St. Petersburg is one of the most famous, historic and beautiful cities in the world. It is also a thriving modern metropolis undergoing a renaissance. What better idea than to enjoy our favourite sport here? Apparently the Romanovs did. Peter I is said to have been at the forefront of the sport at that time – which was the early 1700’s so we are not sure how accurate this report is. We found some photos of Tsar Nicholas II rowing – but not quite the style of boats that we like. Perhaps this is a bit like St. Petersburg itself, rather mysterious, raising more questions the more you explore, not quite what you expect. The sheer grandeur of the city is just as advertised and will not disappoint. Palaces, gilded steeples, monumental art, colourful facades lining canals. It just goes on and on and on. Absolutely iconic, spectacular, bucket list. Then there is Novgorod, called the birthplace of Russia. Centuries of history are found along the banks of the Volkhov River, which served as a major trading route bringing riches to this city. The city has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often called a city-museum. Beautiful churches graced with onion domes seem to pop up everywhere but the most beautiful is Cathedral of St Sophia, the oldest church in Russia.
Water, water everywhere. Originally a marshland at the edge of the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg was created by imperial decree of Peter the Great in 1703. It became his warm water port and “window to Europe”. Inspired by Amsterdam, swamps were drained, marshes filled in, canals created and ultimately 342 bridges were built within the city limits. We will row the rivers and canals of the city, as well as two days rowing in Novgorod. Our base is the English Rowing Club, a powerhouse of Russian rowing, but a club that appreciates the beauty of where they row, and Andrej will show us his favourite spots. These are cities best seen from the water.
Our priority is to experience St. Petersburg and Novgorod through rowing. In the afternoons and on our day off from rowing, we will experience the culture of these magnificent cities. Anna, our guide and translator will take us to some of the most significant sights: the Winter Palace and the Hermitage, Peterhof, Church of the Saviour on the Blood in St. Petersbug. She will also share some of her personal favourites, Erata Museum and Galleries and the Fabergé Museum. Look carefully, every day she will wear a different set of earrings and necklace in the Fabergé style. But culture is found at the rowing club, whose honourary chairman is Sir Steven Redgrave. We will get a tour of tour of the historic clubhouse including the Museum of British Rowing and a Museum of Russian Rowing. In Novgorod we will admire icons at the art museum, explore Uriev monastery and Vitoslaitsi, and visit a folk art studio to learn folk songs. This is a once-in-a-lifetime, must experience rowing trip. We look forward to sharing it with you.
Read some of our blog post about this trip:
|Daily Distances||Boats||Group Size|
|15—25 km per day||Coxed coastal quads.||Maximum 15 rowers plus coaches and non-rowers.|
This price is a preliminary price for the group, set in January 2018. It is likely that it will increase. Additional cultural activities might be added and we are still waiting on some key pricing elements from our partners, for some aspects of the rowing. An updated and final price will be issued in June before final payments are required. Single rooms with associated single supplement are available, please be in touch with us for details.
Note that is itinerary is subject to change, due to many factors including weather and water conditions. Some non-rowing activities are still being finalized. More may be added. The program for the non-rowers will be added shortly.
Arrival in St. Petersburg. An afternoon walking tour to stretch your legs. Stroll through the heart of the city for our welcome dinner at an excellent restaurant named after one of the city’s many famous writers.
Let’s get rowing! We head to our base at the English Rowing Club for a first row. We will explore the islands immediately around the club, then head for two of the most dramatic and modern bridges in St. Petersburg. Out we go into the Gulf of Finland! But is it freshwater or saltwater? An exhilarating introduction to rowing in Russia. For the afternoon, we board a bus for a guided city tour. With various stops along the way, some famous, some quirky, we get an excellent overview of St. Petersburg, its history and modern day life.
With an early morning departure we join the Neva River and row down past some of the most famous vistas. We pass the Winter Palace, emblem of imperial Russia and the cruiser Aurora, which played an important role in the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917. We row along canals lined by colourful palaces in the Italian style, glimpsing golden church domes and vast squares. And of course passing under many beautiful bridges. Lunch at the English Rowing Club for the rowers. In the afternoon, Anna will take us through the vast and spectacular collections of The Hermitage, showing us her personal favourites.
While we may take a rest from rowing today, there is lots of sightseeing to enjoy. We will enjoy a bit of a lazy morning, before joining Anna for a guided tour of Peterhof, or the summer palace, outside of city. We will skip the crowds inside the building and get a special tour of the remarkable waterworks that support the hundreds of fountains in the magnificent gardens. Returning to the city, our destination is the Church of the Saviour on the Blood. This is another iconic and historic building, and one that graces the cover of many guidebooks. We will learn the reason for the unusual name as well as appreciating the architectural charms and details.
This morning we enjoy our last row from English Rowing Club. And what a row to finish off our time in St. Petersburg! Crossing the Neva, we enter the Griboyedov Channel to row right underneath the magnificent Church of the Saviour on the Blood. Then along the Fontanka River, rowing past our hotel, then back to the Neva near the Winter Palace. We said it – the views of this city are best from the water. This afternoon there are options for free time and shopping, but Anna will guide us through Erata, the new gallery for contemporary art. Once again we experience beguiling contrasts between the old and the new Russia.
In the morning we will board our bus for the two hour + drive to Novgorod. Let’s head directly to the local rowing club and get onto the water. We can then check into our hotel and enjoy a sightseeing tour of the main sights of this city-museum.
Our final row in Russia. There is still lots to see and do. In the afternoon we will admire icons at the art museum, explore Uriev monastery and Vitoslaitsi, and visit a folk art studio to learn folk songs. It will be bittersweet to enjoy our farewell dinner.
A fond farewell and departure from Novgorod. Some people will continue on to Moscow, while the group will be returned to St. Petersburg, potentially to catch flights home that day. Cross this one off your bucket list.