Overland from the Caspian to the Kuban

Discover the southern Russian steppe, an unfamiliar region spiced with a spirited array of independent cultures, including freedom-loving Cossacks and descendants of the Golden Horde. Explore Volgograd’s massive memorial before learning about the food of kingscaviar – in historic Astrakhan on the Volga River Delta. Visit Buddhist Elista, land of the formerly nomadic Kalmyk people (and home of Chess City); Rostov-on-Don, ancestral home of the Don Cossacks; Krasnodar, headquarters of the Kuban Cossacks; and the balmy Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Please note

This itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program.  For a small group tour to this region, see Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages.

Day Trip

  • Private Journey
    No minimum number of travelers
  • Travels to:
    Russia, Western Russia
  • Private Journey:
    Volgograd to Sochi

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Sample varieties of caviar at a caviar plant
    Take a tour of a caviar plant, sampling various caviars and learning about the history and traditions involved in this changing industry...
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  • Experience Russian hospitality in a private home
    Venture inside a private Russian home for a traditional home-cooked meal of Russian specialties such as blini and borscht....
    Read More
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • 30 years of Russia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Russia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • MIR affiliate offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk and Ulan Ude
  • 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 1-2: Volgograd

Begin in Volgograd, known during WWII as Stalingrad. Here one of the most important battles of the war was fought, at unprecedented human cost. Visit the immense Mother Russia monument on Mamaev Kurgan, the high ground where much of the fighting took place.


  • The massive Motherland statue at the Mamaev Kurgan memorial
  • The Flour Mill and Sergeant Pavlov’s House, ruined buildings that provided cover for the soldiers
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Days 3-4: Astrakhan

Travel overland to Astrakhan, Russia’s 17th century “Window on the East” guarding the rich Volga River Delta. Sample local cuisine at a dastarkhan demonstration and learn about the modern Caspian caviar industry, cultivated sustainably at sturgeon farms.


  • 16th century kremlin
  • 18th century Assumption Cathedral, praised by Peter the Great as the most beautiful in his empire
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Days 5-7: Elista

Head inland to Elista. Populated by Kalmyk people, remnants of the Golden Horde, Elista boasts the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, visited regularly by the Dalai Lama; futuristic Chess City, built amidst scandal for the 1998 international Chess Olympiad; and a breeding reserve for the critically endangered saiga antelope, a hump-nosed, spindly-legged, but very valuable creature.


  • The Golden Temple, largest Buddhist temple in Europe
  • Chess City, a huge complex built for the 1998 Chess Olympiad
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Days 8-11: Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar

Continue west to two major Cossack centers. In Rostov-on-Don, tour the former island capital of the Don Cossacks and in Krasnodar, learn about the exploits of the Kuban Cossacks. Enjoy dinner with a family in a private home in Krasnodar.


  • Cathedral of the Nativity designed by Konstantin Thon, famous for the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow
  • Rostov-on-Don’s Regional Museum, with artifacts from its early history
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Days 12-14: Sochi

Trace the lush Black Sea coastline to Sochi, “Russian Riviera” resort and 2014 Olympics site. Inspect some of the Olympic venues and the alpine skiing preparations in nearby Krasnaya Polyana.


  • Mt. Akhun with incredible views and 2014 Olympics preparations

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

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Tour Dates & Prices

There are no departures available at this time.

Please contact us for more information and a MIR Destination Specialist will contact you shortly. Thank you!

Please note

This itinerary is currently only available as a custom or independent program.  For a small group tour to this region, see Russia’s Imperial Capitals & Ancient Villages.

Group Size

This itinerary is available on a custom, private basis. Contact us for more information.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in superior tourist class hotels in central locations.
  • 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 6 dinners per the itinerary. A few lunches and dinners are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to experiment on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • For groups of four or more travelers, services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met upon arrival and transferred to the airport on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout itinerary by private coach, van, or car (type of vehicle depends on group size).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application and instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
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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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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 pre- or post-tour extensions to Moscow, St. Petersburg, nearby Abkhazia, Romania, Georgia and beyond. 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?

While the accommodations we utilize are superior tourist class, please keep in mind that some aspects of the tourism infrastructure in Russia are not up to the standards North American travelers expect. Services are improving in the region; however you may encounter problems with bureaucratic service, road conditions and availability and quality of public restrooms.

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