Day 1: St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg with its beautiful canals, manicured parks, and graceful 18th century architecture is a beautiful city to begin our journey. Join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers on Day 1 at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.
Day 2: St. Petersburg and on to Moscow
This morning we discover the world's largest collection of paintings housed within the gilded halls of the Hermitage Museum, where works by Botticelli and Rembrandt to Van Gogh to Picasso are hung. In the evening we board our first overnight train travelling onto Moscow.
Day 3: Hello Moscow!
You'll soon see that Moscow is a vibrant and dynamic city. The Christ the Saviour Cathedral, built after the collapse of the Soviet Union, now dominates Moscow's skyline and is sure to take your breath away. Beneath the city lies the palatial metro rail system draped in chandeliers, mosaics and baroque bas-reliefs. Nearby, you'll find the cobblestone streets and discover Red Square surrounded by the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum as well as the iconic swirled cupolas of St. Basils Cathedral, now a museum.
Showcasing monumental walls, towers and golden-domed cathedrals, we pause at the city's impressive Kremlin. Here we marvel at the exquisite collection of royal treasures, Faberge jewels and icons of the lavish Armoury Chamber.
Day 4: Moscow and onto Kazan
The day is yours to further explore this city drenched in fascinating history, before making our way to the station to meet our onward train to Kazan.
Day 5: Kazan and to Yekaterinburg
A penultimate stop on this epic journey is the picturesque and historic city of Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. It's an impressive city where the domes of Orthodox churches and the minarets of the Islamic mosques vie for attention in the skyline. Today, we visit Kazan's UNESCO World Heritage Listed Kremlin. You cannot help but admire the marvelous towers, glistening domes, and ornate minarets encased within the Kremlin that is still today the very heart of the city.
Later in the evening we return to the station to recommence our train journey we pass through the Ural Mountains before stopping just inside Asia at Yekaterinburg, considered to be the dividing point between Europe and Asia.
Day 6: Yekaterinburg
Yekaterinburg is a vibrant, modern city with a brutal past. Here we delve into the history that brought the end to Tsarist Russia, always a fascinating stop en route.
Days 7-9: Trans Siberian Railway
In the very early hours of Day 7 (around 3am) we transfer to the station where we will rejoin the train that will carry us onto Mongolia.
Settle into life on board, enjoying the time to get acquainted with Russian travellers on the train as we cross the Irtysh and Ob rivers and head out over the vast Siberian silver and green taiga. The train skirts the shores of Lake Baikal which despite being the world's largest freshwater lake, freezes in winter with ice over two metres thick!
Days 10-11: Welcome to Mongolia
At daybreak, classic scenes of traditional nomadic life greet us as the train winds impressively across the Mongolian steppe and into the capital. Arriving into Ulaanbaatar, we have the chance to visit the Zaisan Memorial to admire the panoramic views, and the city's largest and most important monastery, Gandan Khiid, en route to Terelj National Park.
Later in the day we travel out across the grasslands to Terelj National Park where we spend the next two nights in a Mongolian ger - a traditional felt and wood frame house used by nomadic herdsmen for centuries, set amongst spectacular rock formations and wild rolling hills. Among nomadic families and their grazing livestock we can explore nearby valleys or just relax and enjoy the area.
Day 12: To Ulaanbaatar
On Day 12 we return to Ulaanbaatar for a final night in the capital, with the opportunity to listen to unique Mongolian throat singing at an evening cultural performance (optional) and a last chance to soak up the charm of this beautiful country.
Day 13: Ulaanbaatar to Beijing
The Beijing Express departs in the morning. We travel over the steppe of Mongolia and further to the south, the Gobi Desert, towards the Chinese frontier at the border town of Erlian where the train's bogies are changed from a wider gauge used by Russia and Mongolia to a narrower Chinese gauge. It's a smooth operation, and train buffs tend to stay aboard to see it firsthand.
Days 14-16: Beijing
Arrive Beijing a city that never sleeps! Immerse yourself in this bustling metropolis. During your free time explore the remarkable Temple of Heaven, wander through Tiananmen Square and the Hutong area to see a vanishing world. Our epic journey concludes with and excursion to the remarkable Great Wall Great Wall at the Mutianyu section. Built as a defence against the fierce and capable Mongol equestrians, the Wall stretches 500 km across China's mountainous northern frontier - you will literally walk through history.