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• Venture into the isolated north-west territories of Russia and encounter unique monastic communities.
• Take a boat trip to the UNESCO-listed assembly of 18th century wooden architecture in Kizhi Pogost, including the stunning Church of the Transfiguration featuring 22 onion domes.
• Visit the restored merchant houses of Archangel and the remains of 16th–19th century rural villages at the Malye Karely open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture.
Depart Heathrow 0920 on British Airways for St Petersburg, arriving 1535. Depart St Petersburg 1840 on Rossiya/Aeroflot airlines for Archangel, arriving 2010. Transfer to Dvina Hotel for two nights' stay.
Depart hotel by coach for full day excursion to Kholmogory, visiting the Antonievo-Siiskii Monastery en route. Break for lunch (included). Afternoon visits to the churches at Zaostrovje. Return by coach to Archangel.
Depart by coach for a tour of Archangel city centre with visits to the restored Merchant’s House, museums and city churches and Solombala (old port area). Break for independent lunch. Depart by coach for afternoon visit to Malye Korely for visit to the Museum of Wooden Buildings. Transfer to Vas’kovo airport for private charter flight to Solovetsky Islands. Depart Vas’kovo airport 1700 for Solovetsky, arriving 1750. Transfer to Hotel Solo and Hotel Solovetskaya Sloboda for overnight stay.
Depart for visit to Solovetskij Monastery and Museum. Break for independent lunch. Depart by boat for Bol’shoi Zayatskij Island, known for tundra vegetation, for visits to pre-historic labyrinths. Return to Solovetsky and check in to Hotel Solovoki for two nights’ stay.
Depart for a half day visit to Muksalma Island to view the dam built by monks and some of the buildings of the former monastery farm. Break for independent lunch. Afternoon visit to Sekirnaya Gora (former concentration camp). Return to hotel.
Depart for excursion by rowing boat on monk-made canals and lakes. Continue with visit to the botanical garden. Break for independent lunch. Return to Solovetsky Monastery for a second visit, including Gulag exhibition in the former gulag barrack in the village. Depart by ferry for Kem' at 1900, arriving 2100. Transfer to Hotel Prichal for overnight stay.
Depart by coach for Petrozavodsk. Break for independent lunch. Visit to Church of Peter the Apostle in Marcial Waters. Continue to Petrozvodsk visiting Kondopoga (impressive 18th century wooden Church of the Dormition) en route. Arrive in Petrozavodsk for three nights’ stay at Hotel Onego Palace.
Depart by boat for full day excursion to Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega (Unesco-listed masterpieces of 18th century wooden architecture including the Transfiguration Church, topped with 22 wooden domes). Break for independent lunch at a convenient time.
Depart for visits in Petrozavodsk (founded by Peter the Great) including the Republic of Karelia Fine Arts Museum (collection of 17th and 18th century icons), the National Museum and selection of town churches. Break for independent lunch at convenient time. Return to hotel.
Depart by coach for Sortavala travelling through picturesque Karelia lowland. En route visit Kinerma Village (250 years old and built in the forest around the chapel, unlike other Karelian villages which are built on the waterfront). Break for lunch in Kinerma Village (included). Continue to Sortavala and check in to Ladoga Estate for overnight stay. Depart for walking tour of Sortavala (Finnish Art Nouveau architecture).
Transfer to pier. Depart by hydrofoil to island of Valaam across Lake Ladoga. Tour the monastery archipelago of Valaam and the cathedral. Depart by hydrofoil for Priozersk. Arrive in Priozersk and transfer by coach to St Petersburg. Arrive in St Petersburg and check in for two nights’ stay at the Hotel Ambassador.
Depart by coach for full day excursion to Vyborg (Karelia city on the Finnish border). Break for independent lunch. Afternoon visit to Mon Repos Park.
Depart hotel by coach with luggage for Peterhof for a walk in the park en-route to St Petersburg Airport. Depart St Petersburg 1655, arriving Heathrow 1730.