Imperial Splendors of Russia

Trip Highlights

Spend 4 nights in Moscow, Russia, at the first-class InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya and 4 nights in St. Petersburg at the first-class Angleterre Hotel. Immerse yourself in the culture, heritage, and history. Sample authentic cuisine and local flavors of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Enjoy some free time to explore at your leisure. Take this opportunity to absorb the beautiful architecture and sites of Russia!

Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.


Day 1 – Depart Gateway City

Depart for Moscow, Russia.

Day 2 – Moscow, Russia

Arrive at Domodedovo Moscow Airport or Sheremetyevo Moscow Airport. Transfer to InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya.

Get to know your fellow travelers at a Welcome Reception and Dinner.

Meals – Dinner

Day 3 – Moscow

With more than 12.1 million residents, Moscow is Russia’s most populous city as well as the largest one on the European continent. In recent decades, the city has dramatically reshaped itself, as sleek, modern skyscrapers have sprung up across the landscape and old relics of the Soviet era have been demolished. On a panoramic tour, become acquainted with its notable landmarks within the Garden Ring, the network of streets that form a circle around the city center.
See the vast fortifications of the Kremlin, bustling Tverskaya Street, Red Square, Manezhnaya Square and the Arbat, a pedestrian-friendly area and one of the city’s oldest streets. Other highlights include the Seven Sisters, known as Stalinskie Vysotki by Muscovites, a collection of skyscrapers commissioned by Stalin and constructed from 1947-1953. Visit the copper-domed Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a 20th-century creation. Joseph Stalin ordered the demolition of the original 19th-century church in 1931 to build a towering government building. The German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II disrupted the construction, which never resumed after the war. Construction of the cathedral began in 1995 and took 15 years to complete.
Step inside imposing Red Square, visit the ornate GUM department store and then stroll to St. Basil’s Cathedral to admire its wildly colorful, fanciful onion domes.

Free Time: Enjoy some time for lunch on your own.


Visit inside the red-walled Kremlin, a self-contained 15th-century city that includes palaces, gold-domed cathedrals and a medieval fortress. At the Armoury Chamber, marvel at the glittering treasures of Russian emperors and empresses, including Faberge eggs, gold and silver works of art, royal carriages and armor.

Meals – Breakfast

Day 4 – Moscow

Russian Art

Examine diverse historical trends, including Byzantine-influenced icons, neoclassical paintings and the modern art movement, pioneered by Kandinsky and Chagall.

Tretyakov Gallery

See the evolution of Russian sculptures and paintings in a remarkable collection that spans a thousand years. Enjoy lunch afterward at a restaurant in the area.

Free Time: The remainder of the day is yours to plan.

Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 5 – Moscow

Novodevichy Cemetery

Take a guided tour of this cemetery near the Novodevichy convent complex, where many prominent artists and political leaders, including Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol, Nikita Khrushchev and Boris Yeltsin, are buried.

Moscow Metro

Go underground to discover the city’s uniquely beautiful Soviet-era Metro stations, featuring marble floors, chandeliers, mosaics, sculptures and decorative artwork.

Free Time: Make your own plans for lunch and sightseeing this afternoon.

Gather for a group dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 6 – St. Petersburg

After an early breakfast, transfer from the hotel to the Leningradskaya rail station for your high-speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg. Sapsan is the Russian word for the peregrine falcon, and like its namesake, this train is incredibly fast, moving at an average speed of 100 mph and a maximum of 155 mph.

Transfer to the Angleterre Hotel and enjoy time for lunch on your own.

St. Petersburg Highlights

Marvel at this scenic city, founded in 1703 and filled with canals and hundreds of bridges, due to its location across numerous islands in the delta of the Neva River. See the Bronze Horseman, the famous statue of Peter the Great on a rearing horse; the neoclassical gold-spired Admiralty; the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood; as well as other historic monuments, palaces and churches that make St. Petersburg one of Europe’s most dazzling cities. Visit lavish St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Peter and Paul Fortress, home to some of the city’s oldest buildings. Its cathedral holds the tombs of the most famous Russian czars.

Tonight, delight in a delicious dinner at a restaurant in St. Petersburg.

Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 7 – St. Petersburg

Russian Music and Ballet

Russian composers, choreographers and ballet dancers have reached the highest echelons of the classical arts. Learn how the national passion for music and dance fostered these talents.

Saint Petersburg Theater Classic Ballet School

Delight in an intimate study of the graceful artistry of dancers with the Saint Petersburg Theater Classic Ballet, founded in 1996. After an introduction from the ballet group’s director, observe the dancers’ intense warm-up exercises at the barre from your seat in the practice room. Then, watch as the dancers in costume gracefully leap, pirouette and glide en pointe during an exclusive performance of selected pieces from famous ballets such as the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Don Quixote.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Free Time: The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Czarist Russia

Czar, the Russian word for emperor, was the title given to the rulers of the Romanov Dynasty who determined Russia’s destiny from 1613 to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The czars claimed a heavenly mandate, controlled the Russian Orthodox Church and stood at the pinnacle of the Russian aristocracy. Delve into the riveting story of how they dictated the history of the Russian Empire from St. Petersburg.

Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 8 – Peterhof | Catherine Palace


Be transported back in time to the reign of Peter the Great at his spectacular palace, Peterhof, surrounded by expansive formal gardens, landscaped parkland and a remarkable collection of majestic fountains. Feel the cool mist as you stroll near the breathtaking Grand Cascade, which alone comprises 64 decorative fountains.

Russian Folk Traditions

At a country house, savor lunch and sample vodka, then celebrate folk traditions during a show featuring live music and dancing. Listen to classic Russian songs being played on traditional instruments.

The Catherine Palace

This afternoon, visit this splendid baroque imperial residence, built by Empress Elizabeth for her mother, Empress Catherine I, which was inspired by the palace at Versailles. Step inside the famed Amber Room, an exquisite chamber adorned with gold leaf and intricate inlaid amber panels. The original priceless decorations were stolen by the Nazis during World War II and later recreated through a joint German-Russian effort.

Meals – Breakfast and lunch

Day 9 – St. Petersburg

State Hermitage Museum

Enjoy early access to the State Hermitage Museum, and spend a half-day inside the museum to view one of the world’s finest art collections, including paintings by French Impressionists and Dutch and Italian masters; Greek and Roman antiquities; fine Asian art; Egyptian mummies and much more. An early entry allows you to view the many exhibits before the museum opens to the public. Founded in 1764 after Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of paintings from Berlin, the Hermitage is located within the opulent Winter Palace. It served as the main residence for Russian czars from the mid-18th century and was commissioned by Russian empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great.

Canal Cruise

Glide along the city’s pretty waterways on a short cruise this afternoon.

Free Time: Your afternoon is at leisure.

This evening, gather for a Farewell Dinner with your fellow travelers to share stories of your Russian adventures and celebrate your journey.

Meals – Breakfast and dinner

Day 10 – Depart for Gateway City

Depart for Pulkovo Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals – Breakfast



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Your Journey

Imperial Splendors of Russia

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

(10 days)
Starting price: $3,995
Deposit per person: $600
Type: Land, Exclusive U-M Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Email Michigan Alumni Travel at

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