24 nights from UK £ 4,775 / US $ 6,685 per person*
*Price based on 2 people travelling in a shared 4 berth second class cabin. Upgrade to your own cabin from UK £ 1,155 / US$ 1,620 per person. These prices are based on 2021 rates and are here to give guidance. Final quotes vary by date, exchange rates and are subject to availability.
PRIVATE TOUR - NOT A GROUP TOUR - CAN BE TAILORED
SEASON - YEAR ROUND WITH daily DEPARTURES
TOUR CODE : TS-M-BT-08
MAP & DESTINATIONS
THE STOPS VISITED ON THIS TOUR
?? MOSCOW - 2 nights
Russia’s vast and iconic capital and the start of this railway adventure.
?? PERM - 2 nights
Fascinating city famous for Ice Caves and the sobering Perm 36 Gulag.
?? EKATERINBURG - 2 nights
City in the beautiful Ural Mountains where the Romanovs met their fate.
?? NOVOSIBIRSK - 1 night
Siberia’s largest and most modern city yet often overlooked by tourists.
?? KRASNOYARSK - 2 nights
Busy Siberian city located on the banks of the mighty Yenisey River.
?? IRKUTSK & BAIKAL - 3 nights
Forward looking Siberian city and gateway to Lake Baikal.
?? ULAN UDE - 3 nights
East meets West in the Mongolian influenced capital of Buryatia.
?? KHABAROVSK - 1 night
Vibrant and prosperous city on the mighty Amur River bordering China.
?? VLADIVOSTOK - 1 night
Russia’s Eastern Port city is a heavily influenced by nearby China & Japan.
ON THE TRAINS - total 7 nights
We use the most comfortable and reliable trains possible for each leg.
OUR EXCLUSIVE TRIP GUIDEBOOK
This trip includes our exclusive 200+ page guidebook personalised to your trip with sections about the trains, destinations, timetables and emergency contacts and allowing you to be fully prepared for your trip of a lifetime - an invaluable resource!
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAILY DESCRIPTIONS OF ACTIVITIES, MEALS & OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION
ST PETERSBURG ?
ASK US TO ADD ON TO THIS TRIP
DAY 1 - MOSCOW
YOUR TRANS-SIBERIAN ADVENTURE STARTS IN RUSSIA’S CAPITAL OF MOSCOW
Welcome to Moscow, Russia’s capital and its largest city with more than 12 million people. It is the political and economic centre of this vast country and has many of Russia’s most famous sights, not least Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral. With over 800 years of history there is also a wealth of architecture, museums and monuments to a colourful past. Transfer by private car with an English speaking driver to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to start exploring this stunning city.
A FASCINATING 3 HOUR WALKING TOUR OF CENTRAL MOSCOW WITH A FREE AFTERNOON
The perfect introductory walking tour of central Moscow designed to orientate and open up its hidden treasures. Your guide will take you along the main streets and less visited back roads to see the diversity of architectural styles from the austere and restrained Russian style to richly decorated Moscow Baroque, elegant Empire, fascinating Art Nouveau and even Pseudo-Chinese and Moorish. Hear stories and legends not found in the guidebooks as well as passing the most important sites in the city including the Bolshoi Theatre, Tverskaya street, GUM Department store, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral.
The rest of the day is free to further explore Moscow. The exclusive Trip Guidebook we send you before your trip is full of ideas and useful information to ensure you get the most out of your time in this iconic city.
FREE TIME TO EXPLORE RUSSIA’S CAPITAL & ITS MANY WORLD CLASS SIGHTS & DEPART FOR PERM
A free day to explore Moscow. The city has much to offer whatever the weather from the famous museums such as Pushkin Fine Arts and Tretyakov Art Gallery to more outdoor areas including the Park of the Fallen Idols and Novodevitchy Convent. Of course, if the weather is not so good Moscow is one of the few cities where a day spent on the metro is a tourist attraction with many beautiful stations to visit and all for the price of a single ticket! For relaxing we recommend the bars, galleries and cafes of the Red October district or the fabulous Gorky Park.
Transfer to the station for the train to Perm. Settle into your cabin, preferably with a copy of Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago to get you in the mood!
FULL DAY ON THE TRAIN BEFORE AN EVENING ARRIVAL IN PERM
With luck the gentle rhythm of the train led to a good night’s sleep. A full day on the train through a region of farms, small towns and villages interspersed with birch forests.
Evening arrival in Perm with a transfer to your hotel. Known for Dr Zhivago, modern day Perm has fast reinvented itself as a cultural centre with some interesting museums and galleries amongst the soviet architecture. The real and contrasting highlights are found outside of the city. Perm 36 was a grim Gulag that has been preserved as a memorial museum dedicated to the victims of political oppression. The Kungur Ice Cave has permanent ice formations and frozen waterfalls amongst the 1.5 km network of caves. A taste of winter even at the height of summer!
An early start today driving 2 hours out of the city to Perm 36 Gulag Camp Museum. The museum occupies the former site of one of the most notorious Soviet gulag camps in the European part of Russia and is now privately operated by descendants and friends of the former inmates. The camp remained open until the Gorbachev era, and housed many prisoners from former USSR republics who had lobbied for independence from the Soviet Union. In common with most Gulags the location is very remote and the roads which lead to it are poor.
After the sobering experience of Perm 36 we drive a further two hours to the Kungur Ice Cave with it’s spectacular formations and dramatic lighting. You will need decent shoes and warm clothing as evening in summer is cold in the cave. Drive on an hour to Belogorsky Monastery located on top of a hill with spectacular views of the rolling landscape of the Urals. The monastery was dedicated to the miraculous escape of young Crown Prince Nicholas (the future Tsar Nicholas II) from an assassin, during a visit to Turkey. Late evening return to Perm to overnight.
MEALS: Hotel Breakfast (in a box) & Restaurant Lunch.
WALKING TOUR REVEALING THE FASCINATING HISTORY OF PERM & TRAIN TO EKATERINBURG
After a late breakfast begin a walking tour of the city visiting the Central Square and Opera & Ballet Theatre before walking along Sibirskaya Street, passing the hotel where Grand Prince Mikhail was arrested as well as the monument to his assassins. We will see the old riverboat station from where the Post Road to Siberia began and the Old Railway Station from where the original Trans-Siberian Railway line started. Along the way we pass places associated with the story of Dr Zhivago including the Public Reading Room and Lara's House.
After the tour a transfer to the station for the relatively short trip 5 hour trip to Ekaterinburg on either train 56, 70 or 80.
Towards the end of the day you cross the Europe-Asia continental border arriving in Ekaterinburg in the evening. Ekaterinburg is a more representative experience of a Russian city than, say, Moscow and has a rich and fascinating history. It is surrounded by beautiful, rolling countryside dotted with traditional Siberian villages. Transfer to your hotel to overnight.
FULL DAY COUNTRYSIDE & SIBERIAN VILLAGE EXPERIENCE
Today we drive out of the city to one of the photogenic country villages* that are scattered across the rolling scenery of the Ural mountains. Here we see a traditional Siberian “izba” house - a style suited to the often extreme environment - that can be seen right across Siberia. We also visit the local museum to learn about everyday life in this part of Russia and listen to a concert of local folk music. There will be time to explore the village with your guide and you will also enjoy a traditional Siberian homestyle lunch often using locally produced and seasonal ingredients. Return to Ekaterinburg late afternoon with a free evening.
*Depending on the day of your visit this trip will be to either Koptelovo, Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha or Mironovo village all approximately 150 km from Ekaterinburg.
CITY TOUR, VISIT THE ROMANOVS SECRET GRAVE & STAND ASTRIDE THE EUROPE-ASIA BORDER
This morning your guide will take you on a 3 hour walking tour of the city’s highlights. Stop at the central square and see statues of Ekaterinburg’s founders and leaders and learn local stories, legends (and a few jokes!) related to them. Continue to the 1905 Revolution square before the most compelling story will be told at the beautiful Church of Spilled Blood located at the Romanovs’ Death Site and Chapel of St Elizabeth. See views from the Hill of Ascension and visit the powerful Afghanistan memorial at the Square of the Red Army.
After lunch (own arrangement) drive 15 km north-west to a monastery dedicated to the Romanov’s family located on the spot where the Bolsheviks tried to hide the corpses of the Tsar and his family in a secret grave. Continue on to the continental border of Europe and Asia 20 km west of the city. On the way we make a short stop at the Memorial of Victims of the GULAGs. The Main Obelisk “Between Europe & Asia” allows you to straddle the continental divide and you also get a Certificate with a glass of sparkling wine!
Return to the city with some free time before an evening transfer to the station for your onward train. From this point on you have entered Siberia!
YOUR FIRST DAY IN SIBERIA & THE VASTNESS OF CENTRAL RUSSIA
The scenery today is flat, often swampy or forested and with few large settlements. The major city is Omsk but there are also a few other large stops. This is a day for relaxing, socializing and getting into a good book!
Evening arrival in Novosibirsk with a transfer to your hotel to overnight.
MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.
This morning we have a walking tour of the city’s highlights including Novosibirsk Railway Station - the Trans-Siberian Railways largest - the Ascension Cathedral, Krasny Prospect street, Lenin Square and its beautiful Opera House. You pass the traditional Siberian wooden houses on Gorkogo Street in the oldest part of the city as well as stop at St Nicolas Chapel - the geographic center of Russia.
Continue along the river Ob’s embankment and the colourful Siberian farmers market may be open. You will also have time to visit the Trans-Siberian Railway Museum.
After lunch (own arrangement) we drive out of the centre to the scientific city Akademgorodok 30km from Novosibirsk and known as the only scientific city in the world where all the branches of sciences are represented and which has been nicknamed by some as the “Scientific Vatican”. here we visit of 2 museums of your choice from the Geology Museum at the Geology Research Institute, the Archeological Museum at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, the Open-Air Train Museum (a superb collection of old Trans-Siberian trains!) You will also see the river Ob reservoir – an artificial Ob sea!
Return to the city with some free time before a transfer to the station for your onward train.
ARRIVAL IN & CITY TOUR OF KRASNOYARSK’S HIGHLIGHTS
Morning arrival in Krasnoyarsk where you will be met at the station to start an half day city tour. This prosperous city located on the Yenisey River is highly regarded for it’s cultural life as well as the beautiful scenery of the Stolby Nature Reserve a short distance from the city.
As a hotel room is unlikely to be ready this early we start with a city tour which begins with the monument to Andrey Dubensky, the founder of the city, which also offers superb views and Karaulnaya Hill where Paraskeva Pjatnitsa Chapel built in 1855 is located. Move on to the Annunciation temple, Intercession Cathedral and Catholic church as well as Mira Avenue, the Drama Theatre, Opera and Ballet House and Yenisey quay.
After the tour continue to your hotel to check-in with free time for the rest of the day.
MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.
DAY TRIP TO THE STOLBY NATURE RESERVE & KRASNOYARSK DAM
Today we head out of the city firstly visiting the Hydro Power Station and Dam, Russia’s second largest. Here you can see the mighty Yenisey river which, at 4,092 km is the longest in Russia. The dam is an extraordinary feat of engineering as it had to be designed to cope with the intense cold and ice pressure of winter. Enjoy a picnic lunch before visiting the Stolby Nature Reserve and make a short walk of about 2-3 km round trip to the centre of the reserve where there are beautiful views and unusual rock formations. Time to enjoy the scenery and nature before returning to the city and a free evening.
FREE MORNING TO EXPLORE THE CITY BEFORE CONTINUING YOUR JOURNEY
Free time this morning - we suggest visiting the Regional Museum which is easy to visit unguided - before a late morning transfer to the station for your onward train. After Krasnoyarsk the scenery is particularly pleasant consisting of gently rolling hills and dense forests of larch, pine and, of course, birch trees. There are many rivers and ponds and if it hasn’t happened before now you will start to comprehend just how vast and untouched this part of Russia is as the sun sets on the endless taiga of Siberia.
ARRIVAL IN IRKUTSK TRANSFERRING TO BOLSHOE GOLOUSTNOE ON THE SHORES OF BAIKAL
Early morning arrival in Irkutsk, regarded as the modern day cultural capital of Siberia, famed for its traditional wooden architecture, complimented by a vibrant cafe and restaurant culture.
Transfer from the station the 2 hour drive through dense forest to the remote village of Bolshoe Goloustnoe located inside Pribaikalsky National Park. The setting is quintessential Siberia with almost all the village's houses made of wood running up to the lakeshore of beautiful Baikal, among the deepest in the world at 1,642 meters. Many of the 700 residents have lived their entire lives in the village which dates back to 1673.
Your accommodation here is in a Siberian house in the heart of the village. Once settled in take a walk with your guide through the village including a visit to the church. We walk along the lakeshore and can also climb into the forests and hills for views of Lake Baikal (good shoes or walking boots advisable). Return to the house for a pre-dinner Banya - the traditional Russian Sauna. Your guide will explain the procedure and after a hearty Siberian homestyle meal should set you up for a great nights sleep!
IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS LAKE BAIKAL STOPOVER Bolshoe Goloustnoe is a small village on the shores of Baikal and provides a genuine Siberian experience in beautiful surroundings. The village is far enough from the Irkutsk to keep day trippers to a minimum and has retained it charm. However, this does mean accommodation is in the traditional Siberian style of log cabins, separate, outside buildings for drop (not flush) toilets and a Russian banya (sauna) for washing. For many this is all part of the experience and feedback is overwhelmingly positive. If you would prefer more comfort we can arrange a higher level guesthouse in Bolshoe Goloustnoe or a different stopover in the more built up village of Listvyanka.Ask us for more information.
MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the Guest House.
A DAY EXPLORING THE LAKE SHORE VILLAGE OF BOLSHOE GOLOUSTNOE & SURROUNDS
There is no rush to wake this morning. Enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading off for a walk up a nearby mountain ascending 400 meters for panoramic views of Baikal (if this is too strenuous or the weather is bad your guide will make other suggestions). A leisurely return to the house for lunch. Free time in the afternoon to relax back at the house or further explore the village and surrounding forest and hills or enjoy another invigorating Banya.
MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner at the Guest House.
RETURN TO IRKUTSK WITH A CITY TOUR AND FREE TIME TO RELAX AT YOUR HOTEL
After breakfast drive the 2 hours back to Irkutsk arriving late morning at your hotel. Once settled in you will have a 2 hour walking tour of the city centre including the park and War Memorial, some of the beautiful churches along the Angara river, the main city centre streets and the statue of Alexander III - the Tzar responsible for the Trans-Siberian railway. Return to your hotel with free time for the rest of the day.
JOURNEY ALONG THE SHORE LAKE BAIKAL & BURYATIA BEFORE ARRIVAL AT ULAN UDE
Early morning transfer to the station to catch your onward train to Ulan Ude. Today is usually the scenic highlight of the journey - a day of lake, forest and mountain views. After Irkutsk the train rumbles around the Southern shore of the stunning Lake Baikal often passing within a matter of meters of the lake and providing endlessly changing vistas. You will also notice a change in the people with many more Asian faces as you enter Buryatia which has strong cultural ties to Mongolia. This is a remote and pretty section of the trip with a hint of an old Asian culture ever present.
Mid-afternoon arrival in Ulan Ude where a guide will be waiting for you. Transfer to your accommodation and breakfast before starting a full day tour. Ulan-Ude is capital of the republic of Buryatia and due to it’s proximity to Mongolia has a traditional importance as a trading settlement between Russia, Mongolia and China. Famed for having the largest Lenin head in the world the other attractions are found outside of the city.
ULAN UDE CAPITAL OF BURYATIA & TOUR TO ATSAGATSKI DATSAN
After breakfast drive to Atsagatski Datsan which dates back to 1825. This was a teaching monastery as well as a centre for Tibetan Medicine. Continue on to the nearby village founded in the 19th century and which still keeps the traditions and customs of the Buryats, who make up most of the population, alive. Lunch in a local house and free time to explore the village before returning to the city to overnight.
VISIT THE OLD BELIEVERS VILLAGE AND STUNNING IVOLGINSKI DATSAN
Today we leave the city again, this time to the impressive Ivolginski Datsan which has long been a center of Buddhism in Russia and has a unique Buddhist library.
Continue on to the Old Believer village. The people here separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1666 in protest of reforms and so practice a form of the religion that stopped across much of Russia at that time.
Visit their church and a small museum before lunch is in a local home and free time before returning to Ulan-Ude.
This afternoon arrive at vibrant Khabarovsk with its 2.6km bridge which crosses the Amur river just before reaching this pleasant city.
Despite the remoteness it is a large, booming town due to it’s proximity to China just 25 km away over the Amur River. Rarely visited by Trans-Siberian travellers, there is some good architecture and the city is a pleasant place to be, particularly in the summer months.
Transfer to your hotel with a free evening.
MEALS: None today - however the train does have a dining car.
MORNING CITY TOUR OF KHABAROVSK & A FREE AFTERNOON BEFORE DEPARTING TO VLADIVOSTOK
After breakfast a 4 hour city tour including Lenin square, the WWII memorial complex, the Square devoted to the Civil War in the Far East as well as information and anecdotes on the history, culture and industry of Khabarovsk and the surrounding region.
Free time in the afternoon to further explore the city of visit the vibrant food market before an evening departure for the overnight train to Vladivostok.
EARLY MORNING ARRIVAL WITH TIME TO FRESHEN UP & A 4 HOUR TOUR OF THE CITY’S HIGHLIGHTS
Early morning arrival at Vladivostok’s attractive station with the satisfaction of knowing you have completed the longest single train journey in the world - you have finally arrived!
Transfer to your hotel where we have booked early check-in and breakfast for you so you will have the opportunity to freshen up and eat before starting to explore the city.
Today you have a 4 hour city tour of Vladivostok covering the main attractions and more including the historic Vladivostok Railway Station and the C-56 submarine as well as passing many historic, cultural and architectural landmarks and view points.
After the tour return to your hotel with free time this evening.
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