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Russia by Rail: The Best Way to Travel

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

When you think of ultimate luxury experiences, what dazzling visions come to mind? For the discerning few who understand what exclusivity is, nostalgia quite often plays a starring role where travel is concerned. One such bygone recollection is typified by the world’s greatest railway excursion, the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Railway journey from Moscow to Vladivostok.

From the series they defeated fascism
Welcome to Moscow, welcome to Russia (Valery Akopov)

Most westerners are familiar with such iconic train journeys as the fabled Orient Express, but only from motion pictures. The Trans-Siberian Railway is similar in some respects, but altogether different, and more awe-inspiring in others. Considering the width and breadth of Russia today, and those of the Imperial Russia of yesteryear, this magnificent trip over the Ural Mountains, across the steppe, up to the fabulous Lake Baikal, and finally reaching the mysterious, and enchanted, Far East, is spellbinding. In short, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains offer fully escorted luxury rail tours, over magnificent landscapes, that have the stuff of adventure and romance. 

Riding in luxuriously appointed rail cars across the longest point-to-point rail system on Earth, is all together romantic, nostalgic, and exciting. Potential customers of Golden Eagle Luxury Trains can also count on exclusive access to the Kremlin while in Moscow, and will enjoy swimming in Lake Baikal, a visit to the famed Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar and other exclusive excursions, all meant to provide the experience of a lifetime to every passenger.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express P-36 steam locomotive (Simon Pielow)

Life aboard the Golden Eagle trains is centered around comfort, and focused on taking in all the places and experiences anyone could hope for, all from a home away from home. The images you see below deliver you as passenger and sightseer onto a land most people cannot even grasp the size of. Gourmet cuisine to vodka tastings, Russian language lessons, and a wide choice of exclusive perks, recommend a trip on the railways to those who can, and want to, afford the luxury. Only the Czars once traveled in such finery, as carefree globetrotters.

The train departs this month, westbound on the 26th till August 9th, the eastbound from Vladivastok back to Moscow August 22nd to September 5th. The full list of departures can be found here, and an abbreviated itinerary is listed below.

  • Day 1 and 2 – Moscow, Red Square and the Kremlin
  • Day 3 – Kazan on the Volga and the Kremlin Fortress
  • Day 4 – Yekaterinburg and a walking tour of the city
  • Day 5 – Novosibirsk, Lenin Square and the Opera House
  • Day 6 – Is spent onboard traversing the great expanses of this part of Siberia
  • Day 7 – Irkutsk, the Paris of Siberia lays before the travler
  • Day 8 – Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest freshwater lake
  • Day 9 – Ulan Ude, where the culture of the fascinating Buryat people can be gleaned
  • Day 10 – Ulan Baatar in Mongolia, the center of Ghenshis Khan’s mighty empire
  • Days 11, 12 and 13 – are spent aboard traversing still more vast wilderness
  • Day 14 and 15 – Vladivostok exploration and then air trip home

Morning in the Far East of Russia, Primorsky Krai
Morning in the Far East of Russia, Primorsky Krai (Olya Grebenshchikov)

Interested readers may find the 2016 itinerary even more enticing. Next June, the Golden Eagle will expand its services to include the Baikal-Amur Magistral line. The added 621 miles across the Sayan Mountains, across the Amur River, and a fabulous Siberian discovery represent a tempting journey, even at a price just over $16,000 per person. 

Additional photo credits: Many thanks to Valery Akopov Moscow's finest photographic storyteller, Olya Grebenshchikov of the Amur Region, Helena Pankova of Novokuznetsk in the heart of Siberia, and Natalia Markova of the Altai region.