Saturday - Moscow
Arrival Transfer to the Hotel
Begin your Russian adventure in the capital, Moscow. On arrival at the airport, our driver will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. Recognise him from his Go Russia sign.
Sunday - Moscow
Exploring Moscow. Red Square, St. Basil’s, Lenin Mausoleum
Your tour starts in earnest today with a comprehensive included sightseeing programme encompassing Moscow’s most famous sights. Among the places you’ll visit today are Lubyanka Square. During the Soviet era, this was where you would have found the headquarters of the KGB. Nearby Teatralnaya Square, home to the famous Bolshoi Theatre, is next as well as several of Moscow's atmospheric backstreets and lanes. On Tverskaya Street you’ll encounter shops and restaurants housed in an architecturally eclectic series of buildings. Saving the best for last, you’ll round off the day in Red Square, ticking St Basil's Cathedral, Lenin's mausoleum and GUM department store off your bucket list.
Monday - Moscow
Kremlin & Armoury. Departure to Yekaterinburg
We couldn’t let you leave Moscow without a tour of its famous Kremlin. It used to be the residence of the Tsars and is now where the Russian president has his offices. Inside, a clutch of cathedrals adds a touch of historic mystique. You’ll also have time to stop by the Armoury Museum with its collection of works of art including Faberge's ornate eggs, the chalice of Yuri Dolgorukiy and centuries-old weapons. Before you leave for the railway station, take a ride on the Moscow Underground. Its fabulously lavish interiors are adorned with mosaics, stained glass and marble. This evening, your driver will escort you to the railway station and see you onto your train bound for Yekaterinburg. Settle into your sleeping car for an overnight journey.
Tuesday - Yekaterinburg
Transfer to the Hotel
Our driver will meet you at the platform in Yekaterinburg. Few places in Russia send a chill down the spine like Yekaterinburg. It’s where the Imperial family met a tragic end a century ago. Tonight though, the city’s history will have to wait while you settle in and get a good night’s rest.
Wednesday - Yekaterinburg
Ganina Yama & Cathedral on the Blood. Europe-Asia Border. Departure to Siberia
Today it’s time to delve into the past and your included sightseeing programme includes a stop at the Memorial Cathedral on the Blood in the name of all Saints. This cathedral was built on the site where Tsar Nikolay II and his family were executed. Next up is Ganina Pit. This orthodox monastery originally housed the remains of the Royals until they were relocated. It’s a serene spot, a pine forest hiding seven quaint wooden churches among the trees. Afterwards, you’ll pause at a memorial commemorating the victims of Stalin’s mid-century repressions. Last up today is a visit to the obelisk which marks the invisible boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia. Charge your glasses and toast the occasion with champagne, as is customary. Finally, it’s back to the train station where you’ll connect with a train bound for Siberia.
Day 6 - 7
Thursday - Friday
On board the train
Saturday - Irkutsk - Listvyanka
The train to Irkutsk takes three days, but it’s a good opportunity to experience the Trans-Siberian as it should be enjoyed. Rest in your comfortable compartment as you travel sedately through the Russian steppe. Converse with your companions and others taking this popular long distance service. Your guide will be at the train station to meet you. Together, you’ll journey to Listvyanka, a charming little village on the shore of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake as well as the largest body of fresh water by volume. You’ll enjoy some free time. We’d recommend a visit to the Baikal Lake Museum, or a walk to see the St Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church. The market is also characterful. Make sure you hop on board a cruiser for a quick jaunt on the lake itself.
Sunday - Listvyanka - Irkutsk
Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy. Exploring Irkutsk
You’ll return to the city dubbed the Paris of Siberia this afternoon, calling in at the Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy on the way. It occupies a sweet spot on the banks of the Angara River, deep in the forest. A plethora of iconic wooden structures can be found here, including a Russian fort, a Shaman yurt and a 15th century watchtower. Your guide will fill you in on the lifestyles of the Buryat and Evenk people. Back in Irkutsk there’s an included city tour. You’ll find the architecture splendidly diverse, from huge stone townhouses to diminutive wooden cottages with fretwork shutters.
Monday - Irkutsk
Departure to Mongolia
You’ll be collected from your hotel in the morning today for a short transfer to the railway station. It’s time to bid farewell to Russia where we hope you’ve enjoyed the legendary hospitality of this vast nation. It’s time to set off on another adventure, this time onwards to Mongolia by comfortable train.
Tuesday - Ulan Bator - Terelj
Arrival in Mongolia. Enjoy Terelj National Park
The train pulls into Ulan Bator station but for now, the Mongolian capital city will have to wait. Instead, you’ll be driven out into the Mongolian countryside to get a close look at the statue of Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan to some). This towering statue glitters in the sunshine, the world’s largest equestrian statue and a sight to behold. Make sure you climb up to the horse’s head to enjoy the view. Back in the car, you’ll aim for Terelj National Park. It’s one of Mongolia’s finest, famous for its granite rock formations and pristine alpine scenery. Bag a selfie at Turtle Rock and take a stroll to discover Aryabal Monastery. For many, the highlight of today is an encounter with a nomad family. You’ll have chance to milk a cow and get to know a little more about the family’s way of life, before bedding down for the night in a felt tent known as a ger (in winter, stay toasty in a traditional wooden lodge).
Wednesday - Terelj - Ulan Bator
Ulan Bator City Tour. National History Museum
Our driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Ulan Bator where you'll enjoy a city tour. We will visit Gandan Hiid Monastery, the country’s largest remaining monastery, Sukhebaatar Square and the Museum of Natural History, where you will see dinosaur remains as well as other archaeological finds from the Mesozoic Era excavated from the Gobi desert. We will also pay a visit to the National History Museum where your guide will teach you about Mongolia's rich cultural heritage.
Thursday - Ulan Bator - Bayan Gobi
Horse or Camel Riding. Visit Ovgon Temple
While many travellers depart Mongolia in haste, keen to push on to Beijing, those who linger a while are rewarded with some fascinating sights. It’s a 175 mile drive to Bayan Gibi, but when you arrive late this afternoon, there’ll be time to try horse or camel riding amid the Mongol Els Sand Dunes. We’ll squeeze in a visit to Ovgon Temple before returning to base and overnighting in a traditional felt tent known as a ger.
Friday – Karakorum
Visit Karakorum. Erdene-Zuu Monastery
It’s a relatively short hop to Karakorum, where you’ll enjoy a tour of the 16th century Erdene-Zuu Monastery. It was built to be one of the country’s biggest monasteries but was almost destroyed in the 1930s, a casualty of spreading Communism. The brick used in its construction came from Karakorum, the city at the centre of the Mongol Empire, founded in 1220. When the capital was moved to Beijing, Karakorum went into a steep decline before being destroyed by Manchu soldiers towards the end of the 14th century. Of the little that remains, two giant stone tortoises once used to carry inscribed stele (stone tablets) are an undisputed highlight. You’ll tour the monastery grounds and some of its chapels, admiring the Buddhist iconography. The temples here were built without the use of a single nail. The wall has 108 stupas, each for a special event; the Golden Stupa contains 100,000 different Buddhas. Since 1990 Erdene-Zuu is once again an active monastery so please be mindful of its sacred nature.
Saturday – Karakorum – Hustai National Park - Ulan Bator
Enjoy Hustai National Park
This morning you’ll enjoy an early breakfast at base camp before setting off back to the Mongolian capital. En route, we’ll make a detour into Hustai National Park, also known as Khustain Nuruu National Park. The park’s well known for its population of Takhi horses, reintroduced in the early 1990s. Other fauna inhabiting the park includes deer, boar, ibex, foxes, marmots and lynx. Departing the park, we’ll make our way back to UB arriving late afternoon.
Tour Dates & Prices
Sunday - Ulan Bator
Departure for the Airport
Today, your tour ends. A driver will escort you for your transfer to the airport. We trust you’ll have had a memorable trip.