Moscow and Ancient Towns of North-western Russia Tour8 Days | Moscow, Pskov, Mikhailovskoye village, Izborsk, Veliky Novgorod

Moscow and Ancient Towns of North-western Russia Tour

Combine Russia’s bustling capital city with some of the country’s oldest towns on this 1-week tour of Moscow and ancient towns of north-western Russia. Starting and finishing in the capital, the Russia cultural tour showcases ancient, Soviet, and modern architecture, traditional Russian culture, and tranquil rivers and lakes. You’ll discover three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the famous Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, the churches of Pskov, and the historical monuments of Russia’s oldest city, Veliky Novgorod. Other highlights include the ancient Izborsk Fortress, the Pskovo-Pechersky Dormition Monastery (one of the oldest continually operating monasteries in Russia), and the poet Alexander Pushkin’s family estate in Mikhailovskoye. Enhance your experience of Russian culture with optional activities such as a master class on painting matroyoshka (the famous nested dolls), a tour of a rural honey farm, or visits to Moscow’s interactive museums about the history of Vodka and the Cold War.

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 – Pskov
 
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 on Stalin’s orders 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). In the evening, transfer to the train station to take the train to Pskov. Overnight on the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Day 3: Pskov – Izborsk – Pskov
 
Arrive in Pskov in the morning, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel for an early check-in. After breakfast, drive to Izborsk on the shore of Lake Gorodishchenskoye (31 km). Commonly called Old Izborsk, this is one of Russia’s oldest cities and was first mentioned in the annals in 862. Visit the Izborsk Fortress and the holy Slovenian Springs. Walk along the fortress walls and enjoy the views of the Izborsko-Malskaya Valley from the Lukovka Tower’s observation deck. Then visit the Pskovo-Pechersky Dormition Monastery (23 km), one of the oldest continually operating monasteries in Russia. Return to Pskov. Free time. 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 “Medovy Khutorok” Museum (a private beekeeping museum);
Visit to Mason’s House;
Visit to the Pskov Blacksmith’s Forge.

Day 4: Pskov – Mikhaylovskoye – Pskov
 
Breakfast, followed by an excursion to the museum-reserve of the great Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, in the village of Mikhailovskoye (112 km). This is the family estate of the poet’s mother, Nadezhda Osipovna, which became Pushkin’s poetic homeland and shaped his character and work. Today it is one of the largest museums in the world dedicated to the poet and displays unique artifacts of his life and work. Take a walk along the famous Kern and Spruce alleys, where Pushkin’s grandfather planted trees. End the excursion with a visit to the Svyatogorsk Monastery, which hosts the poet’s grave. Return to Pskov. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 5: Pskov – Veliky Novgorod
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and take a sightseeing tour of Pskov. This city originally grew up around a fortress built in the year 903 on a high hill near the confluence of the Pskov and Velikaya rivers. The tour starts at this fortress, the Pskov Kremlin, which used to be one of the most powerful medieval fortresses in Europe and is now Pskov’s historical centre and heart. Explore the Kremlin, which is surrounded by stone walls and has many battle towers and secret tunnels, and visit Trinity Cathedral. Just outside the southern walls, see the remains of Dovmont’s town. Continue to the Olginskaya Chapel, which has an observation deck with views of the Kremlin, the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Paromenia and the Chapel of Anastasia the Roman (you may enter these churches if time permits). Walk past the Pogankin Chambers (this is the city museum but is currently closed for restoration) to the Pokrovsky Complex. Within the complex, see the Pokrovskaya Tower, the remains of the walls of the Okolny (outer) City, and see the Church of the Intercession of Proloma. This and several other Pskov churches are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the “Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture”. If there are specific churches you wish to visit, please ask your guide in the morning whether this will be possible as part of the tour. After the Pokrovsky Complex, transfer to the train station to take the train to Veliky Novgorod (238 km, 3 hrs 30 min). Upon arrival, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2 hours
Day 6: Veliky Novgorod – Moscow
 
After breakfast meet your guide for a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Veliky Novgorod. The first half of the day will be devoted to the city’s more than 1,000-year history and architecture. The tour will encompass the Novgorod Kremlin; Vladychny Dvor; the Episcopal Chamber (Chamber of Facets), an impressive example of Gothic architecture with beautiful 15th century frescoes; the Golden Storeroom, a collection of unique and beautiful golden, religious, and decorative items; and St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the oldest surviving stone buildings in Russia. Continue to the Vitoslavlitsy Museum of Wooden Architecture, a fascinating open-air museum with various houses, churches, and other structures built between the 12th and 18th centuries. End the sightseeing at St. Yuryev Monastery, where you’ll visit St. George’s Cathedral, preserved from the pre-Mongol period, and see the tombs of many Russian princes. Free time. Transfer to the train station to take the overnight train to Moscow. Overnight on the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Master class on painting matryoshka (the famous nested Russian dolls);
Scenic boat trip up the Volkhov River to Lake Ilmen.
Day 7: Moscow – Arrival
 
Arrive in Moscow early in the morning and transfer to the hotel for an early check-in. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Tour of the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VDNKh);
Visit to the Museum “Bunker-42 on Taganka”;
Visit to the museum of the Mosfilm film company;
Tour of the Kuskovo Memorial Estate;
Tour of the Danilovsky food market;
Visit to the Museum of the History of Vodka.

Day 8: 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 Moscow – Pskov, Pskov – Veliky Novgorod, Veliky Novgorod – 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 - 2 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
Pskov - 2 nights
Golden Embankment, Dvor Podznoeva, Barcelona, OlginskayaPokrovsky, Old Estate Hotel & SPA, Dvor Podznoeva Main Building
Veliky Novgorod - 1 night
Intourist, Sadko, mini hotel RachmaninoffVolkhov, Park Inn, Yuryevskoye Podvorye boutique hotel

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