The Royal Scotsman
Venice Simplon - Orient Express
This regal journey by private train carries you through the capitals of Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine and on to the sunny Crimean Peninsula, where the warm Mediterranean climate created "the playground of the czars."
Begin in St. Petersburg (optional), touring the Amber Room in Catherine's Palace, then board the train to Moscow, where you can explore Red Square and the Kremlin. Back on board, you will speed to Minsk, capital of independent Belarus, and then Brest, famous for its 19th century fortress, almost destroyed during World War II.
Ukraine's best-preserved city, Lviv, is next. Then on to Moldova's capital, Kishinev, where you sample the deep red wine the country is known for. The next morning you atravel to Odessa, Ukraine's Black Sea port city, climbing the much-filmed Potemkin Steps. Then the tour heads for the Crimea.
In palm-lined Yalta tour and taste at the imperial Massandra Winery. Next is a visit to Livadia, the palace where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin met to discuss the fate of Europe in 1945. In Sevastopol, relive the Crimean War's Charge of the Light Brigade and visit the ruins of an ancient Greek settlement at Chersonesus.
Pause at Bakhchysaray, the capital of the Crimean Khanate from the early 16th century.
The last two days are spent getting to know Kiev, with its beautiful cathedrals and museums.
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Crimean Express rail vacation today!
- 3 nights in Yalta
- 8 nights onboard the Golden Eagle
- 1 night in Moscow
- 2 nights in St Petersburg (post-tour extension - optional)
- Freedom of Choice Touring Options:
- Pre-book additional nights in Yalta, Moscow and St Petersburg
- Imperial City of St Petersburg
- The Golden Ring
- 24 hour service attendent
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
- Drinks with meal
- Welcome and farewell dinners
- Arrival and departure transfers
Crimean Express Southbound Itinerary - (St Petersburg - Yalta)
Day 1, ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
For clients taking the St Petersburg extension, arrive at St.Petersburg Airport, where you are met and transferred to the Kempinski Hotel Moika 22, a luxury five-star hotel in the centre of the city for a two-night stay.
Day 2, ST PETERSBURG
Today we tour this magnificent city and visit Catherine the Great's rococo Summer Palace in Pushkin, including the world-famous Amber Room. Lunch is at the Podvorye Restaurant in Pavlovsk before returning to the imperial capital city of the Russian Empire for an afternoon tour of the key sights including St Isaac's Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect.
Day 3, MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Clients travelling from St Petersburg will travel on the afternoon high speed train to Moscow. For other passengers who are arriving today at Moscow airport, you are met and transferred to a luxurious five-star hotel located in the heart of this vibrant city for a one-night stay. We all enjoy a welcome dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers and, together, look forward to the rail voyage that lies ahead.
Day 4, MOSCOW, RUSSIA - FREEDOM OF CHOICE TOURING
Our city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political might. Here we see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil's Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin's tomb. With our Freedom of Choice touring options you may wish instead to visit, for example, the Tretyakov Gallery or the Museum of the KGB. In the late afternoon, we board the Golden Eagle and after settling into our modern, stylish cabins, we enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our journey begins.
Day 5, MINSK, BELARUS
We spend the morning in Minsk, capital of Belarus and enjoy a tour of this city which saw fierce fighting during World War II before rejoining the Golden Eagle in the afternoon as we travel across the Belarus countryside towards the Ukraine.
Day 6, KIEV, UKRAINE
Our tour of this ancient city includes the beautifully restored Monastery of Caves, Lavra Complex which has the highest bell tower in the former USSR, the huge Mother Ukraina WWII monument and museum, a stroll along Khreshchatyk Street, Saint Sophia's Cathedral and Independence Square.
Day 7, LVOV, UKRAINE
Breakfast is early prior to our arrival in Lvov, capital of the Western Ukraine and an ancient city that has seen many rulers. Named 'Lemberg' during Polish/Austrian rule, and again briefly during Nazi occupation, the old city, with its winding streets has survived almost untouched. Our city tour includes lunch before we re-board our train and head south.
Day 8, KISHINEV, MOLDOVA
Passing over the Moldovan border during the night, spend the morning travelling through the picturesque Moldovan countryside before we arrive at lunchtime in the capital city of Kishinev. After lunch, our afternoon tour of the city includes a visit to a local winery.
Day 9, ODESSA, UKRAINE
Breakfast finds us heading south to the Black Sea, where we arrive in the elegant city of Odessa at lunchtime with its tree-lined Primorsky Boulevard featuring street cafes on the embankment and the Potemkin Steps. This Black Sea city was immortalised in Einstein's 1925 film 'Battleship Potemkin'. Nearby is the impressive Opera and Ballet Theatre.
Day 10, BALACLAVA, UKRAINE
Today we arrive into Sevastopol which is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is a town steeped in the history of the Crimean War and World War II, on both occasions being under siege for almost a year. We visit Balaclava and the Diorama depicting the Word War Two battle and from where there is a fine view of the valley where the Charge of the Light Brigade took place. The valley is now covered in neat rows of vines and in the middle is a white stone memorial to the infamous Charge.
Day 11, SEVASTOPOL & BAKHCHISARAI, UKRAINE
Our tour of Sevastopol this morning includes the Old Town, the Panorama (a 360-degree painting and montage depicting the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War) and Khersones, reputed to be the most complete ancient Greek settlement in existence, and only opened to foreigners a few years ago. In the afternoon we leave Sevastopol and travel by train to the Bakhchisarai where we visit the 16th century Hansaray (or Khan's) Palace and Uspensky Cave Monastery. This evening we spend our final night onboard the Golden Eagle.
Day 12, FEODOSIYA & SUDAK, UKRAINE
After breakfast we arrive in the seaside resort of Feodosiya where we visit the Aivazovsky Gallery before taking the spectacularly scenic coastal road to Yalta, stopping off at Sudak, a popular beachside resort on the Crimean peninsula, with a well-preserved and imposing Genoese Fortress which overlooks the town, and the centre of the Crimean viticulture industry. We arrive early evening at the Hotel Oreanda in Yalta for a 3 night stay.
Day 13, YALTA, UKRAINE
Today there is a guided tour of Yalta including Chekhov's House and the Botanical Gardens, followed by lunch at the Swallow's Nest, a fairy-tale castle breathtakingly perched high above the sea. This restaurant is a world famous location and many world leaders have eaten here. In the afternoon we take a scenic cruise along the picturesque coastline before visiting the Massandra Palace and Imperial Winery, touring the cellars (they have bottles dating back to 1775 and many bottles from the Tsars personal collection).
Day 14, YALTA, UKRAINE
This morning we visit Alupka Palace which was built for Count Mikhail Vorontsov, former special envoy to the United Kingdom and friend of the Marlborough Family. The Palace is a strange, but attractive combination of a Scottish castle with Arabian additions. Churchill stayed here during the Yalta conference of February 1945. In the afternoon we enjoy a private tour of the Tsar's Summer Palace at Livadia and the site of the Yalta conference between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. A champagne reception in the grounds will be followed by a concert of chamber music and dinner in the restaurant attached to the palace.
Day 15, YALTA, UKRAINE
Airport transfers to Simferopol Airport for guests connecting to international flights.
Customise your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. In Moscow for example, you could choose to spend time in the Tretyakov Picture Gallery or visit the Museum of the KGB, which are not part of the standard touring programme in this brochure; or you might choose to go shopping in the local markets and bazaars; or spend a day relaxing in a local spa (*treatments extra). In short, it means that your holiday is just that, your very own, and it's all included in the tour price, with no more for you to pay. It is the ultimate in flexibility. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring. Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day's tour.
Extend your "Voyage of a Lifetime by Private Train" with one of our fantastic tour extensions. Every tour extension can be tailor-made so it can meet your own individual requirements so whether you are interested in art, history or nature we can create the perfect short-break extension just for you.
Spend extra time in the beautiful and vibrant Russian capital. In addition to the excursion that we provide as part of the main tour you may want to extend your time in Moscow and perhaps take in a tour of Moscow's underground metro stations, designed by prominent Russian architects, artists and sculptors; visit the famous Tretyakov State Art Gallery; or even spend a cultural evening at the Bolshoi Theatre.
THE GOLDEN RING
The famous Golden Ring is made up of a number of cities north and east of Moscow. These ancient towns, which played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church, preserve the memory of the most important and significant events in Russian history. These towns have been called 'open air museums' and feature unique examples of Russian architecture dating back to the 12th century, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals and churches. We visit Sergiev Posad, Vladimir and Suzdal which are among the most picturesque towns in Russia and prominently feature Russia's famous onion-domed churches.
We can easily arrange additional nights accommodation at one of our recommended luxury hotels in Moscow and Kiev and we will still include your airport transfers.
Note: Prices are per person and include all taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change without notice. Please reconfirm at the time of booking. We suggest adding trip insurance to any and all bookings.