No trip to Mother Russia is complete with seeing its two big cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg. However, with two weeks to spend, you can see much more of Russia than that. Use this two week itinerary as a template for your own trip, feeling free to incorporate as much or as little of it as you want.
Five night in St. Petersburg
Most people know St. Petersburg is the European side of Russia. But it is also a city of hidden treasures. To really see all the city has to offer, it’s best to hire a tour guide who has intimate knowledge of the city. St. Petersburg is more open that Moscow is, but there’s so much to see and hear behind the scenes that surface looks at tourist attractions won’t do the city and your trip justice. Sites not to miss are the Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and Yusupov Palace. St. Petersburg is a beautiful city with stunning architecture and a unique and captivating blend of European culture and old world traditions. On your sixth day in Russia, leave St. Petersburg in the morning on a train heading three hours south to Novgorod.
Two nights in Novgorod
Between St. Petersburg and Moscow is the old Russian town of Novgorod. This extremely old town has perhaps the greatest “Russian feel” to it. Here you will find beautiful nature, marvellous white stone architecture (including the oldest cathedral in Russia, St. Sofia), and friendly and helpful people.
One night on a train between Novgorod and Moscow
Once you depart Novgorod, the train ride to Moscow is a long 10.5 hours. Take an overnight train so you can sleep and maximize your time in Russia.
Three nights in Moscow
Russia’s capital is beautiful and mysterious. Moscow is in some respects an exaggerated version of everything you can get in Russia as everything uniquely Russian is pushed to the extreme. Sights not to miss are the Red Square, the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Novodevichy Convent, and the Tretyakov Gallery.
Two night in Suzdal
Suzdal is a small medieval village located along what’s known as the “Golden Ring,” a loop around Moscow that goes through historic villages and cities. Suzdal is the prettiest and most pastoral of all the villages. The four and half hour drive out there is worth it as you’ll have the chance to see what traditional Russian villages looked like before they were ravaged by Communist-era industrialism. While in Suzdal, take a day trip to the ancient town of Vladimir to visit the 12th-century Assumption Cathedral.
One more night in Moscow
Head back to Moscow from Suzdal where you’ll spend one last night before heading out. You’ll probably be dead beat by this point so take it slow, go out to eat a nice meal, or see any of the sights you missed during the first stint in Moscow.