White Trans-Siberian: A Winter Journey From Moscow to Irkutsk

Duration
11 days / 10 nights
Price Per Person
From $9,300
Interests
Amazing Landscapes, Luxury Trains
Destinations
Siberia
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Escape the crowds and explore Siberia in the harshest, but arguably most rewarding, season, with a scenic winter route along the iconic Trans-Siberian Railway. This 11-day tour of Siberian highlights is designed specifically with the cooler months in mind - ideal for those looking for a winter wonderland getaway. Starting in the Russian capital, Moscow, you'll reach each destination by train and many stretches of the railroad require overnight journeys on board. Your first stop is Kazan with its famous Tatar cuisine and thousand-year-old history, next is Yekaterinburg with its stunning Ural Mountain landscapes and modern history as the site of the Romanov executions, then it's on to Novosibirsk (the unofficial capital city of Siberia) and the nearby science-themed town of Akademogorodok, and finally Irkutsk and its neighbor, the glittering Lake Baikal.

Highlights

• Snow Sports: Traditional winter pastimes of the region include dog sledding, troika rides and sliding down an ice hill at Lake Baikal.

• Landscapes: Siberia's incredible landscapes, filled with dramatic ice sculptures and dustings of powdered-sugar snow in the winter months, can be viewed in comfort from your cozy Trans-Siberian train cabin.

• Food: Hearty Siberian cuisine is a tonic to the cold weather, so enjoy dining experiences such as a Tatar kitchen culinary show.

Day-to-Day

Day 1 Moscow

Arriving into Moscow, you'll transfer to your hotel and spend the evening at leisure, rested and ready for your exploration of Siberia's winter wonderlands.

Day 2 Overnight Train

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll check out and spend the day either exploring Russia's capital at your leisure, or with an optional full day tour with a local guide. Prime attractions to visit include the Kremlin building, Red Square with its instantly-recognizable St. Basil's Cathedral, as well as Lenin's Mausoleum, to name but a few. 

In the evening, you'll transfer to to the railway station to start your Trans-Siberian adventure. The journey time to Kazan is approximately 11 hours and 12 minutes, and you'll overnight on board.

Day 3 Kazan

Arriving into Kazan in the morning, you'll meet your local guide and enjoy a half-day tour of the millennium-old city. Notable landmarks include the Old Tatar Quarter, the Märcani Mosque, Lake Qaban and Tugan Avilim (a native dwelling). You'll also stop for lunch at a Tatar restaurant and witness "The Secrets of Tatar Kitchen" culinary show. Later, step into the Kazan Kremlin and take a look at Söyembikä leaning tower, Annunciation Orthodox Cathedra and the legendary Qol Sharif Mosque.

Day 4 Yekaterinburg

Rise before dawn and transfer to the railway station to start the next stretch of Trans-Siberian Railway. The journey time between Kazan and Yekarterinburg is approximately 12 hours and 26 minutes, and the train will pull into the station in the evening. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and take a rest.

Day 5 Overnight Train

Explore the city of Yekaterinburg, one of the largest in the country, located east of the Ural Mountains and best known for the gold-domed Church on the Blood, which was built on the site of the 1918 Romanov executions. Yekaterinburg originally grew around the Plotinka Dam, harnessing the waters of the Iset River for ironwork factories. The historic city center is filled with places of interest, including museums, chapels, 19th-century Ural gold merchants' mansions and fine examples of Stalin-era neoclassical architecture. 

Tuck into lunch in a local Russian tavern, then pay a visit to the Obelisk on the border between two continents, where you can stand with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. The pillar was made using local minerals mined from the Ural Mountains.

Next, choose between the Museum of Perestroika (which focuses on the legacy of the first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin) or Ganina Yama (a mineshaft where the remains of the last Russian royal family were hidden after execution in 1918).

In the evening, transfer to the railway station to take an overnight train to Novosibirsk. This stretch takes around 21 hours and 51 minutes.

Day 6 Novosibirsk

After spending the day aboard the train, you'll arrive into Novosibirsk in the evening, then check into your hotel and take dinner at your leisure. 

Day 7 Overnight Train

Start your day with an excursion to Akademgorodok (Academy City), located 18 miles from Novosibirsk proper. Nicknamed the "Scientific Vatican," this town was founded in the 1950's, at the height of the Cold War, for scientific research. Today, Akademogorodok is home to Novosibirsk State University, several academies and 35 research centers. Choose between the Archaeological Museum at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, the Geological Museum at the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, or the Open-Air Railway Museum with its large collection of Soviet locomotives and railway carriages, depending on your interest. Close by is the artificial lake known as the Ob Sea. 

Returning to the city, you'll further explore Novosibirsk, which is the only settlement along the Trans-Siberian route that has population of over a million residents. Notable attractions include the Novosibirsk Railway Station (the largest along the railroad), Krasny Prospekt Avenue (one of the longest straight streets in the world), Lenin Square with its impressive Opera House, historic log houses on Gorky Street, the St. Nicholas Chapel and the Siberian farm-market.

In the evening, there are optional activities available (not included in the price of this tour): an evening performance at the Opera and Ballet House or dinner in the countryside with a local family. Afterward, you'll transfer to the railway station in the late hours for your onward journey to Irkutsk.

Day 8 Overnight Train

You'll depart from Irkutsk in the very late/early hours (either 23:54 or 01:41). This is the longest and final leg you'll have on the Trans-Siberian Railway, with a journey time between 29 and 31 hours - spending the day and night on board.

Day 9 Irkutsk

You'll arrive into Irkutsk in the morning and transfer to your hotel for early check in, after which you have some free time for a leisurely breakfast and to decompress following a long train journey.

Around 11am, you'll meet with your local guide and take a city tour to visit the major historic sites: Znamensky Orthodox Cathedral, historic log houses with hand-carved detailing, the Monument to the Pioneers of Siberia and the Decembrists' Museum. The latter focuses on the failed rebellion of December 14th 1825, those involved in the uprising and their life in Siberian exile after the revolt proved unsuccessful. 

Lunch will be taken in a local restaurant, then you have the chance to visit a nearby village for a dogsledding experience!

Day 10 Irkutsk

Today, you'll head out to the village of Listvyanka and the wonder of Lake Baikal. En route to the lake, you'll stop by the Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture; a space that hosts a collection of 17th- to 20th-century Siberian izba houses. The museum was formed in the 1980's to save the historic structures from sinking into the newly-created Bratsk Reservoir. 

Next up, slide down an ice hill (an ancient form of Russian entertainment), before moving on to Listvyanka. Stop in front of Shaman Rock, which holds great spiritual significance for local people, then take a chair-lift up to the Stone of Chersky observation point for stunning views of Lake Baikal and the start of the Angara River.

After lunch, head to the Museum of Lake Baikal, which has an aquarium featuring the flora and fauna of the lake. You can even take a "video excursion" down to the lakebed, to see what life is like at the bottom of the world's deepest lake.

Return to Irkutsk in style, as you experience riding a troika (a traditional Russian harness driving combination, usually pulling a sleigh) - the most authentic way to get around.

Day 11 Departure

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport, ready for your onward flight to Moscow. Alternatively, you may wish to continue your journey on the railway or fly to a further destination.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, train tickets (1st or 2nd class) and some meals as per the program (meals on the Trans-Siberian can be paid for on the spot). Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, 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.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

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