This trip may only be short (8 days) but definitely manages to fit in as many local experiences as possible as you travel some of the highlights of the North West of this extensive country. While we are travelling, we’ll always try to make a positive impact and minimize our negative impact on the environment and community that we come into contact with.
We provide all travellers with reusable bags in order to avoid waste and encourage use of “tea flasks” for drinking water (or tea, like the locals do!) so as not to purchase multiple plastic bottles.
Getting from place to place is done mainly by utilising public transport. In Moscow this means the ornate, bustling but superbly efficient metro system. To get to Novgorod you'll get a taste of Russian train travel on an overnight sleeper where the dining car is definitely the hub for chatting and drinking with local travellers. This is one of the best ways to explore the country and its life, also helps minimize our carbon footprint as well.
In fact, when it comes to carbon emissions, as a company we operate a carbon neutral policy, offsetting all passenger travel ‘on the ground’ while on tour.
We include informal local language lessons to give our travellers a head start into understanding the culture and communicating with the people we meet along the way.
When taking trains we travel 2nd or 3rd class (kupe or platzkart) which is the way the majority of locals travel - this gives us maximum chance to meet and share stories, food, games and the journey with local travellers.
You are accompanied by a leader for the duration of the tour who will be able to help you understand more about the realities of living and travelling in Russia and help to facilitate your interaction with locals along the way. The local guides who take you on excursions and walking tours in each of the places we visit are passionate about their country and allow you to get a real insight into places significant to the history, culture and development of the nation.
During the journey there are numerous opportunities for local interaction and getting to know people. Wandering the back streets of Suzdal you'll no doubt encounter local residents tending their gardens, chickens and livestock or perhaps even come across monks, nuns and priests on their way to the many monasteries and churches in the town. In Novgorod in the summer months you can relax with locals as they soak up the sun along the river bank beaches or in winter join them for a steam at the public banya (sauna/bathhouse).
Along the way you'll have the opportunity to support local industries by shopping for food at local farmers markets, buying direct from the babushka's who sell their home produce on the streets or visiting local handicraft stalls.
At the completion of your journey travellers are encouraged to donate any unwanted clothing and toiletries, which are distributed to a St Petersburg local charity (Nochlezhka) supported by us which provides support for the city's homeless.
Incredible scenery, shamanic traditions and eagle hunters
From £3299 23 days excluding flights