Trans-Siberian Express Winter Wonderland

  • Golden Eagle

  • 15-day Escorted Tour


    The Tour

    The Trans-Siberian Express “Winter Wonderland” is a voyage through a shimmering sea of winter white. This epic trip spans two continents and seven time zones. Spend two weeks traveling on the world’s most famous railway on board the private, cozy Golden Eagle. This unique winter journey includes a trip to frozen Lake Baikal, the deepest fresh-water lake in the world, and the opportunity to experience a snowmobile or dog-sled ride across the rock-solid lake. For those who were dazzled by the sunlit snow in “Doctor Zhivago,” this will be the answer to your “Winter Dreams.”

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    “It was a fine way to see Siberia, a vast land mass of unending field and forest, punctuated by surprisingly vibrant, colorful cities and warm, smiling people. We were like a cruise ship making stops at varied, otherwise inaccessible ports of call.”

    — Owen Hardy, Owner & CEO, Soc. of International Railway Travelers

    The Itinerary

    Days 1-2: Vladivostok
    Arrive at Vladivostok Airport where we are met and transferred to the five-star Lotte Hotel Vladivostok for a one-night stay. In Soviet times, Vladivostok was closed to foreigners—and even most Russians—because of its military importance. Tour the city’s principal military attractions, including a walk through a restored World War II Soviet submarine, before boarding the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express. Tonight we enjoy dinner as our rail adventure to Moscow begins.

    Day 3: Khabarovsk
    Located 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the border with China, Khabarovsk stretches along the banks of the Amur River. Khabarovsk was founded as a military post in 1858, but the region had been populated by several indigenous peoples of the Far East for many centuries. It is now a busy city with tree-lined streets.

    Located next to the station we will pass the memorial to Yerofey Pavlovich Khabarov, the Far East explorer the city is named after, and see the impressive World War Two memorial to the fallen soldiers. We will also have time at the Regional Museum where the local history has been well-preserved with a rich collection of artifacts describing the cultural and natural history of the region.

    Days 4-5: On board
    Enjoy a leisurely pace today as we travel through the beautiful Russian landscape of this vast and varied country. Our journey follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border.

    Early evening on day 5 we are scheduled to arrive into Ulan Ude where there is the opportunity to take in a performance at the esteemed Buryat Opera and Ballet Theatre (subject to availability and theater performance schedule). 

    Day 6: Ulan Ude, Russia
    Today arrive at Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic. The ethnic and cultural diversity of this area offers a unique insight into its Mongol heritage.  During the exploration of the Old Believer’s Village we have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of these communities as we are treated to a concert featuring local traditions and folk singing.

    Day 7-8: Lake Baikal
    Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal. For five hours we wind our way through tunnels along cliff-hugging tracks above the frozen lake. Snow-capped peaks along the far shore form a picture-perfect backdrop.  Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and is completely frozen during winter. We travel by hovercraft to a beautiful spot with fabulous views of the frozen lake and snow-capped mountains in the distance. You will have the opportunity to take a snowmobile ride or a dog-sled ride in this magnificent, unspoiled location. We’ll also have a demonstration of under-ice fishing and then feast on the freshly caught fish which will be prepared in a mobile smokehouse and served with ice-cold vodka. Delicious!

    Our second day on the lake offers the opportunity to embrace this spectacular landscape as we head deep into the countryside for more snow adventures and activities! As an additional option for your day in Baikal you may wish to visit a traditional Russian Banya (sauna) or a local Dacha house.

    Day 9: Irkutsk
    Our visit to Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia’, takes in the most significant sites and museums in this fascinating city, including an exploration of the classic wooden architecture with its intricately carved lace-like decorations that has given many of this region’s buildings such a distinctive and unique appearance. We also visit the Decembrist House museum which is dedicated to the memory of the aristocrats who were exiled to this remote outpost after the failed uprising of 1825, and we recreate the atmosphere of that time with a champagne reception and private concert.

    Day 10: On board
    Today we relax on board. Enjoy tea or coffee and chocolate and biscuits in your cozy compartment, as Siberia’s glorious, ever-changing landscape unfolds, like a movie, out your window.

    Subject to rail timings, we will make a short stop at Krasnoyarsk, where we will embark on a brief city tour of this strategically important Siberian city.

    Day 11: Novosibirsk
    A modern ‘Soviet’ city, we experience the life and character of Novosibirsk’s rich cultural city. Our tour takes us to the Novosibirsk Opera House. Housing two permanent ballet and opera companies, it is an architectural marvel and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House, we visit an imposing statue of Lenin—a marvelous opportunity to have your photograph taken with this iconic political leader.

    Alternatively, our Freedom of Choice tour goes south of the city to visit Novosibirsk’s excellent Railway Museum, which displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800s, including carriages of the Tsars, through to the Soviet era.

    Day 12: Yekaterinburg
    Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s third-largest city and is also the capital of the Urals. Influenced culturally and architecturally by European and Asian civilizations, Yekaterinburg is unique. Our tour takes us to the site where Tsar Nicholas II, his family, and their servants were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. A church dedicated to their memory now occupies the site, whose effect nevertheless is eerily powerful.

    Day 13: Kazan
    Situated on the River Volga, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Here we have the opportunity to see for ourselves its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is our exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the walls of this ancient citadel we will explore its stunning mosque and picture-perfect onion-domed cathedral.

    As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia’s most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), we honor his memory with a private concert of his music.

    Day 14: Moscow
    This evening we reach Moscow, the final destination on our Winter Wonderland voyage across Siberia.

    Included in our time spent in Moscow is one night in the historic building of Moskva Hotel, now the five-star Four Seasons. Superbly located within walking distance of Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Bolshoi Theatre, this historic hotel offers spacious and luxurious accommodation. The O2 Lounge, a stylish rooftop terrace, features panoramic views over the Red Square and the Kremlin.

    The spacious ESPA spa center includes a hot tub, indoor pool, and 14 treatment rooms. Crystal lighting, candles and beautiful facilities create the perfect atmosphere, and a wide variety of spa treatments, as well as the sauna, are available. There is also a fitness center and a beauty salon.

    Day 15: Moscow
    On the Westbound departure, due to an evening arrival on Day 14, the Moscow city tour will take place on Day 15. Therefore, we recommend you book your departure flight for after 4:00 PM this day or extend your stay in Moscow with an additional night, and have time to take in a performance at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre. Tickets need to be pre-booked and are subject to schedule and availability.

    Our touring program of Moscow principally takes us to the grandeur of the Kremlin – the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow – and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber. We also visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral with its magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful facade of the world-famous GUM department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the somber and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.

    If you have been to Moscow before, we offer included Freedom of Choice touring where you can visit the Golden Rings towns of Vladimir and Suzdal.

    2021 Dates:

    February 13-27

    February 25 - March 11

    2022 Dates:

    February 13-27

    February 25 - March 11

    The Prices

    2021 & 2022 Pricing Double
    Deposit amount
    Silver Class
    Gold Class
    Imperial Suite

    Please note: all prices are per person.


    • All rates are per person.
    • Double-entry Russian visa required for this trip.
      If your departure arrives Moscow on a Thursday, please schedule your air departure next day in the afternoon so you can participate in the early-morning Friday Kremlin visit.
    • Five Imperial Suites available on all Golden Eagle departures. These compartments are the most spacious – 120 square feet – offered on the train and feature a fixed king-sized bed, a dedicated dressing table and lounge area, and more.

    Latest News: Click here for owner Owen Hardy’s blog on improvements in 2012 on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

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    The Highlights

    • Enjoy lunch Mongol-style in a traditional Ger (a round tent), plus entertainment
    • See Lake Baikal as few foreigners do: in its frozen, glacial state, and try dog-sledding or snow-mobiling
    • Watch under-ice fishing on Lake Baikal; enjoy the fresh catch, prepared in a mobile smokehouse and served with ice-cold vodka
    • Visit Irkutsk, the ‘Paris of Siberia;’ enjoy a private concert; visit a hunter’s lodge, explore a Russian sauna, followed by drinks and traditional food
    • Tour the Novosibirsk Opera House, largest in the world, and gaze up at the colossal statue of Lenin in the city square
    • See Yekaterinburg and the strangely moving site where Tsar Nicholas II, his family and their servants were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918