If you want to realize how vast Russia really is you must travel along the Great Siberian Way which is nowadays more known as Trans Siberian Railroad, running across the country from East to West. The length of the railroad is 9288 km which makes it the longest railroad in the world. Gigantic railroad connects the European part of Russia, the Urals, Siberia and Far East. Russia is an enormous country so the beginning of construction the Trans Siberian railroad helped to solve the problem of its economic and social development. Before the road's building it could take up to several months to get to the remote corners of the country.
The construction began in 1891 initiated by the emperor Alexander the third and lasted up to 1916. The road was laid through the unreclaimed areas, permafrost, impassable mountains, rivers and forests. Up to 80-90 thousand of workers as well as soldiers and prisoners took part in the construction.
The road is passing through 7 time zones and the whole train journey can last about 7 days and more depending on the type of the train. Please pay attention to the time difference between the cities while traveling! Moving to the East people should put their clock forward on when passing through the new time zone. Also note it is always written Moscow departure and arrival time on the train tickets. The way passes through 87 Russian cities and 16 large rivers such as Volga, Kama, Enisey, Amur, etc.
In previous centuries people used to travel along the Trans Siberian Road within quite a long period that allowed to make stops in each big city and to have a walking tour in the vicinity after that continue the journey on the same train. Nowadays the train makes just short stops at the stations for about 15-30 minutes and the travelers can only see the railway stations without an opportunity to walk around the cities. Thus the tourists who would like to have a closer look at Siberian cities have to get off the train, spend one day or more in a particular place and get on the next train to proceed the journey. Anyway there is a special comfortable tourist train “Golden Eagle” that makes long stops at the most important Siberian cities where travelers can have excursions and see the most popular sights. Such journey takes up to 14 days and costs pretty much.
The most popular and comfortable regular train from Moscow to Vladivostok is train №1/2 “Russia” that is 6 days and 2 hours on the route from Moscow to Vladivostok. It leaves Moscow on each odd day. There are 3 classes on the train. The first class is a separate compartment for two people with two lower berths. The second class is a separate compartment for four people with two lower and two upper berths. The third class is a just a common car without separate compartments and doors with two storied berths. The third class is the cheapest one.
Some trains that are less comfortable usually have only second and third classes. The majority of comfortable long distance trains have a restaurant car.
There are many ways of making Trans Siberian journey. In our Trips section we offer just an optional itinerary that is possible to arrange. But there is a great variety of Trans Siberian trips. We can help you to choose the most interesting stops en route and will be happy to provide you with all the necessary information on the places you will be visiting.
Today direct trains go from Moscow to Vladivostok (Russia), Beijing (China), Ulan-Baator (Mongolia). It is possible to take one of those trains and have a ride through the country for about a week. But en route there are many places that are definitely worth getting off the train.
Some places that can be interesting to stop at while traveling on Transsib.
Kazan, the capital of Tatar Republic is not yet in Siberia. With majority of population being Tatars this is a place where Muslim and Orthodox cultures and religions meet together in a nice mixture. And you will have an opportunity to see the mosques and Orthodox churches located close to one another. To emphasize the tolerance to different religions there is a unique architectural complex called the Temple of all Religions that unites different religions, cultures and civilizations.
Yekaterinburg is the main city in the Ural Mountains. Here you may see one of the symbolic borders between Europe and Asia. The city is probably the most known as the place where Romanov's family (Russia's last tzar family) was shot by Bolsheviks in 1918. Ganina Yama, a temple complex, a holy and mystique place located in the neighborhood of Yekaterinburg is tightly connected with the last days of Tzar family.
Novosibirsk is a “Siberian” capital of Russia, famous for its academic city, one of the main Russian scientific centers with best conditions for native scientists. Here there is the first in the world museum of Sun. The city was actually founded due to the construction of Trans Siberian Railroad. Situated on the banks of Ob river it boasts the first railroad bridge across this great river. The biggest Opera and Ballet theater of Russia is also located in Novosibirsk. To have a look at old trains, engines and locomotives of Tzar Russia is possible by visiting Novosibirsk railway museum.
Krasnoyarsk, the city of fountains, is widely famous for its Watch hill with symbolic Paraskeva Pyatnitsa Chapel on the top that is depicted on the Russian 10-Ruble banknote. Krasnoyarsk is also known for the Nature Reserve Stolby located not far from the city. It is good to visit Krasnoyarsk in summer as from June till September every weekend there are open air concerts given on the Theater Square. One can hear the songs of different musical styles, enjoy various dance performances and take part in master classes or competitions.
Irkutsk is the closest city to Lake Baikal, the main worlds travelers' attraction. The city itself is also famous for its wooden architecture of the 18-19 th centuries. Visiting Irkutsk it would be nice to have a trip along the Circum-Baikal Railway. This railway road used to be a part of Trans Siberian way but the part of it was flooded after the construction of Irkutsk hydroelectric power station and another part became a blind section. During Circum-Baikal Railway construction 2 cars of explosives were used at each kilometer to get through the rocks therefore it is the most expensive part of Transib railroad as well as the most beautiful one. Along the route one can see picturesque landscapes of Baikal together with the architectural achievements: tunnels, viaducts and galleries.
Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buriatia Republic is the centre of Buddhism in Russia. Very different from what you can see in a typical Russian town Ulan-Ude will show you more eastern and different Russia. Being in Ulan Ude take a trip to the famous Buddist temple Ivolginsky Datsan, also visit the Ethnographic museum representing traditional Buryat homes (yurts).
Khabarovsk is a nice eastern city located on Amur river. Due to the vicinity to China the city has a special Chinese flavor. So you will see a lot of Chinese people, markets and restaurants with Chinese food. The locals regularly travel to the nearest Chinese city located just in 25 km for shopping. In Khabarovsk there is the biggest and one of the most beautiful bridges called “Amur miracle”. The bridge was built during the construction of Trans Siberian Road and consists of two tiers for railway and automobile ways. You can see a big variety of local Amur river inhabitants while visiting museum “Amur fish”. And don't forget to try delicious local red caviar.
Vladivostok, the most important eastern city and port in Russia. It differs very much from other Russian cities first of all due to its geographic location. It is located on the islands in the bay of the Sea of Japan and has breathtaking panoramic sights over its picturesque bay. Visiting Vladivostok have a look at the Golden Horn Bay using the only in the Far East cable railway.