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Novgorod, Pskov, Izborsk, Pechory, Smolensk - A Trip to Ancient Russia

The Central European part of Russia is known for its ancient towns, many of them fortified with Kremlins and all containing medieval cathedrals and other monuments. This tour will give you a great opportunity to break away from the bustle of the city and see the real Russia. You will make stops in the most important towns of the Silver Ring - Velikiy Novgorod, Pskov, Izborsk and Pechory. Each of these towns are home to unique monuments of Russian history and culture. You will also visit the picturesque town of Smolensk, called the “key to Moscow” and famous for its fortress wall, the longest in Europe. Come explore the history of ancient Russia with us!
Duration: 6 days

Itinerary Hide all details

Day 1:

In the morning our driver will pick you up at your hotel in St. Petersburg and take you to the train station, where you will take a train toNovgorod

Veliky Novgorod is one of Russia’s most ancient cities and was Russia’s first capital. No other Russian city can compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments. It was founded by theViking King Rurik in the 9th century who became the first King of Russia and founder of the Rurik Dynasty which ruled the Russian lands until the 16th century. In the 12th century the Novgorod city state controlled most of Europe´s North-East, from today´s Estonia to theUral Mountains making it one of the largest states in medieval Europe.Novgorod is located in the North-West part of the Russia, about 2-3 hours drive from St. Petersburg

In Novgorod, a local driver will meet you at the train station and take you to your hotel. Lunch at the hotel.

After lunch, you will be taken on a 3-hour sightseeing tour. Your first impression of the city will be the Kremlin of Novgorod - the oldest in Russia. The structure dates back to 864. You will have the chance to walk along its ancient walls during your visit. The cathedral of St. Sophiadominates the structure of the Kremlin. Built between 1045 and 1050 under the patronage of Vladimir Yaroslavich, the son of Yaroslav the Wise. It is the best preserved of 11th century churches, probably the oldest structure still in use in Russia and the first one to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). It is adorned with beautiful frescoes from the 12th century and icons. The dome of the cathedral is made in the form of a huge helmet, to show the defendant power of the city. You will also see the Millennium of Russia Monument that displays Russia’s history from Rurik to Nicholas I.

After the tour, you will have the chance to take a look at local handicrafts.In the evening, you will have free time to stroll along the city streets and to dine at a restaurant of your choice. 

Included meals: lunch

Day 2:

Breakfast at the hotel.

After breakfast you will head to the Yuriev Monastery, a medieval religious complex built in 1030 along the Volkov River. The Cathedral of St. George will impress you by its size and beauty, as it was initially intended to surpass even St. Sophia’s cathedral in grandeur. 

In the afternoon, you will depart for Pskov. The trip will take about 2 hours. Upon arrival in Pskov, you will have lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch, you will check into the hotel and have some time to rest before your next tour.
In the evening, you will be taken on a Pskov city tour. You will visit theKremlin, the Trinity Cathedral, the Dovmont’s Town, and the Administrative Chambers. You will also see merchant houses dating back to XVII century. 
Pskov is one of the most ancient cities in Russia. It is the administrative center of the Pskov Oblast located in the European part of Russia. Visiting Pskov will give you an excellent opportunity to see firsthand how the Rus(an ancient name of Russia and its people) developed.

Pskov is also home to the world-famous Pskov paintings - masterpieces of ancient art including icons and frescoes. It is also home to many fabulous works of ancient, Russian architecture. In the 16th century,Pskov was well known as one of Russia’s most beautiful cities with its magnificent churches and cathedrals. In the 18th century, Pskov was considered to be the third most important Russian city after Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 3:

Breakfast at the hotel

After breakfast, you will visit Pogankini Palaty, a great example of medieval architecture which houses a rich collection of ancient Russian icons. The tour will be followed by souvenir shopping opportunities.

Lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch you will head to Izborsk and Pechory
Izborsk is a village in the Pechora district in the region of Pskov, approximately 850 km from Moscow and 300 km from St. Petersburg.Izborsk is home to an ancient settlement and a stone fortress set on the Zheravyej mountain. Here, much of Russian history began. Meetings between different nations took place here and the city is still a place where their cultures, traditions and faiths are intertwined. Artists and writers always found sources of inspiration in this area. Today, the past and present of Izborsk is studied by archaeologists, ecologists, anthropologists, linguists and folklorists.

You will visit the Izborsk Fortress that dates back to the XIV century. You will also get the opportunity to sample the healing waters ofSlovensky Springs, also known as the Springs of the 12 Apostles. In about half an hour, you will reach PechoryPechory is a small town located 43 km from Pskov. The town was founded in 1472 when theAssumption Church that was dug out of the rock was consecrated here. This was the first church of the Pskov-Pechory Assumption Cave Monastery. Being located on the Russian – Estonian border,Pechory was an important Russia’s outpost. Because of this strategic location, a mighty fortress was built here in 1565. The fortress more than once succumbed to the onslaught of Polish and Swedish forces in the XVI-XVIII centuries. In 1782, Pechory was granted the status of a town. During WWI, the town was occupied by the German army. After the war,Pechory became the site of a struggle between the Red Army and the troops of bourgeois Estonia. Estonia won the struggle and Pechorybecame a part of its territory. This was favorable for the monastery as it was not closed down as most churches and monasteries were during the Soviet times. In 1944, Pechory became part of Russia. TheAssumption Cave Monastery is still the heart of town.

In Pechory, you will visit the amazing Cave Monastery – one of the most famous and oldest monasteries in Russia (founded in 1473).
In the evening you will enjoy free time in Pskov

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 4:

Early breakfast at the hotel

After breakfast, you will depart for Smolensk. This is the longest coach journey on the route (about 8 hours). On the way to Smolensk two stops at cafes are scheduled, so you will be able to stretch your legs and relax a bit. Smolensk is designated as a “city of heroes” because of the roll that it and its citizens have played throughout its turbulent history. Smolensk is located in the western, central part of Russia on both banks of the Dniepr River - about 420 km from Moscow. It is one of the oldest cities in Russia. Smolensk’s history is very rich and varied but unfortunately many tragic events are associated with the city. For many centuries the city took the first blows of the enemies coming from the west, it was destroyed several times throughout its long history.Smolensk once was a part of Kievan Rus' and in the twelfth century, it was already the capital of an independent principality. Due to Smolensk’s favorable location, the city became a famous trading and craft center. Today Smolensk is a place with numerous cultural attractions including the great Smolensk Fortress Wall, ancient churches and monasteries, monuments, museums and more. 

As you approach Smolensk, you will be offered a late lunch, after which you will have some time to rest at the hotel and prepare yourself for further sightseeing.

In the evening, you will be invited for a city tour of Smolensk. The tour will start with the Cathedral Hill complex and the Assumption Cathedral founded in the XVII century and famous for housing the icon of Our Lady of Smolensk, one of the most venerated icons in Russia. You will also see the Smolensk Fortress, which used to be one of the most important fortifications of ancient Russia. The wall of the Fortress, dating back to the XVI-XVII centuries is the longest in Europe!

After the tour you have the opportunity to shop for souvenirs and have free time in downtown 

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 5:

Breakfast at the hotel

On this day, you will get to know the Smolensk region. You will take a tour of Talashkino – a village near Smolensk where the Russian Art Centre of XIX-XX centuries is located.

Talashkino estate was acquired by the Tenishevs in 1893. Princess Maria Tenisheva, a famous patron of the arts and artist, turned the estate into the Russian Florence of the time. Many famous artists came to work here: Vrubel, Repin, Roerich, Prakhov, to name a few. The traditional Russian style was revived in the Talashkino workshops. You will be amazed by the traditional Russian architecture and will have the chance to become guests of the Teremok fairy-tale house and see breathtaking examples of Russian woodcarving, based on Russian epic and folk tales.

After Talashkino, you will be invited to see three functioning churches of the pre-Mongol period (XII century).

The church tour will be followed by a Smolensk city walking tour. It covers the historic part of the city which is mostly pedestrian. You will see the Central Square, two parks, the architectural ensemble of the Smolensk Museum Preserve, a small memorial park dedicated to the victory of 1812 and a house where Napoleon stayed while in Smolensk.

Lunch at a local restaurant
Late check-out from the hotel
Transfer to the train station
Departure to Moscow by an overnight train 

Included meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 6:

Arrival in Moscow
Transfer to the hotel

What's included

  • Transportation for excursions and tours
  • Guide service
  • Hotel accommodation (with late check-out from the hotel in Smolensk on Day 5)
  • Meals according to the program
  • Train ticket St. Petersburg - Novgorod: train 171 Lastochka (departure 07:11 AM - arrival 09:50 AM), 2nd class seats
  • Train ticket Smolensk - Moscow: train 34 (depature 22:59 PM - arrival 05:42 AM on the next day), 2nd class (4-berth compartment)
  • Free visa invitation – the document necessary for obtaining a Russian visa when applying for one at the local Russian Consulate in your country.
Not included in the price
  • Visa processing costs. For US, UK and Canadian citizens, our company offers Full Visa Support. This is where you send us your passport and other documentation and we obtain the Russian visa for you. To learn more about this option, please visit the Full Visa Support page
  • Airfare (we can assist you in booking discount airfare, contact us to find out more or book the discount tickets yourself through our internet ticket office)
  • Optional services
  • Travel insurance

Price

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Visa

Russian visa support (Russian visa invitation letter) is included.

Sights included in program

Golden Ring : Pskov
Pskov is one of the most interesting Russian cities. Its history and beauty are magnificent, its life is full of quiet dignity. Pskov is a city-state, a medieval republic of Veche (Popular Assembly), and an impregnable stronghold that anciently safeguarded the North-Western borders of Russia.Pskov and close surroundings are famous for their unique monuments of art and architecture, which are created in special Pskov style in 11th-17th centuries. ... Read more
Holy Assumption Cathedral is the heart of Smolensk and its symbol, its “business card”-so to speak. The Cathedral Church is located in the central part of the city on the Cathedral Hill and can be seen from virtually every part of the city. On observation deck on Cathedral Hill you can see the panoramic view of the Smolensk Wall and the northern part of the city. Russian art historian accurately noted “Smolensk without the Assum... Read more
Smolensk : Smolensk Kremlin
Smolensk Kremlin is a fortress in Smolensk. Smolensk fortress wall is fortifications, built in 1595-1602, during the rule of the tsars of Fedor Ivanovich and Boris Godunov. The monument of architecture. Architect is Fyodor Kon. The length of the walls is about 6.5 km (preserved less than half of walls and towers). It had a great significance in the Russian state. Read more
Smolensk : Talashkino Manor
Eighteen kilometers south of Smolensk is the princely manor of the Teneshev family named Talashkino. Talashkino has a special place amongst the list of Russian manors, and well known as a Russian cultural center in the late XIX-early XX century. Some of the most gifted artists of the time worked there, such as I. E Repin, M.A. Vrubel, Rerih. The watercolor painting of its famous owner, Maria Claudievna Tenesheva,  is the work of Repin, and i... Read more
1/7th of the World : Smolensk
The Principality of Smolensk was founded in 1054. Due to its central position amid Russian lands, the city developed rapidly. By the end of the 12th century the princedom was one of the strongest in Eastern Europe, so much so that the Smolensk Dynasty frequently controlled the Kievan throne. Numerous churches were built in the city during its time of power, including the grand church of St. Peter and Paul. Read more
Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest Russian cities, first mentioned in chronicles of 859. It is one of the centers of the formation of the Russian state, a city with ancient history, and the "father of Russian cities". It was a medieval trading republic, and a transit centre between Western Europe and Russia. Novgorod is notable not only for its historical value, and the remaining monuments from the times of old, but also for its unique culture.... Read more
The Holy Dormition Pskovo-Pechersky Monastery features 10 colorful churches, a stone belfry, and restored stone fortification walls with bastions. The monastery has never been closed, not even under the Soviet regime, and today you can see the monks working in the fields and stables. The 15th-century church built into the hillside houses the icon of the Dormition of the Purest Mother of God. The monastery is also famous for its children's choir. Read more
The Trinity Cathedral is located in the Krom territory and is the main shrine of Pskov, its heart and symbol. It is the cathedral, which can be seen from all parts of the city, where all the Pskov roads from all over the city converge. The Legend of Princess Olga who ordered to build the “House of the Holy Trinity” in a confluence of three solar rays, which she saw from the opposite Velikaya river bank, claims that the Trinity Cathedr... Read more
Pskov : Izborsk
Located in the western Russian region of Pskov near the border with Estonia, Izborsk Fortress has survived for over 1,500 years and is one of the most ancient Russian towns, mentioned in chronicles as early as 862. Along with its environs, it is a unique example of concentration of a large number of archaeological sites, and architectural structures dating to various periods of the 1,500-year long history of ethnographic culture in unbreakable in... Read more
A good defensive location was found 400 meters (1312 ft) further from the initial place – on Zheravya Hill. A new fortress was built under guidance of the Pskov Prince Sheloga (Seloga) and was finished in 1330. This triangular fortress had two immense towers and was completely impregnable from two out of three sides due to the peculiar relief of this region. Thanks to its defensive capabilities, Izborsk Fortress withstood numerous sieges ... Read more
Pskov : Kremlin
The Kremlin is the main attraction of Pskov, its architectural and historical center. This old building, majestically rising on a rocky promontory, is considered one of the best examples of ancient Russia defensive architecture. The height of the strong walls of Krom, occupying an area of 3 ha, comes to 8 meters, while their thickness is 6 meters. Nobody knows, when the Kremlin walls were established, or when its first tower out of its numerous ... Read more
The monument of medieval Russian architecture with the not so enticing name of the Pogankina Chamber in Pskov has its history from the end of the 17th century. They were built by order of the merchant Sergei Pogankin, whose name received their name. According to the client's intention, the chambers were to become a universal structure: inside were residential buildings, and outbuildings, warehouses, and guild shops. Today the Pogankin Chambers ar... Read more
Veliky Novgorod (Novgorod-the-Great) : Novgorod Kremlin
Novgorod Kremlin (also Detinets) stands on the left bank of the Volkhov River in Veliky Novgorod about two miles north of where it empties out of Lake Ilmen. Read more
Veliky Novgorod (Novgorod-the-Great) : St. George's (Yuriev) Monastery
The St. George's (Yuriev) Monastery was the main monastery of medieval Novgorod the Great. It stands south of the city on the left bank of the Volkhov River near where it flows out of Lake Ilmen. According to legend, the monastery was founded in the eleventh century by Yaroslav the Wise, but the first historicall-reliable reference to it is from the early twelfth century when the main church the Church of St. George (Georgieveskii Church) was fou... Read more
Veliky Novgorod (Novgorod-the-Great) : St. Sophia Cathedral
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045- 1050 inside the Detinets. It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia, a senior contemporary of Notre Dame in Paris, and the cathedrals of Rheims, Amiens, Bamberg and Naumburg. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. Read more
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Price for persons:

Our flexible payment options allow you to pay 20% of a deposit first and the remaining 80% in 14 days prior to your tour date - payment can be done both online or over the phone. This gives you the peace of mind knowing your spaces are booked on the tours and that you do not miss out on making the most of your time in Russia.

Also you get the best, top-rated and most experienced and knowledgeable hand-picked tour guide appointed on a priority basis.
In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the best tour guides only. Multilingual and well travelled, each possesses deep insight into the diverse attractions and cultural patterns throughout the region. With us guides undergo a rigorous selection process, achieving outstanding knowledge of local culture and language. Rest assured that the best tour guides only will be working on the tours to give you excellent opportunity to explore the best of the sights during both short and long-term stay in Russia.

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Speak to an expert
Call us now

+1 (888) 845-8877

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