Upon arrival in Vladivostok you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Accommodation at the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax.
A full day tour of Vladivostok will start from Vladivostok Railway Station, which was built in the Russian architectural style of the 17th century. It was modeled after the Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow, the beginning point of the Trans- Siberian Railroad. You will drive through the main square of the city and see the mix of architectural styles: Soviet-style block buildings and high-rises, imposing and massive structures of the 19th century. You’ll see impressive statues, monumental squares and buildings, and drive uphill for a panorama of the busy city and its port in the Golden Horn bay. In the afternoon, visit the Museum of Regional Studies and the local Art Gallery. At the end of this busy day you will transfer to the railway station to board an evening train for Ulan Ude.
First you journey north then west at Khabarovsk where you cross the mighty Amur River. The train will make a short stop in the city of Khabarovsk, one of the oldest cities in the Russian Far East.
You continue your train journey towards Ulan Ude. Today you’ll travel through the southeastern part of Siberia, Chita, one of the world’s richest gold mining areas. Chita’s proximity to the Mongolian and Chinese borders makes it a popular stopover for Eastern traders and merchants, crossing Siberia to do business with Russia.
Today you’ll arrive early in the morning in Ulan Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia. Transfer to the hotel and accommodations. Take an afternoon tour of the capital of the Buryat Republic, once a part of the Mongolian empire from the13th to the 17th century. The Buryats were originally nomadic herders with religious similarities to Tibetan Buddhists. In the 18th century, Russian Queen Elizabeth officially recognized Buddhism as a religion in Russia. To this day, Buryatia remains the largest center of Buddhism in Russia. A city tour of Ulan Ude and a visit to the open-air Ethnographical Museum will reveal the story of this fascinating place. A Buryat cuisine dinner at a local restaurant will end the day on a relaxing note.
Your day will start with a tour to the Ivolginsky Datsan (Buddhist temple), built in 1945 as the only Buddhist spiritual center of Russia. In the course of time the Temple became a residence of Khambo Lama, the leader of all Russian Lamas. Service Hurals and everyday ceremony that are dedicated to Lamas and the most important events of Buddhist history take place here. The afternoon is free. After a hearty homemade dinner in a local family, you transfer to the railway station to board the train for an overnight ride to Irkutsk.
You approach the center of this vast country and prepare for a morning arrival in Irkutsk. You’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. After breakfast, explore the city of Irkutsk by taking a city tour that includes visits to the major sites. Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia will intrigue you with its history and rich architectural style, a mixture of neoclassicism with the ancient wooden houses typical of old Siberia. A visit to the Decembrists Museum will help you better understand the Decembrists’ history (members of secret revolutionary societies whose activities led to the uprising of December 1825, against Czar Nicholas I).
The entire day is spent visiting Lake Baikal (largest fresh water lake of Eurasia and world’s deepest - 5,714 ft.), with an excursion to the Museum of Wooden Architecture, where you learn about the life of local Siberians. An afternoon boat ride on the lake will be followed by a visit to the one-of-a-kind museum of Lake Baikal and a dinner at the local restaurant.
This afternoon continue your Trans- Siberian Railway journey by boarding a first class train for Moscow. Settle into your comfortable compartment and enjoy a cup of hot tea. The first hours on the train take you past Angarsk, Zima, and Taishet, old Russian towns of which you will catch a glimpse from the train car window.
The train arrives in Moscow in the afternoon. You’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy Moscow on your own.
The time passes quickly as you settle into life on board the train, reading, relaxing, and playing cards or simply taking in the scenery as you travel west through Siberia. You will pass through diverse landscapes, such as taiga forests, boundless steppes and tundra, and travel through some major industrial Siberian cities, including Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk. As the train makes several stops at railway stations, you will have a chance to walk along the platform and sample some of the tasty snacks being sold by local babushkas.
Today you’ll cross the Irtysh River and pass over the Ural Mountains, the official boundary between Asia and Europe. The train will arrive in Ekaterinburg and make a short stop at the railway station. This city is rich with historic events: founded in the 17th century, the city was transformed to serve as exile for many prisoners, amongst them the last Czar and his family. Ekaterinburg is also the hometown of Boris Yeltsin, who served as mayor of the city.
The train arrives in St. Petersburg in the morning. You’ll be met and transferred to the hotel. Take a sightseeing tour of the city, which will include major sites such as the Bronze Horseman, the Spirit of Basil Island, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and Cathedral of the Spilled Blood. Complete your tour with a visit to the bastions of the Peter and Paul Fortress.
Tour the world-famous Hermitage Museum where masterpieces by hundreds of artists including Renoir, Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Picasso are displayed. An afternoon free will give you time on your own to visit new sights or revisit the Hermitage. Your final evening will be completed by a farewell dinner and folklore show.
Today you take a day tour of Peterhof, Peter the Great’s summer palace, best known for its outstanding series of gilded fountains that reach from the palace down the hill to the Baltic Sea.
Your day will start with a Moscow city tour followed by a visit to the Kremlin (residence of Tsars and Patriarchs), Armory Museum (collection of gold, silver and jewelry), the Diamond Fund, Red Square and Alexandrovsky Garden.
In the morning visit Kolomenskoye Estate (summer residence of Tsars since the time of Ivan the Terrible) and its church, built in 1530, once called the 8th wonder of the world. The rest of your day is free with many optional excursions available.
Spend your morning and afternoon exploring the city on your own. Evening transfer to the train station for an overnight departure to St. Petersburg on a famous Red Arrow train.
Your journey comes to an end as you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Trans-Siberian Railway Journey: Vladivostok, Ulan Ude, Irkutsk,
Moscow and St. Petersburg