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Arrive at Vladivostok airport, where you will be met and transferred to the four-star Hyundai Hotel. We will enjoy a welcome reception dinner at our hotel, whilst you meet your fellow travellers and anticipate the epic 15 day voyage that lies ahead.
Today we spend the morning in Vladivostok. This once ‘closed’ Russian port now offers visitors an exciting opportunity to unravel its mysteries as we explore its principal military attractions including a tour of a restored submarine before boarding the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express during the afternoon. After settling into our modern, stylish cabins, we enjoy dinner in one of the beautifully designed restaurant cars as our rail adventure westwards to Moscow begins.
Passing directly north of Osaka, Darwin and Seoul we spend our first full day on board the Golden Eagle today. This is the most easterly point of our mammoth journey passing through Khabarovsk, where we stop for a short city tour. We then rejoin the train and cross the River Amur, as we make our way west.
Our journey today follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border. Enjoy Russia at its most beautiful and remote, as the landscape unfolds outside your window. Or you may like to attend one of the absorbing lectures or Russian language lessons.
Today offers you the perfect opportunity to practice your improving Russian or watch a DVD as you wile away a few hours. For those who like to socialise the Bar Car is the perfect place to enjoy a chat with your fellow passengers as you listen to our resident musician.
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us into Mongolia and a visit to its capital Ulaan Baatar. Mongolia is famous for its endless green Steppes, grazing livestock and white, nomadic Gers (Yurts) dotted all across the countryside. We visit the National Museum where we explore the country's intriguing history. We will also visit 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 guests can remain in Ulaan Baatar to explore more of the city and have some free time for shopping.
This afternoon we arrive in Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its Mongol 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 Believers Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these communities as we are treated to a traditional meal and enjoy a concert featuring local dancers and musicians.
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. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 20% of the world’s freshwater, home to a unique breed of freshwater seal and over fifty species of fish. Weather permitting, we stop at one of Baikal’s picturesque and secluded bays to enjoy a delicious BBQ including freshly smoked fish prepared by our own chefs. For the brave hearted, there is even time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters. In the afternoon, we visit Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement nestling at the base of the surrounding hills.
We arrive in Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, and our visit today takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating 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. Here we enjoy a private concert before returning to our waiting train for dinner.
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 more words of Russian or simply enjoy the ever changing landscape outside your window.
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich culture where the arts, science and literature predominate. Our city tour takes us to the 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.
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the third largest Russian city and the capital of the Urals. 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, Nicholas II of Russia was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. We cross the Europe/Asia divide after we leave Yekaterinburg.
We spend our last full day on board the Golden Eagle today. We arrive at the picturesque and historic city of Kazan by mid-morning. Situated on the River Volga, 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 magnificent onion-domed cathedral.
After travelling over an amazing 6,600 miles (10,600km) along this epic route, we arrive in Moscow. Our city tour of Moscow principally takes us to Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might. Here we see an eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the grandeur of The Kremlin and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. At the conclusion of our city tour, we transfer to the luxurious five-star Marriott Royal Aurora hotel (or similar) located in the heart of this vibrant city.
After a leisurely breakfast and hotel check out we transfer you to the railway station for your train journey to St Petersburg. On arrival we will transfer you to your hotel where the remainder of the day can be spent at leisure.
Enjoy a city tour today taking in Nevsky Prospekt, St. Isaac's Cathedral, the Church on Spilled Blood and the Peter and Paul Fortress, giving us a solid introduction of this beautiful city. At one time a gruesome prison within the Peter and Paul Fortress compound is SS Peter and Paul Cathedral - housing the tombs of the Romanov monarchs.
Today marks the end of your spectacular journey in Russia. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to the airport in time for your onward departure flight.
The ancient and provincial town of Novgorod is en route from St Petersburg to Moscow and a popular pit-stop. ...