Travel All Russia: Treasures of Two Capitals

A rail trip through the country’s history, with blinis and vodka as fuel

A cold New Year's Eve calls for free-flowing Russian vodka     Photo: iStock

You may be tempted to try to see all of Russia via the near-mythic Trans-Siberian Railroad, exploring its endless expanse by popping in and out of snow-clad Siberian cities as the train rambles toward Beijing, but don’t. The Trans-Siberian and its iconic stops are made for warmer weather adventures. Travel All Russia’s Treasures of Two Capitals presents Russia’s two most populated, exciting cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, with a culture-packed itinerary of Christmas and New Year’s Eve hot spots. Christmas Day commences with a hearty Russian breakfast of pancake-like blini with sour cream before a hike to Red Square and through the Kremlin. Head due north to St. Petersburg and explore the Peter-Paul Fortress, a former political prison for dissidents of the tsarist regime. Trek to Catherine Palace where you’ll ride troikas, traditional Russian carriages pulled by three horses. New Year’s Eve calls for free-flowing Russian vodka and traditional delicacies at The Hotel Astoria’s intimate Davidov restaurant in St. Isaac’s Square. Want a side adventure? Sign up for heli-skiing at Krasnaya Polyana Ski Resort, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, Russia. $2,860.

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