This is a great cultural getaway for a weekend! We visited during summer time but we could imagine how magical this area must look covered in snow. Spring and Autumn might be a bit muddy though so probably less recommendable.
Vladimir and Suzdal form the most important cities of the so called Golden Ring of Moscow. The towns have been called "open-air museums" and feature unique monuments of Russian architecture of the 12th–18th centuries, including kremlins, monasteries, cathedrals and churches.
We did not follow everybody's advise to travel by train so it took us almost 5 hours to get there instead of 1h50. We actually did like the road trip and took two different routes to come and go. But if you go by car, really consider your time of travelling!
Vladimir is the biggest city of the two and was our first stop. As the former capital of medieval Russia, Vladimir is a very historically important city. It is somewhat more industrial than its neighbour of Suzdal but its Golden Gates, St Demetrius’ Cathedral and the Dormition Cathedral are UNESCO protected and masterpieces of ancient Russian architecture. We spent a few hours here which we thought was enough. We stayed at Park Hotel Voznesenskaya Sloboda, Voznesenskaya Ulitsa, 14Б, Vladimir. Classical interior (see photo) and we can highly recommend to dine in the hotel restaurant. The view from the terrace is absolutely stunning and the food is really good. Do make a reservation! It is also a popular party venue hotel but at 11PM, all parties ar over so it turned out to be very entertaining. Guests were beautifully dressed up and we had a fire show outside our window. Don't expect too much around breakfast.
The drive from Vladimir to Suzdal is 35 km and takes about half an hour. If you travelled by train, you can easily take a taxi.
Suzdal really is an open air museum. There is so much to see in this small town. Everything is beautiful and just walking around is a treat. Apart from one Chinese tour group, we were the only non-Russians and it was packed! Stop for lunch at Gostinyj Dvor, Lenina St., 63a, Suzdal. The food is traditional Russian and we were lucky to sit out on the large balcony. Although Suzdal is real touristy place, the prices in the souvenir shops are mostly good. We didn’t stay in Suzdal overnight but if you want to plan it, friends of ours recommended:
Planning to go with kids? Bridge to Moscow offers fully or partly organized trips there and they have plenty of ideas how to entertain even the youngest kids in this area with mostly cultural highlights. If you mention MoscowLiving, you will get a 10% discount! https://bridgetomoscow.com/2-days1-night-vladimir-and-suzdal-with-children-by-train
Photo credits: self made, website of Gostinyj Dvor Suzdal, website of Park Hotel Voznesenskaya Sloboda Vladimir