I had never heard of Suzdal before. Not even of Russia’s Golden Ring. I had no idea there was a circle of monastery towns near Moscow. And after reading about the town, I thought that it would be a ‘nice to do’. Until I sat in a Russian taxi to our guesthouse in the north of Suzdal. I looked out of the window and saw the golden towers looming over the Russian wooden houses. It glimmered at the time we arrived at our guesthouse. After dinner in a completely empty restaurant and a walk on a muddy steep unpaved track in the pitch dark night, I was ready to see it all after a quiet night of sleep.
We woke up in the quiet town of Suzdal in the lovely Surikov Guesthouse. After delicious breakfast with eggs, pancakes and homemade jam it was time to hit the road! Well, road… more like unpaved and muddy walking paths. Our guesthouse was just a short walk to The Convent of the Intercession. It’s surrounded by white walls and towers. This settlement is relatively small but definitely worth a visit! Admire the beautiful white church and the impressive wooden door with a colourful pole. Opposite the entrance, you will face the Church of Peter and Paul (Комплекс церквей Петропавловского прихода).
There is no better view of The Convent of the Intercession than from the top of the hill on the other side of Kamenka river. If you have the same starting point as we had, cross the river via the wooden bridge and clamber up the slippery path towards the biggest monastery of Suzdal: Saviour Monastery of Saint Euthymius.
For 400 RMB (€ 5,60) we could stroll through the Monastery of Saint Euthymius. The monastery was founded in the 14th century. The huge brick walls and towers were built in the 17th century. Take your time to admire the church and bell tower. I also recommend to take the stairs and walk on the brick walls for the best view of the settlement of the Monastery of Saint Euthymius. Oh and don’t skip the veggie garden:)
We left the Monastery of Saint Euthymius and headed towards the centre of Suzdal. Make sure you get off the main street called Ulitsa Lenina and to turn westwards at Ulitsa Engelsa if you walk southwards. I don’t exaggerate by stating that we at least passed by 10 churches and monasteries. To name a few:
- St Alexander Monastery
- The white and yellow Prepodobenskaya Bell Tower with two typical red and white towers
- The not so well maintained Rizopolozhenskiy Zhenskiy Monastery
- Church of the Resurrection of Lazarus
- The Kazan Church
You can then walk down to Suzdal market square where the Resurrection church is waiting for you. This is where locals sell pickled vegetables and fresh mushrooms. Not the random white mushrooms but the beautiful boletes.
Then last but not least: Suzdal Kremlin! The best route is to walk there from the back of the shopping area on Suzdal’s market square. You will have a great view of the Kremlin’s blue and golden star domes! You will also pass by Nativity Of The Virgin Cathedral. The Kremlin in Suzdal is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list for a reason. Obviously! This is not just a church, this unique monument of Russian architecture wins it from Paris’ Sacre Coeur! Suzdal’s Kremlin was built in 1225 which makes it incredibly old. It was renovated throughout the years, so the cathedral is in perfect shape! I loved the colours of the 13th-century door. Don’t just walk away after checking out the Kremlin, because you will miss the unique church of St. Nicholas. This rural wooden church from 1766 was moved to Suzdal in 1960 for the Museum of Wooden Architecture and is situated at the back of the Suzdal Kremlin. We did not visit the museum but it’s just a short walk from the Kremlin if you are interested.
- It’s really easy to get from Moscow to Suzdal! From our hotel in Moscow, it was just a 30-minute walk to Kurskaya Train Station from where the train to Vladimir departs. Check out the train schedule beforehand and book your tickets on rzd.ru/en A single ticket will cost RMB 1970 (€ 25) and takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. Your train ticket has the number of the carriage and your seat listed and the boarding process is pretty straightforward. Just double check with the ladies at the platform if you are not sure.
- From Vladimir train station, it’s easy to get a local bus to Suzdal. We took the train at 14:00 from Kurskaya station in Moscow and the bus at 16:00 from Vladimir to Suzdal. Busses from and to Suzdal run frequently. You can buy your bus ticket at the bus station opposite Vladimir train station. Cross the street, enter the main door and take the stairs to the second floor. Just buy your ticket at the information desk. The bus takes 45 minutes to Suzdal bus station. A bus ticket costs RMB 86.50 (€ 1,20) and has your seat number on the receipt.
- Depending on the location of your guesthouse and the weather, you can walk or take a taxi. The lady at Suzdal called a taxi for us and for only RMB 150 (€ 2) we were brought to Surikov Guesthouse. It is recommended to have the address in Russian with you.
We stayed at Surikov Guesthouse: this is a great place to spend the night. It’s beautifully located almost next to one of the main highlights of Suzdal: The Monastery of Saint Euthymius. For only € 15 per night, you will have clean spacious room and gorgeous breakfast. The owners are very friendly and helped us out with booking our train tickets back from Vladimir to Moscow. Surikov Guesthouse was our perfect gateway to Suzdal and I would definitely recommend staying at Surikov to my friends.
Address Surikov Guesthouse: Krasnoarmeyskaya Utilisa 53/1, Suzdal, Russia
- Book your train ticket to Vladimir easily online at Russian Rail. You can get a ticket at the train station but queues are long. You need your passport to book a ticket and to travel so don’t forget to bring it.
- Download the map of Suzdal on your phone and make sure you have offline access. Use Google Maps or MAPS.ME. This way you can easily navigate from one monastery to another and find your way to the bus station.
- Have the address of your guesthouse with you in Russian to show in Suzdal bus station and the taxi driver.