The Golden Ring is the name given to the necklace of towns and villages that circle Moscow and were created between the 11th and 15th centuries.

These towns are some of the most important centres of Russian Orthodoxy,from a time when the number of monasteries and churches told you how prosperous a town was.Many of these churches served as a template for the Moscow Kremlin cathedrals built many years later.

This is a trip back in time, like stepping into a Russian fairytale. Many of the towns still have their original layouts and restoration of the towns has been sympathetic.

It is not necessary to visit every church, or every town. We find the best way is to leave your time there as fluid as possible in order to soak up the bucolic atmosphere.

Sergiev Posad

If you are in Moscow and time is of the essence you can still visit Sergiev Posad in a day. This is the capital of the Russian Orthodox Church. Some of the most beautiful churches in Russia are here.It is a working monastery with over 100 monks that houses the oldest and most prestigious schools for priests and icon painting.

Yaroslavl

Yaroslavl is famous for its ornate frescoes and ornamentation and some call this town the “Florence of Russia.” The oldest town on the Volga, having just celebrated her millennium Yaroslavl has had much investment. The city has a special atmosphere that we think is unique and we highly recommend at least an overnight stay to fully appreciate her charms.

Kostroma

You can reach Kostrama by hydrofoil from Yaroslavl (2 hour journey). Worth visiting as the town layout has not changed since it was founded in the 12th century by Yuri Dolgoruky.

Plyos

Plyos (sometimes Plios) can also be reached by hydrofoil from Yaroslavl and is about an hour from Kostrama. A very picturesque town on the banks of the Volga. Artists have been coming here for many years to paint the landscapes, most famously Issac Levitan, great friend of Chekhov and master landscape artist.

For total indulgence we suggest a stay at the Sobornaya Sloboda - a collection of individual merchant country homes (Dacha’s) that have been converted into a hotel.

Suzdal

Nestled along the Kamenka River, Suzdal has over 30 churches and a population of about 11,000. The definition of bucolic we suggest a two night stay here to explore the surrounding towns and soak up the atmosphere.

Vladimir

Tucked into a green valley and surrounded by forests and lakes, this ancient city was once one of Russia’s strongest principalities. Like Suzdal, Vladimir dates to the 12th-century although it has outgrown Suzdal somewhat with a population of 50,000.

Contact an expert to help you plan your trip on 020 8996 5163 or enquiries@exeterinternational.co.uk