Expert-Led Group Tour

Russia Group Tour - Luxury Trans Siberian train journey with Nick Laing and Katya Galitzine

Departing 2nd - 16th June 2019

Special OfferSave 50% off the single supplemt for Silver class carriages

15 days

from £12,895pp
Limited Offer
  • Save 50% on the single supplement for Silver class carriages on our Russian Trans Siberian train journey with Steppes chariman Nick Laing and his wife Katya Galitzine
  • Available on a first come first serve basis
  • A saving of £3,050 per person
  • Kazan - with its impressive Kremlin and mosque.
  • Ekaterinburg - visit the church marking the spot where Tsar Nicholas and his family met their fate
  • Irkutsk and Lake Baikal - lying east of Bangkok and only two thirds of the way across Russia
  • Meet a Mongolian nomadic family

Take an unforgettable journey across eight-time zones aboard the magnificent Golden Eagle train. This epic journey will take you from Eastern Russia crossing Central Asia before ending in the home of the Russian Pacific fleet, Vladivostok. En route your hosts, Nick Laing and his wife Katya Galitzine will guide you through a variety of Russian and Mongolian cities giving you a unique insight into the history and culture of these incredible places. 

Nick started Steppes Travel in 1989, while on an exploratory trip to the Altai region of Russia and having visited over 80 times, his love and knowledge of the region is unsurpassed. In 2005 he motorbiked from London to Vladivostok. His wife, Katya Galitzine, is a member of one of the oldest noble families in Russian History. Katya’s grandfather, Prince Vladimir Galitzine fled his Russian homeland in 1919 after the Bolshevik Revolution and settled in London. On her maternal grand mother’s side, Katya is also a direct descendant of Catherine the Great. Katya is fluent in Russian, has travelled widely in Russia, written articles for many newspapers and magazines and appeared on several discussion panels on Russian history. She was also Chief Executive of the Hermitage Foundation UK and is currently working on her most recent book, a history of the Russian country house.

"In 2005 I rode a motorbike from London to Vladivostok, a journey of some 8,000 miles, which for the vast majority of time crisscrossed the tracks of the Trans Siberian. We sped past idyllic wooden villages nestled in glades of silver birch. Ignored city after city which beckoned us. Lake Baikal was still frozen as we rode around the southern shore and when I eventually arrived in Vladivostok I made a promise to myself to return and visit all those places I had missed. Kazan with its imposing Kremlin and mosque, the 19th century wooden quarter of Irkutsk, the magic of a banya on the shores of Baikal, the colourful villages of the Old Believers in Ulan Ude and of course, on this trip, a glimpse of Mongolia. It will be fun, exciting and you will visit an area that only a few foreigners have penetrated. Come with us. A trip of a lifetime. You will only regret not going!" Nick Laing, Chairman, Steppes Travel

Why join this Steppes Travel train journey? 

The Trans Siberian train remains one of the most iconic rail journeys in the world and while it has been possible to travel from Moscow to Vladivostok since 1916, it is only in the last few years that a purpose-built luxury train has been available. For 2019 Steppes Travel has chartered half of the train to pull together a group of like-minded individuals fascinated by this vast country. Travelling largely at night and stopping each day for excursions, this journey will offer an opportunity to see parts of Russia that would otherwise require some long and tedious flights. It is easy to understand why this is the world’s greatest train journey and this group tour takes in all the highlights plus adds something a little extra special.


When travelling aboard the luxurious Golden Eagle train, as part of a small group you can expect elegant surroundings, fine dining and first-class service on board, with a personal cabin attendant always available.

WHAT ARE the benefits of train travel IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD?

The sheer size of this part of the world makes it almost impossible to see these vast countries any other way. As Simon Reeve recently said on his television programme 'Russia' "the only way to see Russia is by train". And he's right. Apart from the major cities and Moscow in particular, being on the train offers a far superior level of comfort.

what is the difference between silver, gold and imperial suites?

There are 12 Silver Cabins, 21 Gold Cabins and one Imperial suite on board the Golden Eagle train. The price advertised is for a twin share berth in a Silver Cabin. Please contact us for the cost of Gold Cabins and the Imperial Suite.

The Imperial Suite is the most spacious cabin available, benefitting from a large, double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Facilities include:

  • A private en-suite bathroom with power shower and underfloor heating
  • Individual air-conditioning
  • Wardrobe
  • DVD/CD player with LCD screen
  • Complimentary fully stocked minibar (non-alcoholic drinks only)
  • Safe
  • Small library
  • Two large picture windows to watch the world go by
  • Optional private guide and car service in most of the places visited
  • A laundry service
  • Room upgrades to the next available category at the hotels which are featured in the itinerary

 Gold Class cabins are extremely well-proportioned featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed. Facilities include:

  • Private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating
  • DVD/CD player, LCD screen
  • Safe,
  • Individual air-conditioning,
  • Wardrobe,
  • Large picture window

 Silver Class cabins which are more compact, feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed. Facilities include:

  • DVD/CD player, LCD screen,
  • Safe
  • Individual air-conditioning
  • Wardrobe
  • Large picture window
  • Private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet, and shower

In addition to private en-suite sleeping cabins, there is a bar lounge car and restaurant cars.

what is the food like on board?

Jeremy Seal from the Telegraph travelled on one of Golden Eagle’s inaugural journeys and wrote of the food and service:

'We drank from Bohemian crystal glassware and enjoyed lovingly presented three-course dinners, typically salmon tagliatelle, wild boar, and creme brûlée, somehow conjured from the cramped galley.'

Each morning, an extensive breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant car, offering a selection of fresh fruit, cereals, cold plates and freshly squeezed orange juice. For something more substantial you can order a cooked breakfast, accompanied by tea and coffee. At lunch and dinner, a mixture of international cuisine and regionally inspired food will be served, all skilfully prepared by the Executive Chef and his onboard team, using the very best ingredients and locally sourced wherever possible. Vegetarian and other dietary options are well catered for.

Expect a relaxed and convivial atmosphere at meal times with the freedom to dine wherever, and with whomever, you please in a single sitting. Be prepared for an informal dress code throughout the journey.

what will the weather be like in June?

June is a wonderful time to travel in Russia and Mongolia with ideal temperatures across most of the country. With an average temperature of 18 degrees and nine-plus hours of sunshine, the perfect weather for sightseeing. 

Departing on:
  • 2nd June 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
2nd Jun 2019 16th Jun 2019 £ 12,895 £ 945 £ 3,050 Katya Galitzine Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accompanied by Nick Laing and Katya Galitzine, whilst onboard the Golden Eagle train
  • All excursions with local, English speaking guides
  • All Gratuities whilst onboard the Golden Eagle Train
  • All transfers
  • Full board including non-alcoholic drinks with meals on train
  • One night’s accommodation at the Four Seasons in Moscow in a standard room
  • One night’s accommodation at the Hyundai Hotel in Vladivostok in a standard room
  • Services of on board doctor
  • Twelve nights on board the Golden Eagle train

what is excluded

  • Alcoholic beverages with meals on train
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa’s


Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

Day at leisure in Moscow

The ancient city of Moscow is the focal point of modern Russia and everything that it has come to represent. It is a city where history unfolds around every corner, whether in the shape of the magnificent golden domed cathedrals and churches, or the historic and instantly-recognisable Kremlin. With a rich history and an insatiable hunger to embrace global modernity, Moscow is a compelling city.

You will be staying at Four Seasons Moscow, half board

Day 2

Moscow Sightseeing
The touring programme of Moscow principally includes the grandeur of the Kremlin, the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow and the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Museum. Visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia's former military and political might with its eclectic mix of interesting architecture - the iconic onion-domed spires of St Basil's Cathedral, the beautiful façade of the world-famous GUM department store and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin's tomb.

There is a 'Freedom of Choice' option for those who may like an alternative on some days. For today's option you may wish to travel out of the city centre to Sergiev Posad, home to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Russia and the historical and spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. Alternatively visit the State Tretyakov Gallery (National Museum of Fine Art) with its fine collection of Russian art rarely seen outside of Russia.

Board the train in Moscow
Upon arrival at Moscow Kazansky Station, you will be welcomed by the train staff in the magnificent Imperial waiting room with a cold glass of Russian champagne and canapes. Half an hour before departure, your car attendants will escort you to platform one where the Golden Eagle awaits.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Moscow this evening and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train to Kazan. A journey of approximately 800 kilometres, taking around 13 hours.

Kazan is one of the largest cities in Russia, sitting at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers, home to Kazan Kremlin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 3

Kazan Sightseeing
Situated on the River Volga, the picturesque and historic city of Kazan is the capital of Tatarstan. Here you have the opportunity to see its rich tapestry of history and culture. One of the highlights of this city tour is the exploration of the Kremlin Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tartarstan is an Islamic state and the Kazan kremlin is the only one of its kind in Russia to have a mosque as its central place of worship. There will be time to explore the interior. Kazan also holds a subsidiary museum of the Hermitage in St Petersburg. Take time to wander through the main pedestrian area of Kazan and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the city.

As Kazan is the birthplace of one of Russia's most famous opera singers, Feodor Chaliapin (1873-1938), there will be a private concert to honour his memory.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Kazan late this afternoon and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train to Yekaterinburg. A journey of approximately 875 kilometres, taking around 17 hours.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 4

Yekaterinburg Sightseeing
Founded in 1723 by Peter the Great, Yekaterinburg, is the capital of the Urals. Known as the Great Divide, the Ural Mountains create a natural border between Europe and Asia. Today's city tour visits the poignant site where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks in July 1918 following 78 days of imprisonment. The original building was demolished some time ago on the orders of the local commissar Boris Yeltsin. A new church dedicated to their memory now stands on the same site and provides us with a powerful reminder of the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Drive to the obelisk marking the geographical border between east and west and drink a glass of champagne with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia.

The Freedom of Choice programme features a visit to the recently opened Museum of Military Machinery. The museum houses an interesting collection of military hardware including tanks, aircraft, boats and even armoured trains. Also see a wide range of civilian vehicles (particularly Russian models). The museum is a real treat for anyone with an interest in the Soviet past, unparalleled by anything else along the route.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Yekaterinburg this afternoon and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train. Arrive into Novosibirsk the following afternoon. This section of the Trans-Siberian journey will take around 23 hours covering a distance of approximately 1,525 kilometres.

Informally known as the capital of Siberia is the third most populated city after Mosocw and St Petersburg and is an important point on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 5

Novosibirsk Sightseeing
In this modern 'Soviet' city, experience the life and character of Novosibirsk's rich culture where the arts and science predominate. Sitting on both banks of the mighty River Ob which runs north to the Arctic, today's city tour takes in Lenin Square where the imposing Opera House is located. An architectural marvel, it houses two permanent ballet and opera companies and is one of the largest opera houses in the world. In front of the Opera House there is one of the few remaining statues of Lenin.

Alternatively, south of the city you could visit Novosibirsk's excellent Railway Museum on the Freedom of Choice tour. The museum displays locomotives and rolling stock from the late 1800s, including carriages of the tsars, through to the Soviet era. Or choose to go to the Mineralogical Centre with its fine display of Siberian minerals.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Novosibirsk later this evening and travel some 1,850 kilometres onboard the Golden Eagle train. Your journey will take around 34 hours, arriving into Irkutsk early morning in two days time.

Irkutsk is one of the largest and most important towns in Siberia and sits on the Angara River, a tributary of Lake Baikal. Following many Russian artists being sent to Siberia in the early 19th Century, Irkutsk became a centre of intellectual thought, from which much of the city's cultural heritage sprang. With an abundance of wooden houses Irkutsk is home to the Museum of Wooden Architecture, a collection of interesting and reconstructed houses from the region.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 6

A Day Travelling Onboard the Train

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 7

Irkutsk Sightseeing
Founded in 1651 as a Cossack garrison town to establish authority over the local Buryats, Irkutsk prospered as the trade in furs and mammoth ivory grew and achieved fame as the eventual home town for the exiled Decembrists. Destroyed by a great fire in 1879 it was quickly rebuilt following the gold rush of the 1880s.

Today spend time exploring this fascinating city. Some quarters still have the original 19th century wooden houses with their distinctive intricately carved lace-like decorations. Also visit the wonderful Volkonsky House Museum, which was home to Prince and Princess Volkonsky after they were partially pardoned after years in a prison camp following the failed Decembrist uprising of 1825. It has been painstakingly renovated with much of the original furniture, including a grand piano brought by sleigh across Russia. There will be a champagne reception and private concert.

You could learn to cook some traditional Russian dishes with a local chef and prepare your own lunch with the Freedom of Choice option. Or you might also wish to visit a traditional Russian dacha (summer house) or an urban apartment for an insight into the everyday life of an average Russian family.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Irkutsk late this evening and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train to Lake Baikal. A journey of approximately 219 kilometres, taking around eight hours.

At 1,637m deep Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake and is estimated to hold 17% of the world's fresh water. Larger than Belgium and with crystal clear water that allows visibility down 40m. The route from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal travels through picturesque taiga-forest up and past the Shaman Rock, at the source of the Angara River.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 8

Lake Baikal Sightseeing
Few natural sights can surpass the beauty and grandeur of Lake Baikal and it is a major highlight on your Trans-Siberian journey. Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds 17% of the world's freshwater. Also known as the 'Pearl of Siberia' it is home to a unique breed of freshwater seal, the Nerpa, and over 50 species of fish including the delicious trout like Omul.

For five hours the train winds its way through tunnels, along cliff hugging tracks above the lake, with a vista of snow-capped peaks along the far shore forming a picture-perfect backdrop. To add to the grandeur of the day the train will be hauled by a Soviet era steam locomotive on this beautiful section of the line. There will be plenty of opportunities for photographs as the train winds its way along the lake - an unforgettable part of the journey.

Weather permitting, the train will stop at an extremely picturesque location by the lake for photographic opportunities and for the brave hearted there is time for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear but ice-cold waters of Baikal. Travelling onwards to the end of the Baikal branch line, leave the train and travel by boat to Listvyanka, a small settlement nestled at the base of the surrounding hills. Here visit the Lake Baikal Museum and Aquarium to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region.

Today a delicious barbecue will be served on the shore of Lake Baikal, including freshly smoked omul fish prepared by the train's chefs.

As part of the Freedom of Choice excursion programme you can choose a hiking opportunity that offers some spectacular and panoramic hillside views of the lake below.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Lake Baikal this evening and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train to Ulan Ude. A journey of approximately 425 kilometres, taking around eight hours.

Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial centre of Eastern Siberia, located on the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of the Buryatia Republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk, and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of the cultural mix and proximity to Mongolia. Eastern Buryats generally converted from Shamanism to Tibetan Buddhism, during the 19th century and Western Buryats generally retained their Shamnic beliefs and ways. Although almost all of the 'datsans' (Buddhist temple) were completely destroyed by the communists in the 1930s, many have been rebuilt, and hidden icons and treasures have been donated by brave monks, keen to keep their religion alive. The city was closed to foreigners until 1987, which explains why so few people visit this most interesting and culturally rich city.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 9

Ulan Ude Sightseeing
You are now east of Bangkok, over half way across Siberia and in the capital of the Buryat autonomous republic where Buddhism, Shamanism and the Old Believers all flourish.

There will be an opportunity to visit an Old Believers' Village, now a UNESCO Cultural Centre, and learn about their trek to freedom in the 18th century. There will also be a concert of local folk songs.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Eastbound

Depart Ulan Ude late this afternoon and travel through the night onboard the Golden Eagle train to Ulaanbaatar. A journey of approximately 660 kilometres, taking around 17 hours.

The capital and largest city by some distance, Ulaanbaatar has changed drastically since the turn of the millennium. Construction has boomed and as a consequence the face of the city has changed.

Despite this, more than half of residents still live in traditional gers, showing that nomadic culture remains well-entrenched within this modern city.

Founded by nomadic Buddhist monks, Ulaanbaatar didn't settle in a permanent location until the 18th century. It then took until the 20th century for the city to really develop, fuelled by its industrial growth.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 10

UlaanBaatar Sightseeing
This Trans-Siberian adventure reaches south into Mongolia with a visit to its capital, Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia, once the very centre of an enormous empire ruled by Genghis Khan, is a country of vast rolling landscapes, nomadic people and rich in culture and history.

Start today's tour at the Gandan Monastery, one of Mongolia's most important Buddhist Monasteries housing a community of over 500 monks. The full name, Gandantegchinlen, translates as 'the great place of complete joy'. At Sukhbaatar Square see the central monument to Genghis Khan, undoubtedly the most feared and revered Mongol.

Drive out of the city to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and soak up the beautiful scenery of wild Mongolia. Visit a traditional Ger and meet a nomadic family or try your hand at horse-riding, an intrinsic part of Mongolian life.

Alternatively, there is an option to stay in the city as part of the Freedom of Choice touring. After Gandan Monastery and Sukhbaatar Square visit the National Museum to learn about the country's intriguing history. See Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, the winter residences of Bogd Khan, the last Mongolian emperor, built between 1893 and 1903. Also explore the city and have some free time to shop for Mongolian souvenirs such as their speciality cashmere.

There will be a performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing and contortionists.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 11

Russian Far East
Relax on board today and travel through the beautiful landscape of the Russian Far East. Pass through JAO, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, with its capital Birobidzhan, set up in 1928. If there is nothing out of the window that takes your fancy, you could always attend one of the interesting lectures or spend time learning some Russian. The total distance covered today will be approximately 1,180 kilometres.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 12

Amur region
Relax as the train follows the Shilka and Amur rivers, close to the Chinese border. Enjoy Russia at its most dramatic and remote, as the Golden Eagle eats up the miles on the way to Vladivostok. The train will cover a distance of over 1,000 kilometres today.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 13

Amur region
Passing directly north of Seoul, Darwin and Osaka, this is the last day onboard the Golden Eagle. Reach the most easterly point of this mammoth journey passing through Khabarovsk, where the train crosses the River Amur and approaches the final destination. This final leg of your Trans-Siberian journey covers approximately 600 kilometres.

You will be staying at Golden Eagle Train, full board

Day 14

Vladivostok Sightseeing
After travelling through eight time zones and covering an extraordinary 10,600 kilometres along this epic route to the end of the Trans-Siberian line, the Golden Eagle pulls into Vladivostok, a military port located on the western shores of the Sea of Japan. Vladivostok offers you an exciting opportunity to explore its principal military attractions including a tour of a restored submarine.

Vladivostok, with its magnificent setting, loosely translates from Russian as 'the ruler of the East' and sits at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, close to Russia's borders with China and North Korea.

You will be staying at Lotte Hotel Vladivostok, full board

Day 15

Day at leisure in Vladivostok


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

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Four Seasons Moscow

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For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Host

Nick Laing

Nick Laing
Nick Laing is the chairman and co-founder of Steppes Travel which he set up in 1989 in a farm office outside Cirencester with three people and three dogs – there are now nine dogs and forty people. His travelling life started in 1975 when he drove a car from London to Singapore. To celebrate the 20th anniversary in 2005, he motorbiked from London to Vladivostok and then all the way round the Mediterranean in 2009. In addition to over 80 trips to Russia, he has visited over 90 countries, although there are still a few more on his bucket list.

Katya Galitzine

Katya Galitzine
Katya Galitzine is a direct descendant of Catherine the Great and went to live in the former Soviet Union in 1989 to learn Russian and study sculpture. She studied at the prestigious Repin Academy of Arts in the studio of Mikhail Anikushin, the People's Sculptor of the Soviet Union and ended up making St Petersburg her home for 10 years. In memory of her late father, Katya set up the Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library, in 1994, in the house of her grandmother’s family, a mansion they moved to after the Tsar bought the Michael Palace from them. The library houses a comprehensive collection of ‘Rossica’ (books about Russia, printed abroad) and is now a cultural institution of the city.

During her time in St Petersburg, Katya, who is bilingual in Russian, embarked on several projects including her own radio show, presenting on television, hosting and guiding a number of international stars and rock bands and the organisation of corporate and private parties. She is very well known in the city by museum directors, curators, academics and gallery owners.

In 1999 she published her first book "St Petersburg - The Hidden Interiors", a history of the city told through the lesser known palaces of the city and their inhabitants. Katya has also written articles for many newspapers and magazines and has led cultural tours since the mid 1990's.

Other tours by this lecturer:

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 10 / Max 10

Tour Expert:

Katya Galitzine, Nick Laing

Departure Date (S):

  • 2nd June 2019

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.

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