Updated: Sep 22, 2019
If I am in Moscow and have a day or two to visit any town around the Golden Ring, Suzdal would be my pick.
A small historic town in Vladimir Oblast, cannot reach by train has maintained a certain charm and mystic.
A gentle river (Kameoka) meanders around the town, the golden dome reflects the lights of the sun, as you walk around you constantly hear the Russian bell chimes from the church https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezpPxgbIIug they are one of a kind and if you haven't heard it before I strongly recommend you to go to the link. You hear the sound of horse clops towards the square and it is definitely worth to hop on the troika, it will bring you inside the fairytale books of Tolstoy
Where to stay
There are many huge hotel establishments around the area, I believe no modern buildings are allowed to be constructed in the old town.So if you chose to stay in the modern hotels, be prepared to walk a little into the old town. Staying in the traditional dacha or log house is a great experience. The houses excretes a fresh pine scent, tacky Russian interior taste and most of all, toasty respite especially if you are here in winter.
Depending on which time of the year you come, the landscape and scenery is complete different. I had the pleasure to visit this place twice, once in autumn and another right at the tail end of winter when they were having the Maslenitsa festival. It is pancake week, marks the end of wintering heralds the coming of spring and is usually celebrated the week before Lent (Orthodox calendar). It is pancake week and they will normally stuff themselves with pancakes for the whole week, and this usually involves the burning of the Maslenitsa straw doll, or sometimes an effigy, to mark the end of winter!
Where to eat
this restaurant is one of my favorites, unassuming but the menu covers pretty much an array of traditional Russian cuisine. I would rate it a 4/5 for Suzdal standard.
Trapeznaya Restaurant at the Kremlin
this restaurant is right at the Kremlin, the food here is traditional and delicious.
good service from the waiters here too.
Top things to do in Suzdal
visit the Museum of Wooden Architecture & Peasant life
visit the Saviour Monastery of St Euthymius
walk around the Torgovaya Ploshchad (Market Square)
just walk around town and take in the feel of the place
It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness......Leo Tolstoy
Date of visit: February 2015