Nizhny Novgorod is an important historical city of Russia and a city with a population of over one million. Up until 1991 the city was closed to foreigners, but upon being reopened it became a popular tourist destination, thanks partly to its magnificent kremlin. The Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin is one of the largest and most beautiful in Russia, rising above the largest river in Europe - the Volga, which merges with the River Oka here forming a headland. In addition to its architectural sights, the city is also associated with the author Maksim Gorky (after whom the city was renamed in the Soviet period) and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrey Sakharov, who was exiled here for seven years. Nizhny Novgorod is also famous for being the starting point of Minin and Pozharsky’s Peoples Volunteer Army which liberated Moscow from the Polish in the Time of Troubles at the beginning of the 17th century.
Located in the Nizhny Novgorod Region is the birthplace of one of the oldest and most famous forms of traditional Russian handicraft – khokhloma painting. The factory in Semonov still makes goods decorated in the traditional khokhloma style, as well as many other traditional Russian wooden toys including Russian dolls, and on this tour you will see how they are produced.
Since the Strizh high-speed train now runs between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, it has become much easier and quicker to visit the city, making it a great destination for a weekend trip from the capital.
Moscow → Nizhny Novgorod ⇔ Semyonov
Total distance of the tour: 1,044km - 884km | 160km
SATURDAY | NIZHNY NOVGOROD
Departure of the Strizh (06:35 - 10:10) or Lastochka (07:15 - 11:10) high-speed train from Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station. You should arrive in good time as it can be confusing here to find your train as Kursky serves several directions. The Strizh usually leaves from the right-hand part of the station on the first platform.
Duration: 3½ hours
Arrival at Nizhny Novgorod's Moskovsky Railway Station. Transfer to your hotel to leave your luggage. The driver will meet you outside your carriage with a sign saying .
City tour of Nizhny Novgorod - the highlights of this tour include:
- Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin – the city's famous kremlin is located on a strategic place on the confluence of two major Russian rivers: the Volga and the Oka. It was precisely here that the city first emerged in the 13th century. Although it is slightly smaller than the Moscow Kremlin, its position on highland above the rivers creates a very impressive view and makes the kremlin perfect for watching sunsets over the Volga. It is a unique example of mediaeval Russian fortifications and is the cultural, historical and political centre.
- Archangel Michael’s Cathedral – this 16th century cathedral is the oldest surviving structure in the Kremlin. The relics of national hero Kuzma Minin are interred inside.
- Nativity Church – this early 18th century church is one of the most beautiful in Russia, elaborated decorated in the style known as Stroganov baroque.
- Upper Volga Embankment – this is one of the best places for strolling in Nizhny Novgorod and for enjoying views of the seemingly endless forest on the other side of the Volga. The embankment is also lined with beautiful buildings dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Ulitsa Bolshaya Pokrovskaya – this is the main touristic and pedestrian street in the city. It also has one of the most beautiful buildings in the city – the Nizhny Novgorod State Bank. This elegant building, reminiscent of a fairy tale palace was built using funds of Nizhny Novgorod's successful merchant class.
- Nizhny Novgorod Fair – this market played a significant role in making Nizhny Novgorod a rich and successful city. Here Russians came from all over the country to trade materials, fur, leather, metal, wares, dyes and baked goods. Foreigners even came here to sell tea from China, cotton from Central Asia and silk from Persia. Today the main building of the fair, decorated in the Russian Revival style with elements of traditional ancient Russian architecture, is now used as an exhibition hall.
- Ilinskaya Sloboda District – this historical region of Nizhny Novgorod gets its name from the church here dedicated to Elijah the Prophet (known as Ilya in Russian). It was also historically known as the Zapochainia District after the River Pochaina, a branch of the Volga which has now be diverted underground. Many historical and protected buildings have been preserved here around Ulitsa Ilinskaya, which has managed to retain a feel of a bygone era.
- Rukovishnikov Estate Museum - this is one of the prettiest estate houses in the city. It was built in 1877 for a successful Nizhny Novgorod merchant - Sergey Rukovishnikov. The building is decorated with white décor on a blue background. and inside the parade staircase and its halls are reminiscent of a mini-Winter Palace.
Duration: 3h | Transportation: by a private car
Free time in the city.
Night in Nizhny Novgorod.
SUNDAY | KHOHLOMA FACTORY
Breakfast at your hotel.
Transfer to Semyonov.
City tour around Semyonov with a guided tour of the Khokhloma Factory - Khokhloma painting is one of the oldest traditional handicrafts in Russia and is recognisable due to its use of red, black and gold colour paints. Although named after the village of Khokhloma, it was in the nearby city of Semyonov that the handicraft was further developed and made famous.
The factory is also a major centre for Russian dolls and the process involves a complex series of techniques. Firstly wood from lime trees is selected due to its flexibility and responsive qualities. The wood is then dried naturally for up to a year before being cut up into blocks which are then dried for a further three months. Only then are these blocks turned on the lathe to form individual Russian dolls of various sizes. The sawdust created is also used to create fibreboard to make other goods.
During this excursion you will see each part of this process, plus the workshop where the goods are painted. Also included is a master class where you will have a chance to paint your own doll which you will get to keep as a souvenir.
Duration: 6h | Transportation: by a private car
15:30 | Transfer to Nizhny Novgorod.
Free time in Nizhny Novgorod.
18:00 | Transfer to Nizhny Novgorod's Moskovsky Railway Station
19:00 | Strizh high-speed train to Moscow.
Duration: 3½ hours
22:35 | Arrival in Moscow.
- The tour is planned for starting on Saturday and ending on Sunday, but it is possible on any day except for Monday when the museums are closed.
- The tour is available in Other languages upon request.
- All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
- The tour is suitable for travellers with children.
- Best time to travel on this route: from the end of April to mid-October.
• 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%|
• COST OF THE TOUR WITH 3* HOTELS •
|PRICE PER GROUP||1-2 PAX||3-4 PAX||5-6 PAX||7-8 PAX|
• COST OF THE TOUR WITH 4* HOTELS •
|PRICE PER GROUP||1-2 PAX||3-4 PAX||5-6 PAX||7-8 PAX|
- Individual excursions according to the programme.
- Entrance tickets to the museums
- Transfers in a private car according to the programme.
- Return second class tickets for the high-speed train from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod
- Accommodation in a hotel of a category of your choice, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
- 24h emergency support during the tour
- Visa support documents
- Meals (except for breakfast where stated).
- Tips for the guides and drivers (optional)