For those captivated by the Russian Winter and relishing the chance to experience this magnificent country at its crisp, wintery best, this is a truly fabulous voyage. Come and experience the steppes, the cities and the vastness of Russia at the time so many feel that she is at her very best.
Days 1-2, MOSCOW
Arrive at Moscow airport, where you are met and transferred to the five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of the city for a one-night stay. We enjoy a welcome reception dinner at our hotel. The following morning our tour of Moscow takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might. Here we see a mix of fascinating architecture, such as St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. We enjoy the sophistication of a Moscow evening as we take dinner in one of the city’s many restaurants. Late evening sees us board the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.
Day 3, VLADIMIR & SUZDAL
Today we visit the historic city of Vladimir. Founded in 990, it is one of the Russia’s oldest communities with an architectural wealth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned. Our excursion moves on to the town of Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024. Here we visit the atmospheric St Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by a male choir. No Russian winter experience would be complete without a Troika Sledge Ride. Enjoy the stunning scenery as your open horse drawn sleigh takes you on a captivating journey around Suzdal.
Day 4, YEKATERINBURG
We cross the Europe/Asia divide before arriving in the historic city of Yekaterinburg. Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, this third largest Russian city is also the capital of the Urals. Our tour takes us to the execution site where the Romanov, Nicholas II of Russia was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site offers a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
Day 5, NOVOSIBIRSK
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich cultural city. Our tour takes us to the Novosibirsk Opera House. An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is the largest opera house in the world. In front of the Opera House, we visit an imposing statue of Lenin – a marvellous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.
Day 6, ONBOARD
Today we relax onboard as our train travels through Siberia. In comfort enjoy the ever-changing views as sweeping panoramas of natural snow-covered beauty unfold before us.
Day 7, IRKUTSK
We arrive in Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, and take in the most significant sites and museums in this city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance. Next, we visit the Decembrist House museum which is dedicated to the memory of the exiled aristocrats who were forced to flee to this remote outpost after the failed revolution of 1825. We will enjoy a private concert before leaving for the enchanting wooded encampment of Zaimka (Hunters Lodge) where we will be met by local women dressed in traditional costume. We have the opportunity to explore a Banya (Russian Sauna) in one of the region’s authentic wooden houses. Drinks and traditional food can be enjoyed within a series of the cosy timber houses.
Day 8, LAKE BAIKAL
Today offers a real highlight of travelling through Siberia in winter. Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff hugging tracks above the frozen lake with snow-capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop. Completely frozen in winter Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and at this time of year we will visit the shoreside Ice Festival to look at the many intricate works of ice art. We are taken in a hovercraft across the lake for 30 minutes to the place where the ice fishing, dog sledges and snowmobiles are situated and you will enjoy the perfect vantage point to appreciate the magnificence of this unspoilt location. There is also the opportunity to watch the under-ice fishing and try the freshly caught fish which have been smoked in a mobile smokehouse and served warm with ice-cold vodka. Delicious! This is truly a unique day of activities and adventure to experience!
Day 9, ULAN UDE
Today we arrive in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its heritage. As we tour the area you will notice the different faces and dress styles of these welcoming people. During our exploration of the Old Believer’s Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as we are treated to a traditional meal and enjoy a concert featuring local dancers and musicians.
Day 10, ULAAN BAATAR, MONGOLIA
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us to Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. Passing the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and infamous Mongol, we also visit the National Museum where we explore the country’s intriguing history. Lunch is taken Mongol style in a traditional Ger (Yurt) where we experience an authentic local meal and entertainment providing a unique opportunity to encounter this time-honoured nomadic way of life.
Days 11-12, ONBOARD
Enjoy a more leisurely pace today as we travel through the beautiful Russian landscape of this vast and varied country.
Day 13, ONBOARD
Passing directly north of Seoul, Darwin and Osaka, we spend our last full day on board the Golden Eagle as the most easterly point of our journey is reached passing through Khabarovsk, where we cross the River Amur. Tonight, we enjoy our last dinner onboard as we approach our final destination on this unforgettable journey.
Day 14, VLADIVOSTOK
After travelling through 8 time zones and over 6,600 miles (10,600km) along this epic route to the end of the Trans-Siberian line, the Golden Eagle pulls into Vladivostok, a military port located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan. Vladivostok offers visitors an opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a tour of a restored submarine before we transfer to the four-star Hotel Hyundai for our final evening and the Farewell Dinner.
Day 15, VLADIVOSTOK
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Vladivostok airport to begin your journey home.