Transsiberian Railway - Stopovers in Russia

Transsiberian Railway - Stopovers in Russia

The route from Moscow to Vladivostok is the original Trans-Siberian railway, which goes all along Siberia and through the Far East (to the Pacific Ocean). The  railway was constructed during 1891-1903 to protect Russian Pacific ocean territories and is one of the most important railways on Earth. It will take you from Russia's imposing capital through the heart of the country to the distant Siberia and its people -  the warmest and most inviting people you will ever meet.  You will cross 7 time zones and cover 9289 km.

We will arrange your train tickets, visas, individual overnight stays, guided sightseeing programs, and connections according to your stopovers and train schedule, so as any other services upon your request.

The whole trip would take 7 days if you decide to make it on one go. But to get the real taste of Russia we would recommend you to make a few stops and explore the countryside. Further down you may find our suggestions for stopovers along the way. Each of them is worth visiting but it is up to you which you will chose.

St. Petersburg
You won't regret it if you start your journey from here. Russia's second biggest city was founded by Peter the Great as the country’s “window on the West”, and was built by European architects with baroque pomp and elegance, to become one of Europe’s most beautiful and enchanting. St Petersburg offers a diversity of cultural experiences: over 50 museums and art galleries, opera performances and the Kirov Ballet, classical music and some of Russia’s top rock bands. We can book tickets for the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre and the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Undoubtedly more Russian than St Petersburg, Moscow is often called “Russia’s soul”. Moscow is breathtaking for the first-time visitor; the contrasts and impressions are overwhelming. The Kremlin dazzles with its colourful domes and glittering spires, while the suburbs are bleak with their grey concrete blocks of flats. Streets are jammed by the heavy traffic, yet underground you find one of the largest and most efficient metros in the whole world. In the city centre you’ll find bright shops selling all the Western goods you can and can’t think of, and at the numerous markets – Russian style fur hats and felt boots. “New Russians” drive BMWs, while pensioners sit on street corners and beg.  A very Russian experience is a visit to the Bolshoy Theatre (we can book tickets for you). And art lovers shouldn’t miss the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts with their treasures of Russian and Impressionist art. 

Perm and the Ural Mountains
The train crosses the bridge over  Kama River and arrives in the industrial city of Perm, situated at the foot of the Ural Mountains, also called the “gateway to Siberia”. Perm was earlier a closed city because of its arms industry. Today it is open, also for foreigners. The sights however are just a few: an art gallery with a large icon collection and a collection of carved wooden figures, a concert hall and the Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, as well as an 18th-century cathedral. The city however is a perfect starting point for hiking and rafting adventures in Ural Mountains.

The city is located on the Iset River and is the most important cultural, industrial and financial center of Urals. It has played a notable role in the history of Russia. It was here that Russian industry was born. The products of Ural and Siberian iron mills were exhibited at local trade fairs and by the standards of those days were one of the best, not only in Russia but also in Europe. The present day Ekaterinburg is rich in sights - architectural monuments of Russian classicism of the 18-19th centuries; incredibly beautiful churches, among which Alexander Nevsky’s and a number of museums.

In Russian “novo” means “new” and indeed Novosibirsk was founded only in 1893 under the construction of the Trans-Sibirian Railway. Today, the city is a major junction on the railways to Central Asia and the rest of Siberia. Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre is one of the biggest in the world. You might like to go sailing on the Ob River – the river with the busiest traffic of all Siberian rivers. A good starting point for rafting, riding and hiking tours in the scenic Altay Mountains south of the city.

Altai Mountains
Asia’s geographical heart, one of the most beautiful parts of Siberia. Altay is rarely visited by Western tourists although it offers superb opportunities for trekking, riding and rafting. These hauntingly beautiful and sparsely populated mountains stretch into Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. The landscape is varied: grass steppes and taiga (pine forests), glaciers, wild rivers, crystal-clear lakes and mountain peaks of over 4000m (the highest is Mount Beluha 4506m). This is the closest you can come to wild nature.

If you can afford only one stopover on the way, then it should be in Irkutsk. The city is situated on both banks of the Angara River and the biggest attraction is Lake Baikal. It is only 64km away – near enough for a day boat-trip. The old quarter of the city is worth a visit, too.
Lake Baikal, the “Pearl of Siberia”, is one of the most beautiful places not only in Russia but on earth. It is the world’s deepest lake (1637m) and the water is pure and drinkable. The lake contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh water – enough to supply the whole population on earth with drinkable water for 40 years. Baikal is also the world’s most ancient lake, with unique flora and fauna: two thirds of the 500 plant and 1200 animal species are found nowhere else, as for example, Baikal’s freshwater seal and the omul – the local kind of salmon. In a word, Lake Baikal is the perfect place for a holiday, be it boating, kayak, cycling or hiking in the three nature reserves.

Ulan Ude
7½ hours after leaving Irkutsk, the train arrives in Ulan Ude – the capital of the Republic of Buryatia. Just like Irkutsk, the city was founded as an old trading post. The Buryats, who are related to the Mongolians, are the biggest national minority group in Siberia. Most of them are Buddhists but the old shamanistic tradition still exists.

A relaxed provincial city on the east bank of the Amur River. The tree-lined main street and the beautiful 19th-century architecture give Khabarovsk a very European atmosphere, although the Chinese border is only 25km away. The city is a popular summer resort and has a lively beach. In winter, the river freezes and the locals drive out on the thick ice and fish through holes. There is a good Museum of regional history, a Military Museum and an Arboretum with samples of trees and shrubs of the Russian Far East, as well as an exciting oriental bazaar. Khabarovsk is the ideal starting point for exploring the Island of Sakhalin and Kamchatka – the land of volcanoes. 

One of Russia’s most attractive cities and the major Russian Pacific Ocean port lies in the Golden Horn Bay. It is the home of the Russian Pacific Fleet and, due to its proximity to China, Korea and Japan, it has an important strategic, commercial and economic role. The city is relatively young (founded in 1860) and the attractions are mostly modern: a military fort, a submarine turned into a museum, a big aquarium – the Oceanarium, botanical gardens and a very interesting regional ethnographic museum.

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