IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS TOUR 2020: St. Petersburg and Moscow

Preliminary cost quotes in USD*

(*based on September / October 2019 rates, so may be somewhat different)

1. Tentative time for tour is September/ October 2020. Duration is either 10 days (St Petersburg alone), or 14 days (both St Petersburg and Moscow). I want to be able to offer an option of only St. Petersburg or St. Petersburg plus Moscow and GARF visit, but preference will be given to those who do both because of group rates.  All participants will meet in St. Petersburg on first day of tour.

2. The group will be limited to 10-12 people. Please note:  this is NOT a “generic” tour of Russia, so  some standard places like The Hermitage, Main Peterhof Palace, etc., will not be included, but you can use the free time during the tour to visit those if you want to. I will certainly be able to assist you with those.

3.  I will make all land arrangements, as well as serve as translator and guide.  Participants will buy their own plane tickets

4. I chose Hotel Ekaterina in Tsarskoe Selo for several reasons. First of all, the location – it is part of the Catherine Palace complex! You can’t get any better than that. Having stayed there more than once, I can vouch that it is a wonderful place with wonderful helpful staff. Your room includes all you can eat, delicious breakfast buffet, complete with cold cuts, blini, hot food and amazing fancy lattes, cafe au lait and the like. When you look out of your window, you see the palace. One of the best parts is that the hotel is owned by the Tsarskoe Selo Museum, so your money goes back into the museum – including the Alexander Palace- so it’s a win-win for all!

5.  Hotel in Moscow is Godunov Hotel, which is within walking distance of the Red Square and other popular attractions. If you join us for the optional visit to State Archives GARF, it will cost a bit extra, exact cost will depend on how many people do it.

6. I am going to put together a different version of the book which will cover just the St Petersburg and Moscow parts of “In the Steps of the Romanovs“,  especially for this tour. The participants will each get a free electronic copy of the book, and will have an option to purchase  a hard copy on


St Petersburg area (10 days, 9 nights)

 Day 1 (arrival)  airport transport to Hotel Ekaterina in Pushkin (mostly individual), check in.    Meet in hotel lobby for orientation during lunch and/or dinner, depending on when you arrive.

Day 2. Meet up in the morning for breakfast at hotel (included), then a walking tour around the area  (Feodorovsky Gorodok & Cathedral, imperial train station, White Tower, etc.)  Lunch.  Alexander Palace entry and guided tour. Free time. Dinner

Day 3 Meet for breakfast (included). Catherine Palace entry and guided tour;  Lyceum (optional) or free time.  Walk into town for lunch. Free time (explore, shopping, etc.) Dinner in town

Day 4. Breakfast at hotel (included). Van to St Petersburg, Gorokhovaya St – guided tour of Rasputin’s last apartment. Lunch. Guided tour of Yusupov Moika mansion. Dinner in StP.  Van back to Pushkin (hotel) or elsewhere as decided. Free time

Day 5. Breakfast at hotel. Bus to Alexandria Park in Peterhof. Walk down to the shore to see the ruins of Lower Dacha. Guided tour of the Farm Palace. Packed picnic lunch in park.  Bus back to Pushkin. Dinner in town. Free time.

Day 6. Breakfast at hotel. Bus or train to St Petersburg,  boat tour,  optional excursions of choice. Bus to return to hotel in evening.

Day 7. Breakfast at hotel. Bus to Gatchina.  Guided tour of Nicholas II related parts of palace and park. Bus back to Pushkin. Lunch. On/off bus tour around town (Tsarskoselsky hospital, Realnoe school, former Nanny school, Brethren cemetery, Alexandrovskaya train station, and other Romanov related landmarks). Dinner and free time.

Day 8. Breakfast at hotel. Guided tour through obscure, lesser known locations in Alexander Park (real Rasputin grave, fresh water spring etc.) with local historian.  Lunch in town. Free afternoon and dinner in town.

Day 9.  Breakfast at hotel. Free day to stay local or do an optional day excursion. Ideas for optional tours: Faberge Museum, Pavlovsk, Stelna, Krasnoe Selo.

Day 10. Breakfast at hotel.  Check out, transport to airport for flight to Moscow.

Moscow (3 nights, 4 days)

Day 1. Arrive, bus from airport to  Godunov Hotel . Check into hotel, lunch, meet in lobby. Walk to Red Square for guided tour of the Kremlin and Armoury Chamber.  Visit the spot where Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was assassinated. Dinner and free time to explore that area. Walk back to hotel.

Day 2. Breakfast. Bus to the State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF) for a tour (optional) or make your own plans.  Lunch.  Free afternoon (Tolstoy museum? ). Free evening/dinner in the Red Square area or the Arbat district.

Day 3. Breakfast. Bus to Marfo-Mariinsky convent for guided tour.  Lunch.  Bus to Boyar Romanov mansion on Varvarka. Bus back to hotel area. Dinner and free time.

Day 4. Breakfast and check out. Transport to airport for flight home (probably in 3 shifts)

Approximate cost for land package in USD (based on 2019 prices)

St Petersburg (10 days, 9 nights) $1500 per person for shared hotel room / $500 single supplement

Moscow (4 days, 3 nights) $675 p/p for shared room / $200 single supplement

Total St Petersburg and Moscow:  $2,175 each person for shared accommodations / $2,875 for single

Includes: 4 star hotel, daily full buffet breakfast; translator and guide; tours and entries to museums and parks mentioned above (except optional); transportation to and from excursions; assistance with optional activities; ebook “In the Steps of the Romanovs: St Petersburg and Moscow”

Extra cost:

1. Russian Visa approximately $200
2. International r/t airfare
3. Airport transportation, to be arranged with each individual
4. Food other than breakfast: about $20-30 per day, but can be as low as $15 per day
5. One way domestic airfare StP to Moscow approximately $100 or less
6. Optional GARF tour approx. $60-$70 each (depending on amount of people)
7. Other optional excursions and transportation

Please email me at if you have specific questions. 

Thank you!


Below are some photos and videos of the Romanov related places we expect to visit in St. Petersburg and Moscow when we walk in the steps of the Romanovs:


Feodorovsky Gorodok


Feodorovsky Gorodok

Feodorovsky Gorodok
Feodorovsky Infirmary



Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary – the Yellow Annex
Inside the Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Infirmary
Feodorovsky Gorodok


Feodorovsky Infirmary – the Yellow Annex
In front of the Feodorovsky Infirmary

Entrance of Feodorovsky Infirmary
Members of IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Laura, Leslie, Mary and Rosie

Natural water spring in Alexander Park

Canal in Alexander Park
Canal in Alexander Park

Alexander Park alley


The White Tower, Alexander Park
The White Tower

Kitchen garden, Alexander park
Back of Alexander Palace

Outside of Semi-circular Hall,, Alexander Palace
Alexander Palace


I made the above video in summer of 2005, when I lived in Tsarskoe Selo and worked at the museum there. The cathedral was just being restored!


Grand entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members Jessie, Leslie, and others



Imperial entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral
In front of the Imperial entrance to Feodorovsky Cathedral

Alexander Park

Alexander Park




Alexander Park


Alexander Park
Children’s Island and playhouse

Our filmmaker Jessie
Children’s Island and play house




Kitchen garden, back of Alexander Palace
Kitchen garden, Alexander Palace


Kitchen garden, Alexander park
Kayaking on the canal in Alexander Park
Kayaking in Alexander Park

Anna Vyrubova‘s house
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group at Anna Vyrubova’s house
Alexander Palace
IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members inside the Alexander Palace during renovations. July 2018


Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Today this is Hotel Ekaterina where IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group will be staying








Courtyard of Catherine Palace
Main entrance, Catherine Palace
Main gate, Catherine Palace


Znamenie church and Imperial Lyceum


IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS group outside of “Znamenie” church



IN T HE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS members Ben, Laura and Kelly



Palace infirmary on Gospitalnaya Street, where Olga, Tatiana and Allexandra worked as nurses

Courtyard of Palace Infirmary



Courtyard of the Palace Inifrmary




Alexandrovsky train station, from where the Romanovs left Tsarskoe Selo for the last time
Alexandrovsky train station today
Memorial at Alexandrovsky station to honour the Romanovs



Palace Square during declaration of war, St Petersburg

Palace Square, the Romanovs on the day the war was declared, St Petersburg: Laura, Mary, Theodore, Kelly and Jess
Winter Palace

Balcony of Winter Palace


The In the Steps of the Romanovs group in the courtyard of Rasputin’s apartment on Gorokhovaya St. July 2018
Stairs leading down the back exit of Rasputin’s apartment in St. Petersburg. Felix Yusupov came to get him via these stairs on 16 December, 1916, the night Rasputin was murdered.
Yusupov Palace where Rasputin was murdered
Faberge museum, St Petersburg

Neva embankment, St Petersburg


Gatchina, Silver Lake

Gatchina Palace
Gatchina Palace
Jessie and I




Main entrance, Peterhof Palace




Farm Palace- Peterhof
Mary and I

Lower Dacha, Peterhof

Ruins of the Lower Dacha in Peterhof (destroyed during WWII)

Cross marks the spot of the room where Alexei was born in the Lower Dacha



Iverskaya church outside of Kremlin, Moscow.
Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent

Grand Duchess Elisabeth’s sitting room in Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Inside Marfo-Mariinsky convent


Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow


GARF – State Archive of Russian Federation

GARF episode of the IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS July 2018 trip:




What exactly is “Giant Steps” the game that is so often mentioned in the Romanov diaries and letters?  A number of swings with harnesses are secured to a pole by long ropes, and everyone swings around, taking giant strides.


Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia playing on Giant Steps


Anastasia to Nicholas II:  “31 May, 1916. Tsarskoe Selo… These days Maria and I swing on giant steps a lot. We are almost never nauseous, [although] we fell a bunch of times already, but so far have not hurt ourselves…”


Tatiana, Anastasia and Nicholas II on Giant Steps


Giant Steps swing


Nicholas II to Maria:  “Imperial Headquarters, 13 June, 1916… Alexei, Nagorny and Muravnukin are on the giant steps or we play a sort of hide-and-seek…”&nbsp

Alexei on the Giant Steps at Stavka

The Romanov family even built  a make-shift Giant Steps swing for Alexei in the backyard of Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk, obviously it was one of their favourite activities.

Alexei swinging on the Giants Steps in the backyard of the Governor’s mansion in Tobolsk
Apparently, “Giant Steps” is still relatively popular in modern Russia:






Rostov Veliky (The Great)
From the 1913 diary of Nicholas II:

22 May. Wednesday. All night we stood [in a train] at a small station Kozmodemyansk. At 10 o’cl arrived in Rostov. Alix was very tired and besides that she came down with angina, hence she was lying down all day. After the welcome drove in an automobile with the children to the ancient city of Rostov-Veliky. Visited Uspensky cathedral, heard the famous ringing of bells, walked to the White chambers and the princely towers through the Kremlin walls, looking at the inner churches on the way.

Hear the bells of Uspensky Cathedral below – the same bells Nicholas and his children would have heard that day!

The White Chamber as it looks in July of 2018.
The White Chamber in Rostov Kremlin, as seen by the Romanov family in 1913
White Chamber in July of 2018



THE DIARY OF OLGA ROMANOV: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution

THE DIARY OF OLGA ROMANOV: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution

The First English Translation of the Wartime Diaries of the Eldest Daughter of Nicholas II, the Last Tsar of Russia, with Additional Documents of the Period
In August 1914, Russia entered World War I, and with it, the imperial family of Tsar Nicholas II was thrust into a conflict they would not survive.

His eldest child, Olga Nikolaevna, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, had begun a diary in 1905 when she was ten years old and kept writing her thoughts and impressions of day-to-day life as a grand duchess until abruptly ending her entries when her father abdicated his throne in March 1917. Held at the State Archives of the Russian Federation in Moscow, Olga’s diaries during the wartime period have never been compiled into English until this volume.

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Also available as ebook


IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

IN THE STEPS OF THE ROMANOVS: The Final Two Years of the Russian Imperial Family 1916-1918

This volume offers an accurate glimpse into the final two years of the last Imperial Family of Russia: exclusively through their own diary entries and personal correspondence, supplemented by contemporary eyewitness accounts, many of which are published here in English for the first time.
The reader will get to know on a deeper level the Grand Duchesses and the Empress, as they work at Tsarskoe Selo infirmaries; witness the imperial family’s grief for their murdered “Friend” Grigori Rasputin; experience their arrest after the outbreak of revolution, and follow them into captivity in Siberia – and ultimately the Red Ural – where they meet their tragic end in the cellar of “The House of Special Purpose”.
This already familiar unique piece of history is individually told by Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei. Their collective personal story is a portrayal of a united family bound together by love, hardship and tragedy, taking place during the twilight of an extraordinary bygone era.

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Also available as e-book



For some time after they arrived in Tobolsk, the Romanov family were allowed to attend the local cathedral for services. Blagoveschenie church was located very close to the Governor’s mansion: across the street then diagonally across the town gardens, and across another street to the left.  I did the same walk, based on their own descriptions, and was able to locate the exact spot where the church once stood.  (more…)