We plan to visit Moscow this May and would like to visit one or more Golden Ring towns. We have a very hectic trip planned before Moscow, so are hoping to get away to a quieter place for a few days before leaving Moscow (we will have 4-5 days in Moscow also). Can anyone recommend a town that is scenic and slower paced? Thank you.
We stopped at two while on the river cruise on Volga from Moscow to Astrakhan. Yaroslavl and Kostroma. Yaroslavl is a relatively big city with a feeling of smaller place. Both have scenery. Nice setting along the river Volga. All Golden Ring towns are quieter comparing to Moscow.
I can recommended Sergiev Posad - its very close from Moscow. And after - it depend of type transport - by car (it's better): Pereslavl, Rostov, Kostroma, Ples, Kalazyin. Yaroslavl - the oldest city on the Volga river and big.
Thank you for the replies. We are thinking of maybe renting a car at a NE train station in Moscow. Will 3 days be enough! We know we won't be able to visit many towns.
I went with my sister to Vladimir and Suzdal (overnighting in Suzdal). We really enjoyed them both. BUT, and this is a huge but, she spoke enough Russian for communication. If it was just me, not speaking Russian, there's absolutely no way I could have seen these places by myself.
If you don't speak Russian, think twice about trying to see these places without a guide or tour. And I'm not someone who ever says that, and I was able to get around Moscow and St. Petersburg with just minimal spoken Russian and the ability to sound out the Cyrillic alphabet. For Vladimir and Suzdal, however, it would have been miserable without my "translator" (who, luckily, was willing to work with me for free).
I don't know if can sound out Cyrillic; if not, be sure to learn this before you go. I used the book Teach Yourself Beginner's Russian Scrip. Others I have recommended it to were equally enthusiastic; the book breaks down the letters into groups, which makes it much easier to learn. The book is out of print, but used copies are cheap on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Beginners-Russian-Script/dp/0071419861/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1420416108&sr=8-2&keywords=teach+yourself+the+cyrillic+alphabet
Although there are, for example, isolated monasteries, note that these are not unspoiled wooden pre-revolutionary towns, they are Soviet small cities.
We would like to do a tour in this area -- local tour -- We are spending a few days in Moscow and returning to Petersburg for a few days this fall. We would like to visit some of these towns with a small tour or guide between these larger cities. I don't want to join a cruise or a large tour for the entire trip. We did fine with Petersburg on our own in an apartment for 9 days this past fall -- but for smaller towns we would prefer a guide or tour for the logistics issues. Does anyone have a recommendation for a guide or tour agency for this?
We met Dan Petrov several years ago on our first trip to Russia. We connected up with him via www.toursbylocals.com, and he turned out to be even better than we had hoped. Our second trip to Russian involved Moscow again so again we contacted Dan and used him for our duration in and around Moscow including a daytrip to Sergei Posad. I would never attempt to see Moscow without a guide like Dan. Yes, you can get by without a guide if you plan on seeing just the major sites in Moscow. But you'll WASTE so much time trying to get around the communication barrier you'll not see nearly as much as if you had invested in a guide. Obviously I recommend Dan, but I'm sure there are lots of other. Dan's website is: http://www.waytomoscow.com/
@janettravels44: This website can give you ideas: http://www.expresstorussia.com
thanks for both suggestions. We used a tours by locals guide for the Catherine Palace in Petersburg and were very pleased and so was looking for something like that for some of the day trips out of Moscow.
Suzdal in summer months is amazing. A river runs through the green hilly area dotted with churches. It's picture perfect. We only stayed one night (arriving around 2pm), and I wish we did at least 2 nights so that we would have a full day there. (fyi, I just saw on Russian news that due to the fact that many Russians aren't traveling abroad as much this year, the tourism to Suzdal is on the increase. not sure whether it means it's going to be more crowded than when we went) I agree about Sergiev Posad near Moscow. Very easy to get to. There is a view point outside the Monastery where you can see it from the distance. On a sunny day with blue skies, it was very memorable.