Three great nations—Russia, Mongolia, and China—all in one trip, on this Trans-Siberian rail tour. Begin in golden-domed Moscow, visiting the highlights of the Red Square, the Kremlin, and Novodeivchiy Convent. After, stop at the major Russian city of Yekaterinburg and Lake Baikal, the world’s largest lake. Mongolia will greet you with its endless steppes and the Gobi Desert, finally ending in China with the legendary Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Ming tombs.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the largest, oldest, and deepest lake in the world: Lake Baikal
  • Explore the cultural and historic highlights of Moscow
  • Watch the almost-endless plains of Siberia roll past your train window
  • Spend a night in a ger on the Mongolian steppe
  • Tour the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, and more in Beijing

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival to Moscow Moscow
Day 2 Moscow City Tour - Train to Yekaterinburg Overnight train
Day 3 Train to Yekaterinburg Yekaterinburg
Day 4 Tour Yekaterinburg Overnight train
Day 5 Arrive Novosibirsk Novosibirsk
Day 6 Tour Novosibirsk Overnight train
Day 7 On the Train Overnight train
Day 8 Arrive Irkutsk - Tour Lake Baikal Irkutsk
Day 9 Tour Irkutsk Overnight train
Day 10 On the Train to Mongolia Overnight train
Day 11 Arrive Ulan Bator - Terelj National Park Mongolian Ger
Day 12 Ulan Bator Tour Ulan Bator
Day 13 On the Train to Beijing Overnight train
Day 14 Beijing: Forbidden City Beijing
Day 15 Beijing: Great Wall of China & Ming Tombs Beijing
Day 16 Depart Beijing  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to Moscow

Moskva river view
Moskva River view

Moscow is the starting point of your great Trans-Siberian journey. On arrival in Moscow, you will be met by a representative, who will drive you to your hotel. 

Moscow is not only the Russian capital, it's also the largest city in Europe. Moscow has served as the capital of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire, and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. As you might expect, the city has had a tumultuous history. Founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki in the early 12th century, it has seen numerous invasions and sieges from everyone from the Mongols, Poles, Lithuanians, and Crimean Tatars to Napoleon and the Nazis. But, it has persevered and today is a thriving metropolis. The city’s dazzling architecture, from medieval palaces to towering modern office blocks, is sure to grip your imagination.

Day 2: Moscow City Tour - Train to Yekaterinburg

Nativity Church at Putinki
Nativity Church at Putinki

After breakfast at your hotel, you will have some free time to explore. In the afternoon, check out of the hotel and meet with your guide to begin your city tour.

This tour is a great way to get acquainted with many of the city's major highlights. You'll visit Vorobyevi Hills, where you will get an incredible view of the city, then proceed to Moscow State University, an example of Stalinist architecture and one of Russia’s leading schools of higher education. Next, check out the Novodevichiy Convent, the Diplomatic Village, Victory Park, the Triumphal Arch, Kutuzovsky Prospect, and much more.

Depart to Yekaterinburg by train later in the day.

Day 3: Train to Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

It takes 26 hours to get to the city of Yekaterinburg, located in the heart of the Ural Mountains, and marking the beginning of Siberia. It's about 1000 miles (1600 km) from Moscow.

During the night you will cross the Vyatka River, and in the morning the train will stop in the city of Perm. After another six hours, you'll arrive in Yekaterinburg, where our representatives will meet you at the train station and bring you to your hotel.

Day 4: Tour Yekaterinburg

Yekaterinburg

After a good breakfast, start with a tour of Yekaterinburg. The tour will acquaint you with the history of the Romanov family in Yekaterinburg, and the details of their death. You will visit the monastery dedicated to the family of the last Tsar, located on the spot where the Bolsheviks tried to hide the corpses of the Romanovs in a secret grave. Today this is a Russian Orthodox pilgrimage site.

After visiting the monastery and the neighboring wooden churches, see the main historical sites of Yekaterinburg: the historical skver (park), the wooden dam of the city’s first plant, the old city embankment, and a monument to Lenin. The tour will also take you to places connected to the first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, who called Yekaterinburg home.

You'll be taken back to your hotel after the tour, and will have free time to walk around the city before your driver takes you to the train station to continue your journey to Novosibirsk overnight.

Day 5: Arrive Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk Station

Our representative will meet you in Novosibirsk, at the largest train station on the route, and help you check in at your hotel.

Novosibirsk is the third largest city in Russia (after Moscow and St. Petersburg), and the largest Siberian city. The city was founded in 1893 at the future site of a Trans-Siberian Railway bridge crossing the great River Ob. During Stalin’s industrialization of Russia, the city experienced rapid growth and became one of the major seats of industry in the Soviet Union.

Day 6: Tour Novosibirsk

Novosibirsk

Be ready for an exciting tour to the scientific town of Akademgorodok, and to other areas of interest in and around Novosibirsk.

Akademgorodok is a city built entirely for scientists and their families, and is well known throughout the international scientific community. The tour will take you to the Geology Museum at the Geology Research Institute, and the Open-Air Train Museum, which exhibits a collection of old Trans-Siberian trains. Your guide will show you Krasny Prospect, Alexander Cathedral, and Lenin Square, which features the vast Opera House. You will also visit the oldest part of the city, Gorky Street, with its old wooden houses, the tiny St. Nicolas Chapel that marks the center of Russia, and the Ob River embankment.

After your excursion, you will have free time before going to the station. Your guide can help you find a good local restaurant to sample some genuine Siberian cuisine, if you wish. Then, go to the train station to continue your journey to Irkutsk.

Plan your trip to Russia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 7: On the Train

Railway through Russia

This part of Trans-Siberian route is considered the most beautiful. The trip will take you almost the whole day. The train will cross over many rivers including the Kam, Chuna, Lya, Oka, Yenisey, and Angara. The most important river is the Yenisey, with the city of Krasnoyarsk spread along its banks.

Day 8: Arrive Irkutsk - Tour Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal

Finally arrive in Irkutsk, where you'll be met and taken to Lake Baikal, the largest body of fresh water in the world. On the way, stop at the Ethnographical Museum Taltsy, with examples of old Siberian wooden houses.

We will also make a stop to see the lake from the Cherskiy Peak observation point. After lunch at your hotel, continue to the Limnological Museum, with exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake. There is also an aquarium, where you can see different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa, the only freshwater seal in the world. Also visit the St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker Orthodox Church.

Continue on to Lake Baikal, which has an average depth of 2,442 feet (744.4 m.) and contains roughly 20% of the world's surface fresh water. At 5,390 feet (1,642 m.) it's also the deepest and among the clearest lakes in the world, and the world's oldest, as more than 25 million years old. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is home to the Buryat people, who follow the Tibetan Buddhist religion and reside on the eastern side of the lake rearing goat, camel, cattle, and sheep.

Day 9: Irkutsk Tour

Irkutsk

After breakfast, you will travel to Irkutsk and drop your luggage off in the luggage room of the hotel before continuing with the tour.

Your Irkutsk city tour includes a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign (Znamensky Cathedral) and its famous graveyard, where you will see the graves of the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya, and the "Russian Columbus", Shelekhov. Proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists, housed in a mansion belonging to one of the leaders of Decembrist Revolt. The Decembrists were Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a constitutional regime. The museum evokes 18th-century Russia.

Pick up your luggage and head to the train station to continue to Ulan Bator, an overnight journey.

Day 10: On the Train to Mongolia

Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal

Today is a long and scenic journey along the lake’s shore. Later in the day, cross the Russian-Mongolian border.

Day 11: Arrive Ulan Bator - Terelj National Park

Ger in the Mongolian steppe
Ger in the Mongolian steppe

Arrive in Ulan Bator in the morning, where you'll be met by our representatives, to begin the Mongolian part of your journey.

After breakfast at the hotel, travel to Terelj National Park, situated in a picturesque mountain valley. Stop at Ovoo, a pile of stones built as a landmark for worship near the mountain pass.

On arrival, have lunch and settle into the resort. The resort offers a wide range of optional activities (extra cost) including archery, horse cart riding, and trekking.

Dinner will be served in a ger café. You'll spend the night in a ger, a traditional Mongolian nomadic house, surrounded by the endless steppe.

Day 12: Ulan Bator Tour

Ulan Bator

Return to Ulan Bator after breakfast, stopping to visit a nomadic family along the way.

Back in the capital, take a city tour. Visit Sukhbaatar Square in the heart of Ulan Bator, with its statue of Sukhbaatar, the national hero. Then drive to Gandan Monastery, which was destroyed during Stalin’s rule but has since been rebuilt. Continue after lunch to the Natural History Museum, the oldest public museum in Mongolia. It includes geological, geographical, biographical, paleontological and anthropological sections. The most impressive exhibits are the huge skeletons of two dinosaurs found in the Gobi Desert, and the nests of dinosaurs’ eggs. The museum also includes examples of the snow leopard, Gobi bear, red wolf, and others species that live in Mongolia.

After visiting the museum, have some free time to shop in a Mongolian department store. Dinner is at a local restaurant.

Day 13: On the Train to Beijing

Mountains of Mongolia
Mountains of Mongolia

After an early breakfast, transfer to the railway station to take the train to Beijing. The entire day will be spent on the train, admiring the scenery of the valleys and mountains.

Day 14: Beijing: Forbidden City

Forbidden City

On arrival in Beijing, you will be met at the railway station by our Chinese representatives, and transfer to your hotel by car or minibus. Then, embark on a city tour.

You'll see and experience some of Beijing's highlights, including the Forbidden City. Built between 1406 and 1420, this palace served as the home of China's Ming and Qing dynasty emperors for five centuries, until 1908. The palace consists of 9000 halls and rooms, containing many precious relics, is thought to be the largest palace in the world, and is a major cultural heritage site.

In the evening, have free time to walk along the city streets and admire the surroundings. If you would like recommendations of good places to eat or other activities, don’t hesitate to ask your guide.

Day 15: Beijing: Great Wall of China & Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

This morning, head to one of the most powerful symbols of ancient Chinese civilization, the Great Wall, stretching 3,945 miles (6,350 km). Learn about the wall’s history and evolution, from its rocky start to the masterpiece of architecture it is today, while visiting a section.

The second part of the excursion will take you to the Ming Tombs, a group of mausoleums built for 13 Ming emperors, their empresses, and concubines. The tombs are located about 31 miles (50 km) north of Beijing, and span over an area of 25 square miles (64 square km). Two of the tombs, Changling and Dingling, and an underground palace are open to the public.

Day 16: Depart Beijing

Beijing

After breakfast, check out from your hotel and transfer to the airport. This ends your Trans-Siberian journey. We hope that you had a wonderful time and we look forward to welcoming you back to this region of the world sometime in the future!