Arrival in St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia. Transfer to the hotel.
For three centuries St. Petersburg has been impressing visitors from all over the world. The city is not only an open-air museum, but also an embodiment of last three hundred years of the Russian history. It is here splendid palaces, cathedrals and monuments are built, museums with the richest collections such as the Hermitage and the Russian museum, the famous Mariinsky Theater are constructed.
Overnight St. Petersburg.
Morning metro ride and visit to the Hermitage museum. The Hermitage fully lives up to its reputation as the world’s greatest art museum. The museum occupies six magnificent buildings right in the heart of St Petersburg. The leading role in this unique architectural ensemble is played by the baroque masterpiece – Winter Palace, the residence of the Russian tsars. Put together throughout two centuries and a half, the Hermitage collections of works of art (over 3,000,000 items) present the development of the world culture and art from the Stone Age to the 20th century.
Free afternoon in St. Petersburg.
Overnight in St. Petersburg.
Departure to the lake Ilmen (280 km from St. Petersburg), close to Veliky Novgorod.
Cycling in Veliky Novgorod district through historical Russian villages from 18th-20th centuries. Along with countryside and rural Russia sightseeing, you will also experience the wealth of culture, history and architecture. The route finishes by the historically important lake Ilmen, once vital part of the Byzantine trade route, leading Europe out of Dark Ages by connecting it with the prosperous Arab cities. In summer lake gets warm enough to swim.
Road: 40 km asphalt, 5 km gravel, some places are bumpy.
Transfer from lake Ilmen to Veliky Novgorod (40 km), one of Russia’s oldest and most important historic cities. Founded in 859, Veliky Novgorod became soon a key European political and cultural centre, one of Russia’s most important centres of trade. Many outstanding monuments of medieval architecture and painting including old churches, temples and cathedrals have been preserved in the city.
Overnight in Veliky Novgorod.
Transfer to lake Ilmen and cycling to Veliky Novgorod. The route goes around lake Ilmen, through Russian villages. You will visit Yuriev monastery with its 12th century Church of St. George on the shore of lake Ilmen. The monastery used to be the most important in the medieval Novgorod Republic. Now it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next to the Yuriev monastery you’ll find open-air museum of Wooden Architecture, one of the most picturesque places in the Novgorod region. To get to know how Russian people lived many years ago, one must visit any of the izbas (village houses) in the museum.
We will finish our cycling in Kremlin, the heart of Veliky Novgorod. For centuries the fortress functioned as an administrative, civic and religious center of Novgorod Land. Nowadays the Kremlin still astonishes its visitors with its thoroughly planned strength and defensibility.
Road: asphalt, flat.
Transfer to Valday (130 km from Veliky Novgorod) at the Valday lake in the splendid picturesque location.
Overnight in Valday.
Spend the day in Valdaysky National Park, created to preserve the unique nature of the Valdai Hills, and enjoy authentic natural scenery, architectural and historical sights. Valday is the birthplace of the Russian rivers that flow from here to the Baltic Sea and south to the Caspian Sea.
Cycling to Valday Iversky monastery, located in the beautiful Selevetsky island in the Valday lake. The monastery takes a special place in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is the unique architectural monument, the centre of the tile production, wood and stone carving craft.
The path goes around Valday lake.
Road: 40 km asphalt, 10 km gravel, flat.
Transfer back to the city (~10 km).
Free time in Valday. Recommended visit to the unique Museum of Bells, located in the former church of Great Martyr St Catherine. The museum presents various bells from all over the world: the old Chinese small bell of the 15th century BC, the 16th century Russian bell, the Buddhist wind-bell and many others. You can not only look at the exhibits, but may also hear their sound and ring a bell yourself.
Overnight in Valday.
Departure to Seliger lake (280 km from Valday), situated within a picturesque landscape of forests and hills.
Cycling through small, charming lakeside villages to the Nilov Monastery, located in Stolbnyi island. Visit to the monastery, which was one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in the Russian Empire. Today the monastery complex remains one of the most impressive ensembles of Neoclassical architecture in Eastern Europe and a popular pilgrimage destination for Orthodox believers from all over Russia.
Road: asphalt, some places are bumpy, flat.
Transfer to the hotel and overnight nearby Seliger lake.
Departure to Moscow (400 km from Seliger lake), the capital of Russia.
Moscow is a genuine Russian city with the Kremlin and its onion domed cathedrals. The dramatic changes over the last decade have made the city to one of the most dynamic metropolis in the world.
Check-in to the hotel and overnight in Moscow.
Morning metro ride to the Red Square, the so-called heart of the capital, framed by the famous GUM Department Store, the Kremlin and the inimitable, stunning St. Basils Cathedral. Get acquainted with the history of the central part of the capital, building fortifications and their features; learn the traditions of Moscow, which left its mark in the names of ancient towers. Visit the Kremlin. Moscow Kremlin – one of the largest and most beautiful architectural ensembles in the world. The first Kremlin walls were laid in the mid-12th century.
Free time in Moscow. Here you choose among many options like a visit to the circus. Russia has a long-standing tradition of incredible performers, and travelling Russian circuses sell out arenas the world over. You can choose to book an excursion with a cruise on the Moscow River.
Overnight in Moscow.
Transfer to the airport. Departure.
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