Magic of peatlands

Dates: May-June

Type:biodiversity conservation

Group: 4-7 people

Price: 680 €

Termin: June 2020
Type: culture and wilderness
Group: 7 people
Price:  680 €

Highlights of the tour
Exploring one of Europe’s largest pristine raised bog systems (12 thousand years old Polistovo-Lovatsk mire complex) on foot, in an all-terrain vehicle and by boat;
Roaming around beautiful lakes and rivers on the Great Watershed of the Russian Plain;
Getting to know local infrastructure (trails, visitor center, eco-education programmes, etc.);
Having high chances to observe large mammals, either by their traces or even on the spot like brown bear, moose, beaver, marten, deer, fox and many more;
Experiencing spring flora with many rare flowering plants, ferns and lichens;
Diverse bird-watching opportunities: forest dwellers like red-breasted flycatcher, nutcracker, hazel-grouse, capercaillie, green chiffchaff, bog waders (golden plovers, curlews), storks, ducks, ospreys, black grouses and spring thrust of woodcock.
Detailed Programme

Day 1

Travel to Sankt-Petersburg (details can be agreed individually and advice provided by the organizers).
There is an alternative option, participants can be picked up in Tallinn on May, 31, in this case they will be driven in the evening to Sankt-Petersburg in a van to be used during the tour without extra charge.
After arrival accommodation in a hotel***, free time in the city.

Day 2
In the morning organized excursion in Sankt-Petersburg with a local guide.
In the afternoon free time in the city with option of visiting museums.

Day 3
In the morning transfer from Sankt-Petersburg to famous Museum Petergof (32 km) followed by a walking  excursion in the gardens (unfortunately the mansion house is closed on Mondays) and lunch.
After lunch transfer to Polistovsky Nature Reserve (435 km), Gogolevo guest-house
After arrival accommodation in the guest house followed by a welcome dinner with presentation of Polistovsky Nature Reserve and tour programme. Bania (Russian sauna)

Day 4
After breakfast two walking excursions “By the beaver’s Path” and ‘’Mossmen route”
As an introduction we explore a landscape made of meadows and forests in the buffer zone of the reserve and get to know the Polistovsky reserve’s oldest inhabitant and most diligent land manager – the beaver. The trail allows crossing alongside impressive beaver’s buildings and waterworks and through forests where moose, wild boars and bears abound.
Lunch in Gogolevo and short walk in the village
In the afternoon transfer to a new place Tsevlo with a stop in the Bezhanicy visitor-centre of the reserve.
After arrival to Tsevlo, check to the guest house in and Russian style dinner followed by bania (Russian sauna)

Day 5
Day trip to a raised bog on the Western edge of the Polistovo-Lovatsk mire complex by a special all-terrain vehicle. The core zone is off-limits to all visitors as the strict nature reserve (category IUCN 1a). During the tour, a special walking excursion called the Snowshoe Walk is included. We will cross from one forest island (trees growing on mineral soil) on foot with special shoes through boggy landscape to another forest island. Packed lunch will be enjoyed there.
This is a unique trip which includes unforgettable experience of being immersed in the never-ending, but diverse pristine bog kingdom dominated by Sphagnum moss, crane-berries, wild bogbean, orchids, sundew, horsetail and many more interesting plants. The area is also rich in wading birds and ducks finding their nesting place here. During the trip, we reach a bit higher place with spectacular view of the Plavnitsa river valley and the whole surrounding mire landscape.
For those who have not enough a short excursion in the village Tsevlo (manor house dated from 18th century, estate of Krinitsyny nobiliary family) and to the local culture museum will be organized.
Russian style dinner followed by bania (Russian sauna)

Day 6
Whole day tour “From the Bogs to the Ocean”
This day trip will take us exploring the bog landscape by boat. The route leads across 4 interconnected lakes following the flow of water from the bog to the ocean. There will be plentiful opportunities for bird-watching observing diverse birds like curlews, golden plovers, various ducks, black storks and ospreys. During the trip we will see the spectacular Polisto Lake and the estuary of Stradnitsa river, seeing also places where freshwater herrings live. Packed lunch during the excursion.
In the afternoon – presentations about ecotourism and eco-education in the Polistovsky Nature Reserve.
Before dinner master-class led by native residents on how to bake local biscuits, which will be enjoyed as dessert after dinner.
Farewell dinner

Day 7
After breakfast and check out transfer to The Pushkin Museum-Reserve (67 km)
Excursion in this famous museum, lunch and transfer continues to Pskov (regional capital)
In the evening – participants will board train either to Sankt-Petersburg or Riga

Day 8
Travel home from Sankt-Petersburg or Riga (details can be agreed individually and advice provided by the organizers).
Another option: participants can stay in Pskov extra night and go in the morning to Vilnius in a van used during the tour without extra charge.

Price: 680 EUR
Private transfers from/to airport and during the stay in Russia
English speaking guides at all sites
2 nights hotel*** (double or twin) in Sankt Petersburg
4 nights in Polistovsky zapovednik (2-4 persons per room, guest house of zapovednik)
7 times breakfast, 3 times lunch, 4 times dinner
All local taxes and site entrance fees
Complete Tours 24 hour assistance
Transfer Tallinn-Sankt-Petersburg and Pskov-Vilnius by van or train tickets from Pskov to Sankt-Petersburg
Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, medical bills,
Personal travel insurance and visa costs
International and domestic airfare, train tickets, and airport departure tax
Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions
Entrance fees in museums in Sankt-Petersburg
3 times lunch, 3 times dinner in Sankt-Petersburg and Pskov
Extras not specified
Alcoholic drinks
Single room supplement and extra room service

The Machaon way:
We have developed this tour to offer an unique insight into the spectacular nature of pristine bog complex and to experience the rich cultural heritage of Russia. The tour has been developed in close collaboration with.