Golden Ring Travel Guide
Golden Ring Overview
A Golden Ring of historic towns to the north east of Moscow which played a significant role in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. They showcase Russian architecture from the 12th to 18th Centuries and are considered to be some of the most beautiful towns in Russia and an ideal add-on to any Trans-Siberian trip. Itineraries can be from as little as 2 nights with a 3 night, four day trip being ideal although there is nothing to stop you spending longer in the highlights such as Suzdal.
Best Months to Visit the Golden Ring
Best Reason to Visit the Golden Ring
For anyone with an interest in Russian history and architecture the Golden Ring is a highlight of Russia not to be missed. A three night trip is sufficient to cover the area.
Top Sights in the Golden Ring
★ VLADIMIR – Vladimir once laid claim to be the capital of all Rus with it’s majestic Assumption Cathedral sitting high above the Klyazma River. The white-stone medieval architecture is as good as anywhere in Russia as well as having some great later buildings and museums as well.
★ SUZDAL – A fairytale setting awaits the traveller here with very few modern buildings and only the cathedrals being taller than two stories in height. You won’t find chain stores or hotels here just flowery meadows and an abundance of ancient architecture in a peaceful rural setting.
★ IVANOVO – Known as the “The city of brides” from Soviet times due to the large number of women working in the textile industrial city. Faded mosaics to Soviet heroes abound and the grim reality of life for many Russians is obvious everywhere, a sharp contrast to the other Golden Ring cities.
★ KOSTROMA – Situated 300km north east of Moscow Kostroma has a wonderful historic town centre.
The impressive Ipatian Monastery is the main attraction here founded by a Tatar prince back in 1330 after a vision of the Virgin Mary and the martyr Ipaty of the Ganges.
★ YAROSLAVL – The second largest city in Central Russia after Moscow and the most urban feeling of all the Golden Ring destinations. It’s right on the bank of the Volga River and there are churches hid round every corner and in every nook and cranny of this living museum.
★ ROSTOV-VELIKY – “Great” Rostov at first appears to be a sleepy village until you lay eyes on the extremely photogenic Rostov Kremlin. This is one of the prettiest and oldest towns in the Golden Ring and it beautifully situated next to Lake Nero.
★ PERESLAVL-ZALESSKY – A peaceful village atmosphere pervades the streets here. Monateries are the main attraction and it is also the birthplace of Alexander Nevsky. Plescheyevo lake is where the young Tsar Peter I took his marine military exercises.
★ SERGIEV POSAD – Orthodoxy abounds in this town with St. Sergius, founder of the local monastery, being the patron saint of Russia. Bearded priests, babushkas and hordes of believers are everywhere paying tribute to Saint Sergius, the keeper of Russia.
Weather Averages for the Golden Ring
Top Golden Ring Travel Tip from TSTC
Golden Ring trips can be started in St Petersburg although we usually recommend starting in Moscow using the fast Sapsan train service to reach Vladimir. Depending on your Trans-Siberian route it may be possible to avoid returning to Moscow to join the train.
TSTC's Hand Picked Hotels in the Golden Ring
Depending on the length of your Golden Ring trip we will use a range of hotels including the Pushkarskaya Sloboda in Suzdal, the Golden Ring Hotel or the Snegurochka Hotel in Kostroma and Selivanov Hotel in Rostov.
Other Destinations in Russia
Click on any of the destinations below to explore other places in Russia that can be incorporated into your Trans-Siberian tour.
By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.