31 days in Europe & Asia Itinerary

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Fly
1
Moscow, Russia
— 6 nights
Fly
2
Astana, Kazakhstan
— 3 nights
Fly
3
Almaty, Kazakhstan
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Karakol, Kyrgyzstan
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
— 2 nights
Fly
6
St. Petersburg, Russia
— 6 nights
Fly
7
Minsk, Belarus
— 6 nights
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Moscow, Russia — 6 nights

Third Rome

Russia's political, economic, and cultural center, Moscow remains the most populous inland city in the world, famed for its colorful history and rich architectural heritage.
Moscow is known for historic sites, museums, and sightseeing. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: steep yourself in history at Red Square, get to know the resident critters at Moscow Zoo, pause for some serene contemplation at Saint Basil's Cathedral, and brush up on your military savvy at Armoury Chamber.

To see maps, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Moscow trip itinerary builder.

Durham, USA to Moscow is an approximately 16.5-hour flight. You'll lose 8 hours traveling from Durham to Moscow due to the time zone difference. Prepare for slightly colder weather when traveling from Durham in July: high temperatures in Moscow hover around 74°F and lows are around 57°F. On the 7th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can fly to Astana.
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Museums · Historic Sites · Parks · Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Jul 1 — 7:

Astana, Kazakhstan — 3 nights

First Akmola, then Tselinograd, and now Astana: the city's latest name means "capital," something Astana became in 1998.
Astana is known for sightseeing, shopping, and historic sites. Your trip includes some of its best attractions: enjoy breathtaking views from Bayterek Tower, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Hazret Sultan Mosque, browse the different shops at Khan Shatyr, and find something for the whole family at Family Rest Center Ailand.

To find maps, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Astana driving holiday planner.

Traveling by flight from Moscow to Astana takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. The time zone changes from Moscow Standard Time to East Kazakhstan Time, which is usually a 3 hour difference. In July, daytime highs in Astana are 78°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) early enough to fly to Almaty.
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Historic Sites · Theme Parks · Shopping · Museums
Find places to stay Jul 7 — 10:

Almaty, Kazakhstan — 3 nights

Almaty, the former capital, still stands as the country's largest city.
Take a break from Almaty with a short trip to Plateau Assy in Batan, about 40 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: contemplate the waterfront views at Big Almaty Lake, don't miss a visit to Ulitsa Panfilova, pause for some serene contemplation at Ascension Cathedral, and settle in for a delightful tour with a horse-drawn carriage tour.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Almaty using our trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Astana to Almaty takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In July, Almaty is somewhat warmer than Astana - with highs of 88°F and lows of 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) so you can drive to Karakol.
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Parks · Nature · Theme Parks · Tours
Side Trip
Find places to stay Jul 10 — 13:

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan — 4 nights

Set in the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, Karakol reigns as Kyrgyzstan's trekking and climbing hot spot, surrounded by snowy peaks and scenic natural attractions, including canyons, waterfalls, lakes, and hot spring resorts.
On the 15th (Sat), spend a day exploring the natural beauty of Altyn Arashan. There's lots more to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Issyk-Kul Lake, immerse yourself in nature at Karakol Peak, don't miss a visit to Dungan Mosque, and take in the dramatic natural features at Telety Pass.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Karakol attractions planner.

Traveling by car from Almaty to Karakol takes 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can go by car to Bishkek.
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Parks · Nature · Wildlife · Museums
Find places to stay Jul 13 — 17:

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan — 2 nights

Wandering the grid-like, tree-lined streets of Bishkek, you'll discover the friendly atmosphere, vibrant nightlife, and Soviet-era architecture of the country's political center.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Tue): explore the striking landscape of Ala-Archa Gorge. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll around Panfilov Park, contemplate the long history of Ala-Too Square, then make a trip to Kurmanzhan Datka Statue, and finally stroll around Oak Park.

To see reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Bishkek online trip planner.

Traveling by car from Karakol to Bishkek takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 91°F in July, and nighttime lows around 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to St. Petersburg.
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Parks · Nature · Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jul 17 — 19:

St. Petersburg, Russia — 6 nights

Venice of the North

Built on a desolate swamp as a showcase capital of Imperial Russia, this grand city has certainly lived up to the expectations of its founder, Tsar Peter the Great.
Change things up with a short trip to Pushkin Park in Abakan (about 48 minutes away). There's still lots to do: explore the world behind art at The State Hermitage Museum, take an in-depth tour of Grand Peterhof Palace and Gardens, stroll around Catherine Palace and Park, and explore the galleries of Kazan Cathedral.

To find where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our St. Petersburg trip itinerary maker.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Bishkek to St. Petersburg. The time zone difference when traveling from Bishkek to St. Petersburg is minus 3 hours. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Bishkek in July: high temperatures in St. Petersburg hover around 72°F and lows are around 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to fly to Minsk.
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Museums · Historic Sites · Parks · Neighborhoods
Side Trip
Find places to stay Jul 19 — 25:

Minsk, Belarus — 6 nights

As the capital and largest city of Belarus, Minsk represents a cultural center full of churches, libraries, museums, and theatres.
Venture out of the city with trips to Mir Castle (in Mir), Mound of Glory (in Slabada) and St. Joseph's Church (in Rubezhevichi). There's lots more to do: explore the historical opulence of National Historical and Cultural Museum and Reserve Niasvizh, pause for some serene contemplation at Church of Saints Simon and Helena, get in on the family fun at Gorky Central Park, and pause for some photo ops at Island of Tears.

To find ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, read Minsk trip itinerary maker tool.

You can fly from St. Petersburg to Minsk in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and bus; or drive. In July in Minsk, expect temperatures between 75°F during the day and 57°F at night. You will have some time to spend on the 31st (Mon) before leaving for home.
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Historic Sites · Museums · Parks · Neighborhoods
Side Trips
Find places to stay Jul 25 — 31:

Russia travel guide

4.7
Specialty Museums · Churches · Monuments
Mother Russia
Feared and revered not long ago as the land "behind the Iron Curtain" and before that as "the land of the Tsars," Russia is a land of many contrasts. Spreading over two continents, it is also the largest country in the world and one of the most powerful. Founded by a group of East Slavs in the 10th century, it is home to over 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. They have all left their mark on the land, but the Slavic and Byzantine traditions hold a special place in Russia's rich historical and cultural legacy. The diverse natural beauty includes vast swathes of plains intersected with thousands of rivers, lakes, and dramatic mountain ranges along the southern borders. Arctic tundra, taiga, mixed forests, steppe, and desert-like areas successively carpet the land from the north to the south. Perfectly preserved ancient towns surrounded by mighty kremlins with colorful onion-domed churches attract tourists just as much as the nation's biggest metropolises, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
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Kazakhstan travel guide

4.1
Lookouts · Parks · Bodies of Water
The world's biggest landlocked country, Kazakhstan boasts a thriving economy resting almost entirely on huge reserves of natural gas and oil. While some travelers find its seemingly endless and largely featureless steppe unappealing, others take a trip to Kazakhstan precisely because of these unspoiled stretches. If you wanted, you could certainly spend your entire vacation in Kazakhstan completely alone, exploring the sprawling, empty horizons. If you want a little company, mingle with the highly urbanized locals in Almaty or Astana, two big cities featuring broad tree-lined avenues, hip cafes, giant malls, and many innovative buildings that seem plucked right out of a science fiction novel.
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Kyrgyzstan travel guide

4.1
Bodies of Water · National Parks · Spas & Wellness
A landlocked country of soaring mountains and sprawling steppes, Kyrgyzstan only became independent in 1991, after several decades as one of the Soviet Union's republics. Today, the country represents a growingly popular tourist destination, enticing visitors to come with its rolling pastures and unspoiled mountain landscapes. A trip to Kyrgyzstan reveals a mostly rural land, where it's still possible to witness the lifestyle of the semi-nomadic shepherds living in portable yurts--simple dwellings made of wood and animal skins. You'd be hard-pressed to find many urban attractions here, but the hospitality of the natives and the stunning natural scenery will more than make up for any lack of modern amenities.
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Belarus travel guide

4.4
Landmarks · Monuments · Churches
Explore the idyllic cornflower fields, vast forests, and charming villages of , a country that blends modern progress with its rich history. Tour the financially prosperous and socially progressive capital city, traipse through national parks, and catch sight of the continent's largest mammal, the European bison. Visit ancient castles, and view demonstrations of ceramic making and blacksmithing. Learn how World War II impacted this Eastern European nation by visiting one of the many monuments and memorials that pay homage to those who served. Because of its isolation from the rest of the region, visitors to the country are often approached with curiosity, but warmly greeted by the locals. Known for its rich cultural heritage, the nation hosts a plethora of festivals throughout the year, allowing visitors and locals alike to enjoy the arts.
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