Trans-Siberian to the Eastern Baikal / 18D

18 Days Siberia explorer Buryatia Tatarstan Eastbound

Tours  ►Trans-Siberian Railway tours ►Trans-Siberian tour via Kazan

Moscow → Kazan → Yekaterinburg  → Ulan Ude → Ust Barguzin → Vladivostok


  This 18-day trip along the Trans-Siberian Railway takes you to the eastern shore of Lake Baikal to the Republic of Buryatia. While Lake Baikal is relatively easy to get to from the neighbouring Irkutsk Region, Buryatia’s main cities are located further from the lake and for this reason, there are always less tourists here than on the western shore of Baikal. 
 

Stops along the route:
Kazan - this city is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan and claims the title of the third capital of Russia. Despite its proximity to Moscow, it has its own national traditions, language and cuisine.  The Kazan Kremlin is one of the most beautiful fortresses in the country and is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Just like the Moscow Kremlin, it serves as the residence of the Head of Tatarstan.

Yekaterinburg - this is usually an obligatory stop for almost all travellers along the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is the largest city in the Urals and the administrative centre of the region. The family of the last Russian emperor spent their last days here and were killed in the city and hurriedly buried without ceremony outside it.

Ulan-Ude  - this city is the capital of Buryatia, one of the three Buddhist republics in Russia. It is the homeland of the Buryats - people related to the Mongolians who have lived in Russia since ancient times, and have adopted many Russian traditions, such as living in big wooden huts, baking bread and making jam. Here you will find the main Buddhist monastery in Russia - the Ivolgin Datsan. Despite Buddhism being the predominant religion, Shamanism is also still practised by many and for the Buryats Baikal is a sacred lake; almost every corner of it is linked to legends and beliefs. 

Ust-Barguzin - this is a settlement on the very shores of Baikal opposite the Svyatoy Nos (“Holy Nose”) Peninsula, surrounded by protected natural parks. You will visit here Chivyrkuy Bay, a beautiful and warm bay of Baikal, and the Barguzin Valley, where you can see taiga, forest-steppe and deserts. One of the most striking sights here is the River Barguzin framed by the high peaks of the Barguzin Mountain Range.  

Vladivostok - This is the last point of your trip and the terminal of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Over 9,000 km and seven time zones separate Vladivostok from Moscow. It is one of the oldest and the most picturesque cities in the Russian Far East, which is often compared to San Francisco for its relief and impressive bridges. In fact Vladivostok is actually closer to San Francisco than to Moscow. 
 

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS TRIP:

1 DAY / ARRIVAL IN MOSCOW

moscow

 Arrival in Moscow. Transfer to the hotel. Free time in the city: although if you arrive in the morning and have energy we can organise an excursion for this day.

Night in Moscow.


2 DAY / MOSCOW TOUR

Moscow

 Breakfast in the hotel.

  City tour of Moscow by a car - during this tour you will see the Russian capital’s main sights, including:

  Walking tour around central Moscow. The highlights of the tour:

  • Red Square – the country’s main square where St Basil’s Cathedral is located.
  • GUM – one of the most famous shopping centres in the country with beautiful architecture and a unique layout.
  • Lenin’s Mausoleum – the resting place of the founder of the USSR.
  • Aleksandrovsky Gardens – pretty gardens running along the Kremlin with several interesting monuments.
  • Christ the Saviour Cathedral - the largest cathedral in Russia with a capacity of 10000 people.
  • Tomb of Unkown Soldier - which contains the remains of a Soviet soldier who died in December 1941 defending Moscow

 Guided tour of St Basil Cathedral - one of the most recognisable building in the World.

 Guided tour of Moscow Metro - the most beautiful metro in the world. The excursion will visit some of the most stunning stations.

 Boat trip along the River Moskva - the river after which Moscow is named. The route takes you through central Moscow and allows you to see Red Square, Sparrow Hills and Christ the Saviour Cathedral from a different angle.

 Duration: 7-8 hours |  Transportation: by car and by foot

Evening transfer to the train station for overnight train to Kazan.

 Night on the train.


3 DAY / KAZAN

Morning arrival in Kazan and transfer to the hotel.

 Tour of Kazan. The highlights of the tour include:

  • Kazan Kremlin – one of the most beautiful kremlins in Russia and the main sight in the city. The architectural ensemble of the Kazan Kremlin is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

  • Qol-Şärif Mosque – one of the most beautiful mosques in Russia, built on the site where another mosque stood until it was destroyed during the capture of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible in 1552.

  • Söyembikä Tower – a leaning tower whose spire leans 2 metres from its base.

  • Annunciation Cathedral – the oldest building in the kremlin, built by architects who were also behind the construction of St Basil's in Moscow.

  • Ulitsa Baumana – the main pedestrian road and one of the oldest streets in Kazan.

  • Ss Peter and Paul’s Cathedral – undoubtedly the most beautiful Orthodox cathedral in Kazan thanks to its unusual decorations.

 Duration: 3-4h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Master-class on cooking chak-chak - chak-chak is a national Tatar dessert dating back to the times of the Bolgars. The main ingredients of the dish are flour, eggs and honey. 

 Night in Kazan.


4 DAY / SVIYAZHSK ISLAND

 Breakfast in the hotel.

 Excursion to Sviyazhk – one of the most interesting places in Tatarstan, founded in 1552 as an island-city to serve as the Russian base for Ivan the Terrible's conquest of Kazan. The city is located in picturesque surroundings on the mouth of the River Sviyaga and resembles a city out of Russian fairy tales. Many architectural monuments can still be found in the city, including two monasteries. In addition, the city has also a special complex for tourists.

 Duration: 5h |  Transportation: by a private car |  Distance: 65km

 Night in Kazan.


5 DAY / TRAIN TO YEKATERINBURG

train

 Breakfast in the hotel and transfer to the train station.

 Train to Yekaterinburg. 

During the trip, your train will travel through the Republic of Udmurtia - the homeland of the Udmurts - an ancient Finno-Urgric people of the north-western forests of the Urals. There are about 750,000 Udmurts in the world and 67% of them live in the Republic of Udmurtia. 

You will also travel through the Perm Territory, located close to the Ural Mountains, where the famous Kungur ice cave and the Perm-36 Museum (a Soviet-era political prison) are located.

Evening arrival in Yekaterinburg and transfer to the hotel.

 Night in Yekaterinburg.


6 DAY / YEKATERINBURG

 Breakfast in the hotel

 Сity tour of Yekaterinburg - the highlights of the tour include:

  • Church on the Spilled Blood – one of three churches in Russia which are said to have been built "on blood". At this location the Ipatiev House previously stood, which was the site of the execution of Emperor Nicholas II and his family. Today they have been canonised as saints.
  • Ural Stone Museum – minerals and stones are the pride of the Urals and one of its brands. The museum has a collection of unique crystals, minerals and semi-precious stones.
  • Ganina Yama – a wooden monastery founded on the site where the remains of the last imperial family were found. The remains themselves are now buried in Ss Peter and Paul's Cathedral in St Petersburg.
  • Europe-Asia Border – one of several monuments marking the border where Europe ends and Asia begins. This spot was fixed by German scientists in 1829.

 Duration: 5h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Yekaterinburg


7 DAY / TRAIN TO ULAN UDE

 Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to the train station.

Train to Ulan Ude.

 Night on the train.


8 DAY / ON THE TRAIN - WESTERN SIBERIA

 Day and night on the train. During the way you will pass:

  • Tyumen one of the oldest cities in Siberia and now the oil and gas capital of Siberia.
  • Omsk – the second largest city of Siberia. Here the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky spent four years of his life in prison.

9 DAY / ON THE TRAIN

 Day and Night in the train. During the way you will pass:

  • Krasnoyarsk (4098km) – a major Siberian city situated on the banks of the beautiful River Yenisey surrounded by picturesque hills.
  • In the morning the train will stop at the small station of Taishet, where the Baikal-Amur Railway, another great railway line of Russia, starts

10 DAY / UST BARGUZIN

Ust Barguzin

Arrival in Ulan-Ude. Breakfast at a cafe.

Transfer to Ust-Barguzin. Distance: 260km. On the way, you will make a stop at the first and only convent in Buryatia.

Upon arrival - lunch and walking excursion around the village. Ust-Barguzin is a small settlement located near the shore of Baikal, where the River Barguzin flows into the lake. Everything that is situated along Baikal to the north and west of Ust-Barguzin is protected wildland. When the Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station was built, the settlement had to be moved to the other side of the River Barguzin. Today you still can see several houses of the old settlement that were moved here. The main activities of the local people are logging, fishing and fish processing.  

Dinner. 

Russian Banya.

 Night in Ust Barguzin.


11 DAY / CHIVYRKUY BAY

Chivyrkuy Bay

 Breakfast in the guest house.

 Tour to Chivyrkuy Bay - the most unique bay of Lake Baikal. The water covers an area of about 300 square kilometres but has shallow depths throughout, meaning that the waters warm up quickly and in late July - early August you can swim here. The entire territory of the bay is part of the Zabaikalsky National Park, so access here is strictly limited. The Chivyrkuy Bay is the only remaining place on Baikal where Baikal sturgeon are still found.

On the way to Chivyrkuy Bay, you'll pass Barguzin Bay - the largest bay on Baikal. Here you will make a stop to enjoy the stunning panorama: the longest sandy beach on Baikal overlooking the impressive Svyatoy Nos Peninsula.

Then the road lies along Chivyrkuy Bay to the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula. After a few kilometres, you will get to the settlement of Monakhovo, which is located on the coast of the Chivyrkuy Bay. Here you will make a stop to enjoy the beauty of this unique place and climb an observation deck to look at the bay from a height, swim in one of the warmest bays of Baikal and have a lunch of delicious Ukha fish soup made of Baikal omul.

After lunch, the water part of your excursion begins: a boat trip along Chivyrkuy Bay. You will see some beautiful islands of the bay.

The next stop is Zmeyovaya Bay. It is famous for the fact that here right on the coast you can take hot baths (small wooden baths are built here for bathing): the water temperature is from +28 to +45 C.

 Duration: 8h |  Transportation: by a private car, boat, walking

Dinner.

Russian Banya.

 Night in Ust Barguzin.


12 DAY / BARGUZIN VALLEY

Barguzin Valley

 Breakfast in the hotel.

 Tour to Barguzin Valley - this valley is an amazing and truly interesting place. It is unique due to its location, microclimate, relief, rich flora and fauna, and healing springs. The culture and history of the peoples that have made their homes here is also fascinating. During the tour, you will visit various thermal and mineral springs, visit the Barguzin Ostrog and the Barguzin Datsan, and ascend to the place of the manifestation of "The Face of Goddess Janjima" (considered to be the patroness of all women and creative nature). The most impressive point in Barguzin Valley is "Suvinskaya Saksonia". According to a local legend, these rocks were once home to the inhabitants of the valley - the Barga Mongols - and there were once fortress walls and towers here. In good weather, from here you can see the whole of Barguzin Valley, feel the power of the mountains and rivers, and try to take in with your eyes all this infinite beauty.

Duration:7-8 hours

 Night in Ust Barguzin.


13 DAY / ULAN UDE

 Breakfast in the guest house.

 Transfer to Ulan Ude

 Distance: 260km

Tour of Ulan-Ude -  the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, an area that occupies the entire eastern shore of Lake Baikal. Here you can find wooden houses with carved decorations, brightly coloured Buddhist temples and round buildings similar to yurts. Even the usual Soviet panel apartment blocks in the suburban areas are decorated with national ornaments. However the most famous and recognisable sight of the city is the monument to Lenin, which takes the form of a huge head - there is no other such monument in the whole country. During the tour, you will visit the main attractions of the city centre. 


  - 30 kilometres from Ulan-Ude, on the foothills of the Hamar-Daban Range along the steppe expanse, is the spiritual centre of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia - the Ivolginsky Datsan. Today in Russia there are about 3 million Buddhists making it the third largest religion in the country. The Ivolginsky Datsan is the largest Buddhist complex in Russia. Its reconstruction marks the beginning of the revival of the Buddhist tradition in Russia, which was almost completely eradicated in the first decades of Soviet power.

 Night in Ula Ude.


14 DAY / ON THE TRAIN

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the train station for a train to Vladivostok.

 Day and night on the train.


15 DAY / ON THE TRAIN - ZABAIKALIE

zabaikalie

Day and night on the train.

  • On this day you won't pass through any large cities as you continue travelling through the part of Russia known as Zabaikalye, which literally means ‘beyond Baikal’. One of the more interesting stations your train will stop at here is Mogocha – a settlement situated on permafrost. It is one of the oldest centres of gold-mining in Russia – in the mid-1960s almost 500kg of gold was being extracted a year from the region. The local time now outside your train is Moscow time plus six hours.

16 DAY / ON THE TRAIN - FAR EAST

Day on the train.

  • This is the last day of your train trip. You will pass through Birobidzhan – the interesting centre of the Jewish Autonomous District. In 1928 this area was chosen to become a new homeland for the world's Jews and over 43,000 Jews relocated here from all over the Soviet Union and even from the USA. However today only 6% of the city’s population are now Orthodox Jews.
  • Next up is Khabarovsk which was founded in 1858 as a fortress to defend against the Chinese. Today the city is the centre of Russia's Far Eastern Federal District. You will be just 17km from the Russia-China border.
  • Closer to the evening you will see on the horizon the Pacific Ocean as the train travels close to the coastline.

17 DAY / VLADIVOSTOK

Arrival in Vladivostok.

 Transfer to the hotel.

 A city tour of Vladivostok. The highlights of the tour are.

  • Golden Bridge – one of the five largest bridges in the world and a modern symbol of the city.
  • Eagle's Nest Hill – the highest point of the historical city of Vladivostok. From here there are amazing views of the city and of Zolotoy Rog Bay.
  • Vladivostok Railway Station – the final point of the longest railway journey in the world. The exterior of the station resembles Yaroslavsky Railway Station in Moscow which symbolically connects the two ends of the country.
  • Ulitsa Svetlanskaya - the main historical street in the city which has a mix of architectural styles of different eras.
  • Korabelnaya Naberezhnaya (Ship Embankment) – the construction of the port and the city began here in 1860.
  • C-56 Submarine Museum - during the Second World War the C-56 became the most effective of all Soviet submarines and was the first in history to circumnavigate the world. The excursion includes a visit inside the submarine.
  • Nikolaevskie Triumphal Gates – these were erected on the site of the original ones commemorating the visit of Emperor Nicholas II, which were destroyed in 1927.
  • Russky Island

 Duration: 4-5h |  Transportation: by a private car

 Night in Vladivostok.


18 DAY / DEPARTURE VLADIVOSTOK

Breakfast in the hotel.

 Transfer to the airport, or to the seaport if you are planning to continue your trip to Japan.

ivolginsk

  • The tour is available the whole year round, but please take into account that the museum’s working hours and days-off vary so we reserve the right to change the itinerary while trying to save the excursion programme.
  • Transportation in Moscow, where travel by metro is designated, can be changed to a car upon request, but please note that the transport situation in Moscow is not very good, so you could get stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Tickets to museums cannot be sold without an excursion with a guide.
  • During state holidays and celebrations, Red Square may be closed (either partially blocked off or completely closed).
  • The tour is available in  English, French and German - other languages upon request.
  • All excursions/guided tours included in the itinerary are private which means private guides and private transport along the programme - unless otherwise stated.
  • Best time to travel on this route: from the end of May to October.

• CANCELLATION POLICY •

 

DATE OF CANCELLATION

CANCELLATION CHARGES

FROM 60 TO 45 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 10%
FROM 44 TO 15 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 30%
FROM 14 TO 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 50%
LESS THAN 7 DAYS BEFORE THE DEPARTURE 100%

 

Date of the tour

Language

Number of travellers

Adults:
Children (6-16):

Accommodation:

Cost of the tour in

Adds-ons

Included
  • Private transport service according to the programme
  • Private guide service according to the programme
  • Entrance tickets to museums.
  • Accommodation in a hotel of a category of your choice, central location, standard DBL rooms with breakfast.
  • Train tickets of a category of your choice
  • 24h emergency support during the tour
  • Visa support documents
Not included
  • Plane tickets to/from Russia
  • Tips for a guide or driver (optional)
  • Meals (except for breakfast where stated)
  • Evening performances such as the ballet at the Bolshoi.
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