Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova detailed itinerary

Day 1: Moscow

Arrive in Moscow. Transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: Moscow

Take a city tour of Russia's capital. We will see the main highlights such as Red Square and St. Basil's Cathedral; enjoy the beautiful view of the city from the observation platform of Vorobyovy Hills; visit other sights. During the visit to the Kremlin, the former residence of Russian Tzars, we will see how ancient architecture coexists with modern political center. Kremlin Wall with its 20 towers encircles beautiful cathedrals Blagoveshchensky, Uspensky and Arkhangelsky, Granovitaya Chamber and other chambers and museums, where we will see the enormous "Tsar-Cannon" and "Tsar-Bell"

Day 3: Moscow

We will enjoy the greatest masterpieces of Russian art at the Tretyakov gallery, a treasure house of art works from the XI c. till our days. After the Gallery see a different side of Moscow: visit Bunker museum, a unique exposition complex of the Cold War, built in the 50's of last century at a depth of 65 meters under the ground in the center of Moscow. A touch of the Soviet material culture we will get at the USSR museum, which holds a broad collection of goods made in the USSR: cars, computers, telephones, beverages and food, movie posters, clothing and many more. Evening departure to Minsk by train. Overnight on train

Day 4: Minsk

Upon arrival in Minsk we will have a city tour. We will visit the Christian holy places of the city, stroll through historic districts of Upper Town and Trayetskaye Pradmestsye and visit the Island of Courage and Sorrow honouring those killed in the Afghanistan war. You will also see the extraordinary 72 m tall rhombicuboctahedron building of the National Library. We will visit the Great Patriotic War (World War II) museum. The museum first opened shortly after the liberation of Minsk from the Nazi invaders, on 25 October 1944, making it the first World War II museum to open during the course of the war. Overnight in Minsk.

Day 5: Minsk — Mir — Niasvizh — Minsk

Drive to Mir to get a tour of the most famous castle of Belarus — the impressive Mir Castle — with a visit to the museum. After lunch drive another half an hour to Niasvizh. In Niasvizh we will see the town gate Slutskaya Brama, visit the museum in the Town Hall and tomb of the Radziwill family at Parish Catholic Church of Corpus Christi. We will have a tour of Niasvizhsky Castle palace and park complex. Return to Minsk

Day 6: Minsk — Vitebsk

This day we depart to Vitebsk. Fisrt we drive to Dudutki museum which represents old folk crafts and technologies of Belarusians. The museum will amuse you with the only functional windmill in Belarus, a pottery workshop where we will see a master at work, an old smithy, a carpentry workshop and a bakery. We will also visit the museum of vintage cars, the ethnographic gallery and the stable with Orlov trotters. After a nice lunch at the museum we continue our drive and soon stop at Khantyn Memorial. During the World War II the entire population of Khatyn village was massacred in one day by Nazi battalion. Khatyn became a symbol of mass killings of the civilian population during the Great Patriotic War. Continue driving to Vitebsk. Dinner and overnight there.

Day 7: Vitebsk

A sightseeing tour of Vitebsk — one of the oldest towns in Belarus. We will see the Church of the Annunciation, built in the mid-XII century. The former governor's palace keeps the memory of the past Vitebsk in the last 150 years. In the summer of 1812 Napoleon stayed there, heading to Moscow. Among the highlights of the city are the House museum and the Art Centre of Marc Chagall, who was a native of the city. Overnight in Vitebsk.

Day 8: Vitebsk — Chernihiv

Drive to Chernihiv. Lunch in Grodno in Belarus and then cross Belarus-Ukrainian border. Late afternoon arrival in Chernihiv. Overnight there.

Day 9: Chernihiv — Kiev

Chernihiv tour. Chernihiv keeps its record from VII c. settlement inside the city wall (the Detinets) of the future Chernihiv. In Detinets we will visit the Saviour Cathedral (the oldest Orthodox church of Kyiv Rus), Boris and Gleb Cathedral (the tomb of Svyatoslavovych prince dynasty), Chernihiv collegium (the first secular school in Left-Bank Ukraine) and other remarkable buildings and monuments. After lunch drive to Kiev (ca. 2 hours). Take some rest at the hotel and then enjoy dinner at local restaurant with traditional Ukranian cuisine, folk music and cooking master-class.

Day 10: Kiev

City tour during which we will see Kiev's main street Khreshchatyk, the ancient Volodymyrs'ka Street, the gorgeous Taras Shevchenko Boulevard and other notable streets; we will take panoramic views displaying the city's golden domes, the great Dnipro, and the monumental 62-meter tall Motherland Statue. It is a must to visit St. Sofia Cathedral and other ancient Orthodox churches of Kiev. We will see the Opera House, the main red building of the National University, Marynsky Park and Palace and many more. After lunch we will visit Kiev-Pechersk Lavra — the shrine of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. The Lavra is a labyrinth of caves treasuring the relics of over 120 saints. If time permits we will see the Chernobyl museum, dedicated to the trajic story of the nuclear explosion of 1986.

Day 11: Kiev

Visit to Pyrohiv — National Museum of Ukrainian Architecture and Culture. Pyrohiv museum is the biggest open air museum in Europe, exhibiting objects of Ukranian ethnographical heritage at the territory of more than 1.3 square kilometers. There are approximately 300 unique objects of folk architecture and more than 70 000 objects of crafts, agricultural items, household articles, icons etc., dating back to XVI−XX centuries in the collection. After returning to Kiev take a boat ride on Dnipro River to see the beauties of Ukrainan capital from other side. Evening departure to Lviv by train. Overnight on train.

Day 12: Lviv

Arrive in Lviv. Walking tour of the old town of Lviv. We will explore the ancient center of Lviv, shaped by the Polish period. We will see the unique architectural ensemble of the Market Square; the Latin Cathedral, the Armenian Church and the Jesuit church; splendid castles of Lviv's famous dynasties; monuments and fountains. We will also see sights left from the Austrian period, such as the Skarbek Theatre, Opera House, Pharmacy Museum, and cafés of Shevchenko Prospekt, where Lviv scientists gathered to make inventions. In the afternoon we will visit Lychakivske Cemetery, one of the oldest in Europe. Overnight in Lviv.

Day 13: Lviv — Olesko — Pidgiritsy — Zolichiv — Lviv

Visit to Lviv's castles Olesko, Pidgiritsy, and Zolichiv. The castles were built by magnates of Rzeczpospolita. Despite they stood many battles, their buildings perfectly preserved and are considered to be the masterpieces of medieval architecture. Later in the afternoon we can stop in a small village of Havartchyna to visit a small local private pottery. Overnight in Lviv.

Day 14: Lviv — Mukacheve

Transfer to Mukacheve (ca. 4 hours). Mukacheve is over 1,100 years old. There were settlements of Celts, Carpi and Slavs there, later the city was run by Podolsk and Transylvanian princes, after that it belonged to Austria-Hungary. You will walk through the city center and visit the medieval castle Palanok, which played an important role in the political history of Transcarpathia. Overnight in Mukacheve.

Day 15: Mukacheve — Kolomiya — Yaremche

Drive along a picturesque road to Kolomiya (ca. 6 hours) with a stop at the geographical centre of Europe on the way. In Kolomiya we will see a collection of over 10,000 pysanky at Pysanka Museum. Pysanka is a traditional Ukrainian Easter egg, manually dyed with much precision and diligence by a wax-resist method. We will also have an excursion to Ethnographic Museum. Transfer to Yaremche for dinner and overnight.

Day 16: Yaremche — Verkhovyna and Krivorivnya — Chernivtsi

Visit to the local crafts market. Transfer to Verkhovyna and Krivorivnya where the classic movie "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" was filmed. Visit of the house where the movie was filmed. Visit to private museum of folk Hutsul music instruments. The owner of the musuem is a wonderful man who plays on these instruments in a truly fantastic way. After lunch transfer to Chernivtsi (2,5 hours).City tour of Chernivtsi, “the little Vienna” of Ukraine. Overnight in Chernivtsi.

Day 17: Chernivtsi — Chisinau

Drive to Moldova (ca. 6 hours including border procedures). Upon arrival take a short tour of Chisinau. The Moldovan capital Chisinau is calm and green. In the historical centre we will see neoclassical and Rumanian buildings, such as City Hall, the National History Museum (the former school for boys), Water Tower, numerous churches and monuments. We will also walk through the spacious Stefan cel Mare park and peaceful alleys of Chisinau. Overnight in Chishinau.

Day 18: Chisinau

Drive to Milestii Mici underground galleries (10 km from the city). Milestii Mici is the world biggest wine collection. It consists of nearly 2 million bottles preserved in the underground wine city which natural limestone galleries have total length of 200 km. Lunch and a wine tasting in the caves of the wine complex. Overnight Chisinau.

Day 19: Chisinau — Orheiul Vechi

Drive to “Orheiul Vechi” (60 km). “Orheiul Vechi” unique complex stores heritage of different epochs of the Moldovan history back from VI c. BC. We will see sheer cliffs, ancient caves, and enjoy a breathtaking view at Raut river twisting deep in the canyon. You will visit the Orthodox monasteries carved into the rocks. Overnight in a guest house run by a local family.

Day 20: Orheiul Vechi — Odessa

Drive to Odessa, crossing Moldovan-Ukranian border on the way. Overnight in Odessa.

Day 21: Odessa

City tour of Odessa during which we will visit the historical sites of Odessa, take a walk through the old streets Deribasovskaya, Pushkinskaya, Richelyevskaya and Langeronovskaya. We will see the famous Opera and Ballet Theatre, the jewel of Odessa architecture. We will pass through the cozy Primorsky boulevard by the City Council, the palace of Count Vorontsov, the Duke de Richelieu Monument to the famous Potemkin Stairs which leads to the boulevard from seashore where we will get a wonderful panorama of the the port and the sea. Overnight in Odessa.

Day 22: Odessa

You will visit the grand labyrinth of Odessa catacombs, which are a system of old stone mines under Odessa and its suburbs. Their total length makes 2,500 km, leaving far behind the catacombs of Paris (500 km) and Rome (300 km). The mines opened 3-million-year old natural caves with lots of fossil animal bones. During the World War II the catacombs sheltered partisan units. In the evening take a train to Simferopol. Overnight on train.

Day 23: Bahchisarai — Yalta

After arrival in Simferopol drive to Bahchisarai (ca. 1 hour). Bakhchisarai was the capital of the Crimean Khanate. We will see the notorious Khan Palace. This unique complex of XIV-VIII cc. includes ceremonial halls and Khan's chambers, mosques, housing for servants and the harem, gazebos, fountains and more. “The Fountain of Tears" built by order of the Qirim Giray Khan on the tomb of his wife inspired Pushkin to write the poem "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai". Drive to Yalta. In Yalta we will visit the house-museum of Chekhov. We will also visit the Armenian church, built in the years 1909-1917. and the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky, one of the most beautiful Orthodox churches in the Crimea. Overnight in Yalta.

Day 24: Yalta

Drive to Alupka to see beautiful Vorontsov Palace and walk through the huge English Park surrounding the Palace and impressing with magnificent variety of plants. Then transfer to Livadia. On the way we will see the emblem of the Crimean Southern Coast — the peculiar castle of Lastochkino Gnezdo (Swallow's nest) on top of the cliff. In the Livadia we will see the palace that used to be the Tsar Nicholas II summer residence, and the Exaltation of the Cross Church. Finish the day visiting the Nikitsky botanical garden. This botanical garden was founded in 1812 as a research center, and it is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. There are more than 30,000 plant species from all over the globe in its collection. Overnight in Yalta.

Day 25: Sevastopol

Drive to Sevastopol. We will see the Chersonesos, the old part of Sevastopol built in BC era. There are ancient city walls, the Antique Theatre and the remains of the Mint among the main Chersonesos attractions. We will also see more recent architectural monuments, including the ruins of the Basilica of the Uvarov (VI-VII cc.) and Vladimir Cathedral which serves as the admirals' crypt. Return to Yalta. Overnight in Yalta.

Day 26: departure

Transfer to the aiport in Simferopol (ca. 2 hours). Depart from Simferopol.

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