Golden Ring, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan Tour from Moscow11 Days | Moscow, Vladimir, Suzdal, Nizhny Novgorod, Gorodets, Kazan, Sviyazhsk Island

Golden Ring, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan Tour from Moscow

Starting in Moscow, journey to the “Golden Ring” of medieval Russian cities and then Kazan, the capital of the fascinating Tatar Republic. This 11-day tour includes four UNESCO World Heritage sites – Moscow’s Kremlin and Red Square, the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, the Kazan Kremlin, and Sviyazhsk Island – and many other churches, monasteries, palaces, museums, and historical monuments. Other highlights include experiencing the Tatar Republic’s unique culture, food, and music; exploring the old merchant town of Gorodets, famous for its folk crafts; and enjoying scenic views of the legendary Volga River from the historic city of Nizhny Novgorod.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Moscow – Arrival
 
Arrive in Moscow, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel (check in is possible from 14:00). Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Moscow
 
After breakfast, take a guided tour of Russia’s capital city, Moscow. Like Rome, this is a city on seven hills. Your tour of the metropolis starts at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) in the south-west of the city. Elevated 78 metres above the river, these hills are Moscow’s main panoramic viewpoint. They offer excellent views of most of the city’s attractions: the Kremlin, Stalin’s famous “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers (such as the main building of Moscow State University), the modern Moscow City skyscrapers, the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, Russia’s “White House”, Shukhov Tower, Luzhniki Stadium, and the Ostankino TV Tower. After visiting Vorobyovy Gory, descend to the Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) to see the Church of St. George the Victorious, the Triumphal Arch, and the major street of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Then, visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. The original cathedral was destroyed in the 1930s by order of Stalin and only rebuilt in the 1990s. The cathedral has a 69-metre-high dome, on the inside of which are beautiful images from the New Testament. Continue the tour at the famed Red Square, walking past St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the famous GUM department store, the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden. The day ends at the impressive Kremlin and its cathedrals (closed on Thursdays and replaced with an alternative sight). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Day 3: Mosсow – Tsaritsyno – Moscow
 
After breakfast, visit the largest museum complex in Moscow, the Tsaritsyno State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum-Reserve (closed on Mondays and replaced with an alternative sight). Explore the late 18th century Palace Complex, which was the residence of Empress Catherine II near Moscow. The tour includes visits to the permanent exhibition of the Grand Palace and Bread House, as well as exhibitions at the Middle Palace (Opera House) and Small Palace. End the excursion with walks through the historical Tsaritsyno Landscape Park to see the ponds and pavilions and the modern park with its fountain and flower beds. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

During your free time in Moscow, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Armoury in the Kremlin (except Thursdays);
Night city tour: ‘Evening lights of Moscow’;
River cruise on the motor ship ‘Flotilla Radisson Royal’;
Tickets to the
Bolshoi Theatre, concerts, the circus, or other performances.

Day 4: Moscow – Vladimir
 
Breakfast followed by hotel check-out. Transfer to the train station to take the train from Moscow to Vladimir (190 km, 2 hrs). Upon arrival, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Take a sightseeing tour of Vladimir, one of the “Golden Ring” of ancient towns in northern Russia. The tour encompasses Cathedral Square, the heart of the city; the Golden Gate, the famous triumphal arch that became the historical symbol of the city and the entire Golden Ring; the Assumption and Dmitrievsky Cathedrals, beautiful examples of 12th century Russian white stone carved architecture; and the “Old Vladimir” Museum, with its displays on the city’s history and impressive views from its observation deck. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

During your free time in Vladimir, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Master classes on making patchwork or amulet dolls;
Mead tasting.

Day 5: Vladimir – Suzdal – Vladimir
 
Breakfast, then transfer to Suzdal (40 km), also part of the famous “Golden Ring” of medieval Russian cities. This UNESCO World Heritage city boasts unique examples of ancient stone architecture: the Suzdal Kremlin, with the Nativity Cathedral (1222), the famous Bishops’ Chambers, and the wooden St. Nicholas Church. You’ll also discover a complex of other Orthodox architectural monuments including the Spaso-Yevfimiev Monastery (where you may get to hear the famous bells ring), the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, the Assumption Church, the St. Nicholas Hospital Church, the Church of the Entry into Jerusalem, and the two-colour belfry. End the day with visits to the Pokrovsky Monastery and the Museum of Wooden Architecture. Return to Vladimir. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 6: Vladimir – Nizhny Novgorod
 
After breakfast, check-out of your hotel and transfer to the train station. Take the morning train from Vladimir to Nizhny Novgorod (243 km). Upon arrival at 12:00, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Then take a sightseeing tour starting at the city’s main and oldest street, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, which goes from the ancient Kremlin walls to Minin and Pozharsky Squares. This street, which, before 1979, was considered a street for noblemen, has retained many magnificent buildings, including the Palace of Labour, the Gorky Theatre, the State Bank, Kostromin’s Mansion, and the Assembly of Nobility building. Also see the Nizhny Novgorod Fair building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Annunciation Monastery, Lyadov Square, Gorky Square, the Ilyinskaya Sloboda district, Nizhne-Volzhskaya and Verkhne-Volzhskaya Embankments, and legendary Chkalov Stairs, one of the longest staircases in Russia. Continue to the Rukavishnikov Estate Museum, which was built in the style of an Italian palace. The museum hosts more than 15,000 exhibits, including many historical folk craft items. Afterwards, visit National Unity Square and the viewing platform on the Fedorovsky Embankment with its monument to Jules Verne. The tour ends with a visit to the Strogonov (Rozhdestvenskaya) Church, a beautiful example of the Russian Baroque style of the late 17th to early 18th centuries. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

During your free time in Nizhny Novgorod, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Ride on the Nizhny Novgorod funicular;
Walking tour along Rozhdestvenskaya Street;
Visit to the Yurkovka Art Gallery.

Day 7: Nizhny Novgorod – Gorodets – Kazan
 
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel. Transfer to Gorodets (60 km), an ancient city famous for its unique 19th century fortifications. Discover the city’s impressive architecture and historical sights, including the monument to Alexander Nevsky, Feodorovsky Monastery, houses with unique carvings, and the small streets of the old merchant city. Visit the House of Countess Panina, an example of the Russian Empire style of architecture and now a museum displaying old musical instruments, jewellery boxes, watches, handwritten books, and traditional Russian costumes with gold embroidery and pearls. Afterwards, visit the Samovar Museum to see its vast collection of samovars and other objects related to Russia’s tea culture, and the “City of Masters”, a museum of wooden buildings from the 16th to 19th centuries. Free time. Transfer to the train station in Nizhny Novgorod to take the evening train to Kazan (526 km, 8 hrs 30 min). Overnight on the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Interactive show, “Visiting the Oblayevs” – discover the mansion of the Oblayev merchant family and watch a theatrical performance demonstrating the lifestyle of the merchant class in Gorodets;
Traditional Gorodets folk music performance;
Master class in Gorodets’ famous style of painting – paint an egg, spoon, or plate;
Master class in gingerbread painting;
Tasting of local Willowherb tea and gingerbread.

Day 8: Kazan – Arrival
 
Arrive at Kazan train station in the morning, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel for an early check-in. After a short rest, take a sightseeing tour of Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan, with its more than 1,000 years of fascinating history. The tour starts at the Old Tatar Settlement, a unique open-air museum in Kazan’s Vakhitovsky District. The settlement’s founders were residents who didn’t want to obey the Moscow authorities after Ivan the Terrible’s troops captured Kazan. The Märcani Mosque or Al-Marzhdani, the first stone mosque built after the invasion, is considered the pearl of the settlement. Continue to other significant places in the city: Tugan Avylym (an example of a restored old Tatar village), the Kaban Lakes, the Tatar Drama Theatre named after Galiaskar Kamal, the Church of St. Barbara, and the Kazan Federal University, which occupies many of the city’s most beautiful historical buildings. On Freedom Square, see the Kazan City Hall, the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Conservatory, and the government building of the Republic of Tatarstan. Then visit the Holy Cross Church, which hosts the Vatican copy of the famous Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. The second part of the day will be devoted to the ancient history of the city, focusing on the Kazan Kremlin. This famous museum-reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a unique complex of historical and archaeological monuments. These include the Kul-Sharif Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Kazan and one of the largest in Europe, Blagoveshchensky Cathedral, the Cannon Yard, the leaning Suyumbike Tower, the Presidential Palace, and the tomb of the Kazan khans. After visiting these monuments, take a walk along the pedestrian Bauman Street, the oldest street in the historical centre of the city. Its many attractions, which illustrate the city’s more recent history, include a famous “clock” sculpture, a monument to the opera singer Feodor Chaliapin, a 74-metre-high bell tower, a bronze copy of Catherine II’s carriage, and a monument to the Kazan Cat. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours

During your free time in Kazan, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Chak-chak Museum to learn about and taste traditional Tatar food and drink tea;
“Kazan hospitality” interactive programme – demonstration of traditional Tatar dances, songs, clothes, and food, with the chance for visitors to participate in dancing, singing, and a photo session in costume;
Master class on playing the Tatar harmonica;
Handicraft master classes: pottery, leather embossing, coin minting, casting (pendants, rings), basket weaving, fabric printing, painting on water (ebru), weaving, and making soap, candles, or folk toys;
Master class on Tatar costumes – learn about traditional Tatar clothing, see a demonstration of 16th-19th century costumes and headdresses, and dress up to have your photograph taken.

Day 9: Kazan – Sviyazhsk Island – Kazan
 
After breakfast, drive to Sviyazhsk Island (60 km). A fortress was built here in 1551 and the island was the base for Russian troops during the siege of Kazan. Despite its military history, Sviyazhsk became the centre of Orthodoxy in the Volga Region. This historic place, located on the “Round Mountain” and surrounded by three rivers, is accessed via a causeway. On the way, stop at the colourful Temple of All Religions, which aims to bring together buildings of 16 world religions in one architectural structure. Walk through the complex and enjoy the architecture and decorations. After arriving at Sviyazhsk Island, take a walking tour. Visit the Assumption Monastery with its 17th century frescoes (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Cathedral of Our Lady “Joy of All Who Sorrow”, a majestic five-domed church in the neo-Byzantine style, and the John the Baptist Monastery. Continue to the monastery stables and the Lazy Torzhok Complex of Historical Reconstruction, where you’ll be able to experience the atmosphere of Sviyazhsk in medieval times and buy souvenirs made by local craftsmen. From the observation deck at Rozhdestvenskaya Square, enjoy picturesque panoramic views of Sviyazhsk Bay. The tour ends at the History Museum of Sviyazhsk, where you’ll see exhibitions on the history and cultural heritage of the Sviyazhsk territory. Free time. Return to Kazan. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Tree Archaeology Museum;
‘Streltsy Fun’ interactive performance – a staged battle between Russian and Tatar knights at the time of Ivan the Terrible.

Day 10: Kazan – Moscow
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport to take the 12:00 flight from Kazan to Moscow. Upon arrival at 13:40, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Moscow – Departure
 
Breakfast. Check-out of the hotel (by 12:00). Free time until your transfer to Moscow International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus);
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Tickets for trains from Moscow – Vladimir, Vladimir – Nizhny Novgorod, and Nizhny Novgorod – Kazan;
  • Economy class ticket for flight Kazan – Moscow;
  • Visa support for Russian tourist visa;
  • In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Russia tourist visa;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated).

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Moscow - 4 nights
Veliy Hotel Mokhovaya Moscow, Sverchkov 8 Hotel, Starosadskiy Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel Moscow - BaumanskayaGodunov Hotel, Arbat House Hotel, Pushkin Hotel, Brick Design Hotel
Vladimir - 2 nights
Orion, Vladimir, Russian VillagePark-hotel Voznesenskaya Sloboda, mini-hotel Vladimirsky Dvorik
Nizhny Novgorod - 1 night
Ibis Nizhny Novgorod, Domino, Jouk-JacqueCourtyard by Marriott, AZIMUT Nizhny Novgorod, Marins Park Nizhny Novgorod, Sheraton Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin
Kazan - 2 nights
Ibis Kazan, Nogai, Apart-Hotel Yamskoy PosadRamada Kazan City Centre, DoubleTree by Hilton Kazan City Centre, Apart-Hotel on Pushkina 26

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