Vladivostok to Moscow Aboard the Golden Eagle
The Trans-Siberian Classic Route: Westbound is an epic rail journey spanning two continents, from the vast forests and steppe of the Asian “Wild East” to the western terminus in dynamic, sophisticated Moscow. From the comfort of the luxury Golden Eagle private train you’ll watch miles of wilderness give way to little trapped-in-time villages and progressively more developed towns and cities. You’ll discover Russia’s exceptional natural beauty, including gorgeous, gigantic Lake Baikal, and explore the under-visited cities of Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ulan Ude, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, and Kazan – places that reveal a remarkably diverse Russian culture little known to outsiders.
Also available are:
- Eastbound departures from Moscow to Vladivostok
- A winter departure from Moscow to Vladivostok
- An eastbound and westbound Mongolian Route program between Moscow and Ulaanbaatar that features the Naadam Festival
- A shorter Baikal Express Route from Moscow to Irkutsk
- A shorter Ulaanbaatar Express Route from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar
Photos and details: Discover what life is like aboard the Golden Eagle.
Days 1-2: Vladivostok (Russia)
After a welcome dinner and overnight stay in a four-star hotel, spend the following morning touring Vladivostok, a port city on the Golden Horn Bay that was once off limits to foreign visitors. In the afternoon, depart for the first leg of your journey aboard the luxury Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express private train.
- Vladivostok’s 1912 train station, built in classic Russian style that closely resembles the station in Moscow, 5,771 miles away, at the other end of the Trans-Siberian line
- The observation platform on Eagle’s Nest Hill, which provides an expansive view of Vladivostok and Golden Horn Bay
- A visit to the Pacific Navy Military History Museum to tour the S-56, a Soviet submarine that saw extensive action in WWII
Days 3: Khabarovsk
Stop in Khabarovsk, the easternmost point of the journey, for a short tour. Built on three hills overlooking the Amur River just beyond its confluence with the Ussuri, the city is the largest in the Russian Far East, barely eclipsing Vladivostok. Unlike Vladivostok, it was never a closed city, and as a result it has a more international character. Back on board, the day’s train trip traces the Chinese border.
- The tree-lined paths of Khabarovsk’s long, pleasant riverfront park
- Amursky Boulevard, a wide shopping street with a local market
Day 4-5: Aboard Train
The train continues west through the remote, mysterious Siberian taiga before crossing into Mongolia.
- Watching the vast, starkly beautiful eastern Siberian taiga – a subarctic region of permafrost made up largely of dense coniferous forest – transition into the equally vast Mongolian steppe
Days 6: Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia)
In Mongolia the train makes a stop in Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital. Tour the Gandan Monastery and experience Mongolian cuisine in a nomadic ger (a traditional yurt).
- A Mongolian-style lunch served in a ger
Day 7: Ulan Ude (Russia)
A stop in Ulan Ude, capital of Russia’s Buryat Republic, provides the opportunity to visit a village of Old Believers – a religious group that rebelled against changes to the Orthodox liturgy in 1652 and, as a result, were exiled to Siberia. In their isolated enclaves, they’ve preserved 17th century styles of clothing, architecture, and music. UNESCO includes this unique community on its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Lunch with a group of Old Believers, followed by a performance of traditional choral music
Day 8: Lake Baikal
Today the Golden Eagle hits a spectacular stretch of track, winding through tunnels and along cliffs above UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake. Stop en route for a barbecue along the shore before continuing on to the lakeside village of Listvyanka, where you can dip your toes in the water and learn about the lake’s unique ecosystem at the Baikal Museum.
- The rail line along the water, arguably the most scenic stretch of the Trans-Siberian trip
- Little Listvyanka village and its Baikal Museum, which includes aquariums displaying the lake’s unique marine life
Day 9-10: Irkutsk, Aboard Train
Arrive in the morning in Irkutsk, the cultural capital of eastern Siberia. A tour of this surprisingly sophisticated little city includes examples of the area’s classic wooden architecture and a visit to the Decembrist House Museum, the preserved home of one family from a group of failed 19th century pro-democracy revolutionaries who settled here following their terms in Siberian labor camps. The next day the Golden Eagle rolls through the Sayan Mountains.
- Irkutsk’s ornate 19th century wooden buildings, many decorated with lace-like wooden fretwork
- A private classical music concert at Decembrist House Museum, one of the best maintained of Irkutsk’s historic houses
- A relaxing day aboard the Golden Eagle as it passes through the isolated Sayan Mountains, where residents have been herding reindeer for more than a millennium
Day 11: Novosibirsk
Stop in Novosibirsk, which thanks to the Trans-Siberian railway is Siberia’s biggest city, with Russia’s largest opera house on its central Lenin Square. The town sits on the Ob River, 2,300 miles from the river’s mouth in the Arctic.
- The daunting scale of Lenin Square, with its domed opera house – nicknamed the Siberian Colosseum – and giant Soviet-era statues
Days 12-13: Ekaterinburg, Kazan
The final stop in Asia is Ekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, situated on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains. Visit the Church on the Blood, built on the spot where the last czar, Nicholas II, and his family were executed in July of 1918. From here continue west to Kazan, a beautiful city along the Volga that’s the capital of Tatarstan, a Russian autonomous region. Kazan is noted for its centuries of religious harmony – here mosques, minarets, and Orthodox church domes share the skyline.
- Ekaterinburg’s Church on the Blood, consecrated in 2003 on the site where Bolsheviks executed Czar Nicholas II and his family
- The UNESCO-listed Kazan Kremlin, considered the only surviving Tatar fortress in Russia
Days 14-15: Moscow
Disembark in Moscow, the Trans-Siberian line’s western terminus, and visit Red Square, taking in iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral and the massive Kremlin. There you can tour the Armory Museum, a storehouse of national treasures. If you’re more interested in art, you can opt instead to tour the Tretyakov Gallery, which has a collection spanning a millennium of Russian artwork. Check in to a five-star hotel for a one-night stay and a farewell dinner.
- Moscow’s 870-year-old Kremlin and Red Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The treasures of the Armory Museum, from Faberge eggs to the ivory throne of Ivan the Terrible
- The Tretyakov Gallery, home to the world’s most extensive collection of Russian art
Dates & Prices
Minimum group size: Minimums vary – call for confirmation status
Land Tour Price, Per Person.
May 13 - 27June 11 - 25Silver Class, double occupancy$18,095Silver Class, single occupancy$26,995Gold Class, double occupancy$22,695Gold Class, single occupancy$37,395Imperial Suite Class, double occupancy$38,195Imperial Suite Class, single occupancy$76,195Aug 5 - 19Sept 2 - 16Silver Class, double occupancy$19,395Silver Class, single occupancy$28,995Gold Class, double occupancy$23,795Gold Class, single occupancy$39,495Imperial Suite Class, double occupancy$42,195Imperial Suite Class, single occupancy$84,295
- Accommodations, as noted in the itinerary.
- All meals, from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final tour day, including a generous allowance of wine, local beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.
- 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, as outlined in the itinerary.
- Services of an experienced Train Tour Manager as well as local guides for scheduled off-train tours.
- Complimentary tea, coffee, and mineral water from your car attendant at all times while on board the train.
- All gratuities.
- Baggage handling.
- Complete pre-departure information, including detailed packing list, reading list, and Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
- Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements, on request. (Please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost.)
- International airfare, including taxes/fuel surcharges, and surface transport to the point of joining/leaving the tour. MIR is able to assist with arrangements, as detailed in the itinerary.
- Meals and drinks not specified as included in the itinerary.
- Single supplement (difference between double rate and single occupancy rate) if requested or required.
- Optional pre- or post-tour extensions.
- Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification, or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
- Visa fees, excess baggage charges, airport departure taxes, vaccination and other medical costs.
- Travel insurance, including cancellation, medical, and evacuation insurance.
- Items of a personal nature, such as phone calls, email, laundry, and alcohol.
Level 2: Moderate
This rail journey by private train features significant touring on foot, throughout which travelers are expected to keep up with other group members. Walking during touring days will be on a variety of surfaces, with many streets and sidewalks being uneven and elevators generally not available during touring excursions, leading to some stair climbing. Challenges on board the train include long onboard distances with heavy doors, as well as steep steps and gaps to navigate while embarking and disembarking. Only those willing to accept local standards of amenities and services should consider joining this program.
Travelers must be able to walk a mile per day keeping up with other group members. Streets and sidewalks can be uneven or unexpected surfaces, and handrails are not always present. Steps, which may be required due to lack of elevators, may be steep and/or uneven, and may also lack handrails. The distance on board the train between sleeping and dining carriages may be significant, and there are many heavy doors to navigate when moving throughout the train. Getting on and off the train involves navigating steep steps, low platforms, and possible gaps between the train and the platform. Navigating rail stations may also involve traveling up and over steep steps/footbridges to cross tracks, or steep steps and dark tunnels to cross under to/from the train station. Although porterage is provided where possible, you may have to carry your baggage for short distances.
General shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure may include problems with bureaucratic service, and availability and quality of public restrooms when not on board the train.