Welcome to the Real Russia!
The Golden Ring is a collection of cites northeast of Moscow. This Premium Class Adventure features a visit to these popular cities, which are sometimes called “open air museums”. They are picturesque and charming, featuring small, quaint villages, monasteries, kremlins, churches, and cathedrals. But “Beyond the Golden Ring” offers so much more in addition to these delightful cities.
Much of this Adventure takes place in the “Real Russia” – the one “ beyond the Golden Ring”. We’ll take the “road less traveled” where you’ll enjoy the natural and architectural beauty found in the heart of Russia. You’ll get to know the Russia of princes, czars and folk tales. Before heading to St. Petersburg we’ll ride to the small town of Sortavala where we’ll stay in a beautiful lodge on Lake Ladoga – Europe’s largest lake. The free day at Sortavala will allow us to take an exclusive cruise to Valaam – one of the most popular islands on the lake, where we’ll also enjoy a shasklik – a classic Russian cookout.
Much of this trip will take place in the beautiful Karelia Region of Russia during the time of “White Nights”. The weather will be warm and pleasant, and it will never really get dark, as the sun does not set until nearly midnight and sunrise is well before 4 am. It’s a delightful time to travel in the Russian wilderness, riding through enchanting forests and among countless lovely lakes and rivers.
One of the most surprising things that our riders on this tour have experienced in the number of places that we’ve visited in which locals claim to have never seen a visitor from North America.
After spending two nights in St. Petersburg, we’ll return to Riga via Tallinn, Estonia, where we’ll enjoy a most entertaining evening in this charming, medieval city.
Our choice of accommodations is outstanding and meals are delightful and typically Russian.
(Ron Ayres wrote a blog about his scouting trip in Russia that led to the development of this Ayres Adventure. If you’d like to read the blog articles, just click on “Ron’s Travels” at the top of the website. The articles appear in reverse chronological order.)
At a Glance
Your Russia Beyond the Golden Ring Adventure
Welcome to Latvia! An Ayres Adventures tour leader will meet you at the airport and escort you to our hotel. In the late afternoon the tour leaders will hand over your bike and host a short meeting to tell you more about this great adventure. After the kick-off meeting, we will enjoy our first dinner together at a nearby restaurant.
Today’s ride will take us through the Latvian countryside and a small part of Estonia. We will cross the Estonia-Russia border and after a short ride we will reach our destination of Izborsk- a rural village in Pechorsky District of Pskov Oblast, Russia. Izborsk has one of the most ancient and impressive fortresses of Western Russia.
We start our day with a short ride to the little settlement of Pechory, less than 2 miles from the frontier of Estonia. Beautiful, bright and shining, Pechory is famed for its 15th century monastery which is home to over 70 monks. The monastery was founded in 1473 when the first hermits settled in local caves. We will have time to explore the peaceful grounds of this cloister.
After we depart Zapadnaya Dvina, the road will widen as we make our way to Moscow.
We pass the towns of Rzhev and Zubtsov, which were awarded the honorary title of “City of Military Glory” for the courage and heroism of its citizens and soldiers during battles of WWII, which is known in Russia as The Great Patriotic War. Tonight we will enjoy a wonderful dinner to celebrate our first few days of adventure through Russia.
Our free day in Moscow provides an opportunity to explore the city, including a tour of Red Square and the Kremlin.
Our journey today begins with a ride beside the red brick walls of the Kremlin. We’ll pass the famous Bolshoi Theatre and Red Square. Riding along the Moskva River, we’ll see the main Russian Cathedral – the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with its huge golden cupolas. We will spend the night in the “pearl” of the Russia’s Golden Ring – the very tranquil and peaceful town of Suzdal. Dating back more than 1,000 years, Suzdal is one of Russia’s oldest settlements and has preserved much of its provincial charm. It’s a place almost completely untouched by the pace of modern change.
Today we go “beyond the Golden Ring”, visiting places not seen by many foreign travelers. Heading to the more remote areas of Russia, we have intentionally selected a more challenging route on minor roads to provide a more authentic experience.
Our ride today will take us through rural Russia to Tikhvin. The architectural and historical highlight of Tikhvin is the Monastery of Dormition, founded in 1560.
Today we will enter the Republic of Karelia, often referred to as ”the lungs of Europe“. It earned this designation due to the fact that more than half of its territory is made up of dense forests and it is home to 60,000 lakes and 27,000 rivers. Two of the largest lakes in Europe, Ladoga and Onega, are located in Karelia.
On this free day, we will go to Valaam – a unique island known for its ancient stone monastery. Situated on Lake Ladoga, this island has a storied history dating back to the 14th century and is home to many species of birds and vegetation.
Travelling along the western coast of Lake Ladoga, we head for a very special destination, St. Petersburg.
It would take more than a week to see even a modest number of the magnificent attractions in St. Petersburg so we need to make the most of our free day. The Hermitage, St. Isaak Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress, Russian Museum, Pushkin and Catherine Palace are among the many outstanding possibilities for today.
Today we depart Russia and ride to Tallinn- capital of Estonia. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe.
Our final ride of the tour will bring us through rural Estonia, along the Gulf of Riga and back to the capital of Latvia. Tonight we will enjoy a celebratory dinner where we can reminisce about the highlights of our adventure.
After breakfast the tour leaders will arrange your transfer to the airport and wish you a safe flight as you head back home.
Although approximately 95% of the route is paved, road conditions vary considerably in rural areas. Although most of the roads are lovely, some secondary roads are rough with uneven surfaces, freeze-damaged surfaces, and occasional potholes. Unpaved sections do not require technical off-road experience, but riders should have experience riding gravel roads.
This trip is intended for experienced riders.
- Includes BMW F700GS
- Additional charge of $150 for a BMW F800GS
- Additional charge of $150 for a BMW F800R
- Additional charge of $150 for a BMW F800GT
- Additional charge of $250 for a BMW F800GS Adv
- Additional charge of $820 for a BMW RNineT
(limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $550 for a BMW R1200GS LC
- Additional charge of $700 for a BMW R1200GS Adv LC
- Additional charge of $700 for a BMW R1200RT LC
- Additional charge of $1,000 for a BMW S1000XR
- Additional charge of $1,000 for a BMW R1200RS LC (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $1,000 for a BMW K1300R (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $1,000 for a BMW K1300S (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $2,260 for a BMW S1000RR (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $2,260 for a BMW K1600GT (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $2,260 for a BMW K1600GTL (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $150 for a Ducati Monster 70 (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $550 for a Ducati Multistrata 1200 (limited number – on special request)
- Additional charge of $150 for a Ducati Hyperstrada 800
(limited number – on special request)
- Own motorcycle: deduct $1,300 from the rider price.