Journey 3: The Legend of Lake Baikal

Travel the part of the Trans-Siberian Railway from Saint Petersburg to Irkutsk. The journey will be enjoyed by anyone looking to discover the beauty of Russian capitals - Moscow and Saint Petersburg but also wander a little further - to Siberia. There you will find hospitality of the provincial city and its residents and beauty of the Siberian nature and in particular Lake Baikal - “Sacred Sea”  as it is called by the locals. Embark on this journey to travel across Russia and to get to know the country and its many facets.

From US$2890 per person

*Price is per person sharing a double room, including the services as listed in the itinerary.

*The standard of this journey is "Comfort", it includes 3-star hotels, second class on the train, all transfers. Upgrades are possible.

*The below itinerary can be travelled any time of the year, it doesn't require minimum number of passengers, is suitable for most ages and can be modified to suit travelers' needs in respect of accommodation, inclusions, number of travelers, number of stops along the way.

Contact us to start your Trans-Siberian discovery!

 

itinerary

LEGEND OF LAKE BAIKAL

 

Saint Petersburg to Irkutsk,  5760 km (map of the Trans-Siberian Railway)

 

St Petersburg - Moscow - Ekaterinburg - Irkutsk, Lake Baikal

 

Day 1. Arrival in Saint Petersburg. Transfer to the hotel. Free afternoon to rest after flight. Accommodation tonight is at one of the centrally located St Petersburg hotels.

 

Day 2.  St Petersburg.  Your journey starts in the cultural capital of Russia: Saint Petersburg boasts thousands of museums and its streets have unparalleled elegance. For its many canals it is often called "Venice of the North". There is no lack of sightseeing and we have included the very must sees in your stay - private city tour with the guide which will give you a chance to get familiar with the city and with its fascinating history.

 

Day 3.  St Petersburg. After breakfast we continue sightseeing by visiting one of the world’s greatest museums - The Hermitage, hosted in the former Tzar residence - Winter Palace. Millions of pieces of art and hundreds of rooms are hard to manage without a help of a specialist. You will have a 3 - hour guided tour during which you can see incredible masterpieces: Leonardo Da Vinci, Titian, Rembrandt, Raphael and many more.
As you are in the cultural capital, check out what's on the playlist, depending on the season and your preference, we can arrange a music concert, ballet or opera or a Folk Dance Show. Check the Optional Sightseeing list in the end of the itinerary to learn more about what else we can organise for you. In the evening we transfer you to the train station to board an overnight train to Moscow. (Optionally you can travel by the fast train "Sapsan" that covers a 800 km distance between St Petersburg and Moscow in only 3.5 hours, in this case you will need extra night accommodation in Moscow)

 

Day 4. Moscow. Wake up with a smile: you are in Moscow, capital of the biggest country in the world! After arrival in Moscow your guide will meet you at the carriage, and take you for a 3 hour Panorama City Tour during which you will see impressive sights of modern and historical Moscow: Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, The Victory Park, Moscow University. Moscow boasts some incredible views and our city tour will give you a chance to get to know the highlights. The guide will drop you in your hotel and help you plan the rest of your day. You can also see the list of optional activities in Moscow.

 

Day 5. Moscow. Get ready for a great day! Featured in so many movies and the real symbols of the country - Red Square and Kremlin are in your agenda for today. Perhaps start your day with paying a visit to the Head of October Revolution - Lenin and continue to the political and historical heart of Russia - Kremlin.
Red Square is an amazing ensemble of buildings and its cobblestones remember heavy steps of Ivan the Terrible. And by the way, it is called “RED” because it means beautiful in old russian and the name has nothing to do with the communism.
Enjoy your afternoon at leisure and in the evening you will be transferred to the train station to start your first train journey on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway! (departure at 00:35)

 

Day 6. On the Trans-Siberian Train. Wake up to the sound of rail tracks and with a view of endless russian forest passing by in the window. You are heading to the Ural mountains: natural border that separates two continents: Europe and Asia. The day will pass quickly in reading, talking to your neighbours and socialising in the dining car which is a centre of life on the train.

 

Day 7. Ekaterinburg. Today In the morning the train will pull into the Ekaterinburg train station. The city was founded during the times of Peter the great and named after his second wife Catherine the first. It is a big industrial centre of the region and it has also entered history as the place of assassination of the last Russian tsar Nicholas and his family. Your city tour today is prepared in the USSR theme and will give you a chance to become familiar with some great stories that have become legends. Complete your experience with the tasty dinner at the traditional Russian restaurant.

 

Day 8. Ekaterinburg. Enjoy your day at leisure or embark on the journey to the border for which you don't need passport and which to cross will take you less then a second: border between Europe and Asia! Scientist confirmed that this area near Ekaterinburg is where two continental platforms meet (Optional). In the evening we will transfer you to the train station for the next leg of your Trans- Siberian railway.

 

Day 9-10. On the Trans-Siberian Train. Back on the train! You are now familiar with the routine and can relax and enjoy the ride. This part of the journey will amaze you with some giant Russian rivers: some so wide that you need a few minutes to cross! The train will glide passing by small towns, bigger cities and large valleys and will get into Irkutsk a couple of days later almost definitely on time.

 

Day 11. Welcome to Irkutsk! This Siberian city was founded by the cossacks in the 17 century and is known as the Paris of Siberia. Irkutsk is the gateway to the worlds largest freshwater lake in the world - Baikal. Upon arrival your local guide will transfer you to the shoreside village of Listvyanka where you will have a chance to learn more about this magnificent lake. Tonight's accommodation is in the traditional wooden chalet and you can also try "banya" - hot bath well known for its relaxing purposes.

 

Day 12. Day trip on Circum-Baikal line. Today has prepared a wonderful trip for us! To fully admire the beauty of the Siberian lake, it's best to spend some time traveling around it. And as you are on the Trans Siberian railway, the most appropriate way is to do it by train! Circum-Baikal railway used the be the part of the Trans-Siberian railway and is known as a Golden buckle on the steel belt of Russia referring to the engineering challenges and the cost of construction that went into building this 260 km section. We start early with the transfer to the pier and then a short ferry crossing to Port Baikal where we board the train. We then spend full day on the train that will slowly go around the southern tip of the lake, through many tunnels and offering amazing views after each curve. By night we arrive in Irkutsk and get a transfer to the centrally located hotel.

 

Day 13. Irkutsk.  After breakfast we set off on a walking City Tour with local guide who will show the places of interest and narate the history of this pretty Siberian city. Irkutsk has preserved some fine examples of wooden architecture and the later mansions of the 19th century make it for a pleasant visit. Enjoy afternoon free.

 

Day 14. Today our journey ends. Transfer to the airport.

Contact us if you wish to extend your stay with the visit to Olkhon Island, Ust Orda or Mongolia.

 

Itinerary at a glance:


Day 1. Arrive St Petersburg.
Day 2. St Petersburg.
Day 3. St Petersburg and departure to Moscow by night train.
Day 4. Moscow.
Day 5. Moscow and departure to Ekaterinburg.
Day 6. Train to Ekaterinburg.
Day 7. Arrival in Ekaterinburg.
Day 8. Ekaterinburg and evening departure to Irkutsk.
Day 9. Train to Irkutsk
Day 10. Train to Irkutsk
Day 11. Arrival in Irkutsk. Transfer to Lake Baikal (Listvyanka)
Day 12. Day trip on the Circum Baikal Rail. Accommodation in Irkutsk.
Day 13. Irkutsk.
Day 14. End of journey.


Included sightseeing

 

St Petersburg: Private 3-hour city tour by car, walking tour of The Hermitage.
Moscow: Private city tour by car, Red Square, Kremlin (Armoury not included).

Ekaterinburg: City tour OR Quest Tour "Back to the USSR"

Irkutsk: Walking City Tour

Listvyanka: Tour including visit to Baikal Museum.

Day trip on the Ciscum Baikal Line with guide, including lunch.

 

WHAT´S INCLUDED:


Accommodation in centrally located 3* hotels in St Petersburg, Moscow, Ekaterinburg and Irkutsk. The exact list of accommodations will be provided to you with your quotation;
1 night at the wooden chalet in Listvyanka, Siberia;
6 nights at the 4-berth (2 class) compartment on the train;

First class ticket for the Circum-Baikal Railway journey;

Airport and train stations arrival and departure transfers as listed in the itinerary;

Sightseeing program with English Speaking local guide according to the itinerary* (local guide with other languages can be included);
Meals as per itinerary;
Information on visa processing, Russian visa invitation letters and support.

 

WHAT´S NOT INCLUDED:


Airline tickets;
Insurance;
Expenses that are not listed in the itinerary;
Tips;
Meals on the train.

 

 

 

Maps

Visas

Countries visited: Russia

Visa: Required

When travelling with Trans-Siberiano, you will be provided with visa letter required to obtain your visas. Please allow enough time to apply for the visa. Your passport will need to have at least 2 blank pages and have to be valid for 6 months from the date your journey ends. Although we provide visa support, it is traveller's responsibility to ensure they have their papers in order for travel.

Travel notes

Optional Excursions and Sightseeing for the Trans-Mongolian Railway:

 

SAINT PETERSBURG

 

• The fountains of Peterhoff and Summer Palace of the Russian Emperors;

• Catherine Palace and famous Amber Room;

• The birthplace of St Petersburg: Peter and Paul Fortress;

• St Isaac Cathedral and Church on Spilt Blood;

• Tour of the Yusupov Palace and Rasputin Room

•  Ballet or Opera in one of the famous St Petersburg Theatre Mariinsky or Aleksandriinsky

•  Visit in your free time with the audio guide: House-Museum of Pushkin and House-Museum of Dostoevsky.

• Recommended for all: Folkloric Dance Show "Feel Yourself Russian" taking place in the Palace. During the intermission you will enjoy Russian style finger food with salmon and caviar!

 

MOSCOW

 

• Guided visit to the Tretyakov Gallery which is the main museum of Russian Art;

• The Armory Chamber and / or Diamond Fund - add a visit to these famous treasuries during your tour of Kremlin;

• Bunker-42. Interactive museum from the Cold War, it is hidden 65 meters under the ground in the centre of Moscow;

• Pushkin Museum. Incredibly rich collection of french impressionists;

• Ballet or Opera in Bolshoi Theatre;

• Moscow Circus;

• Guided visit to the Novodevichy Convent and the adjacent cemetery which is the last resort of many famous russians: Mayakovsky, Khruschev, Tupolev and most recently Yeltsin among others.

 

EKATERINBURG

 

The city is located in the Ural Mountains thus giving the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor activities and rural tourism. It is also on the border between Europe and Asia and you can have one foot in each continent at the same time!

• Visit to the Europe-Asia Monument;

• Guided tour to the Romanov Monastery, built on the spot where the remnants of the Tzar Family were found;

• Day trip on the Ural Mountain River with a kayak;

• Horse-riding in the Ural Mountains;

• Light trekking in the Ural Mountains;

• Rafting in the river of the Ural Mountains;

• Stay in the russian countryside and learn about the rural lifestyle;

• In winter go on an adventure with the sledding dogs.

 

IRKUTSK AND LAKE BAIKAL

 

• Irkutsk: Guided visit to Decembrists' Museum or the Museum of Regional Studies;

• Day trip to Ust-Orda and Shaman Ceremony;

• Take a tour around Listvyanka, visiting the view point over the lake and the out-flowing Angara River, the Lake Baikal Museum and the sledding dogs kennel;

• Extend your visit to Olkhon Island, the magical place on Lake Baikal;

• Take a walk along the shore of the lake and visit the small town of Bolshie Koty where gold used to be sifted.

Accommodation

TRAIN


The Trans-Siberian is the longest railway in the world and the essence of this journey is to travel by train. As Russia is a VERY big country, the quality of railroads is paramount for the country´s economy. Russian railroads are like vital veins of the country and every year the quality of the steel infrastructure is getting better.

The train is very comfortable and - sorry to disappoint you - now has an electric engine and not a steam one. This, however, contributes to the average speed of 65-70 km per hour and a much ecologically friendly means of transport.

All the journeys include accommodation in the second class compartment with option to upgrade to the 1 class.
Second class has 4 bunk beds (2 upper ones and 2 lower ones) and a small table in the middle. There is storing space under the bunks which easily accommodates backpacks and average sized suitcases.
Each train carriage has a container with hot water which is called “samovar”. This allows to make tea, coffee and create numerous dishes with the instant noodles.

If you run out of supplies, there is dining car on the train and it serves few local dishes. Another option is to buy from old ladies (babushkas) when train makes a stop and there are kiosks on platforms where some food can be bought.

Each carriage has 9 compartments and there are 2 toilets for the passengers. There is water for freshening up and WC. As a rule, we say that travellers should be prepared to go without shower for the duration of their train journey however it is possible to ask your provodnitsa to use their shower facilities that they usually allow doing for a reasonable fee (approx. 4-5$).
All the bedding is provided on the train and passengers are not allowed to use sleeping bags.

The security on the train is good as well. Each carriage is accompanied by 2 attendants (provodnitsa) and they won't allow anyone on board without a ticket. It is not allowed to openly drink vodka on the train, and it is not sold on train platforms either. There is a brigade of police on each train and in case of emergency, doctor can be called by radio and will meet the train at the closest possible station.
Some of the newer trains now have Wi Fi as well but this can not be guaranteed.

 

WOODEN CHALLET

Traditionally houses in Siberia have been built from wood. Wooden buildings have very welcoming ambience and bring you closer to yourself.
On Lake Baikal we will stay in the challet built of siberian wood.
Simple but cosy, our siberian accommodation has ensuite facilities and the hostess will take a good care of your needs. Most rooms have lake view. We include dinner in the challet as well so you can try a local specialty prepared for you by the hostess.
One of the musts of your visit to Siberia is russian sauna “banya”. It used to be the only way peasants could relax and wash away the tiredness of hard working days. So it is meant to be awesome and relaxing! It is heated up with firewood which provides for a pleasant wooden smell. Once your body has softened, you´ve got to use birch branches and gently hit each other. No matter how scary it sounds, believe us - it feels great!

HOTELS


In cities we stay in 3-4* hotels. As we work based on individual requests we try to use accommodation that is rather small and centrally located. Where is deemed appropriate we also use international chains. If you have preference for specific accommodation please let us know. If we can not confirm accommodation listed as a part of your itinerary we will book a similar one, with the same rate and similar location.

 

Here are some images of the hotel in Saint Petersburg: