Golden Ring — Russian Province
28 Mar 2019
Golden Ring — Russian Province
- Hotel Overview
Book one of our amazing tour packages and save £55 on your visa! Hurry – offer ends 29 March!*
Moscow - Vladimir - Suzdal - Kostroma - Yaroslavl - Uglich - Tver - Veliky Novgorod - St Petersburg
The Golden Ring is the name given to the chain of ancient towns lying to the north and east of Moscow. It is one of the oldest Russian routes. There are many interesting ancient Russian cities and towns along the way, full of history and unique Russian architecture of the XII-XVII centuries.
You will learn about the towns’ history, traditions, architecture and the people who lived and built their lives there. Although our tour can cover only a small section of the Golden Ring, it is probably the most beautiful part.
The route starts from Moscow, goes through Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir, Novgorod, and St Petersburg.
Suzdal is full of old churches, wooden houses and the sounds of bird song and the ringing of church bells. Sergiev Posad dates back to the XIV century and is one of the oldest and most important towns along the ring. Vladimir used to be the capital of Russia in the 12th century and boasts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At Novgorod you will see Novgorod Kremlin (traditionally known as the Detinets) - a masterpiece of medieval architecture which also contains the oldest palace in Russia dating back to 1433 – the Chamber of the Facets, which served as the main meeting hall of the Russian archbishops. It’s the oldest Russian bell tower, dating from the mid-15th century, and the oldest Russian clock tower.
Your 10-day tour gives you the opportunity to see Russian architecture, old churches made of white stone, hear the bell ring, see the old fortifications, fortresses, beautiful monasteries, and learn more about Russia’s history.
All our tours are carefully designed for you to have a free time to explore cities on your own after guided excursions. You will have a guide with you for a half a day and have chance to discover Russia independently afterwards.
By purchasing an organised trip to Russia with us, we will donate £10 to help fill the "bravery box" to reward brave children battling cancer. For more information, click here.
Day 1 Moscow
Arrival in Moscow.Transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 Moscow - Sergiev Posad - Suzdal
car / minibus
Our representative will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer you to Vladimir by bus. After breakfast in Vladimir, you will have a city tour of one of the oldest cities of Russia.
Vladimir Guided Tour
Vladimir used to be one of the medieval capitals of Russia. It is part of the Golden Ring of the ancient Russian towns and an important tourist centre, where frescoes by the icon-painting genius Andrei Rublyov can be seen in the Cathedral of the Assumption. During our guided sightseeing tour, we will visit the Cathedral of St Demetrius, Assumption Cathedral and the Golden Gates, which feature on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
After Vladimirl we will travel to Bogolyubovo by car or minibus, a small settlement near to Vladimir which is home to a UNESCO-protected church. Situated in a historically strategic location at the confluence of the Nerl and Klyazma rivers, this was once the picturesque home of Prince Andrei Bogolyubov who built his palace here. Today, the palace forms part of the Bogolyubovo Monastery and our guided tour will explore its highlights including the so-called Staircase Tower and the adjoining gallery, both now incorporated into the The Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin. From there, we’ll take you to the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl River, virtually untouched since its construction in the 12th century. The church stands in the centre of a field on a small hill; when it floods the church appears to float on the water. From there, we travel to Suzdal.
Overnight at Suzdal.
Day 3 - Saturday - Suzdal - Sergiev Posad- Moscow
Suzdal is possibly the most magical of the Golden Ring towns. With its Kremlin, market stalls, monasteries and countless little churches, this museum city has hardly changed over the last two-and-a-half centuries. More than 200 architectural monuments from the past millennium are concentrated here. And on every corner, “medovukha” is sold, an ancient Russian drink (a sort of honey beer). We will visit the old Kremlin, the Spass-Evfimievsky Monastery and the Cathedral of Transformation, along with other unique cultural and religious objects.
After lunch at the local restaurant, we travel to Sergiev Posad.
A guided tour of Sergiev Posad – the heart of Russian orthodox religion, and the home of Russia’s Patriarch. The town, located in the suburbs of Moscow, grew up in the 15th century around one of the greatest Russian monasteries - the Holy Trinity – St Serbius Lavra (Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra), founded by St Sergius of Radonezh. The town also claims to be the birthplace of the Russian nesting doll, or matryoshka.
Transfer back to Moscow.
Day 4 Moscow
Moscow City Centre Walking Tour
A guided walking tour around Moscow’s major cultural and historical points. You will see one of the famous “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers built during Stalin's last years and initially thought of as elite housing. We will visit Lubyanka Square – the world-famous KGB centre from the Soviet epoch, and Teatralnaya Square next to the Bolshoi Theatre. Then we continue our walk through the small central streets and lanes where every building has its own unique and interesting story to tell. Most of them currently house Russian theatres, hotels, museums or state institutions. We also visit Tverskaya Street – the main street in Moscow, and the busiest – with lots of shops, restaurants and a unique combination of old, Stalinist and modern architecture. We finish our tour on the pedestrian Old Arbat Street, famous for its souvenirs and street dancers and artists. After our guided tour, you will have some free time to browse among the shops selling merchandise and enjoy the various Arbat cafes and restaurants.
Moscow Underground Guided Tour
Guided tour of the Moscow Underground – explore one of the masterpieces of the Soviet era, created in the Socialist Realism style. The Moscow Metro, with its stations decorated with marble, mosaics, stained-glass panels and bronze sculptures, looks more like a vast art museum. It was one of the proudest achievements of the Soviet era, and it still beats many other European underground systems with its ultra-reliable service.
Day 5 Moscow
Red Square Guided Tour
We will visit Red Square, arguably one of the most famous squares in the world. It got its name from the Russian word for "red", which many centuries ago meant "beautiful". Each building here is a legend: you will see the brightly-domed St Basil's cathedral, the world-renowned Lenin Mausoleum, the expansive facade of the GUM department store, Kazan Cathedral and the Kremlin towers. During the Soviet period, Red Square used to be associated with images of stoney-faced Communist Party leaders standing in the cold atop Lenin's Mausoleum, watching military parades. Today, Red Square is a popular tourist attraction that’s often used for rock and pop concerts, hosting such high-profile names as Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd and others.
Kremlin Grounds and Cathedrals Guided Tour
Next, you will discover the interior of the Kremlin - the former residence of the Tsars and now the residence of the Russian President. Cathedral Square still retains the aura of early Tsarist Russia, where the spirits of Ivan the Terrible, Boris Godunov and the early Romanovs loom large.
The Armoury Museum and Tsar Treasures
The first mention of the Armoury was recorded in 1508, when it started to function as the storehouse for the Kremlin’s weaponry. However, within a few decades, the structure had gained the added function of a workshop and a repository for all sorts of treasures of the Imperial Court. In 1813, the Armoury building became an exhibition hall and museum. The Armoury’s collection is overwhelming. It contains such exhibits as the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy, the helm and armour of Boris Godunov, a collection of over fifty Faberge eggs, golden and silver works of applied art by Russian, European and Oriental masters, priceless weapons and other works made of precious metals and stones.
Train departure transfer from the hotel
Transfer to the railway station. Our driver will meet you with a ‘Visit Russia’ sign board in the lobby of the hotel.
Overnight train to Novgorod the Great. Clean linen, including sheets, towels, blankets and pillows, are provided for each berth. The compartments also have personal reading lights, a big window and a small table. There is ample storage space for luggage within the compartment. Two bathrooms in every carriage contain a sink with running hot/cold water and a toilet. Cabins can be locked from the inside, and attendants keep a very close eye on what is happening in their carriage. As a result, trains are one of the safest means of travel within Russia.
Arrival in Novgorod early in the morning. The journey time is approximately eight-and-a-half hours.
Day 6 Novgorod the Great
Train arrival and transfer to your hotel
Our driver will meet you on the platform. Transfer to your hotel.
Novgorod Kremlin Guided Tour
Novgorod the Great (Velikiy Novgorod in Russian) is one of the oldest towns in Russia, founded in the 9th century. It is situated at the source of the River Volkhov and Lake Ilmen, not far from St Petersburg. Its history is inextricably linked to all the key stages of the development of the Russian state. Twice, in the middle of the 9th century and the end of the 15th century, the town stood at the cradle of Russian statehood. Novgorod the Great is the birthplace of Russian democratic and republican traditions, and an important spiritual stronghold of orthodox Russia.
We will visit the Novgorod Kremlin (traditionally known as the Detinets) - a masterpiece of medieval architecture which also contains the oldest palace in Russia, dating back to 1433 – the Chamber of the Facets, which served as the main meeting hall of the Russian archbishops. It contains the oldest Russian bell tower, dating from mid-15th century, and the oldest Russian clock tower. The Kremlin also features a royal palace and a bronze monument to the Russian Millennium, representing the most important figures from the country's history.
Yaroslav's Courtyard in Great Novgorod
Guided tour around Yaroslav's Courtyard, named after the Grand Prince of Novgorod and Kiev, Yaroslav the Wise, who managed to unite the two principalities for some time under his rule in the 11th century. Yaroslav ordered that his palace be built on the right bank of the Volkhov River, opposite the Kremlin. Shortly after the construction of the palace had finished, a vast shopping and trading area - the Trade Mart - was developed nearby. Hence the name of this part of the town, 'Trading Side', the busiest place in Novgorod for centuries. Yaroslav’s Courtyard included Gothic and German Courts where rich merchants from across Russia and the cities of the Hanseatic League lived while staying in Novgorod. In the Middle Ages, Novgorod was a major trading partner of the Hansa. Nowadays, the term 'Yaroslav’s Courtyard' is used to refer to the area around the Trade Mart, the Church of St Nicholas, the Church of St Procopius, and the Church of the Myrrh-bearing Women.
The Yuriev (St George's) Monastery is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site named Historic Monuments of Novgorod the Great and its Surroundings. It is one of Russia's oldest monasteries, founded in 1030 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, whose Christian name was George. The monastery stands on the left bank of the Volkhov River near where it flows out of Lake Ilmen, only three miles from Novgorod.
Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture Guided Tour
We will visit Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, situated along the Volkhov river and Myachino Lake, close to the Yuriev Monastery where you will find over 20 wooden buildings dating back from the XIV – XIX centuries which were brought here from various parts of the Novgorod region, among them wooden churches, dwelling houses and mills.
Day 7 Novgorod the Great - St Petersburg
Train departure and transfer from the hotel
Transfer to the railway station. Our driver will meet you at the hotel lobby.
St Petersburg City Tour
It is impossible not to fall in love with St Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. After you visit it, you’ll understand why. The most European of all Russian cities, St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia. But unlike the busy capital Moscow, it is peaceful and unhurried, just like a real museum-city should be.
Start your discovery of St Petersburg with a guided city tour by car that will take you around the stunning "Venice of the North". You will see the Peter and Paul Fortress, St Isaac's Cathedral and the Church of Christ's Resurrection (The Saviour of the Blood). You will also see the famous cruiser Aurora, the legendary ship whose canon gave the signal, on the order of Lenin, for the beginning of the Great Social Revolution more than 90 years ago.
Day 8 St Petersburg
Hermitage Museum (Winter Palace) Guided Tour
A guided tour of the Hermitage, former residence of the Russian Tzars (the famous Winter Palace) and one of the best museums in the world. This stunning palace, an architectural masterpiece in its own right, contains a collection of over 3,000,000 works of art representing the development of world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century. The collection includes works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Raphael, French impressionists, sculptures and treasured icons, coins and Tsars’ jewellery. The Hermitage is an unforgettable place to visit.
Day 9 St Petersburg
Half-day Guided Tour to Tsarskoe Selo (Catherine Palace & the Amber Room)
Guided visit to one of the major architectural treasures of Royal St Petersburg – the settlement of Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin), located 25km south of the city. This small town has two gigantic palaces, set among huge, beautiful parkland: the glorious Catherine Palace, a Baroque masterpiece by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli, and the Alexander Palace, where the last Tsar family dwelt. We will visit Catherine’s Palace with its Amber Room. It features splendid interiors, designed by the eminent architects Rastrelli, Cameron, Stasov and Monighetti.
Day 10 St Petersburg
Airport departure with transfer from the hotel
Transfer to the airport. Our driver will meet you at the hotel lobby.
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Accommodation: 4* hotel Vega Hotel Izmailovo Moscow / 4* hotel Nikolaevsky Posad Suzdal / 3* hotel Intourist Novgorod the Great / 4* Demetra Art Hotel St Petersburg
Train: comfortable 4-berth sleepers on the overnight train from Moscow to Novgorod the Great, local suburban seater train from Novgorod the Great to St Petersburg. Optional: if you are travelling as a couple and want more privacy on the overnight train, we can offer compartment buy-out for 2 people - £65 per person.
Meals: breakfast in your hotels, lunch in Vladimir
Transport: for transfers and sightseeing tours we use a comfortable coach, car or minibus; on our sightseeing trips we may also go on foot or use public transport (mainly underground which is very efficient and helps to avoid traffic congestion)
Entrance fees: all entrance fees as per itinerary
If travelling during these dates 01.01 - 15.05.19; 10.10 - 15.04.20, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £130 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If travelling during these dates 16.05 - 30.05.19; 03.06 - 10.07.19, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £250 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If you are travelling during these dates 01.06 - 03.06.19, and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £360 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
If you are travelling during these dates 11.07 - 10.10.19 and require an extra night, there will be an additional charge of £170 per night per room in St Petersburg; £70 per night per room in Moscow
Solo supplement : £250
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*Book one of our Tour Packages to Russia and save £55 on your Russian visa!
This great deal applies to all our amazing tour packages for travel on any date during 2019, provided you book before 29 March. Please note that the discounted Visa service is only available if you apply for your Visa with us. Whether you’re swanning around St Petersburg or exploring the historic cities of Russia’s Golden Ring, we offer peace of mind and great savings. But remember – offer ends 29 March. Make 2019 the year you discover some of Russia’s countless wonders. Book with RNTO for great deals and carefree travel … because we’ll be with you every step of the way!
Moscow: Vega Izmailovo Hotel ****
This four star hotel is situated just 12 minutes away from the centre of Moscow by metro, with the Partizanskaya station just a three minute walk away from the hotel.
Originally built for the 1980 Olympic Games, the Vega Izmailovo Hotel was renovated in 2007 and now offers simply decorated, modern facilities. Each room comes equipped with a flat screen TV, minibar and en-suite bathroom, and boasts views over either the Izmaylovo Kremlin or Izmaylovsky Park.
The hotel also features five restaurants, a fitness centre and complimentary wi-fi.
Novgorod the Great: Intourist Hotel ***
The Intourist Hotel is situated in the historical centre of Veliky Novgorod on the banks of the river Volkhov, amid numerous ancient architectural monuments. The hotel is 10 minutes walk from the central Kremlin Park and three kilometres from the bus and railway stations. Guests can visit tourist destinations like the Kremlin, Yuryev Monastery, the Museum of Wooden Architecture and the Drama Theatre.
There are 116 rooms in the hotel. All rooms are equipped with TV, telephone and radio.
The hotel has a restaurant, bar, conference hall, business centre, currency exchange, post office, souvenirs, parking, luggage room, hairdresser and laundry service.
St Petersburg: Demetra Art Hotel ****
This design hotel is located in the centre of St. Petersburg, 150 metres from Chernishevskaya Metro Station. The Demetra offers free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour reception with tour desk and ticket service.
The individual interiors at the Demetra Art Hotel were designed in Italy, and all feature a theme representing a different period in the history of St. Petersburg. All rooms include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and are soundproofed.
The hotel restaurant serves either a buffet or an à la carte breakfast each morning. The shops, cafés and restaurants of Nevsky Prospekt are just a 15-minute walk away.
Moskovsky Train Station is 1.5 km away, and Pulkovo Airport is 22 km from the hotel.
St Petersburg: Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky ****
Grand Hotel Tchaikovsky is situated in a 19th-century revenue house, conveys the atmosphere of true Petersburg and combines it with modern design and technology. It is only three minutes away from Chernishevskaya underground station, a five minute walk from Nevsky Prospect and within 10 minutes walking distance of the Alexandrinsky Theatre and St Isaac's Cathedral.
Facilities include 24-hour reception, elevator and free WiFi.
European cuisine can be enjoyed in the hotel's elegant restaurant.