Two cities with real Tsar Power, Moscow and St. Petersburg are the odd couple of Russia: one, the heart of the nation and home to the history-rich Kremlin, where rulers from Ivan the Terrible to Lenin have left their mark; the other, a city born of the passion of its founder, Peter the Great, and today a gigantic Faberge egg stuffed with great art, sunset-colored palaces, and lollipop-striped cathedrals. As more travelers than ever are making their own voyages by cruising the Volga river, which connects Moscow and St. Petersburg, Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg also details many of the splendors of the connecting Golden Ring area.
EXPANDED COVERAGE: With its crew of local experts, this guide tracks Russia as it continues to trade in red star for four star. The pendulum has swung from sceptre to sickle and back again to sceptre---with a vengeance. The Alexander Palace in St. Petersburg (the last abode of Nicholas and Alexandra) is just the latest palace to be renovated; snowmobile tours now take you down the paths once traveled by the tsars in troikas; many hotel rooms in Moscow now go for $400 and up; and Moscow is now home to one of the world's most opulent restaurants, Turandot. But enough of Russia champagneskoye: the guide is also packed with bargain-hunter and insider finds, including those in our expanded Moscow hotel chapter. The performing arts scene gets attention with information about Moscow’s Mariinsky II, the spectacular new opera house (opening in May 2013) that, along with a modern concert hall and the historic Mariinsky Ballet Theater, creates an amazing arts complex.
SPECIAL FEATURES: An array of in-depth features helps travelers experience the cities, including step-by-step walks through Moscow's and St. Petersburg's historic centers, and guides to the ins and outs of vodka drinking, food, and the famous banyas (baths).