After hotel pickup from St. Petersburg, head south from the city with your private guide and driver. Travel through picturesque countryside on route to Veliky Novgorod, also called Novgorod, Novgorod Veliky or Novgorod the Great.
Learn how the city is one of Russia’s most important historically, and the cradle of Russia’s Orthodox religion. Straddling the River Volkhov, it once stood on a trade route between Asia and Northern Europe, and became Russia’s first capital in the 9th century.
After about 2.5 hours, arrive and admire the churches and medieval monuments as your guide sheds light on their history. Head for the Novgorod Kremlin, the 15th-century fortress overlooking the river. View the red-stone walls, and go inside to visit St Sophia's Cathedral, one of Russia’s best-preserved churches. Built in the 11th century, this stunning building is graced with five domes and 12th-century frescoes. Study the artworks, and then wander to the nearby Millennium of Russia monument, built in 1862 to commemorate Russian statehood.
Leaving the Kremlin, visit the Church of the Savior, a stunningly simple church painted with 14th-century frescoes by Theophanes the Greek. Stroll around the marketplace, and savor a delicious Russian lunch in a local restaurant.
Then, after seeing the riverbank Church of St. George, explore the Museum of Wooden Russian Architecture. Follow the pathways around this open-air museum, viewing the reassembled old wooden buildings made without nails. Admire the churches and other structures, and explore the izbas (houses) for insight into the lives of Russian peasants of yesteryear.
If you wish, arrange with your guide to include a talk with a Russian Orthodox priest during your trip. Enjoy a private meeting with Father Dmitry of the 12th-century Nativity Church to learn first hand about today’s Orthodox ways.
Your tour then ends with a hotel drop-off in St. Petersburg.