For train buffs, the Trans-Siberian is the Mount Everest of rail journeys. This rolling epic crosses eight time zones and traverses 6,600 miles across Russia from Moscow to the country’s major Pacific port, Vladivostok. Making this trek has become much more enjoyable thanks to the imaginatively designed, deeply comfortable Golden Eagle, a rolling masterpiece.
On our way to the Russian Far East, we pass through the mesmerizing taiga, a seemingly infinite Siberian forest, paying leisurely visits to Kazan, whose Kremlin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Yekaterinburg, founded in 1723 by Peter the Great as a gateway for his expansion into the wilds of Siberia. We see the country’s largest opera house in Novosibirsk, explore architecturally fascinating Irkutsk, and soak up mesmerizing Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest, deepest, and most voluminous lake. We then make our way south via Ulan Ude, capital of the largely Mongolian Buddhist Buryat Republic, into Mongolia. After a day exploring Ulaanbaatar, those of us on the Trans-Siberian Express journey travel aboard the Golden Eagle back into Russia and turn east for the final stretch to Vladivostok, a city fiercely shielded from the outside world during the Cold War.
Trans-Siberian Express with Naadam Festival: Our July 1 and 10 departures linger a couple of days in Mongolia to witness the magnificent Naadam Festival, a stupendously colorful expression of the country and its culture. One of the world’s great festivals, this multiday celebration features archery, horse racing, and wrestling competitions, and rivets the entire nation. After taking it in, we head home from Ulaanbaatar.
Baikal Express: If you have less time, the nine-day Baikal Express, is a great option. This trip is the same as the Trans-Siberian but it ends in Irkutsk on Day 9. You can return home then or extend your stay to explore more of Lake Baikal and the region.
Trans-Siberian Winter Wonderland: Our February and March departures of the Trans-Siberian Express.