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Kolomenskoe & Suzdal comibination vs 1 extra day in St. Petersburg


This year, we (as a group of about 8) are visiting Russia in Sept.

A few years ago, I did Moscow (3nights) - Suzdal (1nigh)- St. Petersburg (5nights) stay. I felt that it would've been great to spend another night in Suzdal as with 1 night it felt like a very packed and long day (Moscow >Vladimir > Suzdal). I hoped to get 10 nights this year, but as I am going over our budget, it just won't work. So I have to stick to the same 9 nights in Russia.

Now the dilemma is whether I should keep 1 night in Suzdal as last time OR take one night out of St. Peter stay (5 nights meaning 4 full days for St. Peter VS 4 nights meaning 3 full days).

I've never been to Kolomenskoe before. And I cannot tell whether my plan of slower and deeper sightseeing in Vladimir + Suzdal and a visit to Kolomenskoe is worth giving up a full day in St. Peter (I felt that 4 full days there was just right)

Getting around between Moscow - Suzdal is not easy due to the horrendous traffic I keep hearing about, even with a charter bus. Also, the trains are not running as often as I'd like them too. Looking at the idea of spending 2 nights in Suzdal, this is what I have come up with:

Day 1 / depart Moscow @ 9.00h > Visit Sergeev Posad + Lunch > Transfer to Suzdal via Yuriev Poliskiyi with a photo stop > Arrive at Suzdal ca. 18.00h. Check in. Dinner. Rest.
Day 2 / 08.30 depart for Vladimir via a stop at Church of the Intercession on the Nerl > Vladimir sightseeing + Lunch > return to Suzdal for sightseeing > Dinner . Rest.
Day 3 / 08.30 depart for Vladimir to catch an express train at 09.45am for Moscow > Arrive at 11.30 > Lunch > bus to Kolomenskoe to see Church of the Ascension > high-speed train SAPSAN to St. Peter at 17.30h > arrive at 21.30 . Check in / rest.

That would leave us exactly 3 days in St. Peter (plus few hours on day 4 before departure). And I feel that I am shortcutting St. Petersburg.

I'd appreciate hearing some opinions regarding Kolomenskoe & Suzdal/Vladimir in depth vs more of St. Peter.

Thank you!

Posted by
145 posts

Should have added the rest of the itinerary (using a charter bus):

Day 1 / arrive Moscow @ 16.30 > Check in. rest. (3nights in Moscow)
Day 2 / City tour : Sparow Hill, Moscow University, visit to the Tretyakov Gallery, early dinner, 19.30h - 22.00h Spasskaya Tower Military band festival
Day 3 / Full day around Kremlin (Armoury, Diamond fund) w/lunch in between, windowshopping at Eliseevskyi, Russian Banya, dinner
Day 4 / Sergeev Posad + Suzdal (2nights in Suzdal)
Day 5 / Vladimir + Suzdal
Day 6 / Vladimir > Kolomenskoe > St. Peter (4 nights in St Peter)
Day 7 / Hermitage (3-4hours) , boat trip after lunch (1hour), Issac Cathedral
Day 8 / Tsarskoe Selo palace and park (horse carriage ride) after lunch Church of the Savior on Blood, Ballet / Opera
Day 9 / Peterhof fountains (no palace), after lunch Yusupov Palace, farewell dinner , midnight - 2am Night boat tour to see the bridges being drawn
Day 10 / after check out , Peter & Paul Fort, lunch, 15.30h Flight back through Moscow
Day 11 / home.

Whew, that is a very packed program. We will be hiring guides to keep us on track and will have a minibus. but yes, lots of long days especially with Opera/ Ballet and Night boat ride.

Posted by
8 posts

Wow - that's a packed trip! But I guess it needs to be if you're planning to be there only 9 nights. I think the answer to your question is hidden in your previous experience - did you feel like you had seen enough of St. Pete after your 3 full days there? Theoretically, you could spend years there and not feel like you've seen everything, so one day won't change the world. If you were really inspired by Suzdal last time, take the extra day - you'll thank yourself. Anyway, St. Pete and Moscow are like Boston and New York ...if I weren't American, and given a choice, I'd take an extra day to visit some of the suburbs of either city rather than stay in the city to see the Empire State Building again.

Just out of curiosity, if you've already been to these places before, why not try a different town this time? Novgorod is great - easy to do in one day and is literally right on the way from Moscow to St. Pete. Anyway, don't want to throw a wrench in your plans, just curious! ))) I think it sounds like you've got a great plan no matter what you choose to do in the end, and you'll have a great time! I'm jealous ))

Posted by
145 posts

Yes, indeed Dave. A very packed trip, but when you are short on time, not much else can be done.

I am rethinking Kolomenskoye in Moscow as I think we'll be overloaded on churches and monasteries after Suzdal and Vladimir. So perhaps, we'll do the Metro Tour and a bit of shopping in Moscow before boarding an afternoon train to St. Peter. Feels wasteful to be using daylight hours on getting bettween the cities, but I don't see any other way. Maybe it'll be a good break before the fully packed St. Peter program.

Will be back with questions again later!