Rostov Veliky on Lake Nero was first mentioned in 862 which makes it among the first cities to appear in Russian chronicles. This city is always included in the main route of the Golden Ring as its kremlin is a unique and impressive architectural monument. Many tourists who come here also take the opportunity to buy real Rostov ‘finift’ – an ancient handicraft of painting on enamel for which the city is famed.
Kostroma's official date of foundation is 1213 meaning it is also a significant city of ancient Rus, especially due to its Ipatievsky Monastery which is considered the ‘cradle’ of the House of Romanov as Mikhail Romanov was at the monastery when he became the first Romanov tsar. In addition to the monastery, the city also has many other historical buildings and monuments.
Yaroslavl is considered the unofficial capital of the Golden Ring and is one of the largest cities on the route. It is believed to have been founded in 1071 and has retained a certain Russian provincial charm and many historical monuments, despite also becoming a large city and an important centre for industry and trade. The main sight in the city is the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery which can be considered as the birthplace of Russian literature as an ancient copy of 'The Tale of Igor's Campaign’ was found here which is one of the earliest masterpieces of mediaeval Russian literature.
On your trip you will see the main cathedrals, historical buildings and other sights of all three cities and find out a lot about the history of mediaeval Rus. You will not be accompanied with a guide when travelling on the route, but local guides will take you on excursions in the cities themselves. At your request, and for an additional fee, we can add a guide to accompany you on the whole route. The tour begins and ends in Moscow, but it is also possible to continue this tour further around the Golden Ring or along the Trans-Siberian Railway or with a visit to St Petersburg.
Total distance of the tour: 719km - 506km | 213km
DAY1 | ROSTOV VELIKY
Morning transfer from your hotel to Yaroslavsky Railway Station. The driver will wait for you in the reception of the hotel with a sign saying .
07:35 | Express train to Rostov Veliky.
10:00 | Arrival at the railway station in Rostov. The guide will meet you outside your carriage with a sign saying . Transfer to the hotel to leave your luggage and breakfast in a cafe (not included in fee).
City tour of Rostov Veliky - On this excursion you will visit:
- Rostov Kremlin – the former residence of the metropolitan of the Rostov Eparchy which is called a kremlin due to its large, fortified walls which were built more to look impressive rather than to provide a defensive function. The white stone kremlin is a monument of pre-Petrine Russian architecture.
- Dormition Cathedral – the main cathedral in the kremlin which dates from the 16th century and was modelled of the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. It is 60 metres in height. Next to the cathedral is a belfry containing 15 unique bells, whose sound is widely celebrated across Russia.
- Museum of Rostov Finift – Rostov finift enamel painting has been a famous local handicraft since the 18th century. This museum has over 3000 examples on display.
- Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery – Rostov’s Spaso-Yakovlevsky Monastery was founded in approximately 1390 by Bishop Jacob (Yakov) of Rostov, after whom it is now named. After the Kremlin it is the most beautiful sight in the city with its eclectic Conception of Anna Church and St Jacob of Rostov's Church.
Duration: 3 hours. Transportation: by car
Free time in the city.
Night in Rostov Veliky.
• OPTIONAL EXTRA • ROSTOV •
|Guided Tour of the Rostov Finift Factory|
|Boat Trip around Lake Nero (from May to October only)|
|Excursion to the Borisoglebsky Monastery|
Duration: 2h. | Transportation: by a private car
DAY 2 | ROSTOV - KOSTROMA
Breakfast in the hotel.
Transfer to Kostroma. This is the longest transfer on the trip.
City tour of Kostroma. The highlights of the tour are:
- Ipatievsky Monastery – a great example of a 15th century Russian fortified monastery. Its main landmark is the five-domed Trinity Cathedral which is decorated with colourful frescos and features an impressive iconostasis. In 1613 the 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov was here when he received an embassy from Moscow to tell him he had been elected tsar. His acceptance was then celebrated in a service at the Trinity Cathedral.
- Museum of Wooden Architecture – in the area around the Ipatievsky Monastery some of the best examples of wooden buildings have been collected from various parts of the Kostroma and neighbouring regions. Here you can see windmills, banyas, 19th century wooden estate houses, churches from the 16th and 17th century, as well as other wonderful wooden buildings.
- Historical centre of Kostroma - the historical centre of Kostroma is fan shaped and according to a nice urban legend it is this shape after Catherine the Great placed her fan on the map thereby inspiring the city planners. The main square in the centre is Susaninskaya Ploschad which is surrounded by grand 19th century classical style administrative buildings and trading rows.
Duration: 3 hours | Transportation: by a private car
Free time in the city.
17:00 | Transfer from Kostroma to Yaroslavl
18:30 | Arrival to Yaroslavl and check-in at the hotel.
• OPTIONAL EXTRA • KOSTROMA •
|Excursion to a Moose Farm.|
Duration: 1h | Transportation: by a private car
DAY 3 | YAROSLAVL
Breakfast in the hotel.
City tour around Yaroslavl – the highlights of the tour:
- Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery – one of the largest, richest and best fortified monasteries of the 16th century. It is closely associated with the volunteer army of Minin and Pozharsky which was based here while it prepared to liberate Moscow from the Poles in the early 17th century. Inside the monastery is the Transfiguration Cathedral which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Yaroslavl and was built on the site of an even older church between 1506 and 1516. Its interior is decorated with spectacular frescos. To protect these unique frescos it can only be visited between May and October.
- Volga Embankment - this embankment running along the River Volga is one of the prettiest places in Yaroslavl and several historical churches and other buildings are located here. From here you can enjoy great views of the largest river in Europe.
- St Elijah the Prophet’s Church (17th Century) - this church is a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture which is stunningly beautiful on the outside and on the inside thanks to its detailed frescos and amazing iconostasis. To protect these unique frescos it can only be visited between May and October.
Duration: 3 hours. Transportation: walking
Free time in the city.
18:30 | Transfer from your hotel to Yaroslavl railway station. The driver will wait for you at the reception of the hotel.
19:30 | Express train to Moscow.
Duration: 3½ h.
23:00 | Arrival at Yaroslavsky Railway station in Moscow and transfer to your hotel. The driver will meet you outside your carriage with a sign saying .
- The tour is available the whole year round starting on any day, but please take into account that the museum’s working hours and days-off vary so we reserve the right to change the itinerary while trying to save the excursion programme.
- Optional excursions should be booked before the start of the tour to schedule the itinerary.
- Tickets to museums cannot be sold without an excursion with a guide.
- In cities of the Golden Ring where there are no 4 star hotels, the calculation includes hotels of 3 star.
- All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
- Best time to travel on this route: from the end of April to mid-October and from December to mid-March.
• CANCELLATION POLICY •
DATE OF CANCELLATION
|FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||10%|
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||30%|
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||50%|
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE||100%|