Two-week Trans-Siberian Railway Tour17 Days | Moscow, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Baikal, St. Petersburg

Two-week Trans-Siberian Railway Tour

A once-in-a-lifetime journey on Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. Starting at Moscow’s infamous Red Square, you’ll travel across the vast Siberian steppe and forests to the stunning Lake Baikal, before visiting the elegant city of St. Petersburg. The unique experience of travelling Russia’s legendary rail route is complemented with fascinating insights into the rich history and culture of this vast and diverse country as you explore beautiful churches, magnificent palaces, interesting museums, and evocative Soviet monuments. After Russia’s historic capital city, Moscow, you’ll visit Kazan, the capital of the republic of Tatarstan, with its fascinating blend of Islamic and Christian cultures. Next comes Yekaterinburg, the first city you’ll encounter on your long-awaited Trans-Siberian Railway tour. Then you’ll discover Novosibirsk, Siberia’s buzzing capital and centre of industry, science, and the arts, and Irkutsk, considered Siberia’s historical and cultural heart. However, the unrivalled highlight of any trip to Siberia is admiring the scenery of the tranquil Lake Baikal and travelling on the Circum-Baikal Railway, a unique historical monument and feat of engineering. The stunning palaces and canals of Peter the Great’s masterpiece, St. Petersburg, provide a fitting end to this epic trip.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Moscow – Arrival
 
Arrive in Moscow, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel (check in is possible from 14:00). Free time. Overnight at the hotel.

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Night city tour: ‘Evening lights of Moscow’
River cruise on the motor ship ‘Flotilla Radisson Royal’
Tickets to the Bolshoi Theatre, concerts, the circus, or other performances.

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Driving distance: 10 km
Meals: lunch, dinner

Day 2: Moscow
 
After breakfast, take a guided tour of Russia’s capital city, Moscow. Like Rome, this is a city on seven hills. Your tour of the metropolis starts at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) in the south-west of the city. Elevated 78 metres above the river, these hills are Moscow’s main panoramic viewpoint. They offer excellent views of most of the city’s attractions: the Kremlin, Stalin’s famous “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers (such as the main building of Moscow State University), the modern Moscow City skyscrapers, the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences, Russia’s “White House”, Shukhov Tower, Luzhniki Stadium, and the Ostankino TV Tower. After visiting Vorobyovy Gory, descend to the Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Gora (Victory Park) to see the Church of St. George the Victorious, the Triumphal Arch, and the major street of Kutuzovsky Prospekt. Then, visit the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world. The original cathedral was destroyed in the 1930s by order of Stalin and only rebuilt in the 1990s. The cathedral has a 69-metre-high dome, on the inside of which are beautiful images from the New Testament. Continue the tour at the famed Red Square, walking past St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the famous GUM department store, the monument to Minin and Pozharsky, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexander Garden. The day ends at the impressive Kremlin and its cathedrals (closed on Thursdays). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the Armory in the Kremlin (except Thursdays)

Day 3: Moscow – Kazan – Yekaterinburg
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport to take the 11:05 flight to Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan (825 km). Upon arrival at 12:40, begin a sightseeing tour of the city, which boasts more than 1,000 years fascinating history. The tour starts at the Old Tatar Settlement, a unique open-air museum in Kazan’s Vakhitovsky District. The founders of this settlement were residents who didn’t want to obey the Moscow authorities after Ivan the Terrible’s troops captured Kazan. Al-Marzhdani, the first stone mosque built after the invasion, is considered the pearl of the settlement. Continue to other significant places in the city: Tugan Avylym (an example of a restored old Tatar village), the Kaban Lakes, the Tatar Drama Theatre named after Galiaskar Kamal, the Church of St. Barbara, and the Kazan Federal University, which occupies many of the city’s most beautiful historical buildings. On Freedom Square, see the Kazan City Hall, the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Conservatory, and the government building of the Republic of Tatarstan. Then visit the Holy Cross Church, which hosts the Vatican copy of the famous Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. The second part of the day will be devoted to the ancient history of the city, focusing on the Kazan Kremlin. This famous museum-reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a unique complex of historical and archaeological monuments. These include the Kul-Sharif Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Kazan and one of the largest in Europe, Blagoveshchensky Cathedral, the Cannon Yard, the leaning Suyumbike Tower, the Presidential Palace, and the tomb of the Kazan khans. After exploring the Kremlin, transfer to the railway station to take the 20:08 train to Yekaterinburg. Overnight on the train.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 4: Yekaterinburg
 
Upon arrival in Yekaterinburg at 12:20, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Yekaterinburg was founded by Peter the Great and named after his wife, Catherine I. It later became famous as the place where the deposed Tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed. Established for industrial purposes as a “window to Asia”, the city contrasts with St. Petersburg, the so-called “window to Europe”, which was intended to become the cultural and administrative showcase of the whole country. Take a 3-hour tour of Yekaterinburg to understand how the city emerged and developed. Visit the city’s birthplace – the dam, called “Plotinka” by locals, that blocked the Iset River to provide water to what used to be the world’s largest metallurgical plant. The area is now a city park. Continue to the monument to Yekaterinburg’s founders, De Genin and Tatishchev, and 1905 Square, which hosts a statue of Lenin. Discover the Old City, including the 18th century streets, former outskirts of Yekaterinburg, and the mansions of merchants and gold miners. The House of Sevastyanov, is a stunning example of such a mansion. Then visit Voznesenskaya Gorka, where you’ll hear the legends and secrets of Yekaterinburg’s “golden age”. Moving forward in time, discover the city’s Soviet architecture, including many impressive examples of constructivism. Complete your journey through Yekaterinburg’s history with a visit to Yekaterinburg City, the futuristic centre of modern social and business life. Here you’ll see Yekaterinburg’s tallest building, the Iset Tower, as well as the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Centre, the large central stadium, and the “Pineapple Building” set to be the headquarters of the Russian Copper Company. End the tour with impressive city views from the observation deck on the 52nd floor of the Vysotsky Business Centre. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Trip to the Obelisk marking the border between Europe and Asia (73 km, 1h 20m)
Self-guided walking tour through Yekaterinburg’s historical centre (following the “Red Line” tourist route marked on the city streets and listening to an audio guide)
Visit to the Museum of Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first President Master class on making traditional dumplings
Tickets to performances at the Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Ural Opera Ballet Theatre)

Day 5: Yekaterinburg – Novosibirsk
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the railway station to take the 12:15 train to Novosibirsk (1,518 km, 21h 40m). Spend the day on the train. You may find the scenery quite monotonous, consisting of endless kilometres of forest and farmland. However, the highlight of the unique rail journeys you’ll take today and over the next few days may be enjoying the company of your fellow travellers as you bond over the shared experience and gaze at the vastness of Siberia while contemplating life. Overnight on the train.
Day 6: Novosibirsk
 
Arrive in Novosibirsk at 11:55. The magnificent station building is shaped like a steam locomotive heading eastwards. Meet your driver at the station and transfer to the hotel. After a short rest, take a guided sightseeing tour of the city. The tour starts with a walk through the historical centre and encompasses Lenin Square, the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Chapel of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Philharmonic Hall, the Administration Building, and the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. Visit the Museum of Local Lore, and then take a walk along the embankment of the River Ob to the City Beginning Park, where the first railway bridge was built over the river. See the monument to Alexander III, who initiated the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, and the longest covered metro bridge in the world. On the left bank, visit the Monument of Glory dedicated to the Second World War. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours

During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Visit to the “Russia is my History” interactive exhibition
Visit to the Novosibirsk State Art Museum
Visit to the Siberian Birch Bark Museum
Visit to the Nicholas Roerich Museum
Tickets to the Opera and Ballet Theatre or circus

Day 7: Novosibirsk – On the train
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the railway station to take the 12:55 train to Irkutsk (1,850 km, 31h). This city, one of Siberia’s oldest and considered its cultural capital, is called “Siberia’s St. Petersburg” because of its well-preserved, low-rise centre with many churches and noble mansions. However, the city is 100 years older than its European counterpart. Spend the day on the train. Overnight on the train.
Day 8: On the train – Irkutsk
 
Spend the day on the train. Upon arrival in Irkutsk at 21:15, meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Irkutsk
 
After breakfast, meet your guide for a sightseeing tour of Irkutsk. This city, the heart of Siberia, boasts more than 100 significant monuments. Your tour starts at Irkutsk’s most important streets, Karl Marx Street and Lenin Street, where unique wooden architecture coexists with majestic stone buildings inspired by the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow. There are also many theatres in this area, including the Musical Theatre and the Drama Theatre. Stroll past the 17th century Spasskaya Church, which is the city’s oldest brick building and played a prominent role in its history, and the Polish Cathedral, the only Gothic building in Siberia. This Roman Catholic church was built for political exiles from Poland and their descendants. Pass through Kirov Square, where the Cossacks built the fortress that laid the foundation for the city. Continue along Gagarinsky Boulevard, an embankment along the Angara River with many cafés and terraces and an ideal place for walking. Visit the market, which the townspeople call the “bazaar”, including its fish stalls that sell fresh catch from Lake Baikal. Behind the bustling market is an old area of the city with typical Russian architecture, including traditional wooden houses with carved shutters and window frames. Walk through Irkutskaya Sloboda (130th Quarter), a recently renovated district with several historical architectural gems. The tour ends at the Museum of the Decembrists, which is dedicated to the participants of the December 1825 uprising that aimed to abolish serfdom and force a transition to a constitutional system. The uprising was brutally suppressed, and many participants were sentenced to exile in Siberia. With their cultured backgrounds, such “Decembrists” made a major contribution to the development of Irkutsk, spreading reformist and progressive ideas throughout Siberia. The museum includes the old estates of two Decembrists, Prince Trubetskoy and Prince Volkonsky, and its collection contains their personal belongings, documents, and household items. Return to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4 hours
Day 10: Irkutsk – Circumbaikal Railway – Listvyanka
 
Collect a packed breakfast from the hotel and transfer to the Irkutsk passenger railway station. At 07:40 take the comfortable train to Slyudyanka (166 km, 2h 30 min). During the train’s brief (30 min) stop, take the opportunity to admire the only station in the world that is built entirely of white and pink marble. Spend the rest of the day on the Circumbaikal Railway, with excursion stops at: Angasolka Station (149 km) – 30-50 minutes, Kirkirei Station (123 km) – 30-40 minutes, Polovinnaya Station (110 km) – 30-50 minutes, Italian Wall (102 km) – 15-30 minutes, Ulanovo Station (97 km) – 1 minute (technical stop). Lunch on the train. At 17:03, arrive at the Circumbaikal Railway’s last station, Baikal, and transfer to Listvyanka. Overnight at a hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 11 hours
Day 11: Listvyanka – Irkutsk
 
After breakfast, take a walking tour of Listvyanka, which is the closest lakeside village to Irkutsk (6 km away) and is known as the “Baikal Riviera”. Climb the Chersky Stone, which offers a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Baikal and an excellent opportunity to take impressive photographs. Visit the Baikal Limnological Museum, the only museum in the world that focuses on the study of Lake Baikal and its flora and fauna. The museum also has aquariums hosting omul, whitefish, sturgeon, seals, and other examples of the lake’s fauna. Free time before returning to Irkutsk. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Please note: The sequence of activities on Days 10 and 11 may vary depending on the Circumbaikal Railway’s schedule.
Day 12: Irkutsk – St. Petersburg
 
Check out of the hotel early in the morning (with a packed breakfast) and transfer to Irkutsk Airport. Take the 10:20 flight to St. Petersburg, arriving at 11:50. Meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. After a short rest, explore Peter the Great’s masterpiece, the elegant city of St. Petersburg. Your tour starts at Nevsky Prospekt, the city’s central “artery” and the main place for Petersburgers to meet each other and take walks. As you follow this famous thoroughfare, you’ll come across numerous historical attractions, including the Anichkov Bridge over the Fontanka River (one of the symbols of the city), Catherine's Garden, Gostiny Dvor, Griboedov Canal, the Admiralty, the Field of Mars, Palace Square (the location of the stunning Winter Palace), and Senate Square (the site of the “Bronze Horseman”, the impressive statue of the city’s founder). Continue to the famous religious monuments of St. Isaac’s Cathedral (the world’s fourth largest Christian church), the colourful Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood (which is decorated with beautiful Byzantine mosaics), and Kazan Cathedral (the city’s main church, where the main icon of the Kazan Mother of God is kept). Explore the Holy Trinity Alexander Nevsky Lavra Monastery, the city’s first and largest monastery, before walking past the legendary revolutionary naval cruiser, Aurora, which played a key role in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Day 13: St. Petersburg – Peterhof – Kronstadt – St. Petersburg
 
Breakfast. Drive out of St. Petersburg to Peterhof (40 km), learning about the history of the old Peterhof road on the way. Visit the Great Peterhof Palace, the former summer imperial residence and the centre of social life in the 18th century. Admire the stunning gardens and fountains and see many of the more than 1,500 rare exhibits of furniture, paintings, fabric, and porcelain. Continue to the old port city of Kronstadt (33 km) on the island of Kotlin, via the tunnel under the Sea Canal that connects the mainland to the island. Explore this former centre of maritime trade and defence, including the defensive and hydraulic structures, the monument to Admiral Makarov, the Petrovsky Marina, the Italian Palace, and the Arsenal building. End the tour of Kotlin Island with a visit to the Naval Cathedral, the main church of the Russian Navy and a monument to the country’s dead sailors. Return to St. Petersburg. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 14: St. Petersburg – Moscow – Departure
 
An early breakfast followed by hotel check-out. Then transfer to the railway station to take the 08:55 high-speed train to Moscow. Upon arrival at 13:00, transfer to Moscow International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus)
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included (10 breakfasts)
  • Lunch on Day 10 (Circumbaikal Railway trip)
  • Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary
  • Economy class tickets for flights Moscow – Kazan and Irkutsk – St. Petersburg
  • Tickets for trains Kazan – Yekaterinburg, Yekaterinburg – Novosibirsk, and Novosibirsk – Irkutsk (2nd-class, 4-berth sleeping compartments with shared washing and toilet facilities – upgrade to 1st-class available upon request but subject to availability) and St. Petersburg – Moscow (airline-style seats on high-speed train)
  • Visa support for Russia tourist visa
  • Meet and greet service upon arrival to departure from Russia for groups of three or more people
  • In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour
  • Full board (breakfasts on the train, lunches (except on Day 10), and dinners)
  • Hotel charges for additional services
  • Consular fees for Russia tourist visa
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated)
  • Personal travel insurance

 

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Moscow - 2 nights
Veliy Hotel Mokhovaya Moscow, Sverchkov 8 Hotel, Starosadskiy Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Hotel Moscow - BaumanskayaGodunov Hotel, Arbat House Hotel, Pushkin Hotel, Brick Design Hotel
Yekaterinburg - 1 night
Tenet, Green Park, Dom Sovetov by Original HotelsNovotel Yekaterinburg Centre, Four Elements Ekaterinburg, Renome
Novosibirsk - 1 night
Azimut Sibir, River ParkDomina Novosibirsk, Doubletree by Hilton, Park Inn by Radisson Novosibirsk
Irkutsk - 3 nights
Ibis, AngaraMarriott, Central
Listvyanka - 1 night
Krestovaya Pad, Baikalskie TeremaNicola, Mayak
St. Petersburg - 2 nights
Ibis St. Petersburg Centre, Station Hotel L1, Hotel Bristol, Mini-hotel CentreSolo Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky, Original Sokos Olympia Garden, Vedensky Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Nevsky

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