Discover the opulent delights of Russia’s Golden Ring on a 4-day tour from Moscow. With a knowledgeable guide, visit a spectacular array of gold-topped cathedrals, ancient city walls and quaint architecture as you explore UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites like Assumption Cathedral and Suzdal’s Kremlin. Luxuriate in overnight accommodation in three Golden Ring towns and enjoy a pleasant balance of independent exploration and guided tours.
4-Day Golden Ring of Russia from Moscow
After departing from Moscow in a luxury coach, embark on an enchanting journey to the historical towns and cities that comprise Russia’s Golden Ring. During a combination of guided and independent exploration, marvel at an array of magnificent structures like a golden-domed cathedral, an ancient monastery and a range of historical monuments. See UNESCO-listed sites in Golden Ring towns like Suzdai, Kostroma, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Sergiev Posad, Pereyaslavl-Zalessky and Rostad-Veliky.
Included in the tour is the following; three nights overnight accommodation; round-trip transportation from your Moscow hotel; a professional guide; and meals indicated by the itinerary.
Day 1: Moscow – Vladimir
Start your trip with a hotel pickup and travel for roughly three hours to your first Golden Ring town: the historical settlement of Vladimir. See the sights on a coach tour, hearing the history of the town once known as the capital of Rus, and then head inside the magnificent Assumption Cathedral (once Russia’s main cathedral). Admire treasures like Rublyov’s The Last Judgement frescoes, and then board your coach to travel to the Cathedral of St Dmitry, marveling at its incredible stone carvings from the outside. Your coach tour also includes Vladimir’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites like the Golden Gates and the Museum of Crystal, Lacquer Miniature Painting and Embroidery.
Stop for lunch and a drink in a traditional Russian restaurant, enjoying a bowl of hearty Russian borscht (beetroot soup) with dumplings (own expense), and then check in to your hotel. Spend the rest of your afternoon and evening at leisure.
Overnight: 4-star Park Hotel Voznesenskaya Sloboda in Vladimir
Day 2: Vladimir – Suzdal – Kostroma (B)
Check out of your hotel after breakfast and then leave your hotel by coach, traveling the short distance north to the 11th-century fortress town of Suzdal. Explore the town by coach, seeing the ramparts of Suzdal’s Kremlin and learning about the town. As you sit back and relax, your guide will talk to you about the town’s history, explaining how it was once a favorite town of the Soviet government, who strived to retain its original architecture and charm.
Pass through the open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life to see traditional old izbas (wooden houses) and churches – all built without using a single nail. Then, continue your tour back into town to see Suzdal’s monasteries and churches.
After a break for lunch, travel north to Kostroma, a town sat on the banks of its namesake river. See its highlights on a city tour, marveling at its star attraction – the 14th-century Monastery of St Ipaty. Hear tales of the Godunov family who founded the place of worship, and learn about the rivalries between them and the Romanov dynasty – another powerful Kostroma family. Check in to your hotel and enjoy free time in town.
Overnight: 3-star Ostrovsky Prichal in Kostroma
Day 3: Kostroma – Yaroslavl – Rostov-Veliky (B)
Leave Kostroma after breakfast and travel west to the ancient town of Yaroslavl that was once a major political and economic hub. As the second largest city in Russia, Yaroslavl holds a collection of sites to rival the country’s capital. See the best sites on your city tour, admiring the onion-domed St John the Baptist Church and Strelka Park where the town’s founder (Yaroslavl the Wise) fought a sacred bear to save his people. Stop to visit the Monastery of Transfiguration of the Saviour – one of Russia’s richest monasteries – and then head inside the Church of Elijah the Prophet to see some of the brightest frescoes in the Golden Ring.
Enjoy lunch in town, and then travel south to Rostov-Veliky, a town that’s often considered the prettiest in the Golden Ring with its silver-domed Kremlin. See the highlights on your city tour, stopping outside the Kremlin and the fairytale-esque Monastery of St Jacob. Check in to your hotel, and then spend your night at leisure.
Overnight: 3-star Usadba Pleshanova in Rostov-Veliky
Day 4: Rostov-Veliky – Pereyaslavl-Zalessky – Sergiev Posad – Moscow (B)
Say your goodbyes to Rostov-Veliky after breakfast, and then head to Pereyaslavl-Zalessky, a small town popular with vacationing Muscovites. Sat on the shores of Lake Pleshcheevo, the pretty town is best known for its two main attractions: Red Square and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration (one of Russia’s oldest buildings). See them both on a city tour by coach, and then travel further south to your final Golden Ring town of your tour, Sergiev Posad.
The town’s undisputed highlight is the Trinity Lavra Monastery of St Sergius, an active monastery that sprawls around the town. Taking a well-deserved place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colossal monastery comprises onion-domed churches and countless buildings with eye-catching architecture. See the best bits, such as the Cathedral of the Assumption, on your coach tour and hear stories of St Sergius, after whom the monastery is named.
Stop for lunch in town and then return to Moscow, where your tour finishes.