Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
This extraordinary 15-day itinerary shows you the best of what Siberia has to offer. From the historical city of Irkutsk, you’ll make your way across the vast region of Russia, scaling mountains, crossing lakes, sleeping on trains and camping for the night in the wilderness. The adventure truly begins in Irkutsk, a base from which you’ll explore the stunning Baikal Lake, the largest of its type in the world. Next, head back in Irkutsk to catch the train, which makes its way along the Trans-Siberian Railway route to Novosibirsk. The second week is dedicated to journeying across the Altai Mountains, as well as the Karakol Valley, where you’ll bed down for the night in traditional yurts. The final leg of the trip loops round to the picturesque Chulyshman River before eventually ending back in Novosibirsk.
Once arrived in Irkutsk, you’ll meet with your guide and transfer to the three-star Angara Hotel. After, embark on a city tour of Irkutsk, visiting the iconic wooden houses, churches, the Znamenskij Monastery, the great main street of Irkutsk and other historic sites such as the famous Decemberists’ House.
After breakfast, leave Irkutsk behind and head for the Buryatian village of Ust-Orda around 90 minutes away. Here, there’s chance to visit the local regional museum, meet with local Buryat people and sample some local Buryatian cuisine for lunch. Return to Irkutsk in the late afternoon.
Enjoy an inclusive breakfast then transfer to the Irkutsk train station to start a breathtaking railway journey through the Baikal countryside. Stop off and explore further, walking along the banks of Lake Baikal as you go. Lunch will be served on the train, which makes its way to a small Baikal village named Port Baikal. A quick ferry transfer is needed to get to Listvyanka, where you’ll check in to a hotel.
Further exploration of Lake Baikal on day four takes you around the picturesque surroundings near Listvyanka village, including visits to Taltsy Open-Air Museum of Siberian Wooden Architecture and a fish and souvenir market. You’ll have a chance to sample the lake’s famous ‘Omul’ fish at a local restaurant for lunch, whilst afternoon activities involve a cable car ride to the Chersky Peak for panoramic views and a small hike to St. Nicholas Church. In the evening, return to Irkutsk (an 80-minute drive) for dinner.
It’s time to experience the world-famous Trans-Siberian Railway as you depart Irkutsk for the unofficial Siberian capital of Novosibirsk via the iconic rail route. The spectacular journey passes some epic Siberian scenery, with lunch and dinner being served before you bed down for the night on the train.
A full day of sightseeing in and around Novosibirsk awaits today, about half-way through this thrilling trip. Morning highlights include a tour of the scientific city of Akademgorodok just outside the city, whilst inner-city stops include the famous Novosibirsk Railway Station (the biggest station of the Trans-Siberian Railroad), Ascension Cathedral, Krasny Prospect street, Lenin Square and a Siberian farm market. In the evening, its back on the train for dinner and a well-earned night’s sleep in your private bunks.
While you’ve been sleeping, the train has been making its steady way towards Russia’s famous Altai Mountains, and early in the morning you’ll meet with your guide to proceed by car to Chemal village with an en-route breakfast stop at Srostki village. After a village tour, the drive takes you over more of the incredible landscape, stopping off at a monastery before dinner and for an overnight stay at a local guesthouse.
Wake up on day nine in the heart of the Altai Mountains, ready for another full day of touring in this particularly beautiful part of the world. The guide will take you to see the rapids of the river Katun, Katun hydropower station, Oroktoy Bridge, the impressive karst caves, Kuyus settlement and Beltertuyuk waterfall. Have an evening dinner and stay overnight at the remote Chemal village.
After breakfast, head for the Karakol Valley via Chuysky Tract highway (around 4 hours' drive), famous for its stunning scenery as well as the fact that it connects Mongolia with Russia. There’s a trip along the way to a quaint botanical garden, although the excursion itself is enough to satisfy all kinds of travelers, with the breathtaking landscape uncovered with each turn of the road. Arrive at the Karakol Valley with accommodation for the night being comprised of a traditional four-bed ‘yurt’ along with camp-side activities in the evening.
Enjoy an extra serving at breakfast as today you’ll need the energy, hiking through the impressive Karakol Valley. The walk, which isn’t particularly challenging and is suitable for novices, takes you to ancient sacred places, temples and tombs of Tuekta, Bashadar, Boocha and Karakol, where Afanasians, Karakolians, Scyths and Turks buried their leaders and shamans past. You’ll have dinner in the valley before bedding down for the night.
It’s back onto the breathtaking Chuysky Tract towards Mongolia with several en-route stops during the 7-8 hour drive such as the the Chiket-Aman Pass (6,000 feet above sea level), popular with photographers with its panoramic views of the region. There are also visits to local markets as well as a chance to see ancient rock paintings at the forest settlement of Kalbak-Tash. The afternoon drive takes you onwards to a Kosh-Agach village (Tydtuyaryk) near Mongolia, where you’ll have dinner and sleep once again in those cozy yurts.
The morning part of the journey to the remote Chibit settlement, around 90 minutes away, goes to two lakes, Chuybekkol and Uzunkol, both rich in fish and more brilliant Siberian scenery. After crossing the Ulagan Pass, visit the Pazyryk Valley which contains important burial sites of ancient rulers dating back to 300BC. After zigzagging along the Katu-Yaryk pass you’ll arrive at the valley of the Chulyshman River, a UNESCO-recognized site. The last part of the journey takes you to Chibit, where you’ll be staying at an eco-camping site.
In the morning of this penultimate day, transfer to Gorno-Altaisk with an en-route stop at the natural water springs of Arzahn-Suu and a nearby souvenir market. Head on from Gorno-Altais to Novosibirsk, one of the largest cities in Russia and the unofficial capital of Siberia. It’s here where you’ll be having dinner and also have the chance to enjoy the relative luxury of a four-star hotel on this final night of the tour. Please note today includes around 12 hours of driving.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel in Novosibirsk and depart for the international airport via private transportation. Catch your onward flight to your next destination of choice, with flights leaving daily for Munich, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Prague, Beijing or to Moscow. There is also the option of transferring to the train station to carry on the adventure!