The Golden Ring is one of Russia’s true treasures and a great add on to a holiday to Moscow or St Petersburg. A collection of ancient settlements situated in a loop to the North East of Moscow, the Golden Ring boasts an impressive array of opulent, centuries-old Russian architecture; each building, village, town and city providing an in-depth glimpse into the country’s fascinating history. On this tailor-made tour we have included 3 of the Golden Ring towns including Sergiev Posad, which can be visited on a day trip from Moscow. Stay in Suzdal and explore Vladimir before taking the overnight train to St Petersburg.
Fly to Moscow. Transfer to the hotel and check in for 3 nights. (B)
After breakfast, your private local tour guide will meet you in the hotel reception. Enjoy a morning city tour of Moscow, using the famous metro with elegant and extravagant underground stations. Visit the vast Red Square, where you'll see St Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin (from the outside only). Wander through the Alexandrovsky Garden and GUM (the former State Department Store), and spot the Bolshoi Theatre. Speak to a Regent Specialist about booking tickets for an evening opera at the Bolshoi. (B)
Today take an excursion (6 hours) to Sergiev Posad is a picturesque town located some 75 kilometres northeast of Moscow. The town is famous for the 14th century Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, one of the most important centres of the Orthodox religion and a major destination of pilgrims. Travel by car with an English-speaking guide to gaze upon multi-coloured onion domes and discover the history of one of the holiest places in Russia. Sergiev Posad is also the birthplace of matryoshka, known in the west as Russian doll and it is possible do some matryoshka shopping in the market square near the monastery gates.
Today transfer to the Railway Station for the afternoon train to Vladimir and on arrival transfer to Suzdal (takes around 45 minutes) and check in to hotel for 2 nights. (B,D)
Morning city tour of Suzdal including visits to its Kremlin and monastery, as well as the Icon Museum. A combination of stunning medieval architecture with its pastoral setting lends Suzdal a rural picturesque charm. During the summer months explore the Museum of Wooden Architecture and during the winter visit the Gold Room. (B,L,D)
Today explore Vladimir, one of the jewels of Russia’s Golden Ring with a large number of 12th-century including the Golden Gates, which are actually white. Go inside either the great Cathedral of Dormition (Uspensky Cathedral), or the Church of St. Demetrius. Visit the Museum of Lacquer Miniatures located in the Old Believers Trinity Church and see these beautiful painted boxes often depicting scenes from Russian history or the countryside. Also included is a trip to Bogoliubovo, the ancient former residence of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky, located just outside Vladimir. After dinner back at the hotel, transfer to Vladimir Railway Station for overnight train to St Petersburg. (B,L,D)
Arrive in St Petersburg and meet your local guide. Explore the highlights of St Petersburg on a three hour city tour by coach or minibus. Enjoy several key sights along the way, with a photo-stop at St Isaac’s Cathedral. Check in to your hotel for 3 nights. (B)
Today is left free for you to explore St Petersburg by yourself. However, we recommend booking an excursion to the world-renowned Hermitage Museum. An attraction for nearly all visitors to St Petersburg, one could spend weeks exploring the vast collection of outstanding works of the Hermitage. Open to the public since the mid 1800’s, and displaying nearly three hundred thousand artefacts across six buildings this fascinating collection features works from Russia, Europe and Egypt. (B)
Free day to continue your exploration of St Petersburg, perhaps venture out to join the throngs of people visiting undoubtedly one of St Petersburg’s most popular attractions, the grand estate of Tsarskoye Selo in the town of Pushkin, and immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Russian nobility. Admire the lavish late-Baroque Catherine’s Palace with its restored Amber Room, and spend time exploring the picturesque grounds and gardens. (B)
Free morning to spend at leisure before the transfer to airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)