building. Today, the hotel combines old-world legacies and opulence with new world state-of-the-art luxury. Located in the city center, the hotel is walking distance to the Hermitage Museum, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the Church of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood. Super Value Tours has chosen this hotel so our guests can feel like royalty while having modern amenities and easy access to main attractions.