- Journey across Russia on one of the world's most legendary railways.
- Enjoy a home-cooked meal at the home of a local family in Irkutsk, and get to know our welcoming hosts.
- Learn about the history of Russian space exploration during a talk by a cosmonaut.
- Visit a nomadic Mongolian family in their traditional tent, and witness a demonstration of Mongolian horseback riding.
Set out on an epic train journey across one-third of the world, traveling from Vladivostok, Russia to the heart of Moscow along the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. From the Mongolian steppe to Lake Baikal’s remote shores to the snow-capped Ural Mountains, trace the history of tsars, exiles, and Mongols in the comfort of our luxury train, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. Encounter remote cultures and the unique architecture of Siberia’s wooden cottages and Moscow’s onion domes.
Arrive in Vladivostok and check in to our hotel. Meet fellow travelers at a welcome dinner.
As a strategic naval outpost, Vladivostok was closed to most of the world from World War II until the end of the Cold War. Get acquainted with this modern city on a tour that includes the brightly painted railway station; the Pacific Navy War Memorial, featuring the legendary Soviet submarine S-56; and the prow-shaped Monument to the First Settlers. Take in views of the city and its bay from the Eagle’s Nest observation platform, and visit the Vladivostok Fortress, perhaps hearing the daily shot of the cannon at noon. This evening, climb aboard our luxury train and set off on our journey across Russia.
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express through Day 13
Explore the lively squares of Khabarovsk and visit the Regional Museum by the Amur River. Learn about the flora and fauna of the area, and see artifacts from the indigenous tribes of the Goldi and the Gilyak.
As the train slips past rolling hills and Siberian villages of log houses, relax with a book, attend a talk by our expert, or simply watch remote and ever changing countryside pass by. On our second day on board, we enter the sweeping Mongolian steppe.
Arrive in Mongolia’s capital city and head to nearby Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to enjoy the alpine scenery. Here, we’ll visit a nomadic family in their traditional tent dwelling, or ger, and watch a demonstration of Mongolian horseback riding. Then see the colossal equestrian statue of Genghis Khan, Mongolia’s national hero, facing east towards his birthplace. This evening, enjoy dinner with a performance of Mongolian throat singing before we reboard our train and continue on our way back into Russia.
The train rolls through the valley of the Selenge River, which flows into Lake Baikal. Stop in Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic and once a major trading post between China and Russia. Pay a visit to a village of Old Believers, a group descended from 17th-century religious exiles whose fascinating culture has changed little over the centuries. Watch a performance of their unique choral music.
Arrive at beautiful Lake Baikal, called the sacred sea by locals and named a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The lake basin holds about 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen fresh water. A sacred site for Buryat shamans, Lake Baikal’s Shaman Rock is steeped in legend. Our train route hugs the rocky shores and passes through 33 tunnels. Take in spectacular views from the train before setting out to explore the village of Listvyanka, including visits to the Baikal Limnological Musem and the Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture and Ethnography. This evening, enjoy a barbecue dinner on the shore.
Spend the day in Irkutsk, an important Siberian outpost established by the Cossacks in 1652. In the early 19th century, many Russian artists, officers, and nobles were exiled here for their involvement in the Decembrist revolt. Discover the city’s historic sites, including a visit to a local synagogue; stop for a private bell-ringing performance; and enjoy a private concert and champagne reception at the Decembrist House Museum. Cap off the day with dinner at the home of a local family.
Enjoy a day to relax on board, taking in stunning scenery as the vast Siberian taiga unfurls. The following day, stop in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city, to see the opera house, Lenin Square, and the open-air Railway Museum.
Arrive in Yekaterinburg, where Russia’s last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Visit the Romanovs’ execution site—now a church dedicated to their memory—and the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, which preserves the legacy of Russia’s first popularly-elected president, a native of Yekaterinburg.
Today, explore Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan, perched on the banks of the Volga River. Tour the city’s Kremlin, the turquoise-topped Qol Sharif Mosque, and the Annunciation Cathedral. Pay a visit to the Kazan Conservatory and enjoy a concert performed by its students. Then set off on a private cruise on the Volga River before returning to our train to depart on the final leg of our journey.
Disembark in Moscow and take a tour of the city’s iconic sights. Visit the Novodevichy Convent, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as the Novodevichy Cemetery where many of the most renowned Russian politicians, artists and musicians of the last 150 years have been laid to rest. Stroll the Red Square and set foot in the vibrant, onion-domed St. Basil’s Cathedral. The following day, explore the legendary Kremlin and view court regalia from the Romanov dynasty at the Armory Museum. After lunch, head to the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, which sweeps some 350 feet into the sky; then delve into the history of space exploration at the recently updated Memorial Museum of Astronautics, and enjoy a specially arranged talk by a Russian cosmonaut.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Trans-Siberian Rail: Saint Petersburg Extension4 days from $2,995
Post-Trip, 4 Days
St. Petersburg is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its miles of canals, laced together with graceful bridges set amidst 18th-century buildings, have earned it the name "Venice of the North." Immerse yourself in the treasures of the city, discovering magnificent palaces and cathedrals, cruising St. Petersburg's waterways, and savoring the masterpieces of the splendid Hermitage.
Ride the high-speed train to St. Petersburg and check into your hotel. Designed by European architects of Peter the Great's choosing, St. Petersburg was conceived as Russia's link to the western world and served as the country's capital from 1712 until just after the revolution. This afternoon step into the Church of the Savior on the Blood, built as a tribute to Czar Alexander II who was killed by a bomb here in 1881. Cap off the day with a leisurely boat cruise along the city's canals.
Travel by hydrofoil (weather permitting) to Petrodvorets, the country estate of Peter the Great. Stroll the palace's manicured gardens, intended to rival those at Versailles. Then journey to Pushkin, site of Catherine's Palace, originally built in 1717 by Catherine I. After lunch at a traditional restaurant, enjoy a guided tour of the estate, including the iconic Amber Room, clad in brilliant panels of amber. Return to the city in the afternoon and dine on your own this evening.
This morning, take in incredible views of the Winter Palace and Peter and Paul Fortress from Vasilievsky Island. Admire the sparkling dome of St. Isaac's Cathedral, covered with 220 pounds of gold, and examine its beautiful columns faced with lapis, lazuli, and malachite. After lunch, explore the world-renowned Hermitage museum and, by special permission, enter its Gold Room to view Scythian and Greek golden ornaments. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.