Days 1 - 2: Vladivostok
Russia's Far East is known as the land of ice and fire and we are sure to start with warm hearts as we acclimatise to the frosty temperatures of Vladivostok. The far terminus of the Trans Siberian heralds the start of our journey.
Days 3-4: Trans Siberian Railway
The eastern section of the railway takes us through some spellbinding scenery, winding tunnels and taiga forest freshly covered in snow. Settle into your warm carriage as you are transported across Siberia to Ulan Ude, home of the Buddhist Buryats.
Day 5: Ulan Ude
Ulan Ude is the home of Buddhism in Siberia, an important stop, and we visit an open-air museum to explore the beliefs and ways of life further.
Days 6: Irkutsk
Arrive in snowy Irkutsk, the Paris of Siberia, and wander the town before we venture out to Lake Baikal.
Days 7-9 : Lake Baikal and Irkutsk
Venturing out from Irkutsk we stay at Listvyanka, the pretty village on the shores of Lake Baikal. You may see the waters frozen solid, or with a few floating icebergs, either way the waters will be sparkling in the winter sunlight. There are plenty of ways to keep warm, either with a hike to take in the natural vistas or in a traditional Russian banya or sauna. On some departures we celebrate Christmas at the Lake, on others a snowball fight will suffice.
Days 10- 11 : Trans Siberian Railway
Settle back into your cosy compartment and watch the silver birch forests from the window on our way to Kazan.
Days 12-13: Kazan
Our rail journey continues to Kazan with its bewildering combination of Orthodox and Islamic architecture and beliefs before we reach our final destination of Moscow.
Days 14-16: Moscow
Today we reach our final destination of Moscow. Here, surrounded by the red walls of the Kremlin the festivities continue, either with memorable fireworks for New Years, Orthodox Christmas in January or, if travelling in March, the Shrovetide festival of Maslenitsa offers the opportunity to mingle with the locals and sample tasty pancakes. There's always a reason to celebrate.