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Getting There & Away

When tourism officials originally came up with the brand for attractions accessible from Moscow, they drew a loop beginning and ending there and called it the Golden Ring – which is why it's usually done as a circuit route. For no particular reason, we prefer going in the anticlockwise direction.

Whichever way you start, try to avoid leaving or arriving in Moscow by bus: you're likely to lose many hours in traffic. If you're driving from Moscow, leave in the morning and come back in the evening on a weekday – but by all means, avoid weekends.

There's another option that combines the ease of getting out of Moscow with the freedom of having your own wheels: take the train to Vladimir and hire a car there. You can then see as much of the Golden Ring as you like, return to Vladimir and take the train back to Moscow. The very friendly people at White Lion hire out late-model Nissans, Peugots and Fords, with accessories such as baby seats, GPS and radar detectors available.