- From Moscow's Kremlin to Yaroslavl, discover the origins of Russian heritage
- Soak up the soul of Moscow, the splendour of icons, Trinity-St Sergius and the Tretyakov Gallery
- Private tour of the monasteries and palaces of the Golden Ring by private car
- All our additional services are included, from fast-track airport services to our local Concierges
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Your tripAfter your stay in Moscow, take your seats in a private car, with a driver and guide, to explore the cities of the Golden Ring. The most remote, Kostroma, is about 200 miles from Moscow. This itinerary is jam-packed but our experts will tailor the holiday to exact pace that you want. Good quality, well-situated, easy-going hotels contribute to the comfort of the trip. All planned visits are with a private guide who is always ready to help and to explain - the beautiful monuments are seen in a more intense light through understanding the historical perspective. If you would like to take part in the Banya ritual, the Russian sauna, or visit Rostov Veliki's kremlin, just let us know. If along the way, you have an unexpected whim or a setback, that's all par for the course. To help you deal with such eventualities, you have the contact details of our local Concierge service : there on-site to help.
Flight to Moscow
Transfer and accommodation for three nights in a quiet central area, the Presnenski district. The hotel dates back to the 1980s. The generous size of the common areas and the furniture in them still evoke a certain Soviet classicism. The bedrooms have more of an international look, but with the reminders of opulence without which one would not be not in post-socialist Russia. The standard of the furnishings and the level of comfort cannot be faulted. Overall, the decoration exults in its eclectic approach, creating a modern feel. The restaurant serves well prepared Russian and Italian cuisine.
You can go to the Kremlin nearby or visit the stunning collection of decorative art in the Armoury Museum. Go to the Tretyakov Gallery, where the splendour of Russian painting is revealed. The icons in particular are amazing. The Trinity by Rublev (1427), the Holy Face and the cloud-shrouded Dormition from the Novgorod School (13th century) are universal masterpieces. Then there is the enigmatic Black Square on a white background by Kasimir Malevich (1915). At VDNKh Park, an open-air museum of Soviet architecture, you can see 'Worker and Kolkhoz Woman', an iconic duo sculpted by Vera Mukhina for the 1937 World Expo. Behind Kursk Station, a dozen prestigious art galleries have taken over a former wine warehouse: Vinzavod is now an important artistic hub. Since its inception, the centre has enjoyed steady success. If you fancy a spot of shopping, head to GUM. then head to GUM on Red Square. Founded in 1893, the Moscow equivalent of John Lewis does not skimp on size: more than 200 major brands share a mile and a half of shopping mall. On your way out, you can stroll around the square, where you'll also find Lenin's Mausoleum, the 16th century Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed (or St Basil's Cathedral). Detsky Mir on Lubyanka Square takes the visitor to a world of toys. And you can easily find some amazing restaurants and cafes.
Moscow - Sergiyev Posad - Vladimir - Suzdal
Included in the Itinerary - On the way to Suzdal with a private guide, stop first at Sergiyev Posad, to visit the Trinity and St Sergius Monastery. Founded in the 14th century, this monastery whose monks live as hermits during the week and in communities at weekends - is one of the life sources of Russia. The iconostasis of Trinity Cathedral includes several paintings by Rublev, among others; the Trinity exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery comes from here. Before Moscow, Vladimir was a city that was a hub of political and religious power. You pass through the golden gate (1164), enter the Dormition Cathedral (12th century), which retains an admirable fresco of the Last Judgement, again by Rublev (1408-1409), and the moving Bosom of Abraham by Daniil Cherny (1408).
Stay for two nights a little to the south-west of the Suzdal Kremlin, in a contemporary izba (traditional log house). The bedrooms have pleasant bedding, set off by a range of cosy colours; the layout and bathroom offer simple but real comfort. There's a special atmosphere here, which is enhanced by the stained glass windows in the dining room where breakfast and snacks can be enjoyed. In a separate building, there is a Russian sauna and day spa. Use of the sauna goes without saying in this cradle of the nation; the day spa provides guests with high-quality treatments.
Included in the itinerary - Suzdal's must-sees. This rural town is full of artistic and architectural treasures. The foundation of its kremlin dates back to the 10th century, with the last major works dating from the 17th century. It includes the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin, built during the reign of Yuri II Vladimirsky (13th century). The town's main church, the summer or 'cold' church of the Resurrection (1720), stands in the marketplace. Earthenware tiles adorn its octagonal bell-tower. It is matched by a winter or 'hot' church, Our Lady of Kazan, which is smaller in size. Alongside religious buildings, long colonnaded shopping malls (gostiny dvor) were established in the early 19th century, selling all sorts of mouth-watering specialities and 'Russian souvenirs' (matryoshka dolls, shapkas, woollen socks, wooden objects, etc.) at very attractive prices. Next up is a walking tour. After, on your own, you can explore the places of faith and majesty; you can also learn about the traditional building of Vladimir Oblast on the grounds of the Museum of Wooden Architecture.
Suzdal - Kostroma - Yaroslavl
Included in the itinerary - On the way to Yaroslavl, accompanied by your guide, stop at Kostroma. The city is linked to the memory of the Romanovs; its founder, Michael I, spent his youth there, locked in Ipatiev Monastery (founded in the 14th century by an ancestor of the Godunovs), and the last tsar, Nicholas II, had the 300th anniversary of the dynasty celebrated there with great pomp. With its white walls, grey and green roofs, golden domes, the monastery built on the banks of the Kostroma entices and intimidates. The interior of Trinity Cathedral (17th century), with its stunning density, takes orthodoxy to a point of incandescence.
Stay overnight in central Yaroslavl, next door to the Museum of Modern Art. The hotel could not deny the 2000s: the architecture and decor are still stuck there - the lobby sparkles from floor to ceiling - but the standards are high. The bedrooms are clean and comfortable. The menu in the restaurant offers good Russian and international cuisine and the bar offers a decent range of spirits. The comprehensive, nicely designed wellness facility reflects a long-standing culture in this field.
Yaroslavl - Moscow
Included in the itinerary - The historic centre of Yaroslavl. Built between 1647 and 1650 by the Skripin family, who made their fortune in fur, the church of the Prophet Elijah has a rich iconostasis and an exceptional range of frescoes, evoking not only the history of the great prophet and other biblical episodes but also the daily life of the city's inhabitants and the surrounding area in the 17th century. This church ranks among the best in Russia. The Spassky Monastery was founded in the 12th century. The oldest of its buildings preserved today, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (1506-1516), features a magnificent collection of 16th-century frescoes. The tour, with a private guide, ends with a little shopping trip through the picturesque streets of Old Yaroslavl.
Transfer to Moscow. Overnight in Presnenski.
Moscow - Return flight
Transfer to the airport and return flight.
A la carte
The Russian sauna, with its humid heat, is somewhere between a Finnish sauna - with its dry heat - and a Turkish bath. The steam raises the temperature to at least 60°C, and often higher. Tradition requires vigorous use of a banny venik (bath broom), a bouquet of birch or oak branches, to cleanse the skin and speed up circulation. Prepare to sweat profusely and feel invigorated! Once well steamed, take a cool bath, then some sweets with tea. You'll feel great. The Russians are right, you have to go to the banya.
To the south-west of Yaroslavl, Rostov Veliky is an ancient city. One of the oldest in Russia. Its kremlin, which dates back to the 17th century, provides a synthesis of the evolution of these multi-purpose sites which are religious, political and military. More medieval than natural, it expresses an ideal to which its predecessors, repaired and modernised according to the needs of more uncertain times, do not always reach. It was no longer necessary to guard against horsemen from the steppes, but rather against new ideas. This conservatism which enables the visitor to experience the typical kremlin format, makes it possible to understand the others.
On return, we take care of returning the router, so that it can be recycled.
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