Advice needed before planning a detailed itinerary
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jul 12, 2012 2:44 PM Last Post By: everbrite
Jul 10, 2012 3:21 PM
Advice needed before planning a detailed itineraryOn July 16th my husband and I will fly into Moscow where we will stay for 6 nights. We will leave the country on the 13th August (29 days in total) from St Petersburg. I have booked 4 nights in St. Petersburg and probably will book also the last night there as 4 nights aren’t enough. The other option would have been to spend the last night in Vyborg as our flight leaves in the evening.
We are interested in art, churches, museums, nature. My husband has studied Russian for a couple of years in his youth and I hope he will remember something after a few days. So where should we go for two weeks in between? I’ve read lots of reports/suggestions on the Golden Ring, Veliky Novgorod, Pskov, Petrozavosdk, Kizhi. What about the Western European Russia? Tula, Yelets, Oryol? (I’ve researched till p. 40 on the TT, starting from the end, and didn’t find anything except for the Yasnaya Polyana, that’s recommended as a day trip from Moscow). Smolensk? Is it worth going there or should I go back to Moskow from Oryol and continue to Vladimir?
Is it better to stay one night at Sergiev Posad (coming from Rostov Veliky) and then continue to Tver for Veliky Novgorod and Pskov?
How far to the Karelia region could we go in this time frame? We don’t mind rushing it a bit so that will not miss something really worth seeing.
I know this is a redundant question and I am afraid you won’t give me the answer I hope for. Is it necessary to have booked everything in advance? I would like to have the option to move on to the next destination if some town doesn’t appeal so much to us or to linger longer in another one.
I’m sorry if it seems a little vague. It’s way past midnight and I am too tired of turning the pages on the TT.
Thanks in advance
Jul 10, 2012 6:43 PM
There are lots of things to do within Moscow and a couple of day trips. Sergiev Posad is a day trip. Abramstevo is a day trip. Arkhangelskoye is another day trip. There is a book you might try to find that has lots and lots of trips to the countryside. Discovering the Moscow Countryside.
Choose either Pskov and that area or Veliky Novgorod. No need to visit both. Two nights in either should be fine. I don't think you will find trains from Vladimir to Tver to Veilky Novgorod or Tver so forget that idea.
Consider the following:
nights 1-6 Moscow (July 16-21)
nights 7 and 8 Vladimir during the day and Suzdal two nights (July 22-23)
return to Moscow
nights 9-11 more Golden ring cities if you want (July 24-26)
night 12 Train #242 leaves Moskva Oktiabrskaia at 15:50 arrives in Kem at 15:57 (July 27)
night 13 in Kem' (July 28) see the church there.
boat to Solovetsky Islands
nights 14-17 Solovetsky (July 29-31, Aug 1)
boat to Kem
night 18 (Aug 2) Train #021 leaves Kem' at 20:38 arrives in Petrozavodsk at 04:19
night 19-21 Petrozavodsk, Kizhi, waterfalls (August 3-5)
night 22 (Aug 6) Train #657 departs Petrozavodsk at 22:49 and arrives in Saint Petersburg Glavnyi at 07:07
take a bus to Veliky Novgorod
nights 23-24 Veliky Novgorod
nights 25-29 St. Petersburg
Edited by: everbrite
Jul 10, 2012 11:47 PM
2Agree with all the above. Karelia is definitely worth it - a lot more unspoilt than the central parts of European Russia, and the Solovetsky Islands are very interesting. I wouldn't bother staying in Sergiev Posad - the monastery is of course worth a visit, but the town as a whole is a bit charmless compared with Suzdal or Novgorod. Another (slightly different) good 1-2 day overnight train trip from Moscow is Kazan, with its mosque and tatar culture.
Jul 11, 2012 1:56 AM
3Everbrite, I can't tell you how gratefully I am for the suggested itinerary, especially the part where you write which train I should take. I really admire you for taking the time to answer each and everybody's question. I guess I don't need to go back to Moscow after Suzdal but could continue counterclockwise staying at other towns.
It's good to know there is no need to visit both Veliky Novgorod and Pskov.
I realized I have more than a couple of weeks in between so it's even better.
I will read LP's Northern European Russia chapter today and then I will be ready to work on my itinerary.
Twoleftfeet, thank you for the suggestion on Kazan. I'll look into that. The reason I was thinking about staying in Sergiev Posad is in case it would make sense to go from there to Tver and on to Veliky Novgorod.
Jul 11, 2012 3:59 AM
OTOH the option of going to Kazan for a couple of nights is also a good one as it offers a very different atmosphere and I think you will get a sufficient sense of the Golden Ring from Sergiev Posad, Vladimir, Suzdal and Veliky Novgorod.
With that in mind:
night 9 July 24 train #002 from Moscow Kazanskaia departing at 22:08 and arriving at Kazan Pas 09:27
night 10 in Kazan
night 11 July 26 train either
#001 from Kazan Pas departing at 19:35 and arriving at Moscow Kazanskaia 07:10 OR
#015 from Kazan Pass departing at 21:29 and arriving at Moscow Kazanskaia at 09:23
BTW you can see the prices and ticket availabilities for all these trains on the rzd.ru website but only in Russian. You can search for schedules on the poezda.net site in English.
Jul 12, 2012 4:27 AM
5Ruth, don't you think it will be too many hours on the train coming back from Kazan (12 hours) and after spending several hours in Moscow taking the train to Kem (24 hours)? I know I said we can rush it a little bit but I'm afraid that so many hours on the train could be exhausting.
What do you think about going from Yaroslav to Vologda and then taking the 8.10 am bus (so we will see the countryside) to Petrozavodsk? The train 22 leaves at 0.52 for Kem. Maybe there are others as well. Then on the way back we could take some train to St Petersburg.
Is Rabocheostrovsk a better place than Kem to spend the night as the LP suggests?
You might be able to enlighten me about the visa. We live in Greece and I called the consulate in our hometown about issuing the visa. I got a recorded message which I didn't quite understand. I asked a friend who works for a travel agency and she said that Russian visa would be issued in 5 days. We only needed to pay 70 euros plus 2 euros each for each day of our stay. No letter of invitation, no nothing. I was surpised about those 2 euros for each day (=58 euros), which is a lot of money at the end. I was told it's medical insurance that covers treatment in Moscow's and St Petersburg's hospitals! When we got the visa my husband told me that we are supposed to travel on an organized trip and the name of the travel agency (not connected to that one where my friend works). Any ideas?
Jul 12, 2012 5:04 AM
When asking visa questions it is imperative that you indicate your passport. There are specific prices and rules for specific passports. For example, US and UK and some other passport holders aren't required to have travelers insurance, but are required to complete a much longer application form and the price for their visas is considerably higher than for many other passport holders. Processing times may also depend upon your passport.
Also do you reside in Greece as a permanent resident? If not, it is virtually impossible to obtain a Russian visa there.
Jul 12, 2012 11:59 AM
7Yes, we are Greek citizens. I understand there are different rules for different passport holders. Thanks for clarifying the travel insurance issue.
There is the train #374 leaving from Vologda at 14:40 arriving in Kem at 13:21. Probably it makes more sense to go first to Kem and then to Petrozavodsk. There is also the (not daily) train #065 that leaves Kem at 6:58 and arrives in Petrozavodsk at 15:08 (much more convenient than the #021, which arrives in Petrozavodsk at 04:19). The same train (#065) goes all the way to Veliky Novgorod where it arrives at 00.34. You think it's better to take this one (if it runs at the day of our departure) or take a train to St Petersburg and then a bus to Veliky Novgorod?
I thought I could show up in Kem and get the hydrofoil to Solovetsky Islands. I need to book as soon as I arrive in Kem or before?
Thanks, again, Ruth, for making it easier to decide where to spend our days in Russia.
Jul 12, 2012 2:43 PM
Try to locate some tour operators in Karelia - Nordic Tour is one although they can be expensive.
Jul 12, 2012 2:44 PM
9Regarding health insurance, countries that have national health insurance that don't have reciprocal agreements with Russia must show travelers insurance that covers them in Russia to get a visa.
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