Winter road trip in Russia - From St. Petersburg to Moscow
Winter road trip in Russia

From St. Petersburg to Moscow

Winter road trip in Russia
(From St. Petersburg to Moscow)

Russian winter is harsh, but amazingly beautiful!

We invite you on a self-drive tour across the snow-coated woods of the Russian North.

The scenery is magical: knee-deep snow, lakes and rivers shackled with ice and frost, and white-patterned windows. The cold first comes in November and ends by April at best.

We offer you to take the most out of the winter drive with the great UAZ Patriot, perfectly suited for such tough conditions, specifically designed to endure difficult weather and Russian winter roads. While you check your driving skills our experienced crew is always at your side to ensure comfort and safety, no matter if it’s a highway or winding off-road trail in the woods.

We’ve made our best to fit the most fabulous winter activities in this tour, including dog-sledding, horse-sledding and tubing down ice slides. We’ll try ice-skating, will play snowballs, and try cross-country skiing. We highly recommend you to take warm clothing and shoes, thick mittens and wool scarves.

Lots of hot beverages and hearty food will be provided. We will also have a fair amount of motion to keep warm when outside! It will definitely be a journey full of adventures. Make sure to participate in ice-fishing or a dive in the immensely cold water.

Some pleasant surprises remain to be revealed: See the most incredible traditional architecture in Kizhi Island with its unique open-air collection of wooden churches. Enjoy ethnic shows with customary food treats, songs and dance and immerse yourselves in a real winter fairy tale!

Available Dates

  • 2024 | 8 places Book
  • Individual dates are available. Please contact the program manager.

Trip details

Intensity Level 1
Season Winter
Begins in Bishkek
Ends in Bishkek


Great for Couples Families Individuals

It’s going to be a Self-drive tour for 10 days with a Driving distance of 1550 km (40% asphalt and 60% off-road). You will be driving highways, snow and ice off-road on the amazing UAZ PATRIOT 4X4. Accommodation will be in the best hotels on the route and 5* hotels in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

What's Included:

  • Rent of UAZ Patriot (2018-2019) specifically designed for driving tours. One vehicle for 3-4 guests
  • Support car with all the necessary equipment
  • Mechanic-instructor
  • English-speaking guide
  • Accommodation: best hotels on the route, 5* hotels in Moscow and Saint Petersburg (list of hotels is sent when booking the program)
  • Meals: 3 times a day, according to the program
  • Route preparation including off-road part
  • Sightseeing and active programs according to the program
  • Dog and horse sledding

What's not included:

  • Single supplement of 490 USD per person
  • Early check-in
  • Meals not indicated in the program
  • Additional activities and services
  • Strong drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • International flights

Arrival at St.Petersburg. Meeting at the airport arrivals hall. Transfer to the hotel for check-in. Rest of the day will be at leisure. If you are in the mood for sightseeing then we are happy to offer you some ideas:

OPTION 1: Walking tour of the most significant landmarks of Saint Petersburg. Our guide will take you to the most picturesque areas where you will be able to make multiple photos while engaged in an entertaining and informative discussion about the city's history and present-day life. Take a stroll along Nevsky Prospekt; this 2.5 mile avenue is adorned with Russian History. Stunning buildings, breath-taking bridges and powerful palaces become only snippets of a walk down this eye-pleasing street. Admire the Kazan Cathedral, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, take a look at the Zinger Building, the Russian Museum, the Admiralty, the Palace Bridge and Square, the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, the Peter and Paul Fortress and much more.

OPTION 2:. You may visit the Hermitage (up to 2 hours). You can be absorbed by Hermitage ‘s treasures for days and still come out wanting more. The enormous collection (over three million items, only a fraction of which are on display in 360 rooms) almost amounts to a comprehensive history of Western European art.

Accommodation in 5* hotel (Breakfast/-/Dinner)


From St. Petersburg to Sortavala / 275 km. Journey will begin! The road from St. Petersburg to Sortavala is very beautiful. Today we will enter Karelia. The land of lakes (there are over 60,000 of them) is quite different from the rest of Russia and carries clear signs of neighboring cultures. Historically, it was mostly populated by Finno-Ugric ethnic groups and a percentage of locals still declare Karelian, Veps or Finnish as their mother tongue. We will reach Lake Ladoga - the largest lake in Europe, and enjoy the endless expanses of this splendid enormous reservoir. The graceful Karelian woods and forest backroads are waiting for us, and today we continue exploring them on our SUVs.

Sortavala could be called an open-air museum of Finnish architecture; almost the entire city center has historical value. It’s also where pilgrims come to board the boats taking them to one of the most respected Orthodox monasteries on the island of Valaam. Several centuries ago, monks settled there for ultimate seclusion and spiritual tranquility and still adhere to a strict brotherhood code. Northern Art Nouveau (or national Finnish romanticism) is the basis of the architectural style of this unusual city. Sortavala and its suburbs have more than 200 historical buildings in total. We will explore the Ruskeala Nature Reserve – a definite must-see location.

The Ruskeala quarry that had been a source of marble since the 1600s was closed in 1985. The stone extracted here was widely used for decoration of palaces, churches and even some metro stations in St.Petersburg. The quarry was later officially recognized as a cultural heritage site.

Operated by a private travel company since 2005, The Ruskeala Mountain Park is a tourist attraction not to miss. Take a walk around the flooded quarry, see the monuments of industrial architecture, and enter the mystical tunnels and passages. The winter ice sculpture festival in the canyon is another spectacle that attracts crowds of guests. We will stay here for the night.

Accommodation in a hotel (Meals: B/L/D)


From Sortavala to Petrozavodsk. Distance: 160 km. This morning we leave Sortavala to head on to the enchanting city of Petrozavodsk. One of the adventures planned for the day is getting acquainted with the Siberian Huskies. We will stop at a place hidden on a river bank in thick Karelian woods where the playful energetic dogs are waiting for us. Learn how to harness a sled, and experience how amazingly fast the team of these dogs can go. The ride is very exciting for both children and adults, and meeting the Huskies known to be the kindest dogs in the world is an absolute delight.

We will have lunch around a fireplace in a traditional Northern chum (tent) and enjoy a local band playing ethnic instruments. Our day trip finishes in the capital of Karelia region - Petrozavodsk. The appealing waterfront promenade on the Onega Lake invites for a leisurely stroll.

Accommodation in a hotel (Meals: B/L/D)


Visit to Kizhi Island. We will head to the shore of Lake Onega after breakfast to board a ‘khivus’ (hovercraft) for a slide along the smooth ice surface to Kizhi Island. This ride takes about 1.5 hours. Wooden architecture can be found throughout Russia but Kizhi Island boasts some of the nation's most famous and most intricate pieces. These structures from various times (the oldest one is believed to date back to the 1300s) were carefully collected and transported to the island to be preserved and displayed for the public. Masterpieces of church architecture, iconography and household items created in Karelian, Veps and Russian villages over the centuries are all to be found here.

After a fascinating tour of the museum grounds, we will have a picnic with kebabs and baked vegetables. We return to Petrozavodsk to spend another great evening and enjoy dinner served in one of the city’s coziest cafes.

Accommodation in a hotel (Meals: B/L/D)


Petrozavodsk – Upper Mandrogi. Distance: 220 km. Leaving Petrozavodsk behind we proceed to examine the woods of the Russian North. Our path will take us to Upper Mandrogi - the most fabulous Russian village on our route.

This is a home to dozens of craftsmen who create traditional clothing, pottery, toys and lacework to this day. Mandrogi gives out an authentic vibe of rural Russia of the past. You get to enjoy horse-sledding and will also have an opportunity to visit the souvenir shop for local handmade goods. Hand-forged metal souvenirs, Matryoshka dolls, Christmas decorations, linen, felts – too many to name them all. Some will argue that the most important part is the famous local ‘pirozhki’, the characteristic Russian small pies filled with meat, fish, cabbage or berries. We will stay in the whimsical colorful wooden houses for the night.

Accommodation in cottages (Meals: B/L/D)


Upper Mandrogi – Veliky Novgorod. Distance: 350 km. After a traditional hearty Russian breakfast, we continue on to Veliky Novgorod - a mighty stronghold of the bygone era. It will be a long drive with some interesting stops. We’ll pass Old Ladoga which is the oldest inhabited area in the Leningrad Region. According to many chronicles, this was the original capital of Northern Russia of the 800-900s. A fortress dating back to the 1100s, ancient churches, monasteries, barrows and caves make for a significant accumulation of ancient monuments here.

Finally, we reach Veliky (Russian for “great”) Novgorod. Founded in 859, the city was once a vital member of the medieval Hanseatic League on the Russian side of the Baltic. Ethnic dance and song show that leaves no one indifferent is planned for the evening.

Accommodation in a hotel (Meals: B/L/D)


From Veliky Novgorod to Lake Seliger. Distance: 320 km. After breakfast, we pay a visit to the Novgorod Kremlin nestled along the Volkhov River – the oldest of the extant fortresses in Russia. Leaving Novgorod Region we continue our drive along the beautiful Valday Upland of the Tver Region admiring the wonderful views and forest roads. One of the day’s highlights is the source of the Volga River – the longest and decidedly the most renowned river in Russia. We will make a short stop and take a walk to the source amidst the pure white snow to appreciate the splendid view of the surroundings. Lake Seliger actually includes a chain of natural water reservoirs formed after the ice age. Hundreds of large and small lakes and islands surrounded by gorgeous coniferous forests create an amazing landscape covered by snow and ice.

In the evening, we will check into a cozy hotel on the shore of a charming lake.

Accommodation in cottages (Meals: B/L/D)


From Seliger to Moscow. Distance: 390 km. Before leaving Seliger, we will pay a visit to Nilo-Stolbenskaya Pustyn (Nilova Pustyn) located on Stolobny Island. Founded in 1594, it was once one of the largest and wealthiest Russian Orthodox monasteries, and still is one of the most impressive ensembles of neoclassical architecture in Eastern Europe. We come to the last segment of our journey heading south/south-east to reach Moscow!

This is the last we’ll see of the peaceful villages hidden between the lakes and the elegant Orthodox churches on the hilltops. The view from your car window will gradually change from the winter wilderness scenery to the urban landscape of the most populated city in Russia.

By evening we enter the broad streets of Moscow with its eclectic architecture flooded with evening lights. After checking in to one of the capital’s best hotels we will proceed to dinner where we will exchange impressions and pictures taken along the way.

Accommodation in 5* hotel (Meals: B/L/D)


Moscow. This day will be dedicated to sightseeing in the Russian capital. Walking tour of Moscow city center: Red Square followed by a short introduction to Moscow metro (1,5-2 hrs). You will see St.Basil’s cathedral (exterior), GUM mall , Kazan church, State History Museum and the Moscow metro (Revolution Square station).

Option 1. Guided tour of the most iconic streets and architecture with a chauffeured vehicle (3-3,5 hrs). Highlights: Red Square and St.Basil's Cathedral, Bolshoi Theatre and the Alexander Garden, the State Duma and Russian Government t buildings, Lubyanka Square with KGB HQ, the Russian State Library, Sparrow Hills, Moscow-City business district, Poklonnaya Hill, Victory Park, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. br>
Option 2. Moscow River Cruise on the amazing Radisson yacht (2,5 hrs). br>
Accommodation in a hotel (Meals: B/- /-)


Departure. End of program.

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