Over the last two years I visited most of the Golden Ring, a series of historical Russian cities northeast from Moscow. Most of them are Unesco World Heritage sites. The official Russian list includes Ivanono, Kostroma, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov Veliky, Sergiev Posad (former Sagorsk), Suzdal, Vladimir and Yaroslavl. I did not visit yet the first two.
I travelled in the Golden Ring by public transport from Moscow. The best option is to take a train, it is reliable and not, and there is no danger of endless and annoying traffic jams. Moscow has about nine railway stations. The Yaroslavlsky railway station takes you to Sergiev Posad, Rostov Veliky and Yaroslavl. The Savyolovsky station to Kostroma; and the Kursky station to Vladimir. Suzdal and Pereslavl-Zalessky can only be reached by bus from Shchyolkovsky bus station or, in case of Suzdal by bus from Vladimir. All train- and bus stations have a metro station as well. There are also frequent busses between Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov and Yaroslavl.
Travellers rule number one: even if public transport is quite good, plan your trip and take your time, especially if you travel for the first time in and around Moscow, don’t speak Russian and are not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet. Finding your way in the metro, finding your way in the bus station, buying your tickets, it can all be time consuming.
Train tickets can be purchased in advanced on the site of Russian Railways, pass.rzd.ru; you need to create an account.
The small town of Suzdal is the most picturesque site; Rostov on lake Nero is small as well and has a impressive, white washed kremlin; Sergiev Posad is close to Moscow and has one of the most beautiful and popular monasteries of Russia; Pereslavl-Zalessky is a charming and typical Russian province town with a huge lake as well; Yaroslavl is quite a big industrial city but the old town on the Volga bank is worth visiting.
I never had any problems finding inexpensive accommodation, well ….. outside Moscow.