In Search of the Russian Soul Tour
How can one feel the mystery of the Russian soul? Not an easy task, indeed. The closest we can get to understanding the Russian soul is by meeting the people who have grasped it. One such man was Leo Tolstoy, a world renowned Russian author. If we are to get this question ever answered, the places where the great writer worked and lived are a must-visit.
Pradiz has created this special tour for getting you to feel the fascination of real Russia. If you have not been outside the capital city, you have not been to the country. Following the footsteps of numerous artists, you will gain a deeper understanding for Russia and its people.
This multi-day cultural tour is the Russian soul hunting trip.
The tour is specifically designed for:
1. Classical literature lovers
2. Those who seek to feel the country, not just see it.
3. Those who prefer unusual trips
4. Those who prefer to see a lot during their short period of stay
It is tours like these that require a professional, knowledgeable, and, above all, enthusiastic guide. Our guides will do their best to help you experience the Russian soul first-hand!
The vast majority of travelers visiting Russia stay in its capital Moscow. For good reason, too, as it is the city you can explore for months. But for us it is just a starting point.
The great city has influenced lives of many literary giants such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Chekhov, Pasternak and has been reflected in their masterpieces many times. While in Moscow, we will tour the capital’s iconic sights as well as places closely related to Count Leo Tolstoy.
This is the day of your arrival to Moscow. Take a prearranged transfer to your hotel.
After hotel check-in, decide what’s next: time at leisure, exploring the city on your own, or take an optional tour with an experienced guide.
09:00 am – meet with the guide at your hotel and get ready for some Moscow adventure.
Did you know that there were over 400 Kremlins in Russia? More than 20 of them survive till today. We’ll visit the main one – the Moscow Kremlin – the citadel that controlled a big chunk of the world not long ago. Now you are welcome inside.
Take a tour of Red Square and historic city centre. After lunch, enjoy the city by private transport. Get inside Russia’s main active church – Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
Continue the day with the next highlight on the tour - Leo Tolstoy House Museum in Khamovniki. This 19th century wooden estate is so well preserved that it seems as though Tolstoy’s spirit is still pacing its planks. Many of the great writer’s books were born here at his cosy study, the “holy place” as he used to call it.
At the end of the Moscow part of the tour get astonished by the nearby St. Nicholas Church, visited many times by Count Tolstoy.
Circa 19:00 - our tour ends at your hotel.
Highlights to the south of Moscow & Tula
The third day is reserved for something that 90% of Russia tourists never get to see. It is the road to the south of Moscow that will take us to Tula and Yasnaya Polyana tours. We will follow the same route that Leo Tolstoy used to take so many times. Though we will make some additional stops and visits on the way to show you some of the most exciting places off the beaten track.
08:00 - check out from your hotel and get on a private transport to continue the journey.
Our first stop is at the fascinating Church of the Sign in Dubrovitsy, 45 km from Moscow. This unusual architectural 17th-century gem is so well hidden, that many Russians don’t even know it exists.
Our next stop is at Anton Chekhov House Museum in Melikhovo (80 km from Moscow). The world-renowned Russian writer Chekhov was a friend of Tolstoy’s and lived for 7 years in this modest country residence. We will see its authentic interiors, his personal belongings, and recall some of the greatest writings that were created here and became part of the world’s literary heritage.
Take some time at rest and have lunch at the Russian cuisine eco-restaurant.
Continue the tour with a visit to Polenovo. It is the museum estate of Vasily Polenov, the renowned Russian realist artist, whose works are exhibited at the Tretyakov Art Gallery. Once you step on the estate’s grounds, the warmth and beauty of this place will win your heart.
In about an hour of driving we reach the town of Tula, that is 180 km from Moscow.
The city is famous for its samovars, weapons, and sweets. Possibly it is the only city in the world has three successful brands at the same time.
Upon arrival to Tula, enjoy a visit to the Tula Samovar Museum and get amazed by the variety of different shapes and sizes samovars can be.
After a tour of the evening city, have dinner at local restaurant and check-in at a hotel. This is how the day ends… or not?
This is your first morning in one-storey Russia. It's definitely a great place for some contemplation over morning tea or coffee.
09:00 – our guide will pick by up for the new-day adventure to the Russian countryside. You will go to the place of power: Tolstoy’s beloved residence of Yasnaya Polyana (16 km from Tula). Many of his most famous books have been written there. It was also the great writer’s birthplace.
He left us long ago, but this time you will be his guest. You will visit the hood of the one that the official Church called “an anarchist”, but who considered himself a true Christian. It's one of the exciting facts about his personality.
After being his guest, pay a visit to Count Tolstoy’s grave. Continue the day with a tour of the old-fashioned Kozlova Zaseka train station, from which Tolstoy set off for his final journey in 1910.
Have lunch at a local restaurant eating what the Count ate, tasting dishes cooked by recipes of Tolstoy's wife Sofia. The food will be accompanied by a small tea party with tea from a coal Samovar with traditional pies and cordial.
At this point you have to decide what’s next:
1. Opt to finish the sightseeing program and return to Moscow the same day, by high speed 2-hour train accompanied by our tour guide.
2. Or continue this fascinating journey for 1 day more
Should you choose the 2nd option – great! There is a lot more left to discover with In Search of the Russian Soul Tour.
OPTIONAL TOUR PROGRAM
The same day afternoon we will get on the Tula city tour and visit some of its major sights like the Tula Kremlin and Assumption Cathedral.
After dinner, we will stay at Tula hotel for one more night.
Russia's Religious Hidden Gems & Kaluga Town
The fifth day will be even more special. We will pay tribute to Russia’s religious centres off-the-beaten path and visit the town of Kaluga. Get ready to see another side of the mysterious Russian soul.
08:45 – check out from the hotel and embark on a 150-km journey west to Optina Pustin Monastery.
This secluded cloister is a place of special spiritual attraction. Standing aside the hustle and bustle of everyday life, its monks pray day and night for the good of the Russian people. The great writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Gogol were pilgrims to Optina at the turning points of their destinies. Fyodor Dostoevsky is even known to have lived on its grounds. The personality of the Monastery abbot and writer’s spiritual mentor was later reflected in one of the characters of The Brothers Karamazov.
Continue the day with lunch, and then have a tour of another remarkable nearby sight – the Kazan Svyato-Ambrosieva Pustyn Convent at Shamordyno.
The convent is closely connected with Leo Tolstoy’s family. His sister Maria was a nun for many years there, until she found her resting place on its grounds. Remarkably, during the last days of his life in 1910, Tolstoy visited Svyato-Ambrosieva Pustyn Convent as well as Optina Pustyn Monastery after he had left Yasnaya Polyana forever.
After touring the convent, we shall no longer disturb the monks and nuns from their solitary life and will head 55 km north. The town of Kaluga is our next stop.
This is a place to the southeast of Moscow with a population of 350 000 people. It is mostly known for Konstantin Tsiolkovsky – the founder of the Russian rocket science – who lived and worked here.
After a city tour and dinner at a local cafe, we will get on a comfortable 2-hour train to Moscow.
By 22:00 we will arrive to your Moscow hotel. Our multi-day journey ends here.
Check-out from your hotel and get on a prearranged transfer to an airport or a railway station.
For more details on this tour please View the tour page!
About the author
Diana Zalenskaya, a travel professional and destination expert for Moscow, Russia.