Moscow and The Golden Ring of Russia

Tags: moscow, golden ring
Center of Russian Orthodoxy

Moscow – Vladimir – Suzdal – Plyos – Kostroma – Yaroslavl – Rostov Velikiy – Pereslavl-Zalesskiy – Moscow

7 Days / 8 Nights

Day 1 Wednesday

— You should arrive to the hotel on your own and leave your luggage in storage (free of charge). Check in at the hotel begins at 
14:00. After check in, we’ll have our first excursion. Meet our guide in the lobby of the hotel.  
18:00 — Evening sightseeing bus tour of the capital's most iconic landmarks: The golden domes of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, 'Moskva-City' Skyscrapers, the Bolshoi Theater, the Manezh, The Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, the Arbat Square, Teatralnaya Square, Kutuzovsky Prospekt, Memorial Complex ‘Victory park’ on Poklonnaya Hill, the Vorobyovy Hills observation platform.                                                                                               22:00  — The end of the excursion at one of the central subway stations.

Day 2 Thursday (walking tour)
— Breakfast. Meet with your guide in the lobby of the hotel.
— “The history of the Moscow Metro” excursion. You will see the beauty of majestic station-palaces, decorated with stained-glass windows, paintings, majolica, and sculptural groups, all lined with marble and granite.
— Walking tour of Zamoskvorechoye: Pyatnitskaya and Bolshaya Ordynka Streets, Lavrushinsky lane, merchants' mansions, Marfo-Mariinsky Convent of Mercy, Church of Saint Nicholas the Sanctifier in Pyzhy, in the traditional Russian style.
— An excursion to the main exhibition hall of the Tretyakov Gallery, where original masterpieces are exhibited: "The Appearance of Christ to the People" by Ivanov, "Boyarynya Morozova" and "The Morning of the Strelets’ Execution" by Surikov, "Bogatyri" by Vasnetsov, Vereshchagin's "The Apotheosis of War" and other famous paintings.
— The end of the tour in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Day 3 Friday (walking tour)

— Breakfast. Meet with the guide in the lobby of the hotel. 
— ‘The Heart of Moscow’ walking tour of the Red Square. You’ll pass and be able to see the buildings of the Historical Museum, a monument to Marshal G.K. Zhukov, the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, GUM, the Mausoleum, the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, Manezhnaya Square, and Alexander Garden.
 — Excursion to the Moscow Kremlin with a visit to a cathedral. You will see the Tsar Bell, the Tsar Cannon, the architectural ensemble of the Cathedral Square: the Ivan the Great bell tower, the Assumption Cathedral, the Archangel's Cathedral, the Annunciation Cathedral, the Faceted Chamber, and the Patriarch's Chambers.
— For an excursion to the Armory Chamber it is necessary to pay 1,300 rubles per person.
— The end of the tour on the Red Square.

Day 4 Saturday

— Breakfast. Check out. Head to the bus departure point on your own.                                               
09:00 — Bus departure from the Turgenevskaya metro station. Travel Information.
— Travel to Sergiyev Posad ( 70 km). The only city in the Moscow Region to be included in the Golden Ring. Sergiev Posad is famous primarily for its magnificent Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius- the abode of St. Sergius of Radonezh, founded in 1342. It is the “city within a city”, on the territory of which there are more than 50 buildings.
— Excursion around The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a plunge into the strict and light world of Russian spiritual asceticism: you will visit the Trinity Cathedral, the main and the most ancient monument of the Trinity Lavra, erected in 1423 over the grave of Sergius of Radonezh, and also the Assumption Cathedral of the Virgin from the 16th century with the burial vault of the Moscow metropolitans. Use your free time on the laurel territory to pray to St. Sergius, to take some holy water or to buy monastic products.
12:30 — Travel to Pereslavl-Zalesskiy. (60 km)
— The sightseeing tour of Pereslavl-Zalessky will start from the oldest part of the city. You will see the remains of the city fortifications – an earth mound. Now under their reliable protection is the main temple - Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior, where the Holy Good-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky had accepted a christening, the Cathedral of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God and the Church of Alexander Nevsky. And next to the earth mound the Red Square is spread out, which, unlike the Moscow namesake, is covered not with paving stones, but with lawn. You will also see a monument to the patron of the city Alexander Nevsky and you can admire the solemn beauty of the tented-roof Church of St. Peter the Metropolitan. (XVI cent.)
—  for an additional fee you can have lunch in a local restaurant (paid together with a voucher).
— The Blue stone, the ancient shrine of our pagan ancestors, which is located on the shores of Pleshcheeva Lake, which has not lost its strength now: people come here to be cured of diseases, to ask for longevity and fertility. We invite you to take a walk to the boulder, during which you will learn about the mysticism of Pleshcheyev Lake and feel its aquatic energy.
— Visiting Nikitsky Monastery, you will get acquainted with the history of the emergence of Christianity in Russia, and will see the site of the sacred feat of Nikita Stolpnik, you will have a chance to touch the chains that the saint wore on his body for almost 30 years. You will learn why this monastery attracted Ivan the Terrible, how it is connected with Peter I and life in the monastery is like today.
— Accommodation in the Pereslavl hotel. - Free time.

Day 5 Sunday 

08:00 — Breakfast at the hotel restaurant (smorgasbord). Check out.
09:00 —  Travel to Rostov Velikiy (70 km). Exploring the cultural heritage of Rostov Velikiy, founded in 862, begins with its majestic Kremlin, with its main cathedral and five temples. Today there are numerous expositions of the Rostov Kremlin State Museum-Preserve. During the tour around the Kremlin you will see the monumental Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral and a belfry, you will walk through the famous passage, you can admire the beauty of the temples and can climb to the Red Porch.
— In the XVIII century, the main artistic craft of the city, finift, began. Finift involves painting on smooth enamel. The Rostov  Finift museum holds more than 2,500 works of artists from the XVIII-XX centuries: jewelry and caskets, panels, paintings, icons... Enamel works blossom with delicate forget-me-nots and lush roses, an invisible light illuminates the miniature lives of saints, and is enticed into fun, popular cheerful winter scenes. 
13:00 — Travel to Yaroslavl (60 km)
— lunch in a local restaurant for an additional fee (paid together with the voucher).
15:00 — The history of the city began in 1071, when the Grand Duke Yaroslavl the Wise founded  a fortress on a high bank at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosl. During the sightseeing tour of Yaroslavl you will see the site of its foundation and visit the Savior-Transfiguration Monastery, where the affairs of the city and posad were administered, manuscripts were rewritten, the library was housed and prayers were offered. In the Savior-Transfiguration Cathedral- one of Ivan the Terrible’s favorite temples - you will see murals from his era and a magnificent iconostasis. The portrait of Yaroslavl, as a bright mosaic, consists of such various attractions as the chamber church of Elijah the Prophet  adjacent to the Volga embankment, where, as if on a parade, luxurious merchant houses were built. And Alexander Dumas’ father even stopped in one of the local apartments! Did the Volga landscapes not bring inspiration to the writer? You will see the literary streets and squares of Yaroslavl, and monuments to actors, poets and writers.
18:30 — Travel to Kostroma (80 km). Accommodation in the Volga hotel.

Day 6 Monday
08:00 — Breakfast in the hotel (smorgasbord). Check out.                                                                              
09:00 — During a sightseeing tour around Kostroma you will see the Resurrection Church on the Debre, with its 12 domes and stone carvings, the spacious Volga embankment with the romantic seashore of Ostrovsky, the cozy town squares surrounded by old houses... Kostroma is famous for its fairs, and invites you to visit its shopping colonnade: Gingerbread, Tobacco, Oil, Cretaceous ...You will visit Susanin square, which due to its shape people often call "Skovorodka" (Russian for ‘frying pan'). You will admire the Fire tower (similar to the luxurious opera house!) and the building of the Guardhouse  with its beautiful exterior, built in the Empire style.
— The Ipatievsky Monastery Museum-Reserve - a living history of Russia: the first Romanov tsar, the founder of the 300-year dynasty of Russian princes – Tsar Michael – was here when he was made tsar in 1613. Golden-domed, white-stone Trinity Cathedral, with its belfry and bishop's quarters, fairy tale tower rooms of the Romanov boyars (old Russian aristocracy), cells and dwellings, walls and towers of the Old and New Cities.
— Visit the Epiphany Monastery of St. Anastasia, where you can admire the artful carvings on its white stone buildings and the golden domes of the Epiphany Cathedral, which houses the main shrine of the land of Kostroma - the miraculous Feodorovskaya icon of the Mother of God, which repeatedly saved Moscow in the Great Patriotic War.
— lunch at a local restaurant for an additional fee  (paid together with a voucher).
14:00  — Travel to Plyos ( 70 km).
— This is the place where fresh wind is ever-present and you can breathe easily; Plyos is picturesquely located on the high bank of the Volga. In this small town there are more than 300 natural and historical monuments! It is a fascinating portrait, where the water and the sky, the slopes of birch, the high hills and the cobbled streets merge into one. A scenic walking tour of the city will make it possible to see Plyos in all its glory: the high Cathedral Hill, where the fortress walls once stood but stand no longer - the century-old birches, the royal Assumption Cathedral, the domes of ancient churches and the bends of the Volga stretching past the horizon.
18:00  — Travel to Suzdal (150 km)
20:30  — Accommodation in the Suzdal hotel (Turcenter).

Day 7 Tuesday
08:00 — Breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Check out.                                                                              
09:00 — A sightseeing tour of Suzdal will immerse you in the atmosphere of a prosperous merchant city of the XVIII-XIX centuries. You will walk on the Market Square with its trading stalls, see the ramparts and city walls - the remains of the ancient Suzdal of the XI century. You will also admire the collection of mansions of wealthy merchants from the XIX century, and will enjoy a picturesque panorama of the city from the observation deck. In the Suzdal Kremlin, which dates back to the X century, you will see the monumental cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin, built in the 1220s, with its magnificent Golden Gate, and you will also be enchanted by the modest wooden church of St. Nicholas, and visit the Bishops' Chambers with their beautiful ceremonial hall – Cross Chamber – which was used for receptions.                         — Spaso-Evfimievsky monastery is the spiritual center of the ancient Suzdal land. During the tour of the 600-year-old monastery you will visit its main temple - the Transfiguration Cathedral with its famous frescoes from the XVI century, you will see a collection of decorative medals and sacred objects, and will visit the "Golden Pantry" exposition and will see the tomb of Prince Dmitry Pozharsky.
— During a tour around the territory of the Intercession Monastery, you will learn that it was the place of exile for the women of the imperial family, and you will admire the beauty of this cathedral, and will see the Holy Gates.                                                                                                                                                       
12:00 — Travel to Bogolyubovo (30 km). Under the provincial facade of the quiet village of Bogolyubovo you will find a glorious and eventful past: the residence of Prince Andrew Bogolyubsky was located here in the XII century. The memory of the murdered ruler was immortalized in the Svyato-Bogolyubsky Monastery. Its most interesting buildings are fragments of a white-stone palace from the XII century. Using a spiral staircase connected with the gallery, the prince tried to escape from the conspirators. You can also see the Gate Bell Tower, Bogolyubsky Cathedral of the XIX century and monastery buildings (XVII-XIX centuries).                                                                                                                     
— The Church of the Intercession on the Nerl is one of the most recognizable churches in Russia, a magnificent example of the solemn and unadorned, modest Vladimir-Suzdal architecture. The church was built in the XII century and is dedicated to the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God. On the way to the temple near the Nerl river you can admire the incredibly beautiful nature of Vladimir's land, in the midst of which the Church of the Intercession seems to ascend into azure heaven, in harmony with the shining clouds. You will have some time to see the temple on your own.                                                              
15:00 — Travel to Vladimir (14 km) - the medieval capital of Russia - an amazingly beautiful city, whose historical center is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List: there are more than a hundred sights here!                                                                                                                                                                  
 — lunch at a local restaurant, for an additional fee (paid together with a voucher).
16:00 — A sightseeing tour of Vladimir is a real journey back to the days of Vladimir Monomakh and Andrei Bogolyubsky. The ancient city will meet you with its white stone monuments of the 12th century, great cathedrals, and the charm of churches, neat little streets and spacious squares... The Golden Gate, the building of the former gymnasium where the brothers Stoletov and K. Balmont studied, the elegant Trinity Church and its austere office building, the ancient Dvoryanskaya street, the historic Vladimir transit prison and, finally, an amazing panorama of the Klyazma river from the observation deck.
—  During an excursion to Dmitrievsky Cathedral, dedicated to the holy warrior Dmitry Solunsky, you will learn the history of its construction at the turn of the XII-XIII centuries, built "only by Russian masters" (as the chronicle says), then you can see the bas-relief gallery of saints and will admire the first patterned masonry in Russia, made from 556 carved stones.                                                                                                 — The excursion to the Assumption Cathedral will get you acquainted with a Russian architecture sampling from the XII century, which was destined to become the main temple of Rus and the "house" of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God. There is you can see its main treasure - the 600-year-old frescoes of Andrei Rublev.                                                                                                                                                    — A walking tour around the center of the city – the vastness and coziness of squares and the charm of narrow alleys.                                                                                                                        — Travel to Vladimir railway station.                                    
20:15 — Departure to Moscow by the Lastochka high-speed train (Swallow) No. 729G. Train tickets are not included and are paid separately. 
22:00 — Arrival in Moscow at the Kursk railway station. Independent travel to the hotel.
Day 8 Wednesday
- Breakfast. Check-out. Leave your luggage in the hotel's storage room. Meet with a guide in the lobby of the hotel.
- Walking tour of VDNH. The majestic pavilions of the Exhibition of the National Economy Achievements became a symbol of the Soviet architectural school of the Empire, Neoclassicism and Modernism. The end of the excursion is on the territory of VDNH. You will have some time to visit the Moskvarium, the temporary exposition of the "Russia did it herself" Polytechnic Museum, the Cosmonautics Museum, the historical "Russia is My History" park with three multimedia expositions, and an architectural model of Moscow that measures 121 square meters. You can also pass on this quest and rent sports equipment (bicycles, roller skates, segways) or have a cup of tea in a restaurant.
- Independent travel to the hotel and then head to the station.