Russia End to End: 5 Ways to Experience the Biggest Country on Earth

Russia End to End: 5 Ways to Experience the Biggest Country on Earth

Russia is a huge country – 11 time zones from the tip of Kaliningrad to the tail of Chukotka. In contrast, the U.S. can claim six time zones, and then only if it counts Alaska and Hawaii. Within Russia’s cities and rural areas live more than 141 million people, as different from each other as New Yorkers are from Californians.

Now is a great time to explore the 17.1 million square kilometers of Russia ­– and who better to explore it with than MIR? With over 25 years of experience leading travelers across Russia, we know our way around.

However you want to cross the vast terrain, MIR has the unmatched logistics experience and destination expertise to show you Russia on an itinerary tailored to your timeline and interests:


Trans-Siberian Express

Trans-Siberian Express rounding Lake Baikal
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Going All the Way by Train

Let’s start with the obvious – but by no means humdrum – method of getting from one side of Russia to the other: the Trans-Siberian Railway.

You’re in for a thoroughly relaxing journey with an old-world flavor when you ride the fabled Trans-Siberian Railway across the biggest country on earth. Whether you go by regularly scheduled train or by chic and comfortable private train, a Trans-Siberian rail trip is something to write (or blog, or tweet) home about.

3 ways to ride the Trans-Siberian Railway with MIR:

(click on photo to see larger version)


MIR guide, Svetlana, posing with one of the cars that completed the Longest Race road trip. Photo credit: Leo Janssens

MIR guide, Svetlana, posing with one of the cars that completed the Longest Race road trip
Photo credit: Leo Janssens

Custom Cross-Country

Or, why don’t you just drive? MIR has lots of experience at sorting out the complicated logistics in this part of the world. No matter what kind of vehicle you want to drive, MIR can plan your epic adventure across Russia and beyond.

A few of our most recent overland expeditions include:

  • Motorcyclists on long cross-country treks through Russia and Central Asia, like the GlobeRiders’ biennial “World Tour” for 55 days across six countries.
  • Vintage car enthusiasts in their automotive “World Race 2011” from Beijing to Paris, echoing the grueling, historic 1908 New York-to-Paris auto rally.
  • Russ and Ellen and dozens of their extended family and friends, traveling up to 99 days through Russia, the Silk Road, Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Balkans, Turkey, and beyond. For more than six years MIR has been working with this bold family on a series of handcrafted overland journeys in their 4×4 vehicles.

Most recently, four drivers from the “Longest Race” team who drove a route across Japan, China, Siberia, Western Russia and Latvia and each shared their stories and photos in MIR Travel Journals:

(click on photo to see larger version)


Bill Altaffer in Star City, Russia's premier cosmonaut training facility Photo credit: Bill Altaffer

Bill Altaffer in Star City, Russia’s premier cosmonaut training facility
Photo credit: Bill Altaffer

Unconventional Locations

When the World’s 5th Most Traveled Person, Bill Altaffer, plans a trip to Russia, you can be sure it won’t be run-of-the-mill, and will most likely feature places you’ve never heard of. He and his company, Expedition Photo Travel, have been partnering with MIR since 2005, and in 2015, he’s including MIR travelers on a characteristically unusual itinerary to Western Russia from the Arctic to the Southern Steppe.

This exceptional itinerary explores three distinct regions of Russia: the monastery-turned-gulag of Solovetsky Island, near the Arctic Circle; Russia’s southern steppe, home of the Buddhist Kalmyk people; and the smaller towns along the historic Golden Ring, some of Russia’s oldest villages (more info).

(click on photo to see larger version)

Dogsledding across a frozen Lake Baikal

In Siberia: Dogsledding across a frozen Lake Baikal
Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Tour with a Small Group

MIR’s small group tours to Russia highlight different regions, paying them some in-depth attention. You can choose to explore Moscow and St. Petersburg, survey Siberia with its great Lake Baikal, or drop in to the Volcanoes of Kamchatka UNESCO Site in the Russian Far East.

Aside from their creative itineraries, group tours offer some of the best value on the market – innovative programs designed by experts, access to a knowledgeable and dedicated travel planner throughout the pre-trip process, personalized airfare services and all-inclusive land tour pricing.

What really sets us apart – and what our travelers comment on the most – are our hand-picked tour managers. Your MIR tour manager is a combination of personal guide, destination expert, magician and diplomat, and is on the spot to ensure that you get the most out of your trip. He or she can smooth out the wrinkles or shake things up with unexpected opportunities to interact with the locals.

(click on photo to see larger version)


Gravity-fed fountains of Peterhof

Gravity-fed fountains of Peterhof, a staple on most tours to St. Petersburg, Russia
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Spotlights: Classic Independent Journeys

Whether you’re looking for a compact trip with all the highlights or something a little roomier with some of the extras, MIR’s Private Journeys department can suggest places to see and things to do based on our local knowledge, and design a one-of-a-kind itinerary for you, your family or your group of friends. Get started by completing our easy Custom Travel Inquiry form.

MIR also offers suggested independent itineraries available on a private departure basis with your choice of dates:

 (click on photo to see larger version)

 (Top photo:Trans-Siberian train stop at Lake Baikal, Russia. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta)

PUBLISHED: February 26, 2015

Related Posts

Share your thoughts