Russia river cruises can take you from the majestic capital of Moscow with its iconic Kremlin to the glittering city of St Petersburg.

Along the way the way there will be a wealth of opportunities to discover historical towns, fascinating culture and scenic countryside. Here’s our pick of the best Russia river cruises available right now.

Viking: Waterways of the Tsars

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Waterways of the Tsars, Viking’s 13-day itinerary, focuses on the ‘real’ Russia with some standout experiences. Starting in Moscow, see all the sights and fit in an optional trip to Tretyakov Gallery or a Jewish Moscow tour. Then be invited into a local family’s house for tea in Uglich, visit a school in Kuzino and relax in a banya — a traditional Russian bath house — in Mandrogi. There are stops at Yaroslavl and Kizhi, too, and in St Petersburg opt to visit a kommunalka, a communal living area leftover from the Soviet era. 

A 13-day Waterways of the Tsars cruise, departing 6 May 2020, starts from £2,795pp based on two sharing, including return flights (vikingrivercruises.co.uk).

Emerald Waterways: Imperial Charms of Russia 

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Emerald Waterways’ 12-day Imperial Charms of Russia begins in St Petersburg with a bus tour along the Nevsky Prospect and a Hermitage Museum visit. Setting sail, the cruise then offers a tour of the colourful wooden izbas (wooden houses) in Mandrogi and trips to the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Goritsy and the Kizhi Architectural Ensemble on Kizhi island. The Golden ring cities of Yaroslavl and Uglich are up next before the cruise ends in Moscow, with a guided city tour and a day reserved for the Kremlin grounds.

A 12-day Imperial Charms of Russia cruise, departing 29 July 2020, starts from £2,695pp based on two sharing, including return flights (emeraldwaterways.co.uk).

Titan: Imperial Waterways of Russia

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New from Titan Travel in 2020, Imperial Waterways of Russia begins in Moscow. Explore the city and its ornate metro stations before cruising to Uglich and picking either a Church of St Dmitry on the Blood walking tour or a Hydropower GULAG tour. In Yaroslavl, Goritsy and Mandrogi, continue to pick from cultural excursions or a ‘Let’s Go’ walk or hike. The trip ends in St Petersburg with a canal cruise, ballet and Hermitage Museum visit among the highlights.  

An 11-night all-inclusive Imperial Waterways of Russia cruise, departing 20 May 2020, starts from £5,279pp based on two sharing, with return flights (titantravel.co.uk). 

Riviera Travel: A Russian Odyssey

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Riviera Travel’s A Russian Odyssey includes guided tours of Moscow, St Petersburg, Uglich and Yaroslavl, alongside a walking tour of the Open-Air Museum of Architecture in Kizhi and visits to the Kremlin, the Hermitage Museum, the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Goritsy and Mandrogi. Onboard extras include a Russian history lecture and Russian cooking and tea-tasting demos. 

A 12-day A Russian Odyssey cruise, departing in September 2019 starts from £2,299pp, based on two sharing, including return flights (rivieratravel.co.uk).

Scenic: Imperial Russia 

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See a different side of Russia on Scenic’s 15-day Imperial Russia. Meet a real cosmonaut in Moscow before departing for Uglich, Yaroslavl and fellow Golden Ring city Kostroma. Other ports of call include the town of Plyos, the cities of Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Ulyanovsk — the former home of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Empire of Communists. The cruise also visits Samara and Saratov before ending in Volgograd, the city once known as Stalingrad.    

A 15-day Imperial Russia cruise, departing on 27 September 2020, starts from £4,940pp based on two sharing, including flights (scenic.co.uk).

For more holiday inspiration, take a look at our cruise finder.