Never underestimate distances in Russia! 730 km from Moscow to Petersburg by car would easily stretch to 10-12 hours due to the road condition, speed limitation and traffic. If you are to save time, traveling by train would be a more reasonable option as the fastest train only needs 4 hours to cover this distance.
Valdaj is a somewhat tourist destination, situated in the middle of the Valdaysky National Park, just in the middle of a way between Moscow and St. Petersburg, having rich forests and the lake. When we stop by the Valdaj Iversky Monstery – in the middle of nowhere! – away from the highway, I got really surprised by the neatness and cleanliness of the whole place.
And it was empty! I got my minutes of solitude to walk around and take a couple of photos without a need to wait people passing by my camera focus. When we returned to the parking lot, the puzzle got solved: 4 (!!) buses of Spanish tourists arrived at the same time, and the space got filled with the crowd in a minute. So it was quite refreshing to discover a tourist destination quite remote from civilization.
>> Check my other posts from 10-day journey in Russia here: Itinerary: Moscow – Valdaj – St. Petersburg – Novgorod – Moscow itinerary.