Peterhof Palace and Gardens are the Russian Versailles, here in St. Petersburg, Russia. Flickr:JD Lasica

Volga River to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Flickr:Pavel Kazachkov
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Three Capitals of Russia Bike Tour

Russia Bike Tours

Cycling from Moscow to St. Petersburg

  • This intriguing bike tour in Russia leads from Moscow, the modern Russian capital, to the old one, St. Petersburg, through the most ancient capital, Novgorod the Great, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The contrasts among these three cities reflect the contrasts that are Russia in general.

    You will be charmed by the spirit of times gone by in the age old towns of Torzhok, Ostashkov, and Staraya Russa, once powerful and prosperous cities and enjoy Russain Nature at Lake Seliger, across the forested hills of Valdai; where the mighty Volga River starts.

    Other highlights:

    • Staraya Russa, and the Fyodor Dostoyevsky museum I
    • Novgorod, among the oldest cities of Russia
    • Ancient Kremlin, the magnificent XI-century St. Sofia Cathedral, and wonderful Russian Millennium Memorial.
    • St. Petersburg and the grand palaces and parks built for Russian Tsars
    • Authentic cultural and educational experience

    ​On the agenda are several visits to museums and exhibitions (some of them are little known). There is an opportunity to mingle with friendly villagers and to experience authentic Russia and taste authentic regional foo.

    The tour finishes in St. Petersburg. On the May 16th tour, you will enjoy the White Nights Festival, an annual international arts festival during the season of the midnight sun, consisting of a series of classical ballet, opera, and music events.

    Interested in more, please see our other bicycle tours in Russia.

  • 2020
    May 16: $ 2520 £ 1308 $ 2,269 1520 $ 2631 kr 16336 $ 1,722 August 9: $ 2437 £ 1265 $ 2,194 1470 $ 2544 kr 15799 $ 1,665 Single supplement (can be avoided if willing to share): $ 332 £ 172 $ 298 200 $ 346 kr 2150 $ 227

    extra options

    Electric bike: $ 332 £ 172 $ 298 200 $ 346 kr 2150 $ 227 Airport transfer(s):
    One way, from Moscow:  $ 66 £ 34 $ 60 40 $ 69 kr 430 $ 45 Both ways, from Moscow/to St. Petersburg: $ 124 £ 65 $ 112 75 $ 130 kr 806 $ 85 Guided tour to the Hermitage (main collection and the Winter Palace): $ 66 £ 34 $ 60 40 $ 69 kr 430 $ 45 Guided bus tour to Peterhof (park with fountains): $ 133 £ 69 $ 119 80 $ 138 kr 860 $ 91

    Extra night in Moscow and St. Petersburg: 
    Double/twin: $ 133 £ 69 $ 119 80 $ 138 kr 860 $ 91 Single: on request

    please note

    Train from St. Petersburg back to Moscow is ~€80 (2nd class) and ~€100 (1st class).

    Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

    Information to read before you book.

    We recommend purchasing bike trip insurance.

    Please see our FAQ.

  • Travel

    Fly to Moscow and out of St. Petersburg. Another option is to take the train back to Moscow and depart from there.

    Local Travel

    We advise booking the supplemental airport transfer from the airport in Moscow to your first hotel. Please see pricing. For departing, you can opt to fly out of St. Petersburg. You can also take a train back to Moscow. Moscow-St Petersburg and reverse is the most popular train route in Russia. There are night trains with the most historic and best being the Krasnya Strela or Red Arrow. For day travel there is the Sapsan high-speed train with the journey time cut to as little as 3 hours 45 minutes.

    Climate

    This tour begins in Moscow and ends in St. Petersburg, a span of 713 km. Please check local conditions before your arrival and note that temperatures are on the cooler side. Do pack accordingly. A good website to research regional weather including average high/low temperatures and average rainfall is weatherbase.com.

    Recommended

    You should bring your own helmet (not obligatory but recommended for your safety), a small bicycle bag or pannier (can be provided on request. A support vehicle will be with the group all day, so you need only a small bag for rain gear etc. on your bicycle during the day. Also bring a water bottle and do not forget your rain gear!

    Remarks

    Cycling as a sport is emerging in Russia and is not like cycling in mainstream Europe. Your guide will be local and will know the roads well but do expect the quality of road surfaces to be less than optimal. There are no dedicated bike paths in most of the country so you will be "sharing the road". As much as possible, the route is designed to take place on rural roads that are lightly trafficed but when entering and exiting the towns/cities, more traffic is to be expected. You must have a good command of your bicycle and good balance and feel comfortable riding in a group.

    Documents

    This tour requires a visa which begins with an invitation from our local operator.  It is impossible to obtain an entry visa upon arrival, so travelers must apply for their visas well in advance. For any foreigner to receive a Russian visa, there must be a Russian sponsoring organization or individual. Usually the invitation is issued for up to 30 days because most travelers want to stay longer.  For US citizens, the US Department of State website is a good source of information. The Country Information tab in the International Travel section provides details about passport validity, blank passport pages required, etc.

    For our other international clients, please be sure that you research your own country's travel requirements. It is each traveler's responsibility to ensure proper documentation.

    Migration cards must be carried at all times while in Russia. A “migration card” is the white paper document given by the border police on first entry to Russia. If you lose your migration card you should ask your sponsor to assist you in reporting it to FMS and request a replacement

    Visas are issued by Russian Consulates in your home country, based on an invitation (a visa support letter). 

    To obtain a Russian visa, you should submit the following papers to a Consular Section:

    1. Completed visa application form (one per person)

    2. Valid national passport (its validity should exceed the planned date of departure from Russia by 6 months)

    3. Three standard passport-size photographs

    4. Invitation from an authorized Russian organization (which we will provide through our local partner)

    The visa fee is paid to the Consular service issuing visas in the respective country. Its cost varies.

    You will have to register your visa upon arrival in Russia and every new place within 7 working days. Most hotels can and must register your visa for free.


Tour Dates

2020

May 16* and August 9, 2020

*This date is offered during St. Petersburg's White Nights  (Beliye Nochi), an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs from the end of May to mid-July. During this period the sun never fully sets and the sky stays bright throughout the night with a light similar to the light of sunset (midnight sun). The city is alive 24 hours a day with festivals, activities, and concerts. 

 Tour dates are officially confirmed in January/February due to the requirement for a minimum number of participants. (May 16 is already a confirmed departure). Though we encourage you to book, and we can provincially confirm you, we also advise postponing air travel plans until you are informed that the departure has met that requirement. Please note that it is very unusual for a tour date to be canceled.

Skill Level

This fully guided tour covers 220 miles (350 km) on the 9-day tour traversed at your own pace. Most roads are asphalt and lightly traveled. However, the roads are not always smooth! Usually, the general group pace is, 10 - 12 mi. an hour (15 - 20 km). It is not necessary to cycle in a group. You can keep your own pace. The group convenes at turns and the support vehicle will wait at appointed places along the route in the event you would like to take a break. An experienced guide is always available to assist. Please note that there are many transfers involved with this tour due to the distance covered.

Where You’ll Stay

Good quality 3 - 4 star hotels

What’s Included

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All meals (from dinner on the arrival day till breakfast on the departure day)
  • All transfers along the route
  • Rental bike (Marin Kentfield city touring with high handlebars)with 21 or 24 speeds equipped with rear rack and bottle holder
  • English speaking cycling guide
  • Support van with luggage transfer
  • Guided excursions and museum fees as described in the program
  • T-shirt
  • Map
  • Visa invitation letter

What’s Not Included

TourBike
TypeGuided
SkillEasy–Moderate
Length9 days
From1470 Rates
Tour Reviews

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Day-To-Day Itinerary

Three Capitals of Russia Map

Day 1: Arrival in Moscow
Day 2: Bicycle tour of Moscow and transfer to Tver, 18 mi. (30 km)
​Day 3: Tver - Torzhok, 40 mi. (64 km)
Day 4: Transfer to Svetlitsa (140 km),  cycling to Petrikovo, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 5: Transfer to Korpovo (120 km) - cycling to Staraya Russa, 37 mi. (60 km) 
Day 6: Transfer to Borki (75 km). Cycling to Veliky Novgorod, 22 mi. (35 km)
Day 7: Veliky Novgorod - Selitsche, 36 mi. (58 km). Transfer to St. Petersburg (150 km)
Day 8: St. Petersburg
Day 9: Departure from St. Petersburg or extension of stay.

Day 1: Arrival in Moscow
You will be met at the airport by a guide and taken to your first hotel. The hotel is located in the eastern part of the city, next to one of Moscow's largest parks and a 5-minute walk from the subway station. It takes 15 minutes by metro to get to the Red Square. After short briefing and buffet dinner, enjoy an evening walk in the center of Moscow.

Highlights: the city of Moscow

Day 2: Bicycle tour of Moscow and transfer to Tver, 18 mi. (30 km)
In the morning you start with a bicycle tour of Moscow along rivers from the hotel to the Victory Park. You will pass the Kremlin, the Gorky Park, Vorob’evy hills with a viewpoint
of Moscow. After lunch, the group will be transferred to Tver  (200 km), the capital of the region, and an ancient city located on the Volga River, the longest European river. A guided walking tour of the city will be offered, including an authentic dinner featuring regional recipes.

Highlights:

  • Gorky Park
  • Vorobyevy Hills
  • Victory Park
  • City tour in Tver

Day 3: Tver - Torzhok, 40 mi. (64 km)
First, a short transfer of 30 km to the Mednoe Memorial (Memorial of Mass Repressions) will start your day followed by cycling on a lovely forest path. Torzhok, the day's destination, is an old Russian town, famous for its unique architecture and folk craft of goldwork embroidery. Interestingly, chicken cutlets (called Pozharskie) were invented here and the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin used to eat them here. Perhaps you can try this famous dish for dinner. Your hotel is located in an old historic building in the center of town.

Highlights:

  • Mednoe Memorial
  • Museum of Sergey Lemeshev
  • City tour in Torzshok
  • Master-class of Pozharskie cutlets

Day 4: Transfer to Svetlitsa (140 km),  cycling to Petrikovo, 22 mi. (35 km)
Another morning transfer (140 km) today to Svetlitsa you will visit  Saint Nil monastery. Overnight this evening is in a hotel near Lake Seliger.  Be sure to experience a  real Russian steam bath (banya).

Highlights:

  • Seliger Lake
  • St. Nil Monastery
  • Russian Bathhouse

Day 5: Transfer to Korpovo (120 km) - cycling to Staraya, 37 mi. (60 km) 
Early bus transfer to Novy Brod. From here you cycle to Staraya Russa, around 60 km. Staraya Russa is old provincial town famous for a balneological (spa) resort and Fedor Dostoevsky museum. (Fyodor Dostoevsky lived in Staraya from 1872 till his death in 1881. Here he wrote his novels The Brothers Karamazov and The Possessed. 

Highlights:

  • Staraya Russa Spa Resort

Day 6: Transfer to Borki (75 km). Cycling to Veliky Novgorod, 22 mi. (35 km)
After visiting the Dostoevsky museum, there is short bus transfer to Borki where you cycle a scenic road along lake Ilmen to Veliky Novgorod (35 km). Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest Russian cities supposed to be the most influential in that time which gives us grounds to call it the first capital of Russia. The center of the city including the outstanding Kremlin is a World Heritage Site. City-tour in Novgorod with local guides.

Highlights:

  • Museum of Fedor Dostoevsky
  • Yuriev Monastery
  • Open-air museum of wooden architecture "Vitoslavitsy"
  • City-tour in Novgorod
  • Kremlin

Day 7: Veliky Novgorod - Selitsche, 36 mi. (58 km). Transfer to St. Petersburg (150 km)
You start in Novgorod and cycle to Spasskaya Polist around 60 km along the Volkhov River on a quiet road, finishing near the ruins of Arakcheev barracks. Transfer to St. Petersburg.  

Highlights:

  • Arakcheev Barracks
  • Bridges opening watching (optional)

Day 8: St Petersburg, 19 mi. (30 km)
Day to explore St. Petersburg! A city tour with a local guide is offered.  This evening you will enjoy a final farewell dinner.

Highlights:

  • St. Petersburg
  • Farewell dinner

Day 9: Departure from St. Petersburg or extension of stay.
Departure or extend your stay with extra nights in St. Petersburg.  Guided tour to the Hermitage or bus tour to Peterhof park is optional.


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Tour Reviews

  • kevin k. 3 months ago     Verified Reviewer

    Sadly, the most memorable part of the trip was a crash in which one of our cyclists suffered a serious head injury. It of course had nothing to do with the quality of the tour, which was OK. Negatives included, firstly, the food. The menus at the restaurants and hotels were boring and the food itself was bland and not particularly healthy. We were given the same basic set of courses every night, and breakfasts were more like dinners than US style in that they featured pasta and meat, with little fruit or grains. Positives: our guide, Vladimir, was conscientious and personable. Most of the cycling routes were on quiet roads, though some were on busy highways. Too much time was spent in the van -- about as much as on our bikes. The spirit of the group was good, and we all seemed to get along well. Highlights included the cycle tour of Moscow and the walking tour of Novgorod. The walk in St Petersburg was not as informative. Accommodations were basically fine, though I was assigned a Read more… noisy room in Petersburg on the second floor above a heavily trafficked street and the management would not change it despite my requests.

  • Elaine Sullivan 2 years ago     Verified Reviewer

    This tour (Jun 16 2017) which included a bicycle festival in Uglich and the White Nights festival in St Petersburg was fabulous. The guides were wonderful, knowledgeable, and helpful. Accommodations were super. We toured many small museums along the route, had an excellent city tour of St Petersburg led by an incredible tour guide. Too many great things to list.

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