Day 1: Moscow
Welcome to Moscow! Russia's revitalised capital city is bursting with creative energy, even history is being retold in innovative ways, as new museums broach subjects long brushed under the carpet. As Moscow is the western terminus for the famous Trans Siberian Railway it's a fitting place to begin our journey.
Once you have settled in, take yourself for a walk across the cobblestones of Moscow's iconic Red Square to see St Basil's Cathedral and the stout red brick walls of the Kremlin; that fabled palace-fort of gilded domes where an exquisite collection of royal treasures is housed. Or visit Lenin's mausoleum or perhaps cruise the Moskva River.
Join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers on Day 1 at 4:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your joining instructions.
Days 2-5: Moscow and Trans Siberian Railway
Today we travel beyond the city to the town of Sergiev Posad where we will visit a Matroyshka Doll Factory, traditional Russian nestling toys. You'll have the chance to make your own Matroyshka followed by Tea Tasting with a local Russian family. Late this evening we head to the historic Yaroslavsky Station which has been the starting point for the Trans Siberian since 1862.
Day 6: Irkutsk
Almost in the geographical centre of Asia, Irkutsk made its fame as a stopping place on the caravan route from China. The city today still boasts 18th century churches and is renowned for its brightly painted shutters and log houses decorated with wooden lacework.
Days 7-8: To Lake Baikal
Beyond the city and following the fast-flowing Angara River upstream lies the great lake of Siberia, Baikal, which contains one fifth of the world's fresh water, and as the world's largest it has dimensions and scale spectacular in every sense.
We spend two nights in the typical Russian village of Listvyanka a popular summer resort for locals. Its small port is often lively with a chance to bargain with the locals, try some delicious smoked Omul, the typical fish of the region, and admire the 2000km of shoreline as well as magnificent vistas across the icy waters.
We take a glimpse into the world of the local Buryats (who have much in common with the Mongolians farther south), and witness a Shaman experience with traditional music and dance.
Days 9-12: Irkutsk and Trans Siberian Railway
We leave the pristine shores of the lake and return to Irkutsk - Once a Cossack-guarded outpost for fur and tea traders who made the long journey from Mongolia and China. Later, exiles known as Decembrists, who led a failed attempt to overthrow Tsar Nicholas I, were exiled here. We take our final opportunity to explore this fascinating city and hear its story. Later tonight we re-board the train, skirt the shores of Lake Baikal and continue to the once-closed port city of Vladivostok.
Settle in and gaze back at Russia as she rushes past our windows. Travelling on board local train services provides the ideal opportunity for you to strike up a conversation with some Russian commuters or holiday makers about their daily lives, all important restaurant and sightseeing tips or learn some new card games and Russian phrases.
The train will stop regularly at station platforms en route you can hop off and purchase some local cuisine from the platform Babushkas selling their home-cooked meals. A great way to try some typical Russian meals, just make sure you check with your carriage attendant how long you have until the train departs.
Days 13-14: Vladivostok
As the train draws into the eastern terminus of the Trans Siberian Railway, at the imaginatively named Vladivostok Station, you'll be pleased to know that the city now welcomes visitors who are impressed by its commanding views over Golden Horn Bay, and its bustling cosmopolitan atmosphere. We visit the Vladivostok Fortress Museum and the Local History Museum to put things into perspective.
Given its strategic eastern location, Vladivostok is a melting pot of Russian, Slavic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean and it is a fitting example of how this epic railway has connected cultures, countries and people for centuries.
All good things must come to an end, and so ds our Trans Siberian journey some 9,288 kilometres from where it all began at Moscow's Yaroslavsky Station.