Nizhny Novgorod and the Golden Ring Tour from Moscow11 Days | Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Semyonov, Gorodets, Gus-Khrustalny, Murom, Vladimir, Suzdal, Sergiev Posad

Nizhny Novgorod and the Golden Ring Tour from Moscow

Immerse yourself in Russian history on this tour of Nizhny Novgorod and the Golden Ring from Moscow. Discover the architecture and legends of medieval Russia as you visit the Golden Ring cities of Vladimir, Suzdal, and Sergiev Posad, the vibrant city of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga River, and several interesting smaller towns. The tour encompasses three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Moscow’s Kremlin and Red Square, Vladimir and Suzdal’s White Monuments, and Sergiev Posad’s Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius – and many other historical and religious monuments. Cultural highlights include learning about the traditional technique of Khokhloma painting in Semyonov and taking a master class in gingerbread painting in Murom.

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.

During your free time, 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 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 78m above the river, these hills are Moscow’s main panoramic viewpoint and 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 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 69m-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, 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: Moscow – 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
Day 4: Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the train station to take the high-speed train from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod, a large and vibrant city situated next to the Volga River (422 km, 4 hrs). Upon arrival, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel to leave your luggage. 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. Before 1917, this was considered a street for noblemen. It 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. You’ll also see the Nizhny Novgorod Fair building, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Annunciation Monastery, Lyadov Square, Gorky Square, Elijah the Prophet Church, Nizhne-Volzhskaya and Verkhne-Volzhskaya Embankments, and legendary Chkalov Stairs, one of the longest staircases in Russia. Continue to the Rukovishnikov 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, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Ride on the Nizhny Novgorod cable car;
Walking tour along Rozhdestvenskaya Street;
Visit to the Yurkovka Art Gallery;
Visit to the History Museum of the Russian Car Producer, GAZ;
Visit to the Museum of Dolls.

Day 5: Nizhny Novgorod – Semyonov – Nizhny Novgorod
 
After breakfast, take a day trip to Semyonov, a riverside town 80 km from Nizhny Novgorod. Semyonov’s historical centre offers impressive buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. See many traditional two-storey wooden houses, including the former homes of several rich and famous merchants. Visit the Golden Khokhloma Factory, where objects such as the famous Semyonovskaya matryoshka are hand-painted in the unique Khokhloma style. After watching the production process, continue to the Museum of Folk Life “House of Semyon Lozhkar”. This is an interactive museum presented as a typical large Russian village house with a caring mistress of the house, Semyonovna, who will introduce you to the life of a Russian family in old times. End the day at the Golden Khokhloma Museum, where you’ll learn about the history of the unique Khokhloma folk-art and see a wide range of objects decorated with beautiful Khokhloma paintings. Free time before returning to Nizhny Novgorod. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 6: Nizhny Novgorod – Gorodets – Nizhny Novgorod
 
After breakfast, 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. Return to Nizhny Novgorod. Overnight at the hotel.
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 7: Nizhny Novgorod – Vladimir
 
Breakfast followed by hotel check-out. Transfer to Vladimir (235 km, 3 hrs 25 min), meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Then take a sightseeing tour of Vladimir, one of the famous “Golden Ring” of ancient cities in north-western 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, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Master classes on making patchwork or amulet dolls;
Mead tasting.

Day 8: Vladimir – Gus-Khrustalny – Murom – Vladimir
 
After breakfast, meet your guide and transfer to Gus-Khrustalny (72 km away). This town, the name of which means “crystal goose” in Russian, has long been famous for its glass industry. Visit the Maltsov Crystal Museum, which hosts more than 13,000 exhibits including the famous sculpture “Hymn to Glass”. Continue to the Holy Trinity Cathedral (1816). Then transfer to Murom (100 km away), an ancient city located on the left bank of the Oka River. Explore the historical part of the city, including the Trinity Convent and the Annunciation Monastery, both of which hold important relics, and the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, which is one of the oldest in Russia. Continue to Oksky Park to see the Monument to Ilya Muromets and then take a tranquil 1-hour boat cruise to see the panoramic views of the city from the river. Afterwards, visit the “Bread Room” Museum to learn about the history of gingerbread in Russia and take a master class in gingerbread painting. Return to Vladimir. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 9: Vladimir – Suzdal – Vladimir
 
After breakfast, transfer to Suzdal, a UNESCO World Heritage city that boasts unique examples of ancient stone architecture. See the Suzdal Kremlin with the Nativity Cathedral (1222), the famous Bishops’ Chambers, and the wooden St. Nicholas Church. Continue to the Museum of Wooden Architecture, a large open-air complex with examples of traditional 18th-19th century wooden buildings. The tour also includes various Orthodox architectural monuments including the Spaso-Yevfimiev (St. Euthymius) Monastery (where you may get to hear the famous bells ring), the Spaso-Preobrazhensky (Transfiguration) Cathedral, and several churches. End the day at the Pokrovsky Monastery. Free time. Return to Vladimir. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing: 4-5 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Carriage ride around Suzdal;
Mead tasting;
Master class on painting matryoshka (traditional Russian nested dolls);
Visit to the “Suzdal Ceramics” workshop with a pottery master class;
Visit to a Russian banya;
Visit to a bee farm to taste honey.

Day 10: Vladimir – Sergiev Posad – Moscow
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to Sergiev Posad (182 km, 2 hrs 30 min), one of the eight main cities comprising the “Golden Ring”. Meet your guide for a tour of this historical city. The highlight will surely be the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a UNESCO World Heritage site considered to be Russia’s most important monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. Learn about the monastery’s history and architecture and the life of its founder, the monk Sergius of Radonezh and explore several unique historical monuments. Highlights include Cathedral Square; Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius are kept; the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles (1477), which is Russia’s earliest surviving example of its type of architecture; the Church of St. Sergius, which boasts one of one of the most beautiful carved iconostases in Russia and an elaborately-decorated Rectory; and the Cathedral of the Assumption (1585), which was modelled on the cathedral of the same name in Moscow’s Kremlin. Finally, take the opportunity to taste the delicious fresh bread and the famous kvass (a traditional fermented beverage commonly made from rye bread) produced at the monastery. Afterwards, visit the Stable Yard complex of the Sergiev Posad State Historical and Art Museum-Reserve to see the impressive “Russian Village World” exhibition. This is one of the largest and most diverse collections of Russian folk art from the 18th to early 20th centuries. Finally, transfer to your hotel in Moscow (74 km, 1 hr 30 min). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 11: Moscow – Departure
 
Breakfast and hotel check-out (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 – Nizhny Novgorod;
  • 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).

 

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