Real Russia Blog

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 2
19
September
2014

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 2

In our latest blog, we began the countdown for the top 10 routes our customers were interested in last winter, in order to give you some ideas of where you could go this year!

If you missed this, head over to the Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1now and then come back when you are finished, to enjoy… the final Top 5….

5 Beijing to Moscow

St Basils Cathedral In Winter

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

What to see along the way?

Starting in the Far East and ending in Europe, you will have the opportunity to see culture, scenery and architecture change before your eyes, between Beijing and Moscow, from the pagoda’s of China to the Orthodox Churches and Kremlins of European Russia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • You could take a city tour by day or even a city tour by night, each excursion will give you an entirely different experience and perspective. Uncover the glimmering buildings as twinkling lights illuminate the water of the Moskva River or simply walk along the beautiful river by daylight, absorbing the architectural wonders of Moscow; Red Square, Moscow’s classic St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, as well as the intricately decorated Triumphal Arch, which is steeped in history!

  • Kuskovo Park and Estate offers the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy the beautiful Russian gardens of this country house set on the edge of Moscow. Art and history lovers will be offered the opportunity to learn about its origins dating back to the 18th century, while those looking for a time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can simply appreciate the peace and tranquillity that the grounds possess.

4 Moscow to Vladivostok

Vladivostok

Coastline in Winter, Vladivostok

What to see along the way?

Ending in Vladivostok, the only route on our list to find its way past the city of Chita, the most famous of the Trans-Siberian routes will eventually bring you to Khabarovsk and the Amur River. The Amur River marks the border between eastern Russia and northern China and will give you the opportunity to travel across the longest bridge on the Trans-Siberian.

What to do upon arrival?

  • While vodka may be the drink Russia is known for, they also make very good beer, so a beer factory tour in Vladivostok is an experience beer lovers will not want to miss. You will learn about how the beer is manufactured and even enjoy a sample of the local brew.

  • Following seven days on the rails, why not spend some time on the waves with a cruise tour with time for fishing. A local guide can take you out along the Vladivostok coastline, taking in the view that is Peter the Great Bay, and they will even help you to reel in a fish or two!

3 Saint Petersburg to Moscow

Kremlin In Winter

Kremlin on the river, Moscow

What to see along the way?

If you travel to St Petersburg on the Sapsan you will not see all that much along the way, as you will make the journey in just four hours – ideal for travelling by overland railway, with a time constraint, and you will certainly maximize your time exploring each city!

Though, if a more sedate journey is to your liking then you can choose another train to ensure you see the northern reaches of the Volga; the largest river in Europe and a river considered by many to be the national river of Russia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Those with an eye for precious rocks and metals will enjoy visiting the Kremlin, Moscow Cathedrals and Diamond Fund. Among other items, you will be able to see the crown of the Russian Empire, Russian and foreign medals, the biggest gold and platinum bars found in the country as well as giant diamonds and numerous pieces of jewellery.

  • Away from the bustling atmosphere of Moscow’s centre, why not visit Suzdal and Sergiev Posad. With historic riverside convents, monasteries and fortresses, it is the perfect way to see into Russia’s past away from the traditional tourist areas.

2 Moscow to Beijing

Chinese Statue

Forbidden city, Beijing

What to see along the way?

Just after you pass Irkutsk and start to round Lake Baikal you will find the train stopping briefly at Slyudyanka station; the only train station in the world to be built entirely from marble! Be sure to have your camera at the ready for this one of a kind sight.

What to do upon arrival?

  • A favourite attraction among many visitors to Beijing is The Gongfu (Kung-Fu) Show. Astonishing martial arts displays are woven into the story of a young boy seeking to fulfil his dream of becoming a Kung Fu Master. Your jaw will be well and truly dropped as you leave.

  • Xingshan Park, also known as Fragrant Hills Park, is a beautifully tranquil Jin Dynasty-era park covered with lakes, hills and a forest made up of maple, persimmon, pine and cypress trees. The park is named for the highest peak in the park, Xianglu Feng; a peak that reaches an impressive 557m. It can be found close to the Forbidden City, so it is a great excursion to tie in together on one short stay to see the most of Beijing.

1 Moscow to Saint Petersburg

St Petersburg Hermitage

The State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

What to see along the way?

As the best trains (such as the Grand Express) along this route all travel at night (leaving around 11.30pm and arriving around 7am) why not enjoy your luxurious surroundings, get a good night’s sleep, and prepare for a day of exploring what Saint Petersburg has to offer.

What to do upon arrival?

  • If you take a city tour through Saint Petersburg you will have the opportunity to visit, among many other wonderful places, the Peter and Paul Fortress; learning all about the history of the city formerly known as Leningrad.

  • The State Hermitage is one of the largest museums in the world. It stretches across six buildings and houses over three million pieces; ranging from pre-historic artwork through to medieval weapons and armour. While you are there, why not take a short walk along the Neva River.

If any of these journeys have inspired you to take a journey of a lifetime, visit our ticket booking page, our live schedules page or get in contact with one of our travel specialists.

Alternatively, select your own journey, and try it your own way. There are thousands of routes throughout Europe, Russia, Mongolia and China that you could travel along; let your imagination guide you to Explore, Discover and Experience Eurasia!

Real Russia Blog

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1
8
September
2014

Top 10 Most Desired Winter Journeys – Part 1

As the summer comes to a close, and the long nights draw in, it is only natural to think of travel; visiting more exotic, or unusual, places to take a break from it all. Why not journey along the thousands of miles of rail track throughout Russia and beyond? From the comfort of a sleeper cabin, or the catered luxury of a dining car, travelling by train gives you the opportunity to see landscapes that you could never dream of seeing by air or road.

At this point, you may be asking, ‘…with so many wonderful journeys to choose from, where should I go first?’ In order to give you some ideas, we have looked into the journeys our Real Russia customers were interested in taking last winter, and have created a ‘'Top 10'’ for the most popular routes; highlighting points of interest along the way, and upon arrival.

10 Moscow to Ulan Bator

Ger Camps in Ulan Bator

What to see along the way?

Where to start? On a long journey such as this there are countless sights to take in. Look out for the boundary between Europe and Asia, marked by a monument, 1,777km east of Moscow, take in the awesome sight of the Ob River in Novosibirsk and relax as you watch the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Baikal, pass by between Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Take a trip to visit a nomadic family for the day. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in how a nomadic family lives in, and around, Ulan-Bator, experiencing their culture as you dine with them and spend your day as one of the family.

  • Take a walking tour of the city. You can spend a full day discovering the delights of the city by traveling on foot, including the Choijin Lama Buddhist Monastery, which dates back to the 18th century, or the National History Museum with hundreds of Mongolian artefacts. If the full day seems a touch too long, why not just go for the morning.

9 Moscow to Berlin

Grunewald Forest

What to see along the way?

Of the four countries that you will pass through, the four capital cities, are the highlights of this journey; Moscow , Minsk (Belarus), Warsaw (Poland) and finally Berlin.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Take a stroll in the Grunewald Forest to see the man-made hill that offers an astonishing view of Berlin amongst the charming fields, trees and flowers.

  • Shop in Mauer Park, a real favourite among the locals. With market stalls and a flea market, you will have a great chance to really get to know the locals in Berlin in a natural and thrilling environment.

8 Ulan Bator to Beijing

Houhai Lake, Beijing

What to see along the way?

Your journey between Ulan Bator and Beijing will encompass many incredible vistas, chief among these is the Gobi desert, home to the Gobi Bear, the Bactrian Camel and the Gold Eagle. Before pulling into Beijing do not forget to look out for one of history’s greatest architectural achievements, the Great Wall of China.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Join the ShiChaHai Lake Bike Tour at Houhai Lake, where you can enjoy the traditional Chinese stone lions that overlook the bridge of the lake, and see the willow trees that rest between the edge of the water and a traditional Chinese house.

  • Pay a visit to an Evening Acrobatic Show that features the extraordinary balance and agility of Chinese acrobats. Their skills showcase a mixture of gymnastic skills, circus acts, martial arts and ballet; this show offers something for everyone to enjoy.

7 Moscow to Irkutsk

Frozen over Lake Baikal, Irkutsk

What to see along the way?

Passing through much of Siberia, the list of things to see is endless. One city to take note of, though, is Tyumen, built on the banks of the Tura River; the first city to be built in Siberia.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Get on board the Circum-Baikal Railway, a charming Russian railway that transports you around the shoreline of Lake Baikal; the world’s largest natural fresh water resource. Lake Baikal contains 20% of the earth's freshwater, and is teeming with an array of endemic life, such as Baikal seals, also known as nerpa. In the winter, Lake Baikal entirely freezes over making it a popular tourist destination for ice fishing and ice skating.

  • Visit a local Buryat Shaman and take the opportunity to learn about the inspiring Buryat culture that carry out fascinating rituals and serve traditional authentic food to their guests; helping you to become fully immersed in the community.

6 Berlin to Moscow

Christ our Saviour Cathedral, Moscow

What to see along the way?

Between Berlin and Moscow you will cross four separate countries across Eastern Europe. This will give you the chance to take in a great many sights, such as the Vistula River, the longest and largest river in Poland, while travelling through Warsaw.

What to do upon arrival?

  • Why not enjoy a city tour encompassing sights such as Novodevichy Covent & St Basil’s Cathedral. Visit two of Moscow’s essential classics, as well as other memorable sights such as the Kremlin, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Moscow State University, taking a stroll up Sparrow Hills in the process for an astonishing panoramic view of Moscow.

  • There are many different ways to view the city, including Moscow’s Metro, Arbat Street, the Kremlin and the Armoury uncovering the depths of Moscow’s heritage. Visit the 19th century armoury that holds Russia’s state treasures and finery, absorb the beauty of Moscow’s delightful Metro (with stations that would not look out of place hosting ballet recitals or opera performances!), as well as indulge in shopping at traditional Russia craft stalls on Arbat Steet.

… Please click to see the final Top 5 routes on part 2 of our blog!…

It is important to remember that these are not the only routes available and, as we have customers who book with us, a wide variety of journeys; travelling all the way from Paris to Beijing and down into South East Asia.

If any of these journeys pique your interest, visit our live train schedules or our ticket booking page to take your first step towards a winter adventure!

Alternatively, create your own adventure, the possibilities are endless!