In Novgorod: Kremlin, St. Sophia Cathedral, St. George (=Yuriev) Monastery, Vitoslavlitsy Woden Architecture Museum
In St. Petersburg: Peterhof Upper and Lower fountain gardens, Peterhof Grand Palace, the Hermitage museum (main buildings including the Winter Palace and Old Masters’ Collections)
8:00-8:30 – disembark, go through the passport control, meet your guide at the port terminal
8:30-11:30 – drive to Novgorod the Great, with some St. Petersburg sightseeing on the way and typical country-side Russia (Russian villages, forests and farm fields). Comfort stops on the way – upon necessity.
11:30 – arrive in Novgorod, meet your private guide to Novgorod. Start with the Novgorod tour by car and on foot.
11:45-13:00 – tour of the Novgorod Kremlin, including an inside visit to St. Sophia (dating back to early 11th century, this cathedral is the oldest church in Russia still in use, and the first one to represent the original features of “onion-dome” architecture), the Monument to the Millennium of Russia (unveiled in 1862, it represents the most important stages and persons throughout the country’s history), the oldest Russian bell-tower and the oldest clock tower in Russia (both dating back to mid-15th century). You will see the place where the public assembly “Veche” (prototype of the Parliament) gathered.
The visit will be followed by a walk across the Volkhov River to Yaroslavian Court (formerly the chief square and market place of Novgorod).
13:30-14:30 – time for lunch/snack/coffee-break
14:30-15:30 – tour of St. George Monastery (Russian name for it is Yuriev Monastery, it dates back to 1030 and is considered the oldest active monastery on the territory of present-day Russia)
15:40-16:40 – tour of “Vitoslavlitsy” Wooden Architecture Museum. Your NOvgorod tour will not be complete without this unique open-air museum will show you how Russian people lived centuries ago. Izbas (=village houses), barns, wooden churches and chapels were brought here from all over the North-Western region of Russia and beautifully restored, so that the museum recreates the atmosphere of an ancient Russian village street. You can go inside a couple of such village houses and see how everything was arranged in the homes of ordinary Russian people and well-off merchants back in the 19th century.
16:40-17:30 – free time for walking and shopping, possible coffee-break before driving back to St.Petersburg
17:30 – your Novgorod tour is over, leave for St. Petersburg.
Around 20:30 – return to your cruise ship.
9:00 – meet your guide at the port terminal, continue the tours in St. Petersburg.
The first item on your agenda is a tour of the most famous summer residence of the Romanov tsars – Peterhof (in Soviet days called “Petrodvorets”)
10:30-13:00 – tour of the famous Upper and Lower Gardens and fountains of Peterhof, inside visit to the Grand Peterhof Palace. The palace itself is a masterpiece of architecture and decorative art: inside every room is decorated in a different style and colours. However the biggest attraction of Peterhof lies outdoors – the unique fountain gardens with the intricate system of feeding the fountains with water (no pumps are used!) and exquisite decoration of the fountains and cascades never fail to impress visitors.
Time for lunch/snack or coffee-break on the grounds of the gardens
13:30 – a modern high-speed hydrofoil boat will take you across the Gulf of Finland to the very heart of St. Petersburg.
14:00-16:00 – last but not least on the list is a tour of the Hermitage museum. You will see the throne halls and ball rooms of the Winter Palace (the former winter time residence of the Russian royal family) and world-famous collections of West-European art.
16:30 – return on board the ship.