Around Moscow: 5 day trips from the Russian capital

TASS/Irina Dmitrieva
If you’re in Moscow and want to get a glimpse of Russia’s vastness and diversity, but don’t have the time to travel to Siberia, check out these easily accessible places near the capital.

1. Sergiyev Posad

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Lori/Legion-MediaLocated 70 kilometers (43 miles) northeast of Moscow, Sergiyev Posad is home to the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian Orthodox monastery in the country.

Few places in the country demonstrate the architectural journey that Russian churches have undertaken from the 14th century to today. St. Sergius of Radonezh, a venerated Russian saint, founded the monastery in 1345; numerous structures were added over the centuries.

Art lovers will appreciate the works of Russian icon painters Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chyorny that adorn the entrance walls. The great painters were summoned to decorate the main 15th century cathedral with frescoes.  

Photo credit: Alamy/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Alamy/Legion-Media
Another highlight is the six-pillared Assumption Cathedral, which was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1559.

Trains leave every 30 minutes for Sergiyev Posad from Moscow’s Yaroslavsky Railway Station. You can also take bus 388 from the VDNKh metro station.


2. Melikhovo

Photo credit: Alamy/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Alamy/Legion-MediaA pilgrimage spot for fans of Anton Chekhov, Melikhovo, 74 kilometers (46 miles) from Moscow, is the former estate of the great playwright.

Chekhov moved here in 1892 from Moscow and stayed until 1899. This is where he wrote “The Seagull” and other classics.

“My estate’s not much, but the surroundings are magnificent,” Chekhov wrote about Melikhovo.  The estate has been converted into a museum and the main house preserves a 19th-century ambiance. You can visit Chekhov’s study as well as the cottage where he wrote.

The estate hosts a weeklong theater festival every May.

Suburban trains run regularly from Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station to the town of Chekhov. From Chekhov take bus 25 to the estate.


3. Monino

Photo credit: TASS/Andrei LukinPhoto credit: TASS/Andrei LukinNobody would ever visit the otherwise nondescript town of Monino, 33 kilometers (20 miles) east of Moscow if it didn’t have one of the world’s greatest open-air aviation museums.

The Central Air Force Museum in Monino’s airfield has 173 Russian aircraft and over 100 aircraft engines. The facility was an airbase from 1932 to 1956, when it was converted into a museum.

Along with aircraft from World War II, the Mi-12 Homer double rotor helicopter and the Bartini Beriev VVA-14 amphibious aircraft, the museum also has exhibits related to military aviation history such as the uniform of captured U2 pilot Gary Powers.

Photo credit: TASS/Marina LystsevaPhoto credit: TASS/Marina Lystseva
Reports indicate that the museum will be closed to the public beginning in July 2016, so you better hurry.

Suburban trains leave regularly for Monino from the Yaroslavskiy Railway Station. Take a taxi from the station to avoid bus routes that pass through sensitive military areas. You can also take bus 322 to Monino from the Partizanskaya metro station.


4. Yaroslavl

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Lori/Legion-MediaThis historic city at the confluence of the Volga and Kotorosi rivers is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of Moscow. A part of the Golden Ring, the historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city center, which is compact and can easily be explored by foot, has around 140 protected monuments.

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Lori/Legion-Media
The Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, which many believe to have been founded in the 12th century, is one of the city’s most well-preserved religious complexes. Check out the stunning views from the 32-meter high bell tower, which was built in the mid-16th century.

Trains depart regularly for Yaroslavl from the Yaroslavsky Railway Station. For a day trip, you should take the train departing Moscow at 07:35 (reaches Yaroslavl at 10:51) and take one back at 19:32 (reaches Moscow at 22:53).


5. Tver

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Lori/Legion-MediaIf Yaroslavl seems too far for a day trip, a good alternative is Tver, 162 kilometers (100 miles) north of Moscow.

Located at the confluence of the Tvertsa and Volga rivers, the city was founded in 1135.  Most ancient buildings here were destroyed by a fire in 1763. Afterward, it was redesigned as a “road palace” for Catherine the Great to rest on the journey between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The riverfront has a nice collection of 18th and 19th-century buildings and churches. The city center is compact and can easily be explored on foot.

A popular gathering place is the square housing the statue to Afanasy Nikitin, one of Tver’s greatest sons.  Nikitin, a 15th-century merchant was one of the first Europeans to travel to and document his visit to India.

Another popular hangout is the embankment from where you can see the Starovolzhsky Bridge:

Photo credit: Lori/Legion-MediaPhoto credit: Lori/Legion-Media
Trains regularly depart for Tver from Leningradsky Station. The faster trains take a little over an hour.


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