Moscow Day Trips

Yasnaya Polyana, near Moscow
Yasnaya Polyana, near Moscow © Celest.ru

Yasnaya Polyana

Located 120 miles (193km) from Moscow, Yasnaya Polyana is the estate where Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828. In 1921, the property became a memorial to the celebrated author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and contains a museum with his personal effects, including an extensive library of nearly 22,000 volumes. Nearly a century later, the museum is still run by Tolstoy's descendants. Tolstoy spent 60 years living at Yasnaya Polyana with his family, and all of his 13 children were born there (although four died young). He founded a working farm and children's school on the estate, and is buried in an area called the Forest of the Old Order (so called because it was forbidden to cut down trees there).

Address: Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Oblast, Russia.; Post code: 301214; E-mail: ypmuseum@gmail.com; Website: www.yasnayapolyana.ru; Telephone: +7 487 517 6073; Transport: Buses are available from Moscow, stopping in the nearby town of Tula.; Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday: 9am to 8pm.; Admission: Admission is RUB 100. A guided tour is RUB 350 on weekdays and RUB 400 on weekends. Students and senior citizens are entitled to a RUB 50 discount for admission and for tours.



Suzdal, Russia
Suzdal, Russia © Loris Silvio Zecchinato

Golden Ring

Consisting of a circuit of historic cities northeast of Moscow, the Golden Ring is a popular tourist route for travellers in Russia. The cities are popular for their distinctive architecture (recognizable for the uniquely-Russian onion-shaped domes and colourful ornamentation), and their tradition of handmade craftsmanship, offering tourists a good opportunity to buy beautiful Russian souvenirs. The official list of towns in the Golden Ring includes Ivanovo, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov Veliky, Sergiev Posad, Suzdal, Vladimir, and Yaroslavl. They are all spaced close enough to each other (and to Moscow and St Petersburg) to reach on horseback within 24 hours, making them ideal for a driving tour. The cities are fairly similar, so it is not necessary to visit them all, and most travellers choose to see only four or five. One city that should not be missed, however, is Sergiev Posad, the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and home to the impressive Sergiev Posad Monastery. Suzdal is another highlight on any Golden Ring tour, home of the St.Euthymius Monastery and the enormous Spaso-Evfimiev Monastery, which houses 10 museums and is nearly as impressive as St Basil's in Moscow.

Arkhangelskoye Palace, near Moscow
Arkhangelskoye Palace, near Moscow © A.Savin

Arkhangelskoye Palace

The Arkhangelskoye Estate, just outside Moscow, is an old aristocratic estate home that has been a museum since the fall of the Russian tsars in 1917. It was built in 1703, featuring classical and neo-classical design elements. The estate is composed of various buildings including the main palace, a smaller palace called Caprice, a church, and a theatre. Beautifully decorated interiors can be found throughout, augmented by a very impressive collection of art. Unlike many other old aristocratic Russian estates, Arkhangelskoye is in very good condition as special, dedicated efforts have been made in recent years to ensure its upkeep. The estate is easily reached by train, a 30-minute journey from the Yaroslavsky train station in the west of Moscow. In the summer and early autumn, all of the buildings are open for viewing. Visitors are welcome to explore the grounds and can bring picnics to enjoy in the gardens. There are also usually several music concerts hosted by the estate throughout the summer months. While still beautiful and worth a visit during the winter, the gardens are obviously not much of a sight, and some of the buildings are occasionally closed in the winter.

Address: Arkhangelskoye, Moscow Oblast, Russia, 143420.; Website: www.arhangelskoe.su/; Telephone: +7 498 568-95-80; Transport: The estate is accessible by both bus and train out of Moscow.; Opening time: Weekdays: 10am to 5pm. Weekends: 10am to 6pm.; Admission: Admission costs vary widely based on areas viewed. Pricing can be found on the official website.