SAINT PETERSBURG WHITE NIGHTS FESTIVAL
A visit to the White Nights Festival combines the best of Russia’s performing arts with an outstanding sightseeing program and the opportunity to explore a destination that is intriguing for first time and return visitors alike. Maestro Valery Gergiev, the charismatic head of the Mariinsky Theatre, personally leads many of the opera and concert performances.
The schedule is announced only a short time before the official start date of the Festival. Act 1 Tours has pioneered in offering Saint Petersburg as an opera and music destination, cultivating a wide range of contacts and relationships that enhance the whole experience. An absolutely first-rate hotel, excellent English language guides conducting an in depth sightseeing program, favored theater seating and exceptional dining are just some of the features that will make the tour especially memorable.
Mindful of the city’s scarce and costly hotel space during the short summer season, we have secured space at the 5* Hotel Astoria, the choice of visiting dignitaries and heads of state. The hotel occupies a privileged position on St. Isaac’s Square, one of the city’s most prized and upscale locations. As part of British hotelier Sir Rocco Forte’s luxury portfolio, it offers an undisputedly high level of comfort and customer service.
The 2013 inauguration of the magnificent new opera house, Mariinsky II, enabled the Festival to add an impressive new 2,000 seat venue to its existing performance spaces, the classic original house and the 1,110 seat Mariinsky Concert Hall, designed by architect Xavier Fabre, boasting sparkling acoustics and now rated among the world’s nest.
We expect to attend performances at all three locations during the week in Saint Petersburg.
Thursday, July 6
Departures from North American airports for Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport (LED) or early arrival option.
Friday, July 7
Arrival in Saint Petersburg. At the airport, guests will be welcomed by a driver and escorted to the Hotel Astoria. Those electing to participate in the Moscow pre-tour extension will arrive together from the rail station with your Act 1 host. Based on flight and train arrival details, early check-in will be requested for all our guests, but is not guaranteed as this is a period of very high occupancy. In the early evening we gather and transfer to the Old Customs House restaurant for a welcome to Saint Petersburg dinner, returning in good time for a full night’s rest.
Saturday, July 8
Each day begins with a lavish buffet hotel breakfast. Mid-morning, we meet our guide and walk a few steps to the nearby Moika embankment to board our private boat for an introductory cruise along the city’s canals, followed by a visit to the magnificent St. Isaac’s Cathedral.
Lunch in the Astoria’s restaurant. Relax in the late afternoon before the transfer to one of the Mariinsky venues for our first Festival performance.
Sunday, July 9
This morning we visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, established in 1703, and its Cathedral, the final resting place of the Tsars. Continuing, the tour includes many of the picturesque squares and streets of Old Saint Petersburg, ending at the Church on Spilled Blood, site of Tsar Alexander II’s assassination and resplendent with a fabulous mosaic interior.
A special lunch of emblematic Russian cuisine will be taken at the Brasserie de Metropole.
The afternoon is at leisure. In the early evening the party again transfers for the evening performance.
Monday, July 10
Today we enjoy an excursion to the magnificent Catherine Palace at Tsarskoje Selo, located in parkland south of the city and painstakingly restored from damage incurred during the last World War. The highlight is the Palace’s exceptional Amber Room and other lavish interiors. We follow with a visit to Paul I’s Palace and lunch at the traditional Podvorye restaurant, nestled in a wooded area of the park.
We return to the city after lunch and then enjoy another Festival performance this evening.
Tuesday, July 11
In the morning the party leaves the city and travels west along the Gulf of Finland to Petrodvorets (Peterhof), an extensive parkland area populated with many and varied structures, ornamental gardens and spectacular fountains. We tour the Monplaisir Palace and its adjacent Catherine and Bathhouse Wings, and then stroll to the Shtandard restaurant for luncheon.
We return to Saint Petersburg by high-speed hydrofoil, a fitting conclusion to a memorable day.
Evening Mariinsky Festival performance.
Wednesday, July 12
Another major program highlight is this morning’s early opening entrance to the Hermitage Museum, during which we view the remarkable collection with our art history expert.
In the afternoon we continue to the splendid Shuvalov Palace to view the unique collection of Fabergé creations. Opened in 2014, this is a not-to-be-missed experience.
Evening Mariinsky performance.
Thursday, July 13
Morning at leisure before an afternoon visit to the magni cent Yusupov Palace, scene of Rasputin’s murder, featuring fabulous interiors and a superb miniature theatre.
Evening Mariinsky performance.
Friday, July 14
The day is available for nal independent sightseeing and you will be provided with a range of options to complete your time in Saint Petersburg, for example a visit to the Rimsky-Korsako Museum, Sheremetov Palace or the Russian Museum.
Also, perhaps consider the Erarta Contemporary Art Museum on Vasily Island or the very impactful Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad.
In the evening we gather again for our nal dinner at the noted Russian Empire restaurant, where we celebrate the time together in style.
Saturday, July 15
Assisted transfers to Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport or independent continuation in Saint Petersburg.
- Eight nights at Hotel Astoria in Deluxe twin or king rooms for double occupancy and Classic queen rooms for singles
- Full buffet breakfast daily
- Two dinners and four lunches
- Six Mariinsky performances with Category One seating
- Sightseeing, entrances, private guides and coaches, as described
- Airport and theatre transfers
- Visa support services (application fees not included)
- Guide and driver gratuities
- Host service of Act 1 Tours principal throughout
Shared double occupancy........ $7,650 per person
Single occupancy ........ $8,550 per person
- Deluxe twin or king room for doubles
- Classic queen rooms for singles
Note that airfare is not included.
For early arrivals: Subject to Availability
Extra night(s) double or single priced on request and subject to room availability
Moscow Pre-tour Extension July 3 - 7, 2017 – contact for pricing.
A deposit of $2,650 per person is due on registration ($1,000 non-refundable), with the balance due by May 6, 2017. Payment due in full if registering after this date.
Trip insurance is strongly advised and can be arranged through Act1Tours or independently. Certain policies can waive pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within 15 days of the initial deposit.
The program as described may be modified to adapt to the Festival’s performance schedule, when published (by April 2017).
We are happy to advise on air connections from North America to Saint Petersburg, connecting through a European hub.
Visas are required to visit Russia and passports need to be valid for at least three months after the return date. We obtain the necessary invitations/authorizations from the hotel in Saint Petersburg and can recommend the best approach (agency or personal application) to obtain your Russian visa. Ideally, you should allow 3-4 weeks to complete this process comfortably.