From Moscow to Tehran via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

This five-country rail adventure begins in Russia’s capital, Moscow, then traces a northern branch of the Silk Road into Uzbekistan and on to the complex and beautiful country of Iran. Stop for explorations of the famed oasis cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva before rolling into Iran to discover its fabled treasures and rich archaeological sites.

A westbound departure from Tehran to Moscow is also available, as well as a shorter version of this route between Tehran and Tashkent (eastbound / westbound).

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Traveling Solo? Save on the Single Supplement! (more info)

18 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Experience the busy markets and teahouses of Bukhara
    Experience the timeless character of Bukhara’s UNESCO-listed Old Town with its winding streets, colorful markets, and chaikhana (tea houses)....
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  • Explore Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings
    Awaken to ancient history as you stand in the shadow of the colossal marble pillars of Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings and a celebrated...
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  • Discover the remote UNESCO-listed Silk Road oasis of Khiva
    Wander the streets of UNESCO-listed Khiva, a remote Silk Road oasis town whose compact old walled city is full of minarets, a khan’s fort, cobbled alleys, mosques...
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  • Get a glimpse of the burning Darvaza Gas Crater
    Take a peek at the glowing rim of the eerie Darvaza Gas Crater, locally known as the “Door to Hell”...
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • 30 years of Central Asia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Vassar, Dartmouth and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Central Asia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Moscow, en route

Enjoy a one-night stay at a five star hotel in Moscow, Russia’s capital city. Board the private train and head through the Volga River region, with its changing landscapes of forests, valleys, fields and little villages.

Highlights

  • Moscow, capital of the Russian Federation
  • Charming Volga River region

Days 4-5: Baikonur, Tashkent

Cross the Kazakh border and discover where Russia’s premier space launch facility, Baikonur Cosmodrome, is located, deep in the arid Kazakh steppe. Yuri Gagarin began his historic space flight here, making him the first human being in space. Continue down through the Kyzyl Kum Desert to Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, a modern city rebuilt in the Soviet style after an earthquake in 1966.

Highlights

  • Remote Baikonur Cosmodrome, Russia’s space launch facility
  • Uzbekistan’s capital and largest city, Tashkent
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Days 6-8: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva

Spend some time admiring the Bibi Khanum Mosque, Ulug Bek Observatory and Registan Square in Samarkand, Tamerlane’s beautiful capital. The highlights in Bukhara are the mud-brick Ark Citadel, the fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara, and the Lyabi-Hauz Plaza, its atmosphere cooled by the lovely reflecting pool in its center. Next is Khiva, among the most important oases on the Silk Road.

Highlights

  • Samarkand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site called “Crossroads of Cultures”
  • Registan Square, Samarkand’s most famous landmark
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Days 9-10: Ashgabat, Merv

Crossing into Turkmenistan, arrive in the capital, Ashgabat. Take a tour of this modern city, glittering with gold and marble. Visit the UNESCO-listed ancient ruins of Merv.

Highlights

  • Capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, with marble and gold monuments
  • Ruins of Marghiana and Archaeological Museum in UNESCO-listed ancient Merv

Days 11-13: Mashad, Mahan, Rayen, Yazd

Enter Iran, and in Mashad discover one of the holiest Shi’ite shrines in Iran, Imam Reza’s Tomb, as well as the Persian poet Ferdowsi’s mausoleum. Tour the UNESCO-listed Prince Garden of Mahan, with its stairway of terraced pools; the ancient mud-brick fortress of Rayen; and the tomb of 14th century Sufi leader Shah Nematollah Vali.
 See the Eternal Flame at the Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd.

Highlights

  • Outer courts and museum of Imam Reza’s shrine, the places permitted to non-Muslims in Mashad
  • Mahan’s Shahzadeh (Prince) Garden, a classical Persian garden and UNESCO Site
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Days 14-15: Isfahan, Persepolis, Shiraz

In elegant Isfahan, wander UNESCO-listed Imam Square. Shah Abbas the Great built the graceful ensemble in the early 17th century. Explore the nearby ruins of Persepolis, UNESCO-listed wonder of the ancient world built by Darius I, before touring the fabled city of Shiraz.

Highlights

  • Isfahan’s Maiden-e Naghsh-e Jahan or Imam Square, among the world’s most beautiful squares, and a UNESCO Site
  • Ali-Qapu Palace, gateway to the other royal palaces on Imam Square
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Days 16-18: Tehran

The tour comes to an end after an exploration of Iran’s capital, including the UNESCO Site of Golestan Palace, encompassing several palatial buildings around a cool green garden.

Highlights

  • Golestan Palace, with the Marble Throne, created from 65 pieces of yellow Yazd marble
  • Crown Jewels at the Central Bank

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

Traveling Solo?

Save 50% off the single supplement or choose the Prepared to Share option to save on the entire single supplement cost.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle private train.
  • Per the itinerary, 3 nights of shared accommodation in well-located hotels.
  • All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on final tour day, including a generous, though not unlimited, allowance of wine or local beer, soft drinks and water with all lunches and dinners.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water round the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
  • All gratuities.
  • Baggage handling.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in the Caucasus, Western RussiaIran or Central Asia before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walk- ing involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers. Flexibility, a sense of humor and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

  • Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Douglas Grimes and Annie Lucas, MIR's President and Vice President, had the privilege of being aboard the inaugural journey of the first western private train allowed into Iran. A round trip journey from Budapest to Tehran and back aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train, this was a first-of-its-kind itinerary and an historic undertaking.... Read More

  • Riding the Trans-Siberian Rails: Moscow to UlaanBaatar

    Riding the Trans-Siberian Rails: Moscow to UlaanBaatar

    MIR clients Helge Pedersen and Karen Ofsthus ride the rails of the fabled Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to UlaanBaatar on MIR's Trans-Siberian private rail journey as they check in from each stop with stories, photos and video.... Read More

See All Journals
MIR in the News
  • Baikal or Bust

    March 1, 2017

    Tours.com and Colorado Springs Style recently featured Siberia’s UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal as part of their roundup of seven “Destinations to See Fast, Before They Disappear,” noting the lake’s “threats from polluti... Read More

  • Bazaars, Backstreets & Good Eats in Uzbekistan

    February 21, 2017

    Influential travel website GoNOMAD recently spotlighted MIR’s new-for-2017 culinary and cultural tour, Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan, in an article entitled, “Uzbekistan: Exploring Culture Through Cuisine.” Aside ... Read More

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From the Blog
See All Blog Posts

Golden Eagle

GOLDEN-EAGLE-PG6-2

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journeys by private train open a world of discovery to travelers who enjoy comfort and leisure time as well as exciting new vistas.

The exclusive Golden Eagle private train furnishes the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destination. The luxurious Golden Eagle is a fully en suite train and a restful and satisfying way to experience legendary rail routes.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way.

Each sleeping carriage on the Golden Eagle has its own attendants who provide bed turndown service, plus tea, coffee and mineral water 24 hours a day. Attendants keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train. L’Occitane body products, as well as premium bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer, are provided in all cabin categories.

  • Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suites are the most beautiful and spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle. Measuring a surprising 120 sq ft (11.1 sq meters), they are furnished with a luxurious king size bed, dedicated seating area, dressing table and private en suite facilities with large power shower and under floor heating. Individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, DVD/CD player with LCD screen and two large picture windows make the cabin a pleasant retreat.

    Additional Information

    Imperial Suite dimensions – 2 suites per departure / 1 suite per carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 120 sq ft (11.1 sq m)
    Cabin length – 17′ 4″ (5.3 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Bed width – 5′ (1.5 m)


  • Gold Class

    Gold Class

    Gold Class cabins are well-proportioned and feature modern en suite amenities including power showers, under floor heating, a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, remote-controlled air-conditioning/heating, recessed lighting and wardrobe and a personal safe. Each cabin is configured with upper and lower berths, and can accommodate double, twin or single occupancy.

    Additional Information

    Gold Class cabin dimensions – 5 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 77 sq ft (7 sq m)
    Cabin length – 11′ 8″ (3.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 6′ 6″ x 4′  (2.4 sq m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Lower bed width – 4′ 5″ (1.35 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)

    Lower bed converts to a sofa for daytime use.

    Note: The 5th compartment is of a slightly different layout (68 sq ft), and will normally be allocated to single guests.


  • Silver Class

    Silver Class

    Silver Class cabins are more compact than Gold Class cabins with similar facilities. Silver Class cabins feature the same amenities as Gold Class cabins but in a smaller space and with a smaller, wet-room-style shower area.

    Additional Information

    Silver Class cabin dimensions – 6 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 60 sq ft (5.5 sq m)
    Cabin length – 8′ 8″ (2.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 4′ 6″ x 3′ (1.25 sq m)
    Bed length (upper & lower) – 6′ 2″ (190 cm)
    Lower bed width – 3′ 6″ (1.1 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)


  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    The first and last nights of most tours are spent in well-appointed four and five star hotels. Some tours feature additional hotel nights. Please review the detailed itinerary for specifics pertaining to each tour and departure. Additional nights before and after any tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train
Dining Car of the Golden Eagle,/i> luxury private train Photo credit: Golden Eagle Luxury Private Train

The Golden Eagle private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining. Bear in mind that no alcohol will be served onboard while traveling through Iran.

Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. Iran departures will generally range 35-65 passengers.  The exact configuration of the train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure. 

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the train. Decor, layout, type and number of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Bar/Lounge Car

    Bar/Lounge Car

    A Bar/Lounge Car is a favorite destination in the train formation and is typically included on most departures. The lounge offers a relaxing and comfortable area where you can enjoy a drink, take language lessons, and gather around the piano with other passengers.

  • Dining Cars

    Dining Cars

    Dining Cars feature local and European cuisine complemented by a selection of local and European wines (except on trips in Iran). Dining cars are multi-purpose, used for on-board lectures and viewing documentaries. One or more dining cars may be included in the train formation of any given departure depending on the number of passengers.

    Additional Information

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive selection of educational city tours in the various stops on our routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).