10 days and 9 nights
The Golden Ring is a group of medieval towns and cities that form a ring to the northeast of Moscow. These towns played a significant role in early Russian history and in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. The towns are full of ancient Russian architecture from the Middle Ages including kremlins (walled fortresses), monasteries, cathedrals and churches. Visiting the Golden Ring will give you a chance to go back in time and imagine a Russia that used to be. The cities are associated with Russian Princes and knights, early Tsars such as Ivan the Terrible, the Mongol invasions and many other historical figures and events. Listening to the history and legends told by your experienced guide will evoke memories of storybooks and fairy tales. The towns of the Golden Ring are all in the Russian countryside which is beautiful – full of forests and fields and rivers and lakes. Your visit will be a great break from the bustle of Moscow or St. Petersburg. Walk along ancient Kremlin walls and see the onion domes rising up from cathedrals in which time has stopped or follow paths along old riverbanks – travel back in time during our Golden Ring tours. An unforgettable adventure awaits.
Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, the towns of Vladimir and Suzdal played a significant role in Russia’s early history. Vladimir, founded as a fortress by Prince Vladimir Monomakh, later became capital of the Grand Principality.
On the tour you will also have the opportunity to visit both Moscow and St. Petersburg. The greatest museums, monuments and other highlights are located in these two cities. Start discovering Russia in vibrant and expressive Moscow and end your trip with a visit to St. Petersburg, the splendid “Northern Venice” considered by many to be the most beautiful city in Europe. Saint Petersburg was the Tsarist capital of the Russian empire for more than two hundred years, until the capital was moved back to Moscow in 1918. Explore the difference between both of these beautiful and exciting cities and contrast them with peace and tranquility of the Golden Ring.
Most of the towns along the Golden Ring are accessible from Moscow and only however it is better to spend a few days to make a journey around the entire Ring. The main route starts from Moscow and goes through Vladimir, Suzdal, Ivanovo, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Rostov the Great, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Alexandrov, Sergiev Posad. The full list includes 10 more smaller towns located around the larger ones. Ten extra points of visit are Bogolubovo, Gorohovets, Murom, Gus Khrustalny, Shuya, Palekh, Kholui, Ples, Uglich, Myshkin
Arrival in Moscow, our representative will meet you at the airport, accommodation at the hotel
Moscow is the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. This amazing city has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Moscow has had a tumultuous history dating back to medieval times when it was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki (Yuri of the Long Arms, known for the length of his arms!) in the early 12th century. It has seen numerous invasions and sieges from the Mongols to the Poles and Lithuanians to the Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and finally the Nazi's but it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city is filled with unique architecture from the Kremlin and Red Square to giant Stalin skyscrapers to new office blocks built during the economic boom of recent years and it contains a strikingly beautiful metro system. The city is the center of political as well as economic power in Russia and visitors can feel the energy in the streets. There is always something going on in Moscow and there is so much to see.
10:00 Visit to Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow metro and walking tour on Arbat street.
Tretyakov gallery is a must-visit for those who are interested in Russian art, culture and history as it houses the most important state collection of Russian icons and paintings in the world. The world famous gallery contains works of Russian art from the 10th century up to the present. You will view exquisite Russian icons and paintings from the 18th and 19th century including works by Rublev, Kandinsky, Karavak, Vishnyakov, Nikitin, Antropov, Levitsky, Kiprensky, Tropinin, Fedotov, Repin and many others.
Old Arbat street, one of Moscow's oldest streets. The street has gone from being the headquarters of Ivan the Terrible's secret police, the Oprichina to the center of aristocratic life in Moscow in the 18th century to finally being the center of the Russian intelligentsia and bohemian life in the capital. You will be told of the street´s interesting history and view the street's artisan culture. You will also have the opportunity to view and purchase souvenirs from the street´s many craftsmen.
One of the most astonishing city attractions is the Moscow Metro which is well known for the outstanding design of its halls and stations. The Moscow Metro is one of the largest and most grandly built metro systems in the world. It was meant to be a showcase of the Soviet Union´s achievements both for the Russians themselves and visitors from abroad. The stations are all uniquely designed with decorative elements including mosaics, statues, marble floors, walls and staircases to name a few.
09:30 Out-of-city limits excursion to Gorki Leninskie (lunch included). In the afternoon - city tour with photo stops (3 hours, no entrances included).
Gorky Leninskiye is an architectural and park ensemble dating back to the 18th-19th centuries. The estate changed several owners before it was 'nationalized' in 1918, after the revolution. At that time the neoclassical mansion - the heart of the ensemble - was turned into a sanatorium for the higher echelons of the Bolshevik Party. The estate became especially famous due to the fact that Lenin spent the last ten months of his life here with his wife and siblings. After his death, the estate was turned into a museum and it was extremely popular with Soviet citizens until the fall of the Soviet Union.
09:00 check out of hotel with luggage. 10:00 - tour of Kremlin Grounds and Armoury.
14:30 transfer to railway station. Departure to Vladimir by day train (16:45-18:30 hrs). Transfer to Suzdal and accommodation at hotel. Dinner at hotel.
The Kremlin is truly a fascinating structure, at the same time it is an ancient tower, the city's former military fortification, a palace, an armory, the sovereign treasury and the workplace of the Russian President. The Kremlinis the center of Russia's political life and State power and has been home to Tsars, General Secretaries of the Soviet Union and Russian Presidents. Red Square is beneath the Kremlin's walls. The most impressive cathedrals on the territory of the Kremlin are the Annunciation Cathedral, the Archangel's Cathedral and the Assumption Cathedral.
10:00 city tour of Suzdal including Kremlin grounds, Cross-vaulted Chamber, Cathedral of Nativity, Spaso-Efimievsky Monastery with bell ringing, museum of Wooden Architecture in summer. Suzdal is often called the Russian Mecca. Suzdal is amazingly tranquil and beautiful with its numerous churches, wooden houses, bird songs and the ringing of bells throughout the day.
City tour of Vladimir with visits to Assumption or St Demetrius Cathedral, Bogolubovo.
Bogolyubovo - the residence of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky built between 1158 and 1165 at the mouth of the Nerl River. Andrei spent 17 years of his reign here until his murder in 1174. Russian Orthodox Christians believe that Bogolyubovo was founded on the spot where Andrei Bogolyubsky saw a vision of the Virgin Mary who appeared to him in a dream-like vision holding a scroll in Her right hand, and commanded him to build a church and monastery on the place of the vision. On this spot the Church of the Intercession of Neri was constructed. Today the church is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Overnight at hotel in Suzdal, dinner.
10:00 Check out of hotel, visit to poultry farm owned by PhD in Biological Science.
You will get acquainted with different species of geese, duck, chicken and partridge, as well as you will taste different sorts of tea. Departure by car with driver (no guide escort).
Arrival at Ring Premier hotel (Yaroslavl), check in. Dinner.
10:00 City tour of Yaroslvl. Stretching for 18 miles on both banks of the Volga, Yaroslavl is an important Volga port with a population of 600,000. It was founded in the 1010 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise. It was destroyed by the Tatars in the 13th and 14th centuries but then restored and rebuilt and by the 17th century it had become Russia’s second largest city after Moscow and an important cultural and political center. Today, Yaroslavl retains many noteworthy monuments of its colorful past. Of special interest is the magnificent 13th century Spassky(Savior) Monastery ensemble, a group of majestic 17th century cathedrals, an elegant rotunda and remnants of an ancient trading center. The churches of St. Nicholas and Elijah the Prophet have some of the Golden Ring´s most impressive frescoes.
Lunch. Free time.
20:30 transfer to railway station. Deparure for St. Petersburg by train at 22:35, 1st class - two-berth compartment.
11:40 meet guide at railway station. Three-hour city sightseeing tour with photo stops, no entrances included. In the afternoon visit to Peter and Paul Fortress (1,5 hours), check into hotel.
St. Petersburg is the former capital of Imperial Russia, home of the Tsars and one of the world's most beautiful and romantic cities. St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter the Great in 1703 on the banks of the Neva River and the Gulf of Finland. The city has seen its share of historical events including the Decembrist revolt, the palace coup and murder of Tsar Pavel, the intrigues of Catherine the Great, the assassination Tsar Alexander II, the influence of Rasputin on the Russian royal family, the Revolution of 1905 and the October Revolution of 1917 which brought the communists to power. During WWII, the city then known as Leningrad, went through a harrowing two and a half year blockade and siege by the Nazi invaders resulting in the deaths of over 1 million of its citizens. Today, St. Petersburg is Russia's second largest city with a population of over 5 million. It is also known as the center of Russian art, culture and literature - former citizens included Pushkin and Dostoevsky just to name a few. The entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is full of beautiful palaces and monuments including the Winter Palace. The city is also known as the Venice of the North because of its location on various islands in the Neva River and its many canals and bridges. St. Petersburg is home to the world famous Hermitage Museum.
09:30 You will meet guide for Hermitage visit (10:30-13:00)
The Winter Palace, one of the Hermitage Museum buildings, is one of the most wonderful palaces in North Eastern Europe and today is one the world's finest museums. The museum consists of five historical buildings including the Winter Palace - the residence of the Russian Tsars. The museum contains over 3 million pieces of art with dates ranging from high antiquity to the present day. Among the Hermitage's treasures are artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens and a large collection of impressionists and post impressionists including Matisse and Picasso as well as many others. We will spend 3 hours at the museum, however, to view the collection in its entirety would take almost 15 years, spending 8 hours a day in the museum and taking one minute to examine each exhibit.
In the afternoon you will visit Pushkin, Catherine Palace.
The Palace and Park of Tsarskoye Selo is a former country residence of the Russian emperors. It is a fascinating monument of the world's architectural and gardening arts of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Its 3 parks occupy an area of 600 hectares on which are located over 100 architectural monuments: from magnificent palaces and grand monuments to intimate pavilions and park sculptures designed by masters of the Venetian school such as P. Baratta, A. Tarsia and D. Bonazza. The center of Tsarskoye Selo is Catherine Palace, containing exquisite decorative objects, furniture, Russian and Western-European paintings, unique collections of porcelain, amber, arms and decorative bronze sculptures. The Palace also contains the Amber Room - a truly unique work of craftsmanship - a room made entirely of amber. The room was looted by the Nazis during WWII but luckily most of its pieces were recovered. The room was fully rebuilt in 2003. Tsarskoye Selo was also the main residence of the last Tsar Nicolas II and his family.
Departure transfer (no guide).
- hotel accommodation: Moscow - 4* Holiday Inn Lesnaya (standard room), Suzdal: Suzdal-Inn hotel or similar, Standard Room, Yaroslavl: 4* Ring Premier hotel, standard room, St. Petersburg: 4* Radisson Sonya Hotel, Standard Room*,
- tickets to all museums,
- transportation to museums and for excursions,
- transfers on arrival and departure in Moscow and St. Petersburg,
- 2nd class seat train Moscow – Vladimir, 1st class train 2-berth compartments Yaroslavl – St Petersburg
- English-speaking guide service,
- breakfast at hotels,
- full board on Golden Ring itinerary,
- visa invitation - the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.
* Might be substituted with an alternative.
Prices do not include:
- Optional services
- Theater tickets
- Visa processing costs. For US, UK and Canadian citizens, our company offers Full Visa Support. This is where you send us your passport and other documentation and we obtain the Russian visa for you.
- International airfare. Our Russian tours are offered as land only where you arrange your own airfare and we meet you at the airport and handle everything else.
- Travel insurance.
To book a tour, 30% deposit is required at the moment of booking. The trip must be fully paid 21 days before departure.
35 days before the tour starting date and more: 10% of the tour price per person
20 days and less before the tour starting date: 50% of the tour price per person
10 days and less before the tour starting date: 75% of the tour price per person
2 days before the tour starting date or no-show: 100% of the tour price per person
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