The best time to travel on the Trans-siberian Railway

Seasons and weather in Russia, Mongolia and China

In European Russia, summer days from late May to early September are warm and very long. At midsummer in St Petersburg there is no real darkness. Average temperatures range from 18-25 C. Autumn is brief and by the end of October, winter sets in, bringing with it lots of snow and extremely low temperatures. Spring arrives with a vengeance, heralding the great thaw, in late March and April.

Mongolia experiences four very distinct seasons with winter lasting from November to February, spring from March to May, summer until August and autumn during September and October. Summer is peak travel season when the weather is fine. The sunshine can be intense with almost zero humidity and occasional cloud cover. August is the wettest month of the year though by September and October the temperatures are cool, the rain eases up and the changing colours make for spectacular scenery. November sees the onset of the incredibly cold but dry winter months when snow often blankets the ground.

The autumn months of September to early November are a wonderful time to visit Beijing and northern China when the skies are clear and the days breezy. The winter months of late November to February are cold and windy yet the occasional snows can make the city look beautiful when it settles over the Great Wall and other historical monuments. Spring is dry, warm and hazy, and temperatures surge from May onwards. Late summer sees heavy rainstorms with July and August the wettest months of the year.

Best Time to Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway

The various trains that make up the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway journey depart throughout the year so you can plan your journey for any month. Travelling in the summer months mean hotter weather and longer days of sunshine, perfect for sightseeing in the cities and trekking around Lake Baikal. The trains do have air-conditioning that is handled by the train attendants with small window openings along the corridors so temperature control on board is not a problem. Travelling between April and September is also a better option for those who prefer to travel light as fewer layers of clothing are required and a sleep sheet is sufficient, rather than a heavy sleeping bag.

For many travellers, the quintessential Trans-Siberian railway journey wouldn't be complete without frost on the windows while huddling down with a shot of vodka to warm you up as the snow piles high outside. Temperatures drop below freezing in the winter months and snow is common throughout Russia, Mongolia and even northern China. The trains are heated and bedding provided so the train journey itself will be nice and comfortable though it will mean bringing heavier and thicker clothing items with you. In winter you can try your hand at dog sledding or ice skate on the waters of Lake Baikal.

The spring and autumn months have plenty to offer also with flowers coming into bloom and decorating the countryside while the leaves turn golden hues after the height of summer. Outdoor activities abound during these months with trekking particularly popular.

Climate | Moscow


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