Special Pre-Conference-Tour | Print |


Valdai Hills: Excursion to the headwaters of three large rivers (Dnieper, Western Dvina and Volga)

28th of July to 2nd of August 2021



The best things come in three: on this 6-day tour we will have the unique opportunity of visiting the headwaters of three of the biggest East European Rivers: Djepnr, Western Dvina and Volga.

Overview of the excursion route (© google maps)

1st day: Moscow – Bocharovo – Rzhev

We will visit Bocharovo, a village which is located close to the source of the Dnjepr River. It is one of the major rivers of Europe (4th longest), rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. Then we return to the city of Rzhev, where we will explore a typical section of the upper reach of the Volga River, Europe’s biggest river.

2nd day: Central Forest Reserve

We will continue our tour to the Central Forest Reserve (Zapodvednik), which contains one of the last virgin spruce forests in Europe. We will visit the museum of this nature reserve and explore the headwaters of the Volga River as well as Western Dvina. An excursion to the mires will provide a perfect example of this very special catchment area which is typical for the headwaters of the large East European Rivers.

Central Forest Reserve Museum (© Martin Schletterer)

3rd day: Central Forest Reserve

The next day, our tour leads us to Krasny Stan, which includes a walk through the catchment area – with typical floodplains and mires along the banks of Tudovka River, a tributary to the Volga. In the evening, there will be the option to get acquainted with a “Russian Banja”.

Central Forest Reserve (© Martin Schletterer)

4th day: Central Forest Reserve – Lake Okhvat – Koryakino – Lake Seliger

In the morning we will leave towards Lake Okhvat, wherefrom Western Dvina emerges. After a stop at this humic lake, we will explore the forest nearby, in order to find the source of Western Dvina.

We will have lunch at Lake Seliger and then start our tour to the source of the Volga River, which is located near the village of Volgoverkhovie. In the evening you have the possibility to swim in Lake Seliger, the biggest natural lake of Central Russia with an area of 212 square kilometers. Lake Seliger is a large system of lakes linked by effluents and has many small islands. Its outflow, the Selizarovka River drains into the Volga and it is even often described as “second source of the Volga River”.

Lake Okhvat (left) and the source of the Volga river at Volgoverkhovie (right) (© Martin Schletterer)

Nilo-Stolobensky Monastery (left) and View on Lake Seliger (right) (© Wikicommons)

5th day: Lake Seliger – Rzhev – Staritsa – Tver

On our way back we will see the picturesque setting of the Nilo-Stolobensky Monastery on Stolobny Island. Further, we will travel downstream along the Volga River towards the city Tver. We will stop at the Holy Dormition Monastery of Staritsa, which is located on the banks of Volga River. Here, there will be also the option to visit limestone quarries from the 18th–19th century, where “Staritsa white stone” or “Staritsa marble” was mined. In the evening we will arrive at Tver.

Holy Dormition Monastery of Staritsa (left) on the banks of the Volga River and Staritsa Caves
(© Martin Schletterer)

6th day: Tver – Uglich – Moscow

In Tver we will visit the museum of the history of peat mining as well as the geological museum at Tver State Technical University. Afterwards we will drive to Uglich, an old city of the “Golden Ring”. On our way we will visit the famous Kalyazin Bell Tower. In Uglich we will have lunch and afterwards we visit the Hydropower Engineering Museum. Arrival in Moscow in the evening.

City of Tver: (left) and Volga River (right) (© Martin Schletterer)

Kalyazin Bell Tower (left) and Hydropower Engineering Museum in Uglich (right) (© Martin Schletterer)



The excursion fee will be around EUR 750 and includes: transfers, accommodation (simple, but nice and convenient rooms) and meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) during the trip; entrances to nature parks and in museums.


Binding registration for this excursion and pre-payment of 50% of the expected tour price must be done before 31st of March 2021 (first come – first serve; minimum number of 8 participants will be needed for the realization of the tour). Registration and payment for this tour (as well as for accompanying persons can be done via the registration portal). 


Date: Wednesday, 28th of July 2021 – Monday, 2nd of August 2021


Organizer: Martin Schletterer & WLR Organizing Committee


Tour programme might be subject to alterations.





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