The Trans-Siberian Express “Winter Wonderland” is a voyage through a shimmering sea of winter white. This epic journey spans two continents and seven time zones. Spend two weeks traveling on the world’s most famous railway on board the private, cozy Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. This unique winter journey includes a trip to frozen Lake Baikal, deepest fresh-water lake in the world, and the opportunity to experience a snowmobile or dog-sled ride across the rock-solid lake. For those who were dazzled by the sunlit snow in “Doctor Zhivago,” this will be the answer to your “Winter Dreams.”
“It was a fine way to see Siberia, a vast land mass of unending field and forest, punctuated by surprisingly vibrant, colorful cities and warm, smiling people. We were like a cruise ship making stops at varied, otherwise inaccessible ports of call.”
— Owen Hardy, Owner & CEO, Soc. of International Railway Travelers
Days 1-2: Vladivostok
Arrive at Vladivostok Airport where we are met and transferred to the four-star Hotel Hyundai for a one-night stay. In Soviet times, Vladivostok was closed to foreigners—and even most Russians—because of its military importance. Tour the city’s principal military attractions, including a walk through a restored World War II Soviet submarine, before boarding the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. Tonight we enjoy dinner as our rail adventure to Moscow begins.
Day 3: Khabarovsk
Located 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the border with China, Khabarovsk stretches along the banks of the Amur River. Khabarovsk was founded as a military post in 1858, but the region had been populated by several indigenous peoples of the Far East for many centuries. It is now a busy city with tree-lined streets.
Located next to the station we will pass the memorial to Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov, the Far East explorer the city is named after, and see the impressive World War Two memorial to the fallen soldiers. We will also have time at the Regional Museum where the local history has been well-preserved with a rich collection of artefacts describing the cultural and natural history of the region.
Days 4-5: On board
Enjoy a leisurely pace today as we travel through the beautiful Russian landscape of this vast and varied country. Our journey follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border.
Day 6: Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia
Our Trans-Siberian adventure takes us into Ulaan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia. Mongolia is the home of Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol.
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.
Day 7: Ulan Ude, Russia
Today we arrive at Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its Mongol heritage. As we tour the area you will notice the different faces and dress styles of these welcoming people. During the exploration of the Old Believer’s Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these communities as we are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.
Day 8: Lake Baikal
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff-hugging tracks above the frozen lake. Snow-capped peaks along the far shore form a picture-perfect backdrop. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world. Frozen in winter, Lake Baikal is the perfect location to experience the thrill of an ice ride. You will have the choice of taking a snowmobile ride or experience a dog-sled ride taken at a more sedate pace. Either way you will enjoy the perfect vantage point to appreciate the magnificence of this unspoiled location. If you’re game, you can try under-ice fishing. The freshly caught fish are then smoked in a mobile smokehouse and served warm with ice-cold vodka. Delicious!
Day 9: Irkutsk
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).
Day 10: On board
Today we relax on board. Enjoy tea or coffee and chocolate and biscuits in your cozy compartment, as Siberia’s glorious, ever-changing landscape unfolds, like a movie, out your window.
Day 11: Novosibirsk
A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich cultural city. Our tour takes us to the Novosibirsk Opera House. Housing two permanent ballet and opera companies, it is an architectural marvel and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House, we visit an imposing statue of Lenin—a marvelous 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.
Day 12: Yekaterinburg
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s third-largest city and is also the capital of the Urals. Influenced culturally and architecturally by European and Asian civilizations, Yekaterinburg is unique. Our tour takes us to the site where Tsar Nicholas II, his family and their servants were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. A church dedicated to their memory now occupies the site, whose effect nevertheless is eerily powerful.
Day 13: Vladimir and Suzdal
Today we visit the historic city of Vladimir. Founded in 990, it is one of the Russia’s oldest communities, whose architectural wealth earned its status as 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. Our excursion moves on to the pastoral town of Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating to 1024. Here we visit the atmospheric St. Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by the resident monks. (Listen to a sample.) No Russian winter experience would be complete without a Troika Sledge Ride. Enjoy the stunning scenery as your open horse-drawn sleigh takes you on a captivating journey around Suzdal.
Day 14: Moscow
This evening we reach Moscow, the final destination on our Winter Wonderland voyage across Siberia.
Included in our time spent in Moscow is one night at the five-star Ritz-Carlton. 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.
Day 15: Moscow
This morning you will be transferred to Moscow airport to begin your journey home.
2018 Dates:February 21-March 7 (Eastbound)
March 5-19 (Westbound)
|2017 & 2018
- All rates are per person.
- Double-entry Russian visa required for this trip.
If your departure arrives Moscow on a Thursday, please schedule your air departure next day in the afternoon so you can participate in the early-morning Friday Kremlin visit.
- Two Imperial Suites available on all Golden Eagle departures. These compartments are the most spacious – 120 square feet – offered on the train and feature a fixed king-sized bed, a dedicated dressing table and lounge area, and more.
Latest News: Click here for owner Owen Hardy’s blog on improvements in 2012 on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.