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Christmas Lights & Polar Nights 2014 

onboard the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

 

 

 



 

 

St. Petersburg - Kirkenes - Murmansk – Moscow.

 

Tour Departure Dates 

December 29th  2014           and             February 12th  2015   

Comprising - 2 nights St. Petersburg, 6 nights on board the Golden Eagle, 2 Nights at Kirkenes, Thon Hotel,

(OPTIONAL to upgrade to The Snow Hotel - Kirkenes),  1 night at Aurora (or similar) Hotel, Moscow.

 

 

DAY 1                            St. Petersburg                                  December  29th  

Flight arrives into St. Petersburg airport, met on arrival and transfer to the luxurious Grand Hotel Europe (or similar), for a two-night stay.

 

This evening enjoy a welcomeChampagne reception followed by dinner and meet our fellow travellers. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.

 

 At the start of your adventure why not extend your stay in St. Petersburgwith pre-tour nights to explore more of the city at your leisure and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Christmas markets or go ice skating on one of the outdoor rinks in the central squares?

 

Why not extend your stay in St. Petersburg with pre-tour nights to explore more of the city at your leisure?

 

DAY 2                                      St. Petersburg                        December 30th

St. Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards and  beautiful bridges; renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World. St. Petersburg is beautifully decorated for Rozdestvo (Russian Christmas), which is celebrated on the 7th January.

Today we have a guided tour of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and the Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums.

 

Make your evening in St. Petersburg extra-special by purchasing a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at one of the world-renowned St. Petersburg theatres (subject to schedule and availability and pre-booked at least six weeks prior to departure).

 

 

DAY 3                            St. Petersburg                           December 31st *New Years Eve*

 Today there is a tour of St. Petersburg featuring the key sights including St Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect. This afternoon transfer to the station to board Russia’s premier train, the Golden Eagle and settle into our modern, stylish cabins to embark upon our rail adventure to the Arctic Circle. We have a unique opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve on board at our signature Gala Caviar dinner in the beautifully designed restaurant car, specially decorated tonight for our New Year’s Eve Party. 

 

Enjoy complimentary champagne, international wines and live musical entertainment for a New Year’s Eve you won’t forget.

 

 

DAY 4                                On board the Golden eagle              *New Years Day*

Today we have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to New Year's Day with a sumptuous breakfast and to unwind after our evening of celebration. We can reflect on the many sights we are about to experience on our rail journey, maybe listen to a talk or simply relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside our window.

 

 

 

 

Our guest astronomer will host an afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cakes and talk about the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in our stylish Bar Lounge car.  Today our train crosses the Arctic Circle on our quest to see the Northern Lights.

 

 

DAY 5                                Kirkenes & Northern Lights          January 2nd

This morning we leave our train with an overnight bag at the Russian border station of Nikel and we transfer by bus (90 minutes drive) across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two night stay at the Thon Hotel (or similar).

 

 

We will visit the magical Snow Hotel just 15 km outside Kirkenes. We’ll have a welcome drink in the snow bar and a tour of the Snow Hotel with its ice sculptures and snow painting by local and international artists. After a traditional meal including a reindeer hot dog in the snow hotel’s warm lodge restaurant we’ll take an evening bus tour in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). If the sky is clear our guest astronomer will be on hand to advise us during star-gazing and will bring the night sky to life with his extensive knowledge.

 

For a really memorable experience why not choose the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around and stay overnight at the Snow Hotel? Upgrades to the snow hotel are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. The snow hotel stays at a constant minus five degrees centigrade and thermal sleeping bags are provided. Showers, toilets and a Scandinavian sauna are provided in a building next to the snow hotel. 

 

DAY 6                            KIRKENES & NORTHERN LIGHTS             January 3rd 

This morning join our tour of Kirkenes Village or travel back to the site of the snow hotel to see the resident reindeers and visit the biggest husky dog farm in eastern Finnmark. After lunch we will take a magical excursion by husky dog sledge to the arctic tundra and the frozen fjords. Each sledge is pulled by a team of eight dogs, and can seat two people and a driver called a dog musher. Later we search again for the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) by bus before returning to the hotel in Kirkenes.

 

Optional Activities in Kirkenes: You may like to book some additional optional activities such as a Snowmobile Tour (2 hours), Cross Country Skiing (2 hours) or a Snow Shoe Walking Tour (2 hours) – please contact us for prices. These activities have limited places and should be requested at the time of booking the tour.

 

 

DAY 7                            ARCTIC CIRCLE & NORTHERN LIGHTS              January 4th  

Today we cross the border back into Russia and re-join our train which is waiting for us in Nikel. We’ll spend the afternoon on board travelling through arcticRussia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window, chat to fellow passengers or listen to a lecture by our guest astronomer.

 

Afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cookies will be served in our stylish bar car.

 

DAY 8                            MURMANSK                            January 5th

We will continue to Murmansk, a city halfway between Moscowand the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round. Homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers we’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.

 

DAY 9                            PETROZAVODSK                    January 6th *Russian Christmas Eve*

Petrozavodsk stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega - the second largest lake in Europe. It is one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia and is the capital of the Republicof Karelia. We take a city tour and then celebrate Sochelnik (Russian Christmas Eve) with a Karelian Folk Performance and continue our festivities with a traditional Russian Christmas Eve meal, known as the Holy Supper. As always a generous allowance of international wine and drinks are included with our dinner as we celebrate together.

 

DAY 10                          VLADIMIR & SUZDAL             January 7th *Russian Christmas Day*

The historic city of Vladimir was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What better place to spend Rozhdestvo (Russian Christmas), celebrated today? Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned.

 


From Vladimir travel to Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir. Visit the atmospheric St. Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by resident monks. No Russian winter experience is complete without the horse-drawn sleigh ride through this stunning location.

 

DAY 11                          MOSCOW                                January 8th 

This morning we arrive at Moscow Kazanskiy station and transfer to the centrally located five-star Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel (or similar) for a one-night stay.

 

Visit the Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. Included is a tour of the opulent and unique stations of the Moscow metro - showpieces of Socialist art furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, unsurpassed anywhere in the world.

 

 

DAY 12                          MOSCOW                                January 9th 

This morning there is a tour the grandeur of the Kremlin - the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow. Enjoy an exclusive private viewing before it opens to the public with a chance to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. A return to the Moscow Aurora Hotel late morning brings the tour to a close and airport transfers are provided for your departure flights. Lunch, if required would be by your own arrangement.

 

 

Why not extend your stay in Moscow with post-tour nights to explore more of the city at your leisure?