At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

The Legendary Trans-Siberian Railway – Any Which Way You Want

A Golden Eagle attendant ready to greet passengers aboard the private train
A Golden Eagle attendant ready to greet passengers aboard the private train

Czar Alexander III was the first ruler to authorize a rail line across Russia, in 1891. At the time, a cross-country journey from Moscow to the Pacific coast took several months of arduous travel, with winter snow or summer mud slowing travel even further.

Today? What a way to go! You’re in for a thoroughly relaxing journey with an old-world flavor when you traverse the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Whether you go by regularly scheduled train or by chic and comfortable private train, a Trans-Siberian rail trip is an experience to remember for the rest of your life.

(click image to view larger photo)

Depending on where you begin and end, the Trans-Siberian Railway is:

  • 123+ years old: Czar Alexander III authorized the rail line in 1891
  • 6,000 (or so) miles of track
  • 80 train stations along the way
  • 160 hours of total journey time if you travel straight through
  • 7 time zones from Moscow to Vladivostok
  • 3 countries: RussiaMongoliaChina

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

1. Travel alongside locals on scheduled public trains

Horseback riding in Mongolia. Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels
Horseback riding in Mongolia. Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels

On MIR’s small group tour, Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure, travel on regularly scheduled Trans-Siberian trains over a dramatic and variegated route that offers limitless opportunities to meet the diverse local people – Mongol, Buryat, and Russian.

  • Admire the rolling steppe and monumental rock formations in alpine Gorkhi-Terelj National Park.
  • Discover how “breaking bread” is a quintessential part of Russian train etiquette and the best way to make new friends.
  • On the July departure, enjoy Naadam Festival opening ceremonies in Mongolia.

Two small group Trans-Siberian adventure departures

MIR’s Mongolia to Moscow: A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure has two departures to choose from:

  • July 10 – July 26 (featuring the Naadam Festival in Mongolia)
  • September 4 – September 20

The Trans-Siberian Railway – your dates/your personalized itinerary

You can also choose to travel on your own custom Trans-Siberian Railway itinerary on local, regularly scheduled trains. Contact our Private Journey department or complete a custom travel inquiry form.

The independent Trans-Siberian trip I took though MIR was a cross-section of Russian life. In my four-person cabin, the changing lineup of cabin mates included an English teacher from Omsk who had never before met a native English speaker, a mother bringing her blind son to a special school in Novosibirsk, and an elderly man and his grandson on their way to Vladivostok to buy a car and drive it back.

– M. Noble

2. Travel through Russia, Mongolia, and China aboard the comfortable Tsar’s Gold private train

Restored marble bridges snake through the courtyard inside the Forbidden City. Photo Credit: China National Tourist Office
Restored marble bridges snake through the courtyard inside the Forbidden City. Photo credit: China National Tourist Office

Board the comfortable Tsar’s Gold private train on the Moscow to Beijing departure and glide from the metropolis of Moscow, where Red Square and St. Basil’s have become the symbols of Russia, all the way to China’s capital, Beijing. This route also operates in reverse from Beijing to Moscow.

  • Enjoy a Russian tea party, with hot drinks, baked goods, and zakuskie (appetizers).
  • Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the casual and relaxed atmosphere aboard the private train, dining in comfort and watching the scenery roll by.
  • Compare imperial Russia’s Kremlin with imperial China’s Forbidden City.

I liked the sense of camaraderie on the train, with an international mix of passengers mingling together. I also enjoyed the hotel stays along the way; they made for a more in-depth understanding of the local culture and the places in general.

– J. Millick

3. Journey in luxury and leisure aboard the exclusive Golden Eagle private train

Visit a village to hear the powerful centuries-old songs of the Old Believers and learn about their unique traditions. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen
Visit a village to hear the powerful centuries-old songs of the Old Believers and learn about their unique traditions. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Our rail journeys on the Golden Eagle private train are in a class of their own, combining the dream of Old World rail travel with modern amenities and allowing travelers to experience remote destinations in style and comfort. The luxury Golden Eagle train operates on these Trans-Siberian Railway routes:

  • The BAM Route: From Moscow to Vladivostok – New for 2022!

    Eastbound: Moscow to Vladivostok

    The seldom-traveled Baikal-Amur Magistral (BAM for short) rolls through some of the most remote, roadless taiga in the country, through dramatic mountains and over miles of tundra. The train stops at crumbling little towns thrown together in the 1970s for railroad workers, where the few who remain stay for the beauty of the Siberian outback.

    • Ride the BAM route through remote Siberia.
    • Visit the massive Bratsk Dam, the largest hydro-electric dam in the world when it was built in 1961.
    • Visit the town of Severobaikalsk on the remote northern end of UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, exploring the unique biodiversity of the area and meeting some locals.
    • Spend part of the day in Novoya Chara, famous for charoite – a semi-precious, lilac-colored gemstone found only in the Chara area.
  • The Classic Route: Between Moscow and Vladivostok

    Eastbound: Moscow to Vladivostok • Westbound: Vladivostok to Moscow

    Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway in the summer or fall – take a dip in Lake Baikal, anyone?

    • Enjoy a private concert at the Decembrist House Museum in Irkutsk.
    • Pay a visit to a village of Old Believers for a traditional meal and a concert featuring local singers and musicians.
  • The Baikal Express Route: From Moscow to Lake Baikal

    Eastbound: Moscow to Irkutsk

    A shorter version of the Trans-Siberian Classic Route featuring many of the highlights of a Trans-Siberian rail journey in roughly half the time.

    • Check out the UNESCO-listed Kazan Kremlin, considered the only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia
    • Visit Ekaterinburg’s Church on the Blood, consecrated in 2003 on the site where Bolsheviks executed Czar Nicholas II and his family.

  • The Ulaanbaatar Express Route: From Moscow to Ulaanbaatar

    Eastbound: Moscow to Ulaanbaatar

    Journey from Moscow, home to Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral, to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, on this shorter version of the Classic Route trip.

    • See the daunting scale of Lenin Square in Novosibirsk, with its domed opera house – nicknamed the Siberian Colosseum – and giant Soviet-era statues.
    • Stop in little Listvyanka village and visit its Baikal Museum, which includes aquariums displaying the lake’s unique marine life.
  • The Mongolian Route with Naadam Festival: Between Ulaanbaatar and Moscow

    Eastbound: Moscow to Ulaanbaatar • Westbound: Ulaanbaatar to Moscow

    From the Moscow Kremlin to the Mongolian steppe, this private train journey celebrates three different cultures: that of the modern Muscovite, the Baikal Siberian, and the Mongolian nomad.

    • Cheer on the dignified wrestlers, young jockeys, and eagle-eyed archers at the Naadam Festival.
    • Enjoy lunch and a performance of other-worldly Mongolian throat-singing in a nomadic ger.
  • The Winter Wonderland Route: From Moscow to Vladivostok

    Eastbound: Moscow to Vladivostok

    In the winter, Western Russia is aglow with festive lights while Siberia is a wild and wooded place of unimaginable beauty whose cities glow with warmth. Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway on this winter exploration and choose from a variety of adventures on a frozen Lake Baikal.

    • Visit UNESCO-listed Vladimir and Suzdal to admire the snow-tipped onion domes crowning some of the first churches and monasteries in Kievan Rus; then set out on an exhilarating sleigh ride.
    • Board a hovercraft that crosses frozen Lake Baikal to a spot where locals ice-fish, smoke freshly-caught fish, ride snowmobiles, and run dogsleds.
  • The Winter Steam Adventure: From Vladivostok to Moscow

    Westbound: Vladivostok to Moscow

    Enjoy an epic 22-day winter rail adventure along Russia’s iconic Trans-Siberian rail line through cities, villages, taiga, mountains, and tundra – hauled entirely by steam locomotives.

    • Toast the beginning of your train journey during a champagne reception at Vladivostok’s 1912 train station, built in classic Russian style that resembles the station in Moscow.
    • See how rural families live, isolated from larger Siberian towns, in Sretensk.
    • Tour the Regional Museum in Abakan and enjoy a private folk concert.
    • Visit to the Museum of Steel Production in Novokuznetsk.

I enjoyed the overall experience of being on the [Golden Eagle] train and seeing the vastness of Siberia. Off the train, I especially enjoyed visits to people’s homes – the Old Believers in Ulan Ude, the dacha near Irkutsk, the apartment in Novosibirsk.

– K. Lacey

Travel on the Trans-Siberian with MIR

MIR has over 30 years of Trans-Siberian Railway travel experience, with affiliate offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Irkutsk, and Ulan Ude offering on-the-ground support. Our 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.”

Our menu of rail journeys by private train also extends far beyond the Trans-Siberian Railway. We offer an array of classic rail journeys along the Silk Route, around Central and East Europe, and through the Balkans.

Interested in adding a trip along the Trans-Siberian Railway to your travel bucket list? Contact us today!

PUBLISHED: October 19, 2021

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