Real Russia Blog

An interview with seasoned Trans-Siberian travel writer Matthew Woodward
10
October
2019

An interview with seasoned Trans-Siberian travel writer Matthew Woodward

Learn more about Trans-Siberian rail travel through our quick Q&A session with Matthew Woodward where he will introduce his new book ‘The Railway to Heaven’.

For many rail enthusiasts, the Trans-Siberian is considered the pinnacle of train travel. Hailed as the longest railway line in the world connecting Moscow with Vladivostok in the far east, this railway line has since expanded to connect Mongolia (Trans-Mongolian) and China (Trans-Manchurian) and continues to expand at pace.

We always have plenty to talk about when it comes to the Trans-Siberian, however, nothing quite beats the first-hand experience from a fellow traveller. Speaking about his adventures to Tibet via the Trans-Manchurian Railway, seasoned Trans-Siberian travel expert and long-standing friend of Real Russia, Matthew Woodward sits down with our team for a quick Q&A session to discuss all things trains, along with the release of his upcoming book ‘The Railway to Heaven’.

Interview:

What’s your earliest memory of ‘trains’?

I wasn’t ever a trainspotter, but I did travel quite a bit by train when I was a small boy. I was a latch key kid and used to spend most of my pocket money travelling to places that seemed far away and exotic like Kentish Town and Bedford Midland. I was given the Hornby mixed freight OO gauge railway set for my tenth birthday and got quite excited whenever visiting the nearest model shop in Mill Hill – by train of course.

Do you have a favourite rail journey?

It’s hard to beat a modern Russian train in the middle of the Siberian winter, but I have been lucky enough to travel on so many amazing journeys. I loved travelling on the International Express that used to connect Bangkok and Butterworth, and also some of the Amtrak routes, the Southwest Chief and the Coast Starlight in particular.

Is there an explorer that inspires your adventures (living or not)?

I was lucky enough to meet Sir Ran Fiennes at the RGS a few years ago. We only spoke very briefly, but his penetrating eyes, firm handshake and lovely way of speaking totally captivated me. Of course, I don’t think of myself as an explorer in the carrying an ice axe sense, but more in that one job of an explorer is to bring back news from a distant place, and I do try to do that. I wrote a bit about Sir Ernest Shackleton in my new book, and I have always imagined it would have been truly inspirational to meet him. Instead, I used to plan my adventures in the front room of his Edinburgh home. More practically I have always loved reading about the adventures of Robert Twigger. Some of his journeys have been absolutely awesome, and when we met at the Edinburgh Book Festival, I found him to be something of a kindred spirit.

You worked in marketing before you started dedicating your life to be a professional rail adventurer, what made you throw the towel in on corporate life and follow your dreams?

It didn’t happen in one single moment, but looking back, like many I was in a bit of a comfort bubble when I used to wear a suit and sit behind a desk. Once I had left this world, I started to really challenge myself on what I wanted from life, and to begin with, it wasn’t easy to find the right answer. I had always travelled a lot, and as I had more time I started to blog and write articles. The first book came at the suggestion of a good friend, and I wrote it for personal satisfaction rather than for commercial success. Since then my travels have been very rail focussed, and this has become the niche that I now love writing about.

Do you take lots of photos on your travels?

I try to take fewer photographs, but better photographs these days. I carry compact mirrorless cameras that are great to use and allow me to capture the essence of my journey without standing out too much as a traveller or photographer. I like to get into a routine each day of reviewing them and transferring only the very best ones to a portable hard drive that I back up in the cloud.

Night owl or early bird?

Night owl unless forced to be an early bird by work and travel plans. I go out my way to avoid early starts having survived the experience of years’ worth of red-eye flights when I was living the corporate existence.

Do you save all your tickets?

I have a series of thick files with all the tickets and paperwork from each of my adventures. It is helpful to keep them as I often find myself wanting to find out the detail of which carriage I was in or the exact time and date I travelled on a particular train.

Matthew With Assortment of Asian Food

What do you never leave home without on a rail adventure?

I’m guilty of carrying far too much kit, and each time I set off on a new adventure I try to lighten the load. There are some things that I would never set off without – my portable espresso machine, my lucky Flying Scotsman thermos flask and an industrial supply of Jelly Babies. Oh, and the secret key that seems to open all doors and windows on Russian trains.

If you could only take 5 things with you on your Trans-Siberian journey, what would they be and why?

I never travel without a portable espresso maker! Other than that, a good supply of music and books on my Kindle, plus plenty of jelly babies and I’m happy. A head torch, a good penknife and a roll of duct tape will solve most problems on board. I used to take far too much kit, but I’m getting better at carrying less now.

What has changed from your first Tran-Siberian journey to your latest one?

My first two trips were on the Trans-Mongolian. Whilst it's very comfy, it’s not as nice on board as the modern Russian carriages like on the Vostok and the Rossiya. The timekeeping has changed too. Until recently trains kept Moscow time which was a complication.

So, would you say that the Tran-Siberian has got easier since your first trip?

Well, it’s always been easy once I learned to let Real Russia worry about getting the tickets. Every journey presents a few challenges, but the only thing that has changed is that I am more used to how things work. In a way that’s not as much fun as your first trip, when it’s all so new.

On your latest journey, you mention that you went as far as Tibet, how easy was it to get the permit needed to travel to Tibet?

Well its actually quite complex, but I used Real Russia to handle all my tickets and visas. The advantage of this was that the paperwork was tied up together. A ticket on the train is no good without a permit for the same dates, and you also need the services of an official guide. Knowing that the same people in the visa and ticketing team were dealing with this gave me a lot of confidence in my plan. You need a Chinese visa before you can even approach applying for a permit too.

You have been on the Trans-Siberian quite a few times now – what makes you keep going back?

With three major routes and several branch lines, there are lots of places to explore. For overland adventurers, it is also the easiest way to reach Central and South East Asia. It was the perfect way to reach Beijing to connect with the train to Lhasa on my last trip. I have been as far as Singapore by train too, using the Trans-Sib as part of the route.

When looking back across all your Tran-Siberian experiences, is there one thing in particular that really stands out for you?

Perhaps that first moment when you sit back in a cosy compartment on your first ever trip to Siberia in the winter. The smell of coal burning to heat the samovar, and the view outside of everything working normally in such a hostile environment. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Who would you recommend the Trans-Siberian to?

Almost everyone. As long as you do not expect to be on board the Orient Express, it’s fun for all. It is very social, very relaxed and pretty safe. People often ask me what you do to fill the time, but it rushes by.

Looking back across all your trips, what would be your most important piece of advice for travellers looking to do the Trans-Siberian?

Talk to everyone. There are so many interesting people on a train like this. Make friends with the staff and they will go out of their way to look after you.

Do you ever take a more conventional holiday? Will we find you lazing on a sun-lounger sipping cocktails by the pool for example?

I have tried. I like to treat myself to a few nights somewhere at the end of a big trip, but if I hadn’t done the trip I would not be able to settle down. I wrote much of my second book in a lovely hotel in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand.

What’s the dream rail journey…your bucket list?

That’s really tough to answer as there are so many. I have never been on a private train like the Venice Simplon Orient Express or the Golden Eagle, and I like the idea of dressing for dinner. The Mauritania iron ore train is on the other end of the spectrum, and I will finally be ticking it off soon. I’d love to do the full length of both the Indian Pacific and the Ghan. I did a night on the Ghan a few years back and loved the atmosphere (and the good quality wine) on board. But Europe offers so many possibilities closer to home. Steam trains in the Hartz Mountains, the Glacier Express in Switzerland, and the Arctic train in Scandinavia.

The Railway to Heaven by Matthew Woodward

So let’s talk about your upcoming book, ‘The Railway to Heaven’. Writing a book of any kind takes a lot of dedication and perseverance; how long did it take to write?

It took close to a year, but I did move from my home in Edinburgh to West Sussex at the same time. The Engine Shed had no roof on earlier this year, and I had an army or builders around me demanding tea and biscuits. I think this could take just 3 or 4 months if I were more disciplined. I should learn from Enid Blyton. She wrote a 60000-word book, The River of Adventure, in just five days!

How do you prepare yourself for a writing session, presumably with your love of coffee it starts with a flask of a strong brew?

I often find that I have my greatest breakthroughs in how to describe my journeys in the darkness of the night or even first thing in the shower. I like to get an outline of these thoughts down on paper as placeholders in the draft before I lose them. Although social media can be a huge distraction, I need the internet to fact check everything as I go along. Coffee is both my saviour and my biggest enemy. I like to kick off with a cup of something quite strong and exotic, but then make frequent trips to my trusty espresso machine, often resulting in procrastination from writing.

When sitting down to pen a chapter or two how long do you write for, usually?

I can’t keep my focus for more than a couple of hours. I like to write in the mornings, but sometimes dabble with a glass of wine in the evening, which some say to be a dangerous pursuit. I can always change it the next morning though.

This is the third book about your rail adventures, does it get easier with each one to tell your tales of train travel?

It gets easier in some ways and harder in others. I have had to grow into my writing style, and whilst I feel more confident in my writing ‘voice’ now, I really fuss over the detail. After several redrafts of my latest book, I have occasional moments of self-doubt that it isn’t fluid enough or interesting enough, then I reread, and it seems fine. You can just get too close to it at times.

What’s your personal style…are you an avid notetaker or does it all come flooding back to you when you put pen to paper?

I do have very vivid memories of all my journeys, but I take lots of notes and keep a diary as a travelogue. I feel I owe it to my readers to have layers of detail so that if they were to take the same train they would recognise it from my description. Possibly even the staff.

The book shows your humorous side…is this a natural part of your personality? Do you see the funny side in yourself and situations?

I don’t think of myself as a funny person, but I guess I’m not afraid to share my experiences when I get it horribly wrong. Travelling solo I can get quite introspective and self-deprecating. Maybe I get therapeutic benefit from being totally honest with the reader about my experiences. I’m not trying to big myself up as an adventurer, more to prove that I’m a human being and anyone could do what I’m doing.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe that there are days when things don’t come easy, but as I’m writing about a real adventure, not fiction, I don’t have to worry about the story or the narrative structure. By far, my biggest problem is staying motivated to start writing at all. There are so many distractions at The Engine Shed, the place where I now write in my little corner of rural West Sussex.

Before your book goes to print, aside from your publisher and editor, do you read any to family or friends?

I have tried reading it to some close friends, but they seem to end up laughing too much for me to concentrate. I’m not sure if it’s the subject matter or the reading style. Maybe I should release an audiobook next time.

What does literary success look like to you?

I think I was lucky to set out without any hard goals, as I have not had to pressure myself to write in a certain way or to a certain timescale. At the moment success is when readers tell me to keep writing as they enjoy my books. The next stage will be for the popularity of my books to allow me to fund increasingly complex new journeys.

What’s next on the horizon…more rail adventures?

I have started researching and planning for the journey that will hopefully become my next book, but before then I’m off to the Sahara to take the iron ore train in Mauritania.

We would like to thank Matthew for his detailed responses to our questions! For more information about Matthew Woodward and his adventures, visit his website www.matthew-woodward.com, or visit Amazon to get a copy of his new book. Alternatively, take a look at our interview with Matthew from 2016, as part of the launch of our Trans-Siberian Guides, and find out what his funniest Trans-Siberian experience was!

Couple Taking the Trans-Manchurian

If Matthew’s experience has inspired you to create your own Trans-Siberian journey, then please contact us directly or use our custom-made Trans-Siberian travel planner to begin your adventure!

Real Russia Blog

Win a copy of Matthew Woodward`s new book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures’!
20
June
2017

Win a copy of Matthew Woodward`s new book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures’!

We have three copies of Matthew Woodward`s incredible book to give away!

As many of you are rail enthusiasts, we are very excited to introduce to you a new book, ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’, masterfully written by our long-standing customer and friend, Matthew Woodward, a rail adventurer and seasoned Trans-Siberian traveller.

A life-long adventure

Matthew has completed four long-distance rail journeys through Russia; in his own words, “Overland adventure has given me a wonderfully different perspective on the size of the world, and the diversity of its people.” With that said, his new book is the perfect companion for anyone thinking about conquering the Trans-Siberian railway; in its pages you will find entertainment, guidance and inspiration! Or, if prefer to set off on an adventure without leaving the comfort of your home, the book will immerse you into life on-board the train, and beyond it – it will be your window on contemporary, and vivid, Russian, Mongolian and Chinese cultures.

Travelling across the world’s largest country is a challenge, and once you overcome it, you want more. “I was really missing the crazy people, the strange places and the mad weather. I wanted more. Colder? Yes! Harder? Yes! Longer? Yes please!” exclaims Matthew at the end of his book. And, “Yes, please!”, exclaim we in hope that Matthew Woodward’s stories will continue.

Real Russia is delighted to have been involved in his adventures, and to have several members of the team, namely, Igor, Natasha, Yury, Tanya and Anastasia, acknowledged in the book. We will be introducing them and many other members of Real Russia's family to you through blogs and social media over the coming months. Would you like to know more about our special team, click here.

We value your opinion, and we mean it!

Have you travelled with Real Russia before? Was it the Trans-Siberian journey, a tour to Saint Petersburg, or one of a thousand other experiences? Share your thoughts on TripAdvisor to be in with a chance to win one of three signed copies of ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’ by Matthew Woodward. Simply tell us about your experience with Real Russia on Trip Advisor between 23 June and 30 September 2017. After this date three winners will be chosen at random to receive this incredible book! And if you want to increase your chance of winning, if you share some photos of your incredible trip along with your review, you will be entered into the prize draw not once, but twice!

Click here to share your experience now!

Matthew Woodward’s book ‘Trans-Siberian Adventures: Life on and off the rails from the UK to Asia’ available in Kindle and paperback editions at Amazon.co.uk.



For more information about Matthew Woodward and his adventures, visit his website www.matthew-woodward.com. Alternatively, take a look at our interview with Matthew from last year, as part of the launch of our Trans-Siberian Guides, and find out what his funniest Trans-Siberian experience was!

If you are planning a visit to Russia, China, Mongolia, along the Trans-Siberian railway, or beyond, and would like additional guidance or information, then do not hesitate to contact a member of our travel team who will be pleased to help.

____________________________
About Real Russia

Real Russia supports thousands of people travelling through Russia and along the Trans-Siberian railway, with a range of travel services, including:
Planning unique Trans-Siberian rail tours
Booking accommodation
Transfers from airport to accommodation, to railway station (and more!)
Russian, and international. rail tickets
Moscow and St Petersburg short tours
Visa services for Russia, China, Mongolia and more

Would you like to know what our customers say? Check out our TripAdvisor page.

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!