Zvenigorod and Istra Tour1 Day | Zvenigorod, Istra

Zvenigorod and Istra TourEnjoy a day trip out of the capital to visit two of the Moscow region’s most impressive monasteries, Savvino-Storozhesky and the so-called “Russian Palestine” of New Jerusalem. This Ancient Monasteries of the Moscow Region tour to Zvenigorod and Istra is also an opportunity to discover the beautiful architecture and rich histories of two provincial Russian towns. Zvenigorod boasts a Kremlin with the oldest stone church in the Moscow region, and the town’s scenic outskirts have been likened to Switzerland. While Istra’s undisputed highlight is the stunning New Jerusalem Monastery, you’ll also enjoy strolling around the historical town centre.

Tour Description

Moscow – Zvenigorod – Istra – Moscow

Take a fascinating trip along the Volokolamskoe Highway to the small town of Zvenigorod, with its many religious buildings and beautiful estates. The outskirts of Zvenigorod are considered to be among the most scenic places in the Moscow region, and locals call the area “Little Switzerland”. Although more than 600 years have passed since the town’s Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery was founded, the monastery continues to impress visitors with its beauty, grandeur, and unity with nature. Meanwhile, visiting the town of Istra’s stunning New Jerusalem Monastery is a unique experience. This Orthodox monument modelled on its namesake in the Holy Land has been nicknamed “Russian Palestine”.


08:45 Meet your driver and tour leader at the hotel.
09:00 Drive to Zvenigorod (66 km, 1h10min).
10:10 Meet your local guide for a sightseeing tour of the town. Learn about Zvenigorod’s rich history, see impressive architectural monuments and 18th-19th century merchants’ houses, and enjoy the town’s picturesque outskirts that have attracted the admiration of many poets, authors, and artists.
10:40 Stroll around the territory of the ancient Zvenigorod Kremlin (also called “Gorodok”). See the 14th century ramparts and other archaeological monuments of the 12th-15th centuries. Then visit the oldest stone church in the Moscow region, the Cathedral of the Assumption, which hosts frescoes created by the famous icon painter, Andrei Rublev.
11:00 Visit the Savvino-Storozhesky Monastery, founded in 1398 by St. Sabbas of Storozhev. See the Savvinsky skete, an ancient cave, and a holy spring, and taste the monastery’s delicious pastries and famous kvass (a traditional fermented drink).
12:30 Transfer to Istra (30 km, 30 min).
13:00 Lunch at a local café.
14:00 Discover Istra’s main sights, including beautiful estates and wooden churches, on a walking tour of the city.
15:00 Transfer to the New Jerusalem Monastery (1-2km, 10 mins), a grandiose centre of Orthodoxy built over two centuries by generations of outstanding architects and icon painters. Visit the Cathedral of the Resurrection, which boasts copies of Jerusalem’s main shrines, including the Edicule and Stone of Anointing in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as Calvary. Free time to explore the monastery. You may wish to touch the Stone of Anointing and/or visit the Cave Church.
17:30 Transfer to Moscow (72 km, 1h30min).
19:00 Arrive at the hotel. End of the tour.

Tour duration: 10 hours

RECOMMENDATIONS: Bring comfortable footwear and clothing suitable for the weather. Please note: when visiting Orthodox churches, men must take off their hats while women must cover their heads. We therefore recommend that ladies wishing to visit churches bring along a headscarf.

Price includes:

  • 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);
  • English-speaking tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole tour;
  • Sightseeing tour programme with a local guide and translation into English;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Lunch.

Price does not include:

  • Additional services during the tour;
  • Souvenirs;
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated).

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