Being one of the most popular destinations on Russia’s Golden Ring, and often referred to as an open-air museum in itself, it is no surprise that those who visit Moscow are often keen to take a day trip to explore the city of Suzdal. With no railway station in the city, as well as the noticeable absence of heavy industry, Suzdal has managed to retain its provincial charm, delighting visitors with its quaint ambiance and impressive architectural monuments.
As mentioned above, Suzdal does not have a railway station, meaning that its roads are the only way to access the city. While taking a car is always an option, there are still a few public transportation methods available to you. There is one bus a day that leaves from the Shelkovskaya Station in Moscow, and there are also buses every 30 minutes from Vladimir, which can be reached by train from Moscow. The drive from Moscow to Suzdal takes around three and a half hours, although this can easily stretch to six due to traffic, making careful planning absolutely essential.
Things to See and Do
While Suzdal may be home to a number of different monasteries, the Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery is one of the largest and best preserved in the city, housing more than ten individual museums, including one that commemorates the Gulag. Other notable monasteries worth exploring are the Rizopolozhensky Monastery, which was founded in 1207 making it the oldest in the city, and the Euthimiev Monastery-Fortress, which doubled as a fortress and political prison. There are also a couple of interesting museums to be found in Suzdal, such as the Wax Museum and the Museum of Wooden Architecture and Peasant Life. If you are visiting Suzdal in the winter months, there are some unique outdoor activities that you can indulge in, including a sleigh ride through the city and taking a stroll on the frozen Kamenka River.
Where to Eat
For those of you seeking deliciously authentic Russian cuisine, you will not be disappointed with the restaurants in Suzdal. Trapeznaya, which is situated inside the fortress of Suzdal’s Kremlin, and accessed by a flight of steep, stone stairs, serves up a traditional Russian menu, as does Kharchevnya, a lively restaurant and bar that is extremely popular with the locals. While all areas of Russia love their vodka, Suzdal is also known for Medovukha, a type of Russian cider that is made from honey. While this drink is definitely worth tasting, make sure to only order it from credible establishments, as there are several counterfeit versions touted on the streets of the city to tourists.
While Suzdal may not be the nearest Golden Ring destination to Moscow, it is one of the oldest towns in Russia, dating all the way back to 990 AD. While tourism in Suzdal may have been slowly increasing over the years, as its many delights have been slowly discovered by outsiders, the city has managed to hold on to its traditional lifestyle, providing a refreshing change of pace from some of Russia’s larger cities.