Choose a departure time, and meet your private guide at your St. Petersburg hotel. Opt to travel by subway, bus, train, or taxi (fares at own expense) to Pushkin, the location of Tsarskoye Selo, an imperial estate of palaces and parks situated near St. Petersburg.
After a roughly 1- to 1.5-hour journey with your guide, arrive at the estate: the main country residence of Russia’s emperors from the 1700s to the early 1900s.
Head for the Catherine Palace, and pause to admire its blue-and-gold rococo exterior. Avoid the main lines with your skip-the-line ticket, and enjoy a 2-hour guided tour.
Admire the opulent chambers and halls embellished with stucco, marble, and frescoes, and learn how the palace was built in the 1700s for Catherine I. Hear how it was damaged during World War II before being returned to its former glory, and visit its centerpiece: the world-famous Amber Room.
Originally coated in amber panels that were stolen by the Nazis, this world-famous room was faithfully restored with newly made panels crafted by local amber artisans.
After admiring the stunning amber inlays, stroll around Catherine Park to see some of its beautiful statues, buildings, and monuments. Then, break for lunch (own expense) at a café or restaurant recommended by your guide, and continue to the Alexander Palace, another of Tsarskoye’s residences.
Take in the harmonious 18th-century façade (the interior is closed for restoration until July 2018), and learn how the palace is best-known as a favorite of Tsar Nicholas II, Russia’s last emperor, and his family. Finally, visit the Royal Court Carriage Exhibition, home to carriages used in Russia’s coronations and processions from the 18th century on.
View the ornate vehicles before returning to Petersburg by your chosen transportation. Your trip ends when your guides leaves you at your hotel.