Do you work in Moscow? We know how important it is to get out of the capital from time to time and breathe in some fresh air. The quiet towns of the Golden Ring like Suzdal or Plyos on the Volga are perfect for a weekend getaway where you can enjoy the discreet charm of the Moscow region. For those who enjoy world-class museums, Saint Petersburg is the perfect destination. If you want to take a short trip, we can recommend the best and least tiresome itineraries. Read on to discover our selection of two- and three-day getaways from Moscow.
Spend a weekend in a chalet surrounded by pine forests. In the evening, sit out on the lake for a barbecue or try a Russian banya. In the southern part of the Moscow region, you can spend the weekend in a hotel and spa where you will start the day by swimming a few lengths in the pool. Spend your afternoon on a stroll along the Oka River and visit the house-museum of Vasily Polenov.
Suzdal, widely considered the most beautiful of Russia’s small towns, has a myriad of ancient churches, houses with sculpted wooden lintels and monasteries. You can even take a tour on a Troika (horse-drawn sled). In Yaroslavl or Plyos, stroll along the quay of the Volga and finish your evening with a meal of oven-baked sturgeon and a shot of vodka.
The land of a thousand and one lakes, impenetrable forests and wooden architecture is just a night train away from Moscow. In winter, you can go dog-sledding in the woods, skating on Lake Onego or visit the famous Kizhi Pogost. In summer, the White Nights are perfect for a boat tour followed by a solitary picnic on this island that you’ll have all to yourself.
Kazan, capital of the oil-rich Tatar Republic, is one of the most dynamic cities in Russia. Its majestic Kremlin is home to a mosque and Orthodox cathedral that stand side by side. In summer, you can take a boat on the Volga to the Sviyazhsk Island that is reminiscent of the legendary city of Kitezh in Russian fairytales.
Moscow is just 4 hours away from Saint Petersburg by express train. During the White Nights, you can take a nocturnal boat trip along the city’s canals. The beginning of autumn or winter are the best times to visit the Hermitage Museum with its unique treasures and the famous collection of eggs at the Fabergé Museum.
It may be raining in Moscow in October, but it’s still sunny in Astrakhan. This is a great time to observe the migratory birds bathing in the Volga delta. After a boat trip through the many canals of the delta, take a break and have a picnic on an island.
Head into the Arctic Circle to Murmansk to admire the stunning streaks of light over the Arctic Ocean. Continue your trip to the Lovozero Massif at the heart of the Kola Peninsula where you can take a ride on a reindeer-drawn sled.
If you plan on taking the weekend off, remember that there are monstrous traffic jams on Friday evening, Saturday morning and Sunday evening when locals are coming from or departing to their “dachas”.
The easiest way to get to Suzdal and Vladimir is to hop on a high-speed train (1h40). By car, the same trip may last more than four hours if you take the Gorkovskiy motorway. It’s also better to travel to Yaroslavl by train (3h30). Heading to Saint Petersburg? Catch the high-speed train from Moscow that takes just 4 hours.
There are many night trains leaving Moscow to great weekend getaways: Plyos, Karelia, Pskov, Novgorod, Kazan, etc. Just leave on Friday evening and you’ll be home on Monday morning in time for work.
For long weekends of three days and more, like Astrakhan in the South, or Murmansk in the Arctic Circle, it’s best to fly there. These cities are more than 1,000 km away from Moscow. In September and October, it’s still sunny in Volgograd and Astrakhan. From January to March, head North to see the Aurora Borealis from the Kola Peninsula.