Deluxe Trans-Siberian Express
Undoubtedly the world's greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon connecting east and west from Moscow over the Urals, across the magnificent Russian steppes and alongside the shore of the world's largest freshwater lake. By the time your journey ends, it will have passed through eight time zones, and travelled over 6,000 miles - one third of the way around the world.
Our Trans-Siberian tours take a leisurely two weeksfor the journey, making sure you get plenty of time to take in and enjoy this Voyage of a Lifetime.
Opened in stages between 1891 and 1916, this extraordinary engineering achievement is a vital national asset - and by far the best way to experience the grandeur of Russia's rarely visited interior.
Travel on board our private train - the Golden Eagle - and discover Russia and its neighbouring countries on one of our selected private rail journeys.
This deluxe tour is offered by Trans-Siberia.com in conjunction with GW Travel/The Trans-Siberian Express Company, who have been operating private rail adventures for more than 13 years. This is a private departure, which combines an extensive off-train programme with a level of class, comfort and safety that no other passenger train provides.
This itinary is east-bound from Moscow to Vladivostok. A west-bound route is also available and is detailed in our brochuse.
This is itinerary is one of many tours run by GW Travel/The Trans-Siberian Express Company.
DAY 1 MOSCOW
Arrive at Moscow Airport, where you are met and transferred to the five-star Marriott Royal Aurora (or similar). Located in Moscow city centre, and within walking distance of Red Square and the Bolshoi Theatre, this luxury hotel offers spacious accommodation with butler service for each guest room – the only hotel in Moscow to offer this fine service. We enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the hotel, whilst you meet our fellow travellers and anticipate the epic 15 day voyage that lies ahead.
Why not extend your stay in Moscow with additional nights to explore more of the city at your leisure or have time to take in a performance at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre? Tickets need to be pre-booked and are subject to schedule and availability.
DAY 2 MOSCOW
Our touring programme of Moscow principally takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin – the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow – and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. We also visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful facade of the world famous GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.
With our Freedom of Choice touring options you may instead wish to travel out of the city centre to Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia and the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church or visit the famous State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art).
Upon arrival at Moscow Kazansky Station, you will be greeted in the magnificent Imperial Waiting Room with a cold glass of Russian Champagne and canapes as you mix with the other guests and are welcomed by the train staff. The excitement in the waiting room audibly mounts and, 30 minutes before departure, your car attendants will escort you to Platform 1 where a military brass band is playing and the Golden Eagle awaits.
Our Golden Eagle train, on selected departures, will be hauled by a Russian steam locomotive for the first 100km section of the journey. With the opportunity to photograph the locomotive in Moscow Kazansky Station it makes for an unforgettable way to start your journey onboard Russia’s premier train.
DAY 3 KAZAN
Situated on the River Volga, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Here we have the opportunity to see for ourselves its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel we will explore its stunning mosque and picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.
As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia’s most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), we honour his memory with a private concert of his music.
You will also have time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.
DAY 4 YEKATERINBURG
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg, is the capital of the Urals. Known as the Great Divide, the Ural Mountains create the natural border between Europe and Asia so that the cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilisations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape. Our city tour takes us to the poignant site where the Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
Our Freedom of Choice programme will also offer activities such as a walking tour of the city, or explore the intriguing Soviet military past in a visit to Yekaterinburg Military Museum which displays fragments of the U2 American spy-plane flown by Gary Powers that was shot down in this area in 1960 during the Cold War.
DAY 5 NOVOSIBIRSK
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich culture where the arts and science predominate. The city is located in the heart of Russia and is situated on both banks of the River Ob. Our city tour takes us to Lenin Square where the imposing Opera House is located. An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House, we visit an impressive statue of Lenin – a marvellous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.
Alternatively, south of the city you could visit Novosibirsk’s excellent Railway Museum on our Freedom of Choice tour. The museum displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800s, including carriages of the Tsars, through to the Soviet era. Or choose to go to the Mineralogical Centre with its fine display of Siberian minerals.
For those interested in art there is also the Freedom of Choice option to visit the State Art Museum with an extensive collection including icons, Siberian art and numerous distinctive mountainscapes by celebrated spiritual Russian painter Nicholas Roerich. It also displays temporary art and photography exhibitions by local and international artists.
DAY 6 ONBOARD
A day to unwind and reflect on the many sights and sounds we have experienced on our journey so far. Chat to your fellow passengers, perhaps learn a few words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever changing landscape outside your window as it unfolds.
DAY 7 IRKUTSK
Our visit to Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture with its intricately carved lace- like decorations that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance. We also visit the Volkonsky House Museum, which is dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled to this remote outpost after the failed Decembrists uprising of 1825, and we recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.
You could learn to cook some traditional Russian dishes with a local chef and prepare your own lunch with our Freedom of Choice option. Or you might also wish to visit a traditional Russian Dacha (summer house) or an urban apartment to get an insight into the everyday life of an average Russian family.
DAY 8 LAKE BAIKAL
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal and is a major highlight on our Trans-Siberian journey. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20 per cent of the world’s freshwater.
Also known as the ‘Pearl of Siberia’ it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over 50 species of fish including omul. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff hugging tracks above the lake with a vista of snow capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop.
Weather permitting, we stop in an extremely picturesque location by the lake for photographic opportunities and for the brave hearted there is time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear and ice-cold waters of Baikal. Travelling onwards to the end of the Baikal branch line, we leave the train and travel by boat on the lake to Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills and visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium where you can learn about the flora and fauna of the lake.
We will enjoy a delicious barbecue, including freshly smoked omul fish, prepared by our own chefs on the shore of Lake Baikal to complete a memorable day.
As part of our Freedom of Choice excursion programme you can choose a hiking opportunity that offers some spectacular and panoramic hillside views of the lake below.
DAY 9 ULAN UDE
The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, offers a unique insight into its heritage. As we tour the area you will notice the different faces of these welcoming Buryat people. During our exploration of the Old Believers’ Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as we are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.
DAY 10 ULAAN BAATAR
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us into Mongolia and a visit to its capital, Ulaan Baatar. Mongolia, once the very centre of an enormous empire led by Genghis Khan, is a country of beautiful landscapes, nomadic people and rich in culture and history. Mongolia is famous for its endless green Steppes, grazing livestock and white, nomadic Gers (Yurts) dotted all across the countryside.
We start the tour at Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates as ‘the great place of complete joy’. At Sukhbaatar Square we can see the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol. We then drive out of the city to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery of wild Mongolia, having the opportunity to visit a traditional Ger and meet a nomadic family or try our hand at horse-riding, an intrinsic part of Mongolian life.
Alternatively there is an option to stay in the city as part of our Freedom of Choice touring. After Gandan Monastery and Sukhbaatar Square we visit the National Museum where we learn about the country’s intriguing history. We’ll also see Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, the winter residences of Bogd Khan, the last Mongolian emperor, built between 1893 and 1903. We can also explore the city and have some free time for shopping for Mongolian souvenirs, and their speciality cashmere.
We will also enjoy a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists.
DAY 11 ONBOARD
Enjoy a more leisurely pace today as we travel through the beautiful landscape of the Russian Far East. You may wish to attend one of the interesting lectures or Russian language lessons.
DAY 12 ONBOARD
It's the perfect opportunity to practice your Russian or simply relax as our journey today follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border. Enjoy Russia at its most dramatic and remote, as the Golden Eagle eats up the miles on our way to Vladivostok.
DAY 13 ONBOARD
Passing directly north of Seoul, Darwin and Osaka, we spend our last full day onboard the Golden Eagle today as the most easterly point of this mammoth journey is reached passing through Khabarovsk, where we cross the River Amur. Tonight we enjoy our final dinner onboard our private train that has been our home for the last twelve days as we approach our final destination on this unforgettable journey.
DAY 14 VLADIVOSTOK
After travelling through 8 time zones and covering a staggering 6,600 miles (10,600kms) along this iconic railway, the Golden Eagle pulls into its final destination, Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is a military port, located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan and is home to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Due to its military importance, the city was closed to foreigners between 1930 and 1992. Vladivostok (literally translated as ‘Ruler of the East’) offers visitors an interesting opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a visit to a preserved World War Two submarine. Our city tour will also take us to the iconic suspension bridge over Golden Horn Bay, one of the largest of its kind worldwide, which opened in 2012 for the APEC conference.
Our hotel in Vladivostok, where we stay for one night, is the four-star Hotel Hyundai.
DAY 15 VLADIVOSTOK
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Vladivostok Airport to begin your journey home.