Golden Ring Cities Tour: Pereslavl Zalessky – Rostov the Great – Yaroslavl – Kostroma – Ples – Suzdal – Vladimir – Alexandrov – Sergiev Posad

5 nights/6 days out of Moscow

This trip to Golden Ring cities in full depth introduces you to the treasury of Russian history, masterpieces of ancient art, unique monuments, great museums and fascinating landscapes.

Day 1, Itinerary

By 8:00 make sure that your bags are on board and you start driving Pereslavl Zalessky (145 km – 3 hours with a refreshment stop). In Pereslavl Zalessky, after a coffee break, you’ll visit the renown St. Saviour of Transfiguration Church (1157), one of the earliest to be seen on the Ring.

Drive to Rostov the Great (64 km). On the banks of the lake Nero, this town flourished as a trade and cultural centre from the 9th to 18h centuries. The tour includes Rostov Kremlin with its enchanting silver and gold cupolas and Enamel Museum celebrating the tradition of miniature painting on enamel. After lunch in the Kremlin restaurant you’ll continue to Yaroslavl (59 km). Have dinner and spend the night in Ring Premier Hotel.

08:00-11:00 Drive to Pereslavl Zalessky (including 15 min refreshment stop)

11:00-11:20 Coffee break

11:20-12:00 St. Saviour of Transfiguration Church

12:00-13:10 Drive to Rostov

13:10-14:30 Lunch

14:30-17:00 Kremlin and Enamel Museum

17:00-18:10 drive to Yaroslavl, check-in to Hotel

19:30 Dinner at Hotel

Day 2, Itinerary

The day stars with the Yaroslavl city-tour. On the west bank of the River Volga, this ancient city retains much of its 18th and 19th century mercantile appearance and layout. Visits include: Monastery of the Saviour of the Transfiguration, Church of Elijah the Prophet, decorated with outstanding frescos on subjects from Old & New Testament, and Church of John the Baptist depicted on the Russian 1000 rouble bill.

River cruise takes you along the Volga, lunch is served on board. After lunch drive to Kostroma (84 km), visit Ipatiev Monastery, at one time the wealthiest in the country. The first Romanov tsar left from here to be crowned in the Moscow Kremlin in 1613.

City tour via the town of Kostroma and check-in to Ya Hotel. Dinner in Hotel.

09:00-10:00 Yaroslavl city tour

10:00-11:30 Monastery of the Saviour of the Transfiguration

11:40-12:30 Church of Elijah the Prophet

12:40-14:00 Volga cruise with lunch

14:00-15:30 drive to Kostroma

15:30-17:00 Ipatiev Monastery and Trinity Cathedral

17:00-18:00 City tour of Kostroma

18:00 Check-in to Ya Hotel

19:30 Dinner at Hotel

Day 3, Itinerary

In the morning leave for Ples town, now considered one of the most desirable country getaways by wealthy Muscovites. This little town on the Banks of the Volga River was made famous by the 19th-century artist Isaac Levitan who found the light and birch strewn landscape irresistible.

Walk along the river and visit Levitan Museum, artist’s former lodging among the fish-smoking shacks. Lunch is served in a restaurant on the riverbank. From Ples drive to Suzdal (148 km) where you dine and stay for overnight.

09:00-10:15 Drive to Ples

10:15-10:50 City tour on foot

10:50-11:15 Refreshment break

11:15-12:15 Levitan Museum

12:30-14:00 Lunch

14:00-17:00 Drive to Suzdal (including a stop)

17:00 Check-in to Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel

19:30 Dinner

Day 4, Itinerary

Suzdal is a well-known tourist destination that has many remarkable riverside churches and monasteries dating back to the 11th century, some of which are included in UNESCO World Heritage List. Today, Suzdal has the look and feel of a small provincial town or village, with it's beautiful landscape and rustic unpaved roads and houses.

Leave the Hotel on foot for Museum of Wooden Architecture with its historic samples of vernacular buildings, this outdoor museum gives an insight into rural living in old Russia. Your next visit this morning is to Suzdal Kremlin; within its walls stands the Cathedral of Nativity with its 13th-century white stone reliefs Its ancient doors are rare surviving examples of the technique of fire gilding.

Have lunch in a local restaurant. Continue the city tour of Suzdal with a visit to the remarkable St. Euthymius Monastery. The largest of Suzdal's many monasteries, St. Euthymius has a commanding position overlooking the town and river. It is remarkably well-preserved and great example of the might of the Russian Orthodox church in medieval times.

You can admire the view from outside the formidable walls OR, time permitting, take a walk down to the Pokrovsky Convent for a magical 360 degree view of the town. At the end of the day visit the 12th-century Church of Boris and Gleb, first Russian saints, in the village of Kideksha (5 km). There’ll be some free time before dinner.

09:30-09:35 Walk to Wooden Architecture Museum

09:35-10:45 Tour of the Museum, walk to Kremlin

11:25-12:35 Suzdal Kremlin and Cathedral

12:45-14:30 Lunch

14:30-14:45 drive to Kideksha

14:45-15:30 Church of Boris and Gleb in Kideksha

15:45-17:00 St. Euthymius Monastery, concert of Church bells

Return to Hotel / or free time in Suzdal

Dinner (can be organised in a private home of a local family)

Day 5, Itinerary

Today’s tour starts in Bogolyubovo (20 km), a small village between Vladimir and Suzdal. Highlights are the Church of Intercession on the river Nerl, dating from the early XII century that is considered the most harmonious Temple ever built in Russia. Alternatively (in case of bad weather, when the Church of Intercession is closed) you explore the territory and churches of the Bogolyubovo Convent that stands on the sight of the former Palace of Andrew the Pious (Bogolyubsky), the only building of Medieval Russia that has survived without renovation.

Continue to Vladimir (12 km), lunch will be served in a local restaurant in Vladimir.

After lunch, you will explore the town of Vladimir, one of the medieval capitals of Russia and home to three important monuments that are on the UNESCO on the World Heritage List: the magnificent five-domed Assumption Cathedral, painted by the great medieval iconographers Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny; St. Demetrius Cathedral notable for its noble form, ideal proportions and walls decorated with beautiful stone carvings and more than 600 bas-reliefs; and the Golden Gate - a combination of battle tower, overgate church and triumphal arch, a remarkable monument of Russian fortification architecture.

09:15-09:45 Drive to Bogolyubovo

09:45- 11:45 Visit the Church of Intercession on the River Nerl (walk across water meadows 1 km each way)

11:45-12:15 Drive to Vladimir

12:30-13:45 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Walk including Assumption Cathedral and St Demetrius Cathedral

15:30-16:30 Vladimir city tour and Golden Gates

16:30-17:30 Drive back to Suzdal*

Option would be to return to Moscow this evening on a high speed train (1 h 40 min) – to do a 4 nights / 5 days version of this Tour

Free time

Day 6, Itinerary

In the morning drive to Alexandrov (137 km) with luggage on board. Alexandrov was a residence of Ivan the Terrible as an alternative capital of Russia. The tour includes the residence territory and the Palace of Ivan the Terrible. Continue to Sergiev Posad (48 km). Lunch will be served at Pechki Lavochki restaurant, and after lunch you’ll visit the St. Sergius Monastery – the ancient centre of Russian Orthodoxy with churches and buildings dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

An exuberant, extensive site, it makes a fitting end to the Golden Ring Tour. Drive to Moscow takes about 2 hours (78 km). We transfer you to your Hotel, train station, or airport.

09:00-11:00 Drive to Alexandrov

11:00-12:30 Tour of the Monastery and Palace of Ivan the Terrible

12:30-13:30 drive to Sergiev Posad

13:30-14:15 Lunch at Pechki Lavochki

14:45-16:45 St Sergius Monastery and free time

16:45-18:30 Drive to Moscow