Day trip to Polenovo, Russia

Moscow Day trips from Moscow Day trip to Polenovo  

Vasily Polenov is one of Russia’s most renowned landscape painters of the 19th century and like many Russian artists he had his own country estate, which must have provided much inspiration in his painting.  Polenov’s estate was originally known as Borok and is located in beautiful surroundings in hills close to the River Oka.  It is worth visiting for this reason alone, even if you have no interest in Polenov or his work.  At just two hours from Moscow it is the perfect destination to escape the hussle and bussle of the capital and escape to the Russian countryside.


Distances 130km from Moscow
Total travel time around 4 hours on train to Zaoksky (Tarusskaya) and back, plus 50 minutes on bus to estate and back
Accessibility for foreigners rating 3/5 - not very easy to get to, not many English-speakers

Getting There and Back

Polenovo is located away from the main transport links to the south-west of Moscow in the Tula Region, close to its border with the Kaluga Region.  

Via Tarusskaya (Zaoksky)

The closest railway station is the Tarusskaya Railway Station (not to be confused with Tarussa) in the urban settlement of Zaoksky which is 13km from the estate. This is the easiest way of getting to the estate. Suburban trains (elektrichki) heading for Tarusskaya leave from Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station from the kursk direction suburban train part of the station.  There are usually around 8 trains a day which head to Tarusskaya and normally 2 of them are express trains which only make one stop in Serpukhov before reaching Tarusskaya. The standard train takes just under 2½ hours whereas the express takes around 1¾ hours.

The railway station is rather large for a small settlement and even has a small museum dedicated to Polenov.

Polenovo Railway Station

Just next to the railway station is the bus station, although there is no direct bus to the Polenovo estate from here.  

Polenovo Bus Station

You can get a bus heading to Velegozh (Велегож) and get off at the Strakhovo (Страхово) stop which is 1km from the estate following the direction of the bus.  You can also get the bus to Lanshino (Ланьшино) which passes the turn-off to the estate. However this bus only runs twice a day.  

Tarusskaya - Velegozh 06:05, 09:20, 10:30, 13:30 (Mon, Wed, Fri), 15:30, 17:20
Velegozh - Tarusskaya 06:20, 10:45, 15:45, 17:35
Tarusskaya - Lanshino 07:30, 13:30 (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun)

However for those who don’t speak Russian it might just be easier to get a taxi and there are usually several waiting outside the station. It should cost around RUB 350 one way and take around 10-15 minutes.  You should try to ask for the taxi driver’s phone number to get him to pick you up when ready, otherwise you may be able to ask at the museum for a phone number for a taxi.  However cars have to pay to enter the territory of the museum so it is best to wait for a taxi from the car barrier at the entrance to the estate.

Via Tarusa

Another way of getting to the estate is to go via Tarusa which is located on the opposite side of the River Oka.  If taking this route, it is best combine the visit with looking around the pretty city of Tarusa which is famous for its connections with the poet Marina Tsvetaeva.  Tarusa does not have a railway station and can be reached via a bus from either Moscow or Serpukhov. There are many suburban trains from Moscow’s Kursky Railway Station to Serpukhov, the standard ones take around 3 hours, but there are also express trains. From Serpukhov buses or minibuses leave from outside Serpukhov Railway Station for Tarusa.  It takes about 30 mins. From Tarusa you can get a boat to the estate which docks at the Yakor sanatorium. They run in summer months and leave Tarusa at 12:00 and return at 15:30.  It is also possible to pay a speed-boat owner to take you, which costs around RUB 2500.

Orientation and Main Sight

Main gates of Polenovo

The main sight here is the Polenovo Estate (formally the Vasily Polenov State Memorial Historical and Nature Museum-Reserve) but this consists of two parts: the houses and museums and the park and the natural surroundings.


 As the park opens before the museums (from 08:00-22:00 from May to September and from 09:00-18:00 from October to April).


Once you have looked around the grounds of the estate you can then walk along the River Oka to the Trinity Church which is located 1.5km north of the estate just past the village of Byokhovo.  


On the way you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Oka...


and there is also a small beach if you fancy a quick dip.


The church was built between 1904 and 1905 according to a plan by Vasily Polenov himself and therefore should not be missed when visiting the estate. There is also a small holy spring located nearby which is well signposted from the church.  


Back at the estate there are several museums which you can visit. The main one is the Large House itself which was built in 1892 


and has been restored to how it looked when Vasily Polenov lived here.  


The smaller neighbouring building is known as the Abbey (‘Abbatstvo’) .  


which was used as a workshop and you can visits its interior and see where Polenov worked


The Timber-Framed Building (‘Fachwerk’) now houses an art gallery and the Admiralty (‘Admiralteystvo’) Building holds a diorama and an exhibition hall. In addition several workshops are also held on the estate in various buildings.


The Large House and Admiralty can only be visited at certain times, and the Large House must be as part of an excursion.  All tickets, except for the Admiralty, must be bought at the ticket office in the tourist centre next to the carpark.  The estate is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


cafe Polenovo

The only restaurant in the estate is a cafe which is located in the tourist centre building. Avarage price is RUB500-1000.