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Shari, USA
Yulia, thankyou so much for designing our trip to Russia. My grandson Sean and I had the most wonderful time. The sights were amazing. We were able to do a little exploring on our own too. Every one was so helpful. It was especially nice we had the same guide...   read more
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We have just arrive back in South Africa after a week in the UK. Yes we enjoyed our holiday in Russia very much. The boat trip was fantastic and certainly lived up to our expectations. Thank you to you and your team, especially Galina who assisted us with the bookings...   read more
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Take a tour of ancient Russian towns with the experts in Russian travel – Express to Russia

See Izborsk Fortress, one of the oldest stone fortresses in Russia
Express to Russia » Tours to Russia » Golden Ring tours » Back to Russian Roots

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

The Central European part of Russia is known for its ancient towns, many of them fortified with Kremlins and all containing medieval cathedrals and other monuments. This tour will give you a great opportunity to break away from the bustle of the city and see the real Russia. You will make stops in the most important towns of the Silver Ring - Velikiy Novgorod, Pskov, Izborsk and Pechory. Each of these towns are home to unique monuments of Russian history and culture. You will also visit the picturesque town of Smolensk, called the “key to Moscow” and famous for its fortress wall, the longest in Europe. Come explore the history of ancient Russia with us!

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Day 1
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

In the morning our driver will pick you up at your hotel in St. Petersburg and take you to the train station, where you will take a train to Novgorod.

Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia's most ancient cities and was Russia's first capital. No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. It was founded by the Viking King Rurik in the 9th century who became the first King of Russia and founder of the Rurik Dynasty which ruled the Russian lands until the 16th century. In the 12th century the Novgorod city state controlled most of Europe's North-East, from today´s Estonia to the Ural Mountains making it one of the largest states in medieval Europe. Novgorod is located in the North-West part of the Russia, about 2-3 hours drive from St. Petersburg.

In Novgorod, a local driver will meet you at the train station and take you to your hotel. Lunch at the hotel.

After lunch, you will be taken on a 3-hour sightseeing tour. Your first impression of the city will be the Kremlin of Novgorod - the oldest in Russia. The structure dates back to 864. You will have the chance to walk along its ancient walls during your visit. The cathedral of St. Sophia dominates the structure of the Kremlin. Built between 1045 and 1050 under the patronage of Vladimir Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise. It is the best preserved of 11th century churches, probably the oldest structure still in use in Russia and the first one to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). It is adorned with beautiful frescoes from the 12th century and icons. The dome of the cathedral is made in the form of a huge helmet, to show the defendant power of the city. You will also see the Millennium of Russia Monument that displays Russia's history from Rurik to Nicholas I.

After the tour, you will have the chance to take a look at local handicrafts. In the evening, you will have free time to stroll along the city streets and to dine at a restaurant of your choice.

Included meals: lunch

Day 2
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Breakfast at the hotel.

After breakfast you will head to the Yuriev Monastery, a medieval religious complex built in 1030 along the Volkov River. The Cathedral of St. George will impress you by its size and beauty, as it was initially intended to surpass even St. Sophia Cathedral in grandeur.

In the afternoon, you will depart for Pskov. The trip will take about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Pskov, you will have lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch, you will check into the hotel and have some time to rest before your next tour.
In the evening, you will be taken on a Pskov city tour. You will visit the Kremlin, the Trinity Cathedral, the Dovmont's Town, and the Administrative Chambers. You will also see merchant houses dating back to XVII century.
Pskov is one of the most ancient cities in Russia. It is the administrative center of the Pskov Oblast located in the European part of Russia. Visiting Pskov will give you an excellent opportunity to see firsthand how the Rus(an ancient name of Russia and its people) developed.

Pskov is also home to the world-famous Pskov paintings - masterpieces of ancient art including icons and frescoes. It is also home to many fabulous works of ancient, Russian architecture. In the 16th century, Pskov was well known as one of Russia's most beautiful cities with its magnificent churches and cathedrals. In the 18th century, Pskov was considered to be the third most important Russian city after Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 3
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Breakfast at the hotel

After breakfast, you will visit Pogankini Palaty, a great example of medieval architecture which houses a rich collection of ancient Russian icons. The tour will be followed by souvenir shopping opportunities.

Lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch you will head to Izborsk and Pechory.
Izborsk is a village in the Pechora district in the region of Pskov, approximately 850 km from Moscow and 300 km from St. Petersburg. Izborsk is home to an ancient settlement and a stone fortress set on the Zheraviya Hill. Here, much of Russian history began. Meetings between different nations took place here and the city is still a place where their cultures, traditions and faiths are intertwined. Artists and writers always found sources of inspiration in this area. Today, the past and present of Izborsk is studied by archaeologists, ecologists, anthropologists, linguists and folklorists.

You will visit the Izborsk Fortress that dates back to the XIV century. You will also get the opportunity to sample the healing waters of Slovensky Springs, also known as the Springs of the 12 Apostles. In about half an hour, you will reach PechoryPechory is a small town located 43 km from Pskov. The town was founded in 1472 when the Assumption Church that was dug out of the rock was consecrated here. This was the first church of the Pskov-Pechory Assumption Cave Monastery. Being located on the Russian – Estonian border, Pechory was an important Russia’s outpost. Because of this strategic location, a mighty fortress was built here in 1565. The fortress more than once succumbed to the onslaught of Polish and Swedish forces in the XVI-XVIII centuries. In 1782, Pechory was granted the status of a town. During WWI, the town was occupied by the German army. After the war, Pechory became the site of a struggle between the Red Army and the troops of bourgeois Estonia. Estonia won the struggle and Pechory became a part of its territory. This was favorable for the monastery as it was not closed down as most churches and monasteries were during the Soviet times. In 1944, Pechory became part of Russia. The Assumption Cave Monastery is still the heart of town.

In Pechory, you will visit the amazing Cave Monastery – one of the most famous and oldest monasteries in Russia (founded in 1473).
In the evening you will enjoy free time in Pskov.

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 4
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Early breakfast at the hotel

After breakfast, you will depart for Smolensk. This is the longest coach journey on the route (about 8 hours). On the way to Smolensk two stops at cafes are scheduled, so you will be able to stretch your legs and relax a bit. Smolensk is designated as a 'city of heroes' because of the roll that it and its citizens have played throughout its turbulent history. Smolensk is located in the western, central part of Russia on both banks of the Dniepr River - about 420 km from Moscow. It is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Smolensk's history is very rich and varied but unfortunately many tragic events are associated with the city. For many centuries the city took the first blows of the enemies coming from the west, it was destroyed several times throughout its long history. Smolensk once was a part of Kievan Rus' and in the twelfth century, it was already the capital of an independent principality. Due to Smolensk's favorable location, the city became a famous trading and craft center. Today Smolensk is a place with numerous cultural attractions including the great Smolensk Fortress Wall, ancient churches and monasteries, monuments, museums and more.

As you approach Smolensk, you will be offered a late lunch, after which you will have some time to rest at the hotel and prepare yourself for further sightseeing.

In the evening, you will be invited for a city tour of Smolensk. The tour will start with the Cathedral Hill complex and the Assumption Cathedral founded in the XVII century and famous for housing the icon of Our Lady of Smolensk, one of the most venerated icons in Russia. You will also see the Smolensk Fortress, which used to be one of the most important fortifications of ancient Russia. The wall of the Fortress, dating back to the XVI-XVII centuries is the longest in Europe!

After the tour you have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and have free time in downtown

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 5
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Breakfast at the hotel

On this day, you will get to know the Smolensk region. You will take a tour of Talashkino - a village near Smolensk where the Russian Art Centre of XIX-XX centuries is located.

Talashkino estate was acquired by the Tenishevs in 1893. Princess Maria Tenisheva, a famous patron of the arts and artist, turned the estate into the Russian Florence of the time. Many famous artists came to work here: Vrubel, Repin, Roerich, Prakhov, to name a few. The traditional Russian style was revived in the Talashkino workshops. You will be amazed by the traditional Russian architecture and will have the chance to become guests of the Teremok fairy-tale house and see breathtaking examples of Russian woodcarving, based on Russian epic and folk tales.

After Talashkino, you will be invited to see three functioning churches of the pre-Mongol period (XII century).

The church tour will be followed by a Smolensk city walking tour. It covers the historic part of the city which is mostly pedestrian. You will see the Central Square, two parks, the architectural ensemble of the Smolensk Museum Preserve, a small memorial park dedicated to the victory of 1812 and a house where Napoleon stayed while in Smolensk.

Lunch at a local restaurant
Late check-out from the hotel
Transfer to the train station
Departure to Moscow by an overnight train

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 6
Ancient Russia, the Beginning: Novrogod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk 6 days/5 nights

Arrival in Moscow
Transfer to hotel/airport

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4 stars 2353 1747 1421 356


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*Prices are per person based on double occupancy in the specific hotel or apartment. You should add single supplement to the price in case you travel in a group but you stay at a single room. If you travel by yourself, please, contact us and we will give you a quote. To inquire about group rates, please contact us.

Prices include

  • Transportation for excursions and tours
  • Guide service
  • Hotel accommodation (with late check-out from the hotel in Smolensk on Day 5)
  • Meals according to the program
  • Train ticket St. Petersburg - Novgorod: train 171 Lastochka (departure 07:11 AM - arrival 09:50 AM), 2nd class seats
  • Train ticket Smolensk - Moscow: train 34 (depature 22:59 PM - arrival 05:42 AM on the next day), 2nd class (4-berth compartment)
  • Free visa invitation – the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.

Prices do not include

  • 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. To learn more about this option, please visit the Full Visa Support page
  • Airfare (we can assist you in booking discount airfare, contact us to find out more or book the discount tickets yourself through our internet ticket office)
  • Optional services
  • Travel insurance

Tour dates are flexible. Tours can be customized to your taste. We can include additional excursions or performances on your request. We can also mix and match and adjust the accommodation to any hotel of your choice.

Payment policy:
To book a tour, 30% deposit is required at the moment of booking. The trip must be fully paid 31 days before departure.

Cancellation policy:
61 or more days before departure - a fee equal to 15% of the entire package will be charged.
60-15 days before departure - a fee equal to 30% of the entire package will be charged.
14 days or less before departure or no-show - a fee equal to 100% of the package will be charged.


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. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office. The airline tickets we offer are the cheapest available on the web. Please browse our discount air tickets section to learn more.

Very often travelers coming to Russia have many questions concerning our tours, accommodation, visas, transfers and more. To see the answers to the most frequently asked questions, please consult our FAQ page by clicking here.

Visit ancient kremlins and cathedrals and walk in the steps of Russian history on our tours

Visiting Novgorod, Pskov and Smolensk is the best way to learn more about this fascinating country

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