This five-day tour around the Golden Ring includes visits to the most beautiful cities on the route, three of which stand on the longest river in Europe – the Volga. The route runs through the southern section of the ring and four regions of Russia. On your trip you will see the main cathedrals, historical buildings and other sights of five cities and find out a lot about the history of mediaeval Rus.
Vladimir and Suzdal are two of the most beautiful ancient Russian cities which played a significant role in the history of Russia. Both cities boast outstanding architectural monuments included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Plyos is a small, picturesque and provincial city on the River Volga. It is a place you will want to come back to as it has typical Russian views and the indescribable athmosphere of a 19th century city. For this reason it was often painted by the great Russian artist Isaak Levitan.
Kostroma is one of the largest cities on the Golden Ring and its main sight is the Ipatievsky Monastery which is considered the place where the reign of the House of Romanov began. It is also a quaint provincial city with many old classical-style buildings. You will also enjoy views of the onion domes of the many churches of Yaroslavl, which is the unofficial capital of the Golden Ring whose historical centre is protected by UNESCO. The city is also located on the Trans-Siberian Railway which gives you the opportunity to continue your journey from here to the Urals, Siberia or all the way to Vladivostok.
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 Golding Ring or along the Trans-Siberian Railway or with a visit to St Petersburg.
Total distance of the tour: 816km - 473km | 303km
1 DAY / VLADIMIR - SUZDAL
Morning transfer from your hotel to Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station.
Lastochka high-speed train to Vladimir.
Duration: 2 hours
Arrival in Vladimir and transfer to the starting point of the excursion.
City tour of Vladimir – Vladimir was once the mediaeval capital of the Russian state and so is an important city in terms of Russian history. The highlights of this tour include:
- Dormition Cathedral - the main cathedral of the city. For over 200 years this cathedral held the revered Our Lady of Vladimir Icon, which Prince Andrey Bogolyubsky brought from Vyshgorod in Ukraine to Vladimir. The icon was later transferred to Moscow and can now be seen in the Tretyakov Gallery. According to legend, the icon was created by Luke the Evangelist.
- Golden Gates - a rare monument of Russian 12th-century defensive architecture and all that remains of the walls which once surrounded Vladimir.
- St Demetrius’ Cathedral - one of the most remarkable monuments of mediaeval Rus. It was built in the 1190s as a palace temple of Grand Prince Vsevolod the Big Nest of Vladimir and is decorated on the outside with engravings of plants and animals, while the interior still retains fragments of frescos by Andrey Rublev.
Duration: 2 hours | Transportation: by a private car
Transfer from Vladimir to your hotel in Suzdal.
Night in Suzdal.
2 DAY / SUZDAL - PLYOS
Breakfast in the hotel.
City tour of Suzdal - Suzdal is perhaps the highlight of the Golden Ring, as the whole city is an open-air museum thanks to it being practically unspoiled by modernisation and industrialisation. On this excursion you will visit:
- Suzdal Kremlin - this is the oldest part and the historical core of the city. Although the kremlin's walls no longer stand, parts of the earthen mound fortifications do remain. The buildings inside the kremlin are now used as museums.
- Nativity Cathedral (1222) – the kremlin’s cathedral is the Nativity Cathedral and the current version stands on the place of an 11th century version which was built on the orders of Vladimir Monomakh. The interior features stunning frescos as well as a necropolis where the sons of Yury Dolgoruky have been interred along with several members of various noble families from Suzdal.
- Spaso-Yefimiev Monastery (1352) – this is the largest monastery in Suzdal and with its large fortified walls it is often mistaken for being the Suzdal Kremlin. Today it is a museum with various exhibitions including its main cathedral with its amazing frescos.
- Museum of the Wooden Architecture and Peasant life – this collection of wooden buildings, including churches and windmills, from various parts of European Russia is one of the best of architectural museums in Russia. It now resembles a village in itself made up of beautiful examples of 17th - 19th century wooden buildings which have been brought here to protect them from fire or from being dismantled.
- Trading Rows (1812) – Suzdal’s set of trading rows are still used for their original purpose and a souvenir market is held outside where you can buy a whole range of souvenirs, including bottles of the mead for which Suzdal is famed.
Duration: 3½ hours | Transportation: by a private car
Transfer from Suzdal to Plyos. This is the longest transfer on the trip. Average duration: 2¾ hours.
On your way to Plyos you will go through the city of Ivanovo which is also a Golden Ring city and often called the "City of Brides" or "Russian Manchester" due to it once having a thriving textile trade which employed many women. It is possible to make a short stop here to have a look at the main sights of this city, although it is probably the least touristic of the Golden Ring cities.
Evening arrival in Plyos. Check-in at the hotel. Night in Plyos.
3 DAY / PLYOS - KOSTROMA
Breakfast in the hotel.
Excursion around Plyos – this excursion includes visits to:
- Isaak Levitan House Museum - the great Russian landscape artist lived in this house with friends between 1888 and 1890. He painted over 2000 works which were inspired by scenes of nature around Plyos and the museum has several originals of Levitan and other landscape painters.
- Landscape Museum – a unique collection of paintings by Russian landscape painters including Ivan Shishkin, Aleksey Savrasov, Nikolai Dubovskoy, Rufin Sudkovsky and Vasily Polenov. The museum also has displays detailing the techniques, history and development of Russian landscape art.
- City tour around Plyos – Plyos is beautiful for its location on the Volga among several hills. The city also boasts many 19th century merchant houses and beautiful churches. During the excursion you will go up to a viewing platform where you can enjoy great views of the city.
Duration: 2 hours | Transportation: walking
Free time in Plyos.
Transfer from Plyos to Kostroma.
Arrival in Kostroma and check-in at the hotel. Night in Kostroma.
4 DAY / KOSTROMA - YAROSLAVL
Breakfast in the hotel.
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.
Transfer from Kostroma to Yaroslavl
Arrival in Yaroslavl and check-in at the hotel. Night in Yaroslavl.
5 DAY / YAROSLAVL - MOSCOW
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. It 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.
Transfer from your hotel to Yaroslavl railway station.
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 or 5 star hotels, the calculation includes hotels of 3 or 4 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
|FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE
|FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE
|LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE