tour@expresstorussia.com

Treasures of the Golden Ring

5 days and 4 nights

  • Schedule

    Tour can be started on any day
  • Route

    Moscow - Vladimir - Bogolubovo - Suzdal (2 nights) - Kostroma - Yaroslavl (2 nights) - Rostov - Pereslavl Zalessky - Sergiev Posad - Moscow
  • Languages

    English-speaking guide is guaranteed. Other languages are on request. 11
  • Accommodation

    The following hotel options are available:
    3 stars - 4 stars
  • PRIVATE TOUR

    This is a private tour, there won't be other people in your group
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Itinerary

A complete tour across the entire Golden Ring of ancient Russian cities to the northeast of Moscow. You will visit magnificent Vladimir, serene Bogolubovo, picturesque Suzdal, majestic Kostroma, beautiful Yaroslavl and the ancient Rostov Velikiy,and Sergiev Posad sometimes called the Russian Vatican. The tour centers on the history and architecture of this truly beautiful and historical region.

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 the fabled Russia of the past. The cities are associated with Russian Princes and knights, early Tsars, 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 come to a standstill or follow paths along old riverbanks - travel back in time during our Golden Ring tours. An unforgettable adventure awaits you.

Day 1

At 8.30 AM, our driver and representative will pick you up to depart for Vladimir by car or mini-van. Vladimir is located about 2-3 hours' drive from Moscow.
Arrival in Vladimir.
Lunch at the local restaurant (included).

Panoramic city tour. During the city tour you will become acquainted with the main highlights of the city. The first stop is the Assumption Cathedral, a unique monument of the white-stone architecture of Vladimir. The cathedral was built in the middle of the XII century by Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky as the main church of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. World-famous frescoes by Andrei Rublev are preserved there. You will then proceed to the small, one-domed cathedral of St. Dmitry, built in the beginning of the XII century by Prince Vsevolod as his palace church. The cathedral´s interior still features frescoes of the XII century.

You will also visit the Golden Gates - considered to be the door to Vladimir built in the early XII century by Prince Andrei Bogolubsky. In ancient times they served as the main military tower of the fortress.

We will also visit the Museum of Crystal, lacquer miniatures and embroidery. It possesses an amazing collection of traditional Russian handicrafts and folk art, lacquer miniature papier-mâché boxes, embroidery, rock crystal and glass pieces.

Excursion to 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.

Transfer to Suzdal. Check into hotel.
Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel (included)

A little information on Vladimir. There is a dispute about the founding date of the city, either 990 or 1108 but regardless, the city's most significant events occurred during the 12 century. Under Yuri Dolgoruky's son, Andrei Bogolyubsky (1157-1175), Vladimir prospered becoming the center of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. The city's Golden Age is considered to be from the early 12th century until the Mongol invasion in 1237 during which the Golden Gates and the Cathedral of the Assumption were constructed. The architecture of Vladimir's white stone cathedrals, towers, and palaces is unique and unlike other buildings in Russia, their exterior was elaborately carved with high relief stone sculptures. The decline of Vladimir began when it was attacked and overrun by the Mongol-Tatars in 1238. A great fire destroyed 32 limestone buildings on the first day alone, while the grand prince and all his family perished in a church where they sought refuge from the fire. The bishop of Vladimir managed to escape. Vladimir never fully recovered but from 1299 to 1325, the city was seat of the metropolitans of Kiev and All Rus until the see was moved to Moscow.

Day 2

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be taken on a city tour of Suzdal, often called the Russian Mecca. It is just 32 km from Vladimir. Suzdal is amazingly tranquil and beautiful with its numerous churches, wooden houses, bird songs and the ringing of bells throughout the day.

A sightseeing tour will take you to the oldest part of the Kremlin, the heart of Suzdal. Specialists believe the Kremlin dates back to the X century and first appeared in the chronicles in 1024. On its territory you will admire the Cathedral of the Nativity, dating back to the beginning of the XIII century, the largest relic of which is the Golden Gates. The next stop will be to the Archbishops' Chambers, a large architectural masterpiece that took several centuries to be built. It houses a unique collection of historical and archaeological objects, including the Cross-Vaulted Chamber.

The open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture recreates the life and traditions of the people of Suzdal in the XVIII-XIX century. The ensemble includes churches, log houses and other structures.

* During the low season the museum of Wooden Architecture will be substituted with the Spaso-Yevfimievsky Monastery of Our Savior.

Lunch at the local restaurant (included)
Free time for shopping
Dinner at the hotel restaurant (included)


Suzdal dates back to 1024. In its early history it was the capital of several principalities and later on became a important religious center. The town is full of churches and at one point in its history had 40 churches for approximately 400 families. Today the town only has a population of around 10,000 and has retained its country village feel with many of the roads remaining unpaved and livestock roaming the streets. The atmosphere is extremely pleasant due to its rustic, country feel combined with its medieval monuments. In short, Suzdal is an extremely special place and we are certain that you will enjoy your time there.

Day 3

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Kostroma
Lunch at the local restaurant (included)

Welcome to Kostroma. After lunch you will have a city tour which will take you to the five-domed Epiphany Cathedral that was the first stone edifice in the city. You will then visit the Ipatievsky Monastery and admire the frescoes at the Trinity Cathedral painted by the famous Kostroma master, Guri Nikitin and his team of expert icon-painters.

Transfer to Yaroslavl. The ancient Russian town of Yaroslavl stands on a high, steep bank of the Volga river surrounded by boundless forests.
Check into hotel
Dinner at the restaurant of the hotel (included)


Kostroma is located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers. It was founded in the 13th century and has played a major role in Russian history. After being destroyed by the Mongols in 1238 it became a small principality under the leadership of Prince Vasily the Drunkard the brother of the Russian hero Alexander Nevsky. In the early 17th century, the young Mikhail Romanov who was living at the time at the Ipatiev Monastery was offered the Russian throne – thus beginning the Romanov Dynasty and ending the Time of Troubles. From that time on, the Romanov’s always had a special connection to the city and played an important role in its development. Kostroma was frequently visited by the Romanov family including the last Russian Tsar, Nicolas II. The city’s most prominent landmarks are the Ipatiev Monastery, the Trinity Cathedral, the local market and a museum of wooden architecture and monuments.

Day 4

After breakfast at the hotel, we will go on a city tour with a visit to the Savior Transfiguration Monastery and the Church of Elijah the Prophet*.

*During the low season the Church of Elijah the Prophet will be substituted with the Icon Museum at the Prior's chambers.

Yaroslavl: 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 at the local restaurant (included)
Free time
Dinner at the hotel restaurant (included)

Day 5

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to Rostov Veliky.
Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great) is located on the shores of Lake Nero and is one of the oldest towns in Russia, dating back to 862 AD. You will go on a city tour with visit to the Kremlin and the Museum of Finift (enamel painting).

A little information on Rostov Veliky. It is speculated that Rostov was an important Viking trade settlement along the Volga trade route. First mentioned in 862 Rostov was already quite important and by the 13th century, Rostov became capital city of one of the most prominent Russian principalities. However in 1474 it was incorporated into Muscovy. Rostov has always been an extremely important ecclesiastic center for the Orthodox Church. From 988 it was the see of one of Russia's first bishoprics. In the 14th century, the bishops of Rostov became archbishops and in the 16th century metropolitans. Rostov was sacked by the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries and invaded by the Poles in 1608. The city also saw fierce combat during WWII.

Transfer to Pereslavl Zalessky.
Lunch at the local restaurant (included)

During the short visit to Pereslavl Zalessky you will have some time to walk on the Red Square, admire Transfiguration Cathedral and take some pictures.

Pereslavl-Zalessky was founded in 1152 by Prince Yuri Dolgoruky. In 1175-1302, the town was the center of the Principality of Pereslavl and in 1302, the town became a part of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Pereslavl-Zalessky had been devastated numerous times by the Mongols between the mid-13th century and the early 15th century and was also invaded by the Poles in 1611.

Transfer to Sergiev Posad. Considered by some to be the Russian Vatican, Sergiev Posad is the temporary residence of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our tour starts with the Trinity St. Sergius Monastery (Lavra), built in the first half of the 1340s by the son of Rostov Boyar, Sergius of Radonezh, who remains one the most venerated saints in Russia. The monastery includes more than fifty edifices constructed by Moscow, Pskov and Yaroslavl craftsmen. In 1993 it was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage list. The History and Art museum within the walls of the monastery contains a rich collection of old Russian paintings and various works of art dating from the 14th thru 17th centuries. The collection includes over 120,000 items: ancient icons, medieval manuscripts and old printed books, icon and ornamental embroideries, church utensils, articles of gold and silver, paintings, engravings, folk and contemporary art. Sergiev Posad is also famous for being home to the world's first matryoshka doll.

At around 5:00 PM, you will head back to Moscow. At this point we will say goodbye to the Golden Ring one of the most beautiful and interesting areas in Russia and Eastern Europe full of history, art, culture and legend. We hope to welcome you back to Russia sometime in the future. Do Svidaniya or until we meet again!

Included Sightseeing

These sights are included into the standard package:

Sergiev Posad

The Trinity St. Sergius Monastery

The Trinity St. Sergius Monastery

The monastery was built in the first half of the 1340s by the son of Rostov Boyar, Sergius of Radonezh, who remains one the most venerated saints in Russia. The monastery includes more than fifty edifices constructed by Moscow, Pskov and Yaroslavl craftsmen. In 1993 it was entered into the UNESCO list of the World Cultural Heritage.

Pereslavl-Zalessky

Red Square of Pereslavl Zalessky

Red Square of Pereslavl Zalessky

The Red Square is the heart of the ancient Pereslavl. Here one can see several ancient churches: Savior Transfiguration Cathedral, Vladimirsky Cathedral, Church of Alexander Nevsky, and the Church of Peter the Metropolitan.

Yaroslavl

Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour

Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour

Founded in the 12th century, the Transfiguration Monastery became one of Russia’s richest and best-fortified monasteries by the 16th century. The oldest surviving structures built in 1516, are the Holy Gate and the Transfiguration Cathedral.

Rostov

Rostov Kremlin

Rostov Kremlin

Rostov Kremlin is located on the territory of Archbishop's Yard, unique architectural ensemble of the XVII century. Five churches, three of which are decorated with wonderful frescoes of the XVII century and several exhibition buildings are surrounded with high walls and towers. Founded in 1883, today the museum numbers 92000 exhibits. The collection includes icons, oil paintings, wooden house-hold utensils, porcelain, archeological findings. The museum's pride is the collection of enamels.

Museum of Finift

Museum of Finift

Finift' is a traditional Russian craft which came from the ancient Byzantine. It is a painting over metal surface with a specially prepared enamel. The museum posesses an excellent collection of finift jewelry, icons and boxes.

Kostroma

Ipatievsky Monastery

Ipatievsky Monastery

The Monastery was founded by Prince Chet around 1330 and it was dedicated to St. Hypatios of Gangara. It was here that a promiment Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin discovered a set of three 14th-century chronicles. Most of the monastery buildings date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The Trinity Cathedral is famous for its elaborate frescoes.

Suzdal

Suzdal Kremlin

Suzdal Kremlin

The heart of Suzdal. Specialists believe the Kremlin dates back to the X century and first appeared in the chronicles in 1024.

Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture

Open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture

This museum recreates the life and traditions of the people of Suzdal in the XVIII–XIX century. The ensemble includes churches, log houses and other structures.

Cathedral of the Nativity

Cathedral of the Nativity

Located on the Kremlin's territory, dating back to the beginning of the XIII century, the largest relic of which is the Golden Gates.

Archbishops Chambers

Archbishops Chambers

A large architectural masterpiece that took several centuries to be built. It houses a unique collection of historical and archaeological objects, including the Cross-Vaulted Chamber.

Vladimir

Vladimir Golden Gates

Vladimir Golden Gates

Considered to be the door to Vladimir built in the early XII century by Prince Andrei Bogolubsky. In ancient times they served as the main military tower of the fortress.

Museum of Crystal, Lacquer Miniature Paintings and Embroidery

Museum of Crystal, Lacquer Miniature Paintings and Embroidery

The museum possesses an amazing collection of traditional Russian handicrafts and folk art, lacquer miniature papier-mâché boxes, embroidery, rock crystal and glass pieces.

Cathedral of St. Dmitry

Cathedral of St. Dmitry

Built in the beginning of the XII century by Prince Vsevolod as his palace church. The cathedral´s interior still features frescoes of the XII century.

Bogolyubovo

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.

Assumption Cathedral

Assumption Cathedral

A unique monument of the white-stone architecture of Vladimir. The cathedral was built in the middle of the XII century by Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky as the main church of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. World-famous frescoes by Andrei Rublev are preserved there.

Prices and Terms

All seasons

  hotel 3 stars hotel 4 stars
1 $2959 $3295
2 $1598 $1866
3 - 4 $1288 $1555
5 - 6 $981 $1149
single supplement $143 $214

*Prices are per person based on double occupancy in a specific hotel. You should add single supplement to the price in case you travel in a group but you stay at a single room. We offer discounts for groups of 7 or more. To inquire about group rates, please contact us.

Prices include

  • Tickets to all museums
  • Transportation to museums and for excursions
  • Guide service
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Meals according to the program

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
  • 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. You can easily book the discount tickets yourself through our own discount internet ticket office.
  • Optional services as well as theater tickets
  • Travel insurance

To inquire about group rates, please contact us.

Tour dates are flexible. Tours can be customized to your taste. We can include additional excursions or performances on your request.

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.

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.

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