Arrive at Moscow Airport, where you are met and transferred to the luxury five-star Ritz-Carlton (or Four Seasons for the 2019 programme).
Superbly located in Moscow city centre, and within easy walking distance of Red Square, the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theatre, this historic hotel offers spacious and luxurious accommodation. The O2 Lounge, a stylish rooftop terrace, features panoramic views over the Red Square and the Kremlin. The spacious ESPA spa centre includes a hot tub, indoor pool, and 14 treatment rooms. Crystal lighting, candles and beautiful facilities create the perfect atmosphere, and a wide variety of spa treatments, as well as the sauna, are available. There is also a fitness centre, and a beauty salon.
Why not extend your stay in Moscow with additional nights to explore more of the city at your leisure or have time to take in a performance at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre? Tickets need to be pre-booked and are subject to schedule and availability.
Our touring programme of Moscow principally takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin – the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow – and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. We also visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful facade of the world famous GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.
Upon arrival at Moscow Yaroslavsky Station, you are welcomed on board by the train staff with a glass of champagne waiting in the Bar Lounge Car as the train prepares for departure.
On the eastbound departure, if you have been to Moscow before we offer a Freedom of Choice touring option to Vladimir and Suzdal (this replaces the Day 2 Moscow programme above).
The historic city of Vladimir was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities with an architectural wealth. The whole city was decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the 12th and 15th centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned.
The pastoral town of Suzdal is one of most perfectly preserved walled cities in Russia dating back to 1024 and is located 22 miles (35 kms) from Vladimir. Here we visit the atmospheric St. Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance.
Situated on the River Volga, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Here we have the opportunity to see for ourselves its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel we will explore its stunning mosque and picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.
As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia’s most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), we honour his memory with a private concert of his music.
You will also have time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is the capital of the Urals. Known as the Great Divide, the Ural Mountains create the natural border between Europe and Asia so that the cultural and architectural influences of European and Asian civilisations come together in this fascinating and cosmopolitan landscape.
Our city tour takes us to the poignant site where the Romanov, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment. Now a church dedicated to their memory, this site provides us with a powerful insight into the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich culture where the arts and sciences predominate. The city is located in the heart of Russia and is situated on both banks of the River Ob. Our city tour takes us to Lenin Square where the imposing Opera House is located.
An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House, we visit an impressive statue of Lenin – a marvellous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.
Alternatively, our Freedom of Choice tour goes south of the city to visit Novosibirsk’s excellent Railway Museum, which displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800s, including carriages of the Tsars, through to the Soviet era.
Today we relax on board as our train travels through Siberia. In comfort enjoy the ever-changing panoramas of natural snow-covered beauty unfold before us.
Our visit to Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture with its intricately carved lace-like decorations that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance. We also visit the Decembrist House museum which is dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled to this remote outpost after the failed uprising of 1825, and we recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.
As an additional option for your day in Irkutsk you may wish to visit a traditional Russian Banya (sauna).
Our day by Lake Baikal offers a real highlight of travelling through Siberia in winter. Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal and today will be an unforgettable part of our Trans-Siberian journey.
For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff hugging tracks above the frozen lake with a vista of snow-capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop.
Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and during winter is completely frozen. We are taken in a hovercraft on the frozen lake to the place where the ice fishing, dog sledges and snowmobiles are situated and you will enjoy the perfect vantage point to appreciate the magnificence of this unspoilt location.
There is the opportunity to watch the under-ice fishing and try the freshly caught fish which will be smoked in a mobile smokehouse and served warm with ice-cold vodka. Delicious!
The ethnic and cultural diversity of Ulan Ude, the capital of the Buryat Republic, offers a unique insight into its heritage. As we tour the area you will notice the different faces of these welcoming Buryat people. During our exploration of the Old Believers’ Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these religious people as we are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us into Mongolia and a visit to its capital, Ulaan Baatar. Mongolia, once the very centre of an enormous empire led by Genghis Khan, is a country of beautiful landscapes, nomadic people and rich in culture and history. Mongolia is famous for its endless green Steppes, grazing livestock and white, nomadic Gers (Yurts) dotted all across the countryside.
We start the tour at Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates as ‘the great place of complete joy’. At Chinggis Square (formerly Sukhbaatar Square) we can see the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol, and visit the National Museum where we learn about the country’s intriguing history.
We also have the opportunity to visit a traditional Ger and meet a nomadic family.
Please note depending on final timings provided by the railway authorities we may subsitute the railway journey from Russia into Ulaan Baatar with a private jet charter from Irkutsk so that we can maintain the advertised programme in Mongolia.
Enjoy a more leisurely pace today as we travel through the beautiful landscape of the Russian Far East. You may like to attend one of the interesting lectures or Russian language lessons.
It's the perfect opportunity to practice your Russian or simply relax as our journey today follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border. Enjoy Russia at its more dramatic and remote, as the Golden Eagle eats up the miles on our way to Vladivostok.
Passing directly north of Seoul, Darwin and Osaka, we spend our last full day on board the Golden Eagle today as the most easterly point on our mammoth journey is reached pasing through Khabarovsk, where we cross the River Amur.
Tonight we enjoy our final dinner onboard our private train that has been our home for the last 12 days as we approach our final destination on this unforgettable journey.
After travelling through 8 time zones and covering a staggering 6,600 miles (10,600kms) along this iconic railway, the Golden Eagle pulls into its final destination, Vladivostok.
Vladivostok is a military port, located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan and is home to the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Due to its military importance, the city was closed to foreigners between 1930 and 1992. Vladivostok (literally translated as ‘Ruler of the East’) offers visitors an interesting opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a visit to a preserved World War Two submarine. Our city tour will also take us to the iconic suspension bridge over Golden Horn Bay, one of the largest of its kind worldwide, which opened in 2012 for the APEC conference.
Our hotel in Vladivostok, where we stay for one night, is the four-star Hotel Hyundai.
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to Vladivostok Airport to begin your journey home.