Travelling around the “northern section” of the Golden Ring takes in the cities of Sergiev-Posad, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov Veliky, Kostroma and Yaroslavl. During the tour you will visit small provincial cities such as Rostov Veliky and Pereslavl-Zalessky as well as the larger regional centres of Yaroslavl and Kostroma.
One of the highlights of the tour is a visit to Sergiev Posad - the main spiritual centre of Russia and a place of pilgrimage for those of the Russian Orthodox faith. The architectural ensemble of the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra is unique and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pereslavl-Zalessky is considered the cradle of the Russian Navy and is also one of the quaintest cities on the Golden Ring route. Many artists and of course tourists are attracted to the city thanks to the enormous Lake Plescheevo, the River Trubezh, the ancient kremlin earthen mounds, the neighbouring forests and the hilly surroundings of the city with its multitude of golden domes.
The kremlin in Rostov Veliky is famous not just for its amazing beauty but also for the wonderful sound of the bells from its belfry. A great souvenir from Rostov is Rostov finift – a special form of painting on enamel.
Kostroma and Yaroslavl are two Golden Ring cities situated on the Volga, and as they are now rather large cities they have lost some of their provincial charm. However both cities have nevertheless managed to preserve their historic centres, and the centre of Yaroslavl is even protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
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: 700km - 282km | 418km
1 DAY / SERGIEV POSAD - PERESLAVL-ZALESSKY
Morning transfer from your hotel to Sergiev Posad. The journey can take up to 2 hours depending on traffic.
Guided tour around the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra – this includes a visit to three of its churches:
- Trinity Cathedral (1422) – a masterpiece of Russian architecture and the oldest surviving building inside the monastery. It is here that the relics of St Sergius are held. The cathedral’s ancient iconostasis also holds icons which were painted by Andrey Rublev and his pupils.
- Dormition Cathedral (1559-1585) – built on the orders and using the donations of Ivan the Terrible taking the Moscow Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral as an example.
- St Sergius’ Church and Refectory (1686-1692) - here you will see the stunning Moscow-baroque style interior which has what is considered one of the most beautiful carved iconostases in Russia.
Free time in the city. It is possible to visit the local market and buy souvenirs or eat in a restaurant, including restaurants serving Russian cuisine.
Transfer from Sergiev Posad to Pereslavl-Zalessky.
Upon arrival in Pereslavl, check-in at the hotel and free time in the city. Night in Pereslavl.
2 DAY / PERESLAVL-ZALESSKY
Breakfast in the hotel.
City tour around Pereslavl - the highlights of the tour are:
- Uspensky Goritsky Monastery – the most beautiful monastery in the city which stands on a hill overlooking the city. Today it is the main museum-reserve in Pereslavl.
- Earthen Mounds – these 12th century mounds were once the base for defensive kremlin walls which marked the boundaries of the city. Located inside the mounds is Red Square which has several ancient cathedrals.
- Transfiguration Cathedral - this 12th century cathedral is one of the main sights of Pereslavl and the oldest surviving building in the city and indeed the oldest surviving example of ancient Vladimir-Suzdal architecture. It is one of the first stone monuments to be constructed in the mid-12th century after a long break in construction work following the death of Vladimir Monomakh. (CLOSED FROM OCTOBER TO MAY)
- Nikitsky Monastery – this is the oldest monastery in Pereslavl and is believed to have been founded in the 12th century and named in honour of St Nicetas (Nikita) of Pereslavl. St Nicetas was a stylite, which meant he enclosed himself at the top of a pillar, and his reputation as a healer bought fame to the monastery. In the 15th century the monastery came under the patronage of Ivan the Terrible, who believed that prayers held at the monastery helped cure his son.
- Peter the Great’s Boat Museum-Estate – in 1692 a young Peter the Great came to Pereslavl to test out his toy flotilla which became the first naval flotilla in Russia. The boat Fortuna is the only surviving vessel from this toy flotilla which you can see preserved at this museum.
Duration: 3½ hours | Transportation: by a private car
Visit a local baker who bakes bread according to ancient recipes in a real Russian oven. During the visit, you will try to bake bread yourself.
Evening transfer from Pereslavl to Rostov.
Night in Rostov Veliky.
3 DAY / ROSTOV VELIKY
Breakfast in the hotel.
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.
- 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
Night in Rostov Veliky.
4 DAY / ROSTOV VELIKY - KOSTROMA
Breakfast in the hotel.
Transfer to Kostroma. This is the longest transfer along 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
Transfer from Kostroma to Yaroslavl
Arrival in Yaroslavl and check-in at the hotel.
5 DAY / YAROSLAVL
Breakfast in the hotel.
Walking tour around Yaroslavl – during this tour you will visit the following sights:
- 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 the oldest surviving building 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
Transfer from your hotel to Yaroslavl railway station. The driver will wait for you at the reception of the hotel.
Express train to Moscow.
Duration: 3½ h.
Late evening arrival at Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow and transfer to your hotel.
- 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 hotels, the calculation includes hotels of 3 stars.
- 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%|