Yeakaterinburg may be in the guide books as the "death capital" of Russia - the Romanovs, the mafia etc, but it has so much more to offer tourists.
Staying in a homestay will give you a warm welcome and an insiders view to the city. In winter you can go huskie sledding, skiing and snowmobiling. In summer there is trekking, horse riding and rafting. English speaking guides are available. The town is easy to get round with all the major sights in walking distance. Shopping, eating and drinking are well catered for - a definate stop not to be missed on any transiberian journey.
1. Yekaterinburg - is a very safe city
2. I would recommend a home stay - not hotel
3. Romanov tour- very interesting
4. 3 days in Yekaterinburg would be better - much more to see and do
My Transsiberian Big Rail Tripper was a superb experience. I'd always wanted to travel on the Trans-Siberian express and see a little of Russia, but I wasn't really sure what to expect.
The time spent on the train was such a unique experience - you basically have nothing to do, but since there is really nothing to do, you can just relax. I never felt bored - I just enjoyed the scenery, the company of other passengers (whether fellow tourists or locals) and did a lot of reading!
It was great staying at homestays as it was a great chance to interact with real Russian people and eat real Russian food. The homestays were always relatively close to the towns/cities so viewing the sites was never an issue, but it also allowed a glimpse of real Russian neighbourhoods.
Of course in Beijing and Moscow, and all the places in-between, there were so many things to see, culture to experience and incredible history to soak up.
In all I found the experience incredibly authentic and that's what I was really hoping for!
The OnTheGo transfers from train stations made things so much easier and the local guides that were organised were all superb.
This was my second OnTheGo tour (previous being a 2 week Egypt group tour a couple of years ago) and I will not hesitate to book another tour through them in the future.