Dashing Through the Snow: MIR Sleigh Rides (video)
From Finland to New England, horse-drawn sleighs are symbols of an earlier time when winter travel was more fun and adventurous than steering a four-wheel drive SUV over a paved road on studded snow tires.
MIR likes to feature a traditional sleigh ride during the winter months in any country that we explore on small group tours, custom trips, and rail journeys by private train. Here are some of our favorite places for a winter sleigh ride:
1) Suzdal, Russia
One of Western Russia’s ancient Golden Ring cities, Suzdal was a capital city in the 12th century, exceeding London in physical size and population. Its UNESCO-listed monuments have been remarkably preserved over the ages.
Here you can go dashing through the snow on a one, two, or three-horse open sleigh. The snow-covered fields around the 14th century Savior Monastery of St. Euthymius have been plied by sleighs for centuries, and today these old-fashioned vehicles seem a fitting way to see the Russian countryside.
MIR tours that feature a sleigh ride along the Golden Ring:
2) Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia
UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal is magnificent in winter, its clear ice frozen into transparent slabs and its watery vastness transformed into a superhighway.
From Listvyanka village on Lake Baikal, head out to a rustic resort with small wooden cabins sheltered by the trees along a river. Here, glide over the snowy taiga and onto the frozen river on a traditional troika ride. Troika simply means three of something, and typically, three horses were hitched together to draw Russian sleighs. The invigorating ride gives a sense of how people used to travel the long snowy distances in Siberia.
You can ride a sleigh near Lake Baikal on a custom, private adventure in Siberia.
3) Rabka, Poland
Drive into the foothills of the Tatra Mountains to visit the charming hill town of Rabka, with its timber buildings from the 19th century.
Sip hot mulled wine served in a traditional mountain-style restaurant, built of heavy timbers with hand-carved wooden decorations. The staff is costumed in beautifully embroidered Zakopane mountain garb, with soft leather handmade shoes. Enjoy a sleigh ride – a real Polish kulig – covered in sheepskin robes or blankets. Then warm yourself at a bonfire where you may roast kielbasa and enjoy a festive tasting of Polish vodka.
Enjoy a Polish kulig, or sleigh ride, on MIR’s celebratory small group tour, Christmas Traditions of Poland.
Ride a Sleigh with MIR
MIR is your winter travel expert – with more than 30 years of travel experience to Russia and with affiliate offices in Ulan Ude and Irkutsk (both in Siberia), as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
You can tuck a MIR sleigh ride into your winter travel itinerary on a custom and private journey, or on the select MIR small group tours and private rail journeys noted above.
Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-800-424-7289 to start planning your travels today.
(Top photo credit: Jonathan Irish – A Suzdal sleigh waits for riders in front of the Cathedral of the Nativity)
PUBLISHED: October 20, 2014