Russian Capitals and Golden Ring Tour 2022 combines the glamour of Russia’s two most illustrious cities with the calming ambience of the Golden Ring, a tourist route that passes through ancient towns near Moscow. After visiting celebrated sites such as Moscow Kremlin and St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, admire the UNESCO-inscribed white stone architecture in Vladimir and Suzdal for which the Golden Ring is famous. From Rostov, one of Russia’s most ancient towns, to Sergiev Posad’s Trinity Monastery, counted among the most important religious centers in the country, this tour showcases the diversity of Russia.
This morning we will set out on an in-depth tour of St. Petersburg, making stops at St. Isaac’s Square, Field of Mars, Winter Palace, Neva Embankments and more. We will then continue with a tour of the interior of Kazan Cathedral before ending our excursion with a visit to Peter and Paul Fortress, the historic core of the city.
We will spend much of the day touring the world-renowned State Hermitage Museum (main building), one of the largest galleries in the world. Its priceless exhibits amount to over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. Among the treasures of the Hermitage which we will see today are works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Titian, Michelangelo and Rembrandt.
Enjoy a leisure day to explore the city on your own or shop for souvenirs.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Suburbs of St. Petersburg Guided Tour
We recommend this optional tour to the majestic summer residences of Russian emperors Catherine I and Peter the Great. In the morning we will go to the town of Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) to visit the spectacular Catherine Palace with its famous Golden Enfilade, including the unique Amber Room. We will then continue to Peterhof, the royal residence of Peter the Great located along the Gulf of Finland. Wander its beautiful parks, enjoying the majestic waterfalls and elegant gardens adorned with classical statues.
Leisure time in the morning before transferring to the train station to take the high-speed Sapsan train to Moscow (duration: 3.5-4 hours). Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for check-in. Free time for remainder of the day.
Today we will get acquainted with Moscow, the capital of Russia, on a panoramic sightseeing tour. We will drive along the main streets and squares, stopping for photos at famous picturesque sites including Red Square, Bolshoi Theatre, St. Basil Cathedral and Lubyanka Building, better known as the former KGB headquarters. Admire the exterior of the beautiful Novodevichy Convent and visit the famous Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which has a tragic history of its own. Afterwards we will head underground for a fascinating trip on the Moscow Metro. Counted among the most beautiful metros in the world, its stations have been likened to palace halls. We will end our tour with a walk along the famous Arbat Street, one of the oldest boulevards in the city which remains a cultural and tourist centre of Moscow even today.
We will spend the day exploring the historical and political centre of Moscow, the Kremlin. During our tour of this impressive ancient citadel, we will visit one of its cathedrals and see Grand Kremlin Palace, Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.
Today we set out for the famous towns of the Golden Ring. After driving to Vladimir (app. 3.5 hours) we will take a tour of its historical centre to learn the history of the town. We continue with a visit to Assumption Cathedral, one of the principal churches of medieval Russia which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its exterior is covered with elaborate engravings and its interior was painted in the 12th century by famous icon artist Andrei Rublev. The Vladimir city tour concludes at the Golden Gate and Cathedral of St. Dmitry.
Drive to Suzdal (app. 40 minutes), an important tourist centre with many fine examples of ancient Russian architecture. Suzdal was first mentioned in 1024 and soon became a major religious centre filled with churches and monasteries. Our tour of the town will include visits to Suzdal Kremlin, Cathedral of the Nativity, Saviour Monastery of St. Euthymius, Transfiguration Cathedral, Museum of Wooden Architecture and Intercession Monastery.
Check in to the Suzdal hotel.
Transfer to Rostov (app. 2.5 hours), a central Russian eparchy since 988 AD. In the 13th century Rostov became the capital of one of the most prominent Russian principalities, and even after losing its independence it continued to serve as a key religious centre. We will visit Rostov Kremlin and Enamel Museum before walking to Lake Nero.
Transfer to Sergiev Posad (app. 2hrs, 15min.). Our first stop is Trinity Monastery of St. Sergius, the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1993, UNESCO declared Trinity Monastery a World Heritage Site, describing it as "a good example of a functioning orthodox monastery that has some military features typical for the 15th-18th centuries, the main period of its development”. The monastery’s most precious treasure is the famous Trinity icon by Andrei Rublev.
Check in to the Sergiev Posad hotel.
- Accommodation: 4 nights at the 4-star Ambassador Hotel or equivalent (Saint-Petersburg); 3 nights at the 4-star Holiday Inn Moscow Lesnaya or equivalent (Moscow); 1 night at the 4-star Pushkarskaya Sloboda Hotel or equivalent (Suzdal);
- Accommodation: 1 night at the 4-star Imperial Village Hotel or equivalent (Sergiev Posad);
- Buffet breakfasts in hotels on Days 2-10;
- Arrival and departure transfers;
- Guided tours in English in St. Petersburg: city tour, Kazan Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress, Hermitage Museum;
- Guided tours in English in Moscow: city tour, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Metro, Arbat Street and Kremlin;
- Guided tours in English in Vladimir, Suzdal, Rostov and Sergiev Posad according to the program;
- Transportation for all tours and transfers;
- Entry fees to museums per itinerary;
- Train ticket from Saint Petersburg - Moscow, standard class.
- Tour leader to accompany travellers for the full duration of the tour;
- Lunches and dinners;
- Hotel charges for additional services;
- Consular fees for Russian tourist visa;
- International flight tickets before and after the tour;
- Travel insurance;
Note: The final program and cost could change due to COVID protocols enforced during your scheduled tour (including group size restrictions on museum visits and transport, restrictions on restaurant operations, etc).