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Classic Big Trans-Siberian - Beijing to St. Petersburg

We appreciate not everyone has endless time to devote to travelling so that’s why we created our Classic Big Trans-Siberian.

Tour ticks essential boxes for the time-strapped by combining two of the “must see” destinations – Siberia’s epic Lake Baikal and the vast, welcoming and enchanting expanses of Mongolia – with a year-round choice of departures. You choose. From balmy summer days spent swimming, trekking or picnicking at the largest freshwater lake on the planet to husky dog sledding and snow mobiling in winter, this is the trip for those who don’t want a schedule to any way limit their horizons on the world’s greatest railway journey.  This trip offers the opportunity to end your journey in St. Petersburg,  where you will see the contrast between the imperial splendour and the soviet simplicity that existed both then and now.

Type: Small Group Tours
Duration: 18 days

Itinerary Hide all details

Day 1: Arrival in Beijing

On arrival in Beijing you make your own way to the hotel – any taxi driver will quickly find the address. The convenient location of the hotel positions you to get the most of this legendary Imperial city, where the rich traditions of Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism meet with the opulence of the Chinese Emperors and the vibrant realism of contemporary China. Chinese hotels cope badly with the idea of foreigners who haven’t yet arrived so we’ll have your onward rail tickets delivered once you have checked in, with user hint and, directions to the station. The hotel is in the heart of the golden area of the capital, surrounded by major business centres, tourist attractions and only minutes away from the Wangfujing Street, Tiannamen Square and the Forbidden City No meals

Day 2: Departing Beijing

Make your own way to the station giving yourself at least one hour on arrival to complete security (metal-detectors are now in force and there can be queues to use them) and find your train and platform. And then you’re heading off, along the most famous railway in the world! Breakfast

Day 3: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Afternoon arrival in Ulaanbaatar. Our driver and guide will meet you at the end of the platform and will be holding a meeting- board with your name on. Transfer from the station, to a hotel with a chance to freshen up and have light snack, before departing for your city tour. Then transfer to Elstei Ger Lodge (70km). With a scheduled stop at the enormous monument to Genghis Khan along the way. It may not be quite traditional in style (since it's made of stainless steel) but it's an astounding edifice and a testament to Genghis's place in Mongolian culture (astonishingly the Communists tried to write him out of official history text-books). Taking the elevator to top of this 10 metre high monument you visit the exhibition hall from where you will have an excellent panoramic view over the complex area and the scenery beyond. A relaxed evening in the bar after supper there are occasional impromptu performances of live Mongolian music, where you might hear the Morin Khuur (horse-head lyre), the cimbalom, or native Mongolian throatsinging. On arrival to Elstei Ger Lodge you will be allocated a 4-person share Ger. (2-person upgrade available.) Light Snack, Supper

Day 4: Elstei Ger Lodge

With no specific activities planned you can choose to chill out, read, sunbathe, go walking, or (for a small payment made directly to them locally) you can go horse riding with local nomad horsemen. A relaxed evening in the bar after supper where you can chat with the local guides and other travellers. It’s also worth watching the sunset, as its not called the land of the endless skies for nothing. Breakfast, Lunch, Supper 

Day 5: Return to Ulaanbaatar

Around 10am you make the return trip to Ulaanbaatar, named the coldest capital in the world during the winter months. Check into the Bayangol 3★ Hotel. This is a great centrally located property and facilities include 5 restaurants fitness centre, sauna and a minimarket. The balance of today is free to explore more of the city. It`s easy to pick up some snack food for the train in one of the many supermarkets. In the evening a wide range of restaurants are available to suit any pocket or maybe go to see a Folklore concert? 

Day 6: Departing Ulaanbaatar

If you are interested in Mongolian Buddhism you may be interested in making a visit to the Gandan Monastery this morning, to see the morning prayerceremonies in progress. We also suggest you take an opportunity today to purchase picnic provisions for the next leg of your journey, as often this train has no dining car. This afternoon we will transfer you to the station where you will board the Irkutsk bound train. When you make the border crossing there will be the usual halt for formalities. Breakfast

Day 7: Arrival in Irkutsk

Afternoon arrival in Irkutsk. Our driver will meet you at the end of the platform, holding a meeting-board displaying “Russia Experience”. Transfer to U Ozera 3 ★Hotel situated in Listvyanka Village (70km) travelling by road through the forest. The Hotel is set just 50 metres from the shores of Lake Baikal. Hotel facilities include; sun terrace, sauna (local charge) Laundry and Ironing service, restaurant and bar. All rooms have private bathrooms, tea and coffee facilities and a minibar. Wi-Fi is free of charge in public areas. The nearest ATMmachine in the Baikal Hotel. Listvyanka remains a village, and doesn't have the range of banking services you could expect in a city. No meals

Day 8: Listvyanka Village

Today there is a walking tour around Listvyanka Village. This will include a visit to the Limnological Museum (this is an exhibition about the Lake, its formation, wildlife etc. - it includes multimedia presentations, information about the creatures which live in the darkest depths, and also an aquarium with living aquatic species, including the unique freshwater Baikal seals) and also a small wooden village Russian Orthodox Church dating back to the C18th. You return to your hotel at the end of the walk, with time to relax and enjoy your lakeside surroundings, maybe experience real Siberian "banya" (sauna – local charge). Breakfast

Day 9: Choose one activity from the list

Choose one activity from the list, it’s all included in the trip price! You’ll need to inform us of your choice before commencing your journey, so that we can have the right staff on hand for when you arrive (please note the Siberian weather puts seasonal limits on some activities – details below).

 A. SIBERIAN TREK through the Taiga Forest with a local guide who will explain the wildlife, with a local guide who will explian the eco system and lore of the Taiga. The trek is 4-5 hours long, includes a picnic style lunch and a good level of fitness is required. (May-Oct) 

B. CIRCUM BAIKAL PICNIC Take the Ferry from Listvyanka to Port Baikal which takes around 15 minutes. Walk around Port Baikal, where you will see the train station of the old Circumbaikal rail line. Then you will walk along the rail line to the nearest tunnel (2-3 km). Stopping for a picnic lunch on the shore of Lake Baikal. Return to Port Baikal, ferry back to Listvyanka. The excursion is around 5 hours duration. (Jun-Sep) 

C.TALTSY WOODEN MUSEUM A two hour trip which includes a return transfer by car, and entrance fees to the Taltsy open air wooden museum which is situated on the shore of the Angara river. On arrival you are free to explore independently and there is a tea house here where afterwards you can have a cup of tea and traditional Russian snack (pancakes, pirodzki, etc) This picturesque area shows how life was and has been sympathetically restored as a tourist attraction where you can buy authentic souvenirs. (Year round) 

D. PORT BAIKAL A day trip to Port Baikal with a local guide taking a ferry from Listvyanka. On arrival visit the Circumbaikal Railway Museum located at the train station then an uphill hike to the White stone viewpoint and to see the old lighthouse. Followed by a visit to a Russian Orthodox Church, lunch and free time walking back to the village. Return by ferry. Duration 5 hours. (May–August) 

E. SNOW MOBILE TRIP with a local guide through the forest, or even out over the deep frozen lake! The excursion is around 2 hours 30 minutes duration. (Dec–Apr) 

F. DOG SLEDDING trip for a distance of 10km 1 dog sled for each client. The excursion is around 1 hour 30 minutes duration. (Dec-Mar) Breakfast 

Day 10: Return to Irkutsk

After breakfast transfer back to Irkutsk city. (Where you will have the option to leave your bags at our local office.) Our local staff will provide a map and some recommendations of interesting places to visit. Some of our top suggestions (please check opening times/days before setting off) Decembrist Museum, Volkonsky House and The Epiphany Cathedral. Early evening transfer to the station where you will board the Moscow bound train. Breakfast There are two train options for the next leg of your journey. We use Tr#69 as the standard option and this train fare is included in the trip price. We also offer Tr#1 for the next leg of your journey for a supplement. Tr#1 is a faster train and the rolling stock is newer, hence the higher fare for this section. (Please note Tr#69 = 87 hours travelling time, Tr#1 = 76 hours travelling time). Should you wish to book this option please contact our reservations team. 

Day 11: DAY 11–13

On board The Trans-Sib.. travelling towards Moscow. The dining car is the heart of social life on the train. It functions as bar, lounge, and take-out snack store, as well as a café serving reasonably priced meals. It is a great place to meet fellow travellers and locals alike, sharing your experiences of your journey so far with a few drinks, which no doubt will include some Vodka – and maybe smoked salmon and caviar too! No meals

Day 14: Arrival in Moscow

“S Priezdom! Welcome to Moscow!” early evening arrival. Our driver will be there to meet you at the end of the platform, and will hold a meeting-board with your name on. You’ll then be transferred to the Panorama 3★ Hotel. (We can obtain rates for superior hotels ask a member of the reservations team for details.) The facilities available at this hotel include a Restaurant, Lobby Bar, Lobby Wi-Fi access, Luggage Room, Safety deposit boxes and an ATM machine. At check-in, (after 2pm) the hotel reception will advise you they will need your passport for visa registration. This process takes 1–2 hours. Your complimentary InfoPack is full of ideas for getting the most out of your free time. Breakfast 

Day 15: Departing Moscow

You’ll need to check out of your room by 12 noon today. A full day for you to pack in the rest! Own transfer this evening to Leningradsky Station where you will board the St. Petersburg bound train. Breakfast

Day 16: Arrival in St. Petersburg

Early morning arrival in St. Petersburg. Our driver will be there to meet you at the end of the platform, and will be holding a meeting-board with your name on. You’ll then be transferred to the Vesta 3★ Hotel. (We can obtain rates for superior hotels ask a member of the reservations team for details.) At check-in, (after 2pm) the hotel reception will advise you they will need your passport for visa registration. This process takes 1–2 hours. Around 10am your guide will meet you at the hotel and introduce you to the city’s highlights – a good basis for starting your own explorations. Although the public transport (used on today’s excursion) is similar to Moscow’s, there are a few quirks that your guide will show you. After lunchtime you’re on your own to explore further. No meals 

Day 17: Explore St. Petersburg

Free day for you to pack in the best of the rest! Perhaps you have pre-booked one of our city based excursions for today. Some of our top suggestions (please check opening times/days before setting off) The Hermitage Collection – Winter Palace. The canals and waterways of the “Northern Venice”. The Russian Museum of Fine Art. The Peter & Paul Fortress-and the Tombs of the Tsars inside the Fortress Cathedral. The Church on the Spilt Blood, nearby the Souvenir Bazaar. Breakfast

Day 18: End of Trans-Siberian journey

Check out of your room by 12 noon. Own transfer on departure. Breakfast

What's included

Full On No Frills
Train
  • 4-berth rail for complete journey (pre-assigned berths)
  • option to upgrade to 2-berth
Beijing
  • 1 night 4★ hotel 
Ulaanbaatar
  • all transportation
  • 2 nights Elstei Ger Lodge all meals
  • 1 night 3★ hotel, breakfast
  • City tour of Ulaanbaatar
Irkutsk
Siberian Village
  • all transportation
  • 3 nights 3★ hotel, Listvyanka Village, breakfast
  • excursion option
Moscow
  • transfer on arrival to your hotel
  • 2 nights 3★ hotel breakfast
  • 3 hour personalised walking tour with local expert
St. Petersburg 
  • transfer on arrival to your hotel
  • 2 nights 3★ hotel, breakfast
  • 3 hour personalised walking tour with local expert
Train
  • 4-berth rail for complete journey (pre-assigned berths)
  • option to upgrade to 2-berth
Beijing
  • 1 night 1★ hotel
Ulaanbaatar – (city based stay)
  • transfer on arrival to your hotel
  • 3 nights  hostel, breakfast
  • transfer to the station on departure
Irkutsk (city based stay)
  • transfer on arrival
  • 3 night hostel
  • transfer to the station on departure
Moscow
  • transfer on arrival to your hotel
  • 2 nights 1★ hotel, breakfast
St. Petersburg 
  • transfer on arrival to your hotel
  • 2 nights 1★ hotel, breakfast
  • 3 hour personalised walk
Additional expenses

1 person

2 people

3+ people

Full On

Extra night from Beijing $125 $62 $62
Extra night from Moscow midweek $111 $62 $62
Extra night from Moscow weekend $83 $55 $55
Extra night from St. Petersburg $90 $48 $48
2-berth upgrades Beijing - Moscow $823 $823 $823
2-berth upgrades Moscow - St. Petersburg $104 $104 $104
Seasonal Supplement May-Sept $83 $83 $83

No Frills

Extra night from Beijing $69 $41 $41
Extra night from Moscow $83 $55 $55
Extra night from St. Petersburg $48 $34 $34
2-berth upgrades Beijing - Moscow $823 $823 $823
2-berth upgrades Moscow - St. Petersburg $104 $104 $104
Seasonal Supplement May-Sept $83 $83 $83
Additional info

Extras

The journey you have chosen has some “extras” that are necessary and then “extras” that will enhance your trip. We cannot re-iterate too much that at Russia Experience we pride ourselves on making the trip you have chosen the best it can be – so if we don’t mention something you want, ask us and we’ll try our best to make it happen! In return, we try to inform you about any great “extras” along the way, so that you have the chance to try them if you want! Visas are a necessary extra and needed for all the countries you travel through and the current costs and what is needed can be found under Visas.

Upgrading to 2- berth compartment

Upgrading to 2- berth compartment on the train is also an option, you will see under Prices. This service is becoming more popular every year and not helped by the train operators only confirming this request 30 days or less prior to your departure. We have however devised a workaround for this that’s proving very reliable. We request a 2-berth at the time of booking but if this comes back not possible we block out a 4-berth compartment for 2 person occupancy. The standard of these cabins remains the same, and you get the extra space and privacy one way or the other.

Price

Price packagePrice per person
3+ people (no frills)

Price per person

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2 person (no frills)

Price per person

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1 person (no frills)

Price per person

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3+ people (full on)

Price per person

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2 person (full on)

Price per person

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1 person (full on)

Price per person

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Visa

Russian visa support (Russian visa invitation letter) is included.

Sights included in program

Saint Petersburg : Hermitage Museum
The Hermitage Museum is the world culture encyclopaedia written in Russian. It is a unique museum that combines a beautiful art collection with the memory of Russian national history. This is a museum of culture, a museum of art, a museum of Russian history, and also the museum of Russian architecture. The whole Hermitage is where the heritages of different nations were collected and displayed. It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the w... Read more
Saint Petersburg : Peter and Paul Fortress
Located on the banks of the beautiful Neva River, the towering Peter and Paul Fortress dominates the skyline of St Petersburg. Built in 18th century, this amazing fortress is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the city's rich history. The oldest building in St Petersburg, the grandiose Peter and Paul Fortress is the perfect destination for culture seekers and history buffs. Planned by Peter the Great as a defense against possible atta... Read more
Saint Petersburg : Savior on Blood
The Cathedral of Our Savior on the Spilt Blood is a unique masterpiece combining the old Russian style of architecture, talent of the best Russian artists and Italian stone carvers, and the art of Roman mosaic. Mosaics cover almost all the surface of the walls and ceilings there are 7 500 square meters of mosaics all in all. It is a unique example of a Russian style cathedral in the centre of St. Petersburg. Its coloured onion domes are so famous... Read more
The State Russian Museum, a unique depository of artistic treasures, is home to the world’s largest collection of Russian fine art. It is one of Russia's most precious objects of cultural heritage. While the State Hermitage displays fine art from all over the world, the Russian Museum concentrates on home-grown masterpieces. Founded in 1898 by Emperor Nicholas II in memory of his father Alexander III, it became the first state museum of Rus... Read more
Saint Petersburg : Palace Square
Palace Square, one of the most famous squares in the world, serves as an excellent example of how different architectural styles can be combined in a most elaborate and aesthetically pleasing way. This amazing Square, connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire. It was the setting of many events of worldwide significance. The architectura... Read more
The building of the Peter and Paul Fortress in 1703 marks the founding of the city of St. Petersburg. The fortress has become one of the city's main attractions thanks to its many historic buildings. Read more
Saint Petersburg : Winter Palace
St. Petersburg's most famous building, the Winter Palace not only physically dominates Palace Square and the south embankment of the Neva River, but also plays a central political, symbolic, and cultural role in the three-century history of the city. Read more
A true adornment of Irkutsk is the Epiphany Cathedral. This church looks quite unusually. It is colorful and ornate and does not resemble classic orthodox churches. The matter concerns its decoration: the church’s façade and its tholobate are decorated with pictures of the saints in whole-length. Besides, the church is fancy decorated with ornamented tiles, and brightly painted like Russian popular prints. The influence of old-Russia... Read more
Irkutsk is recognized as the Decembrists' center of Russia. Museums were opened (in 1970 and 1985, respectively) in houses where the families of Sergei Trubetskoy and Sergey Volkonsky had lived. You'll find here genuine things that belonged to the Decembrists and replicas of lost things such as pieces of furniture, tableware, stoves, musical instruments, ancient chandeliers, embroidery, books, sheet music, and pictures and photographs. On certain... Read more
The Volkonsky House Museum first opened in 1985 after an extensive restoration. The collection contains many items that belonged to the Volkonsky family and to other Decembrists. The museum is an excellent resource for learning about the Decembrist exile. Read more
Baikal : Irkutsk
An unique old city, Irkutsk was known as «Paris of Siberia» in the middle of the 19th century. It plays a remarkable role in the Russian history and it's not accidentally called the city-museum. Irkutsk saves many ancient monuments, romantic look, church cupola's lighting upon the blue current of Angara River. This incredible city is called the midst of the Earth, since it's equidistant from the three world's oceans: the Arctic, the P... Read more
Listvyanka is perhaps one of the oldest Russian settlements on the shore of the great Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world. It is a charming village dotted with traditional Siberian wooden houses, with a main road that runs right along the shore of fantastic lake, making it the perfect base to explore this picturesque region. This old-style Siberian village is one of the most visited places in Siberia. Everything about it impresses our imag... Read more
Baikal Limnological museum is located at the beginning of Listvyanka, beautiful old-style Siberian village, on the shore of fabulous Lake Baikal. The museum is engaged in collecting and storage the materials and analysis of the information bound with the lake.The unique exhibits tell about the origin and the history of the lake, its fantastic flora and fauna, geological structure, climate and tectonics of Pribaikalye. All scientific activities of... Read more
Taltsy Museum of Wooden Architecture is an unique storage of history and culture of the peoples of Eastern Siberia. This incredible open-air museum consists of several fabulous exhibit areas which hold interesting ethnographical collections and show life of the Siberians. The variety of amazing Siberian wooden izbas, churches, living houses and Buryat wooden yurts were brought together from different parts of Siberia. The museum is conveniently l... Read more
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church is one of the few preserved architectural monuments in Listvyanka. The building dates from the middle of the century before last. Such buildings in Russia were called the "octagon on the quadrangle". A wooden two-tiered church with belfries is very beautiful and majestic. St. Nicholas Church has its own interesting story. Read more
Baikal : Port Baikal
Port Baikal is located on the left bank of the Angara source, at the foot of the Baranchik Cape. The settlement is the end of the Circum-Baikal Railway. Port Baikal is the original settlement, it is located on the shore of Lake Baikal, and on the bank of the Angara river. All buildings fit in a narrow strip along the coast railway, which, in fact, is the main street of the village. Read more
1/7th of the World : Baikal
Lake Baikal in Siberia is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site and was also voted as one of Russia's Seven Wonders. It's not hard to see why. Baikal is one of those rare spots on the earth where nature has still remained genuine and untouched. The magnificent landscapes – the lake is surrounded by high mountain chains - and the unique clarity of the crystal-clear water, which runs into a darkness teeming with fish. Siberians believe that ... Read more
1/7th of the World : Beijing
Beijing, formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's second most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a direct-controlled municipality under the national government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southea... Read more
1/7th of the World : Ulaanbaatar
If Mongolia's yin is its pristine countryside, then Ulaanbaatar conforms nicely to its yang. Located in north central Mongolia, fabulous Ulaanbaatar is the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. The city was founded in 1639 as a movable (nomadic) Buddhist monastic centre, and in the twentieth century, Ulaanbaatar grew into a major manufacturing centre. Mostly described, as sunny, peaceful and open, Ulaanbaatar is a city of cont... Read more
Explore : Moscow
Moscow can be an overwhelming experience for visitors - there's just so much to see in this vast and vibrant city, from the truly sublime to the ever-so-slightly ridiculous. Moscow has been one of the world's ballet capitals for almost two centuries. It is home to the Bolshoi Ballet, founded in the late 18th century and based at the Bolshoi Theatre. It is called the "world capital of museums". It's no surprise, considering that there are over a ... Read more
The city of Saint Petersburg is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth, and virtually any building in the large historic center, threaded with canals dotted with baroque bridges, can be considered an attraction—and indeed, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is a magical city, with a long list of major attractions. Its Hermitage Museum, housed in the Winter Palace of the Romanov Dynasty, is both one of the world's gr... Read more
Forbidden City, Chinese (Pinyin) Zijincheng or (Wade-Giles romanization) Tzu-chin-ch’eng, imperial palace complex at the heart of Beijing (Peking), China. Commissioned in 1406 by the Yongle emperor of the Ming dynasty, it was first officially occupied by the court in 1420. It was so named because access to the area was barred to most of the subjects of the realm. Government functionaries and even the imperial family were permitted only limi... Read more
Tiananmen Square, Chinese (Pinyin) Tiananmen Guangchang or (Wade-Giles romanization) T’ien-an Men Kuang-ch’ang, open square in the centre of Beijing, China, one of the largest public squares in the world. Read more
The Gandantegchinlen Monastery is a Mongolian Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that has been restored and revitalized since 1990. The Tibetan name translates to the "Great Place of Complete Joy". It currently has over 150 monks in residence. It features a 26.5-meter-high statue of Avalokiteśvara. It came under state protection in 1994. Read more
In 2008, a gigantic statue of Genghis Khan riding on horseback was erected on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog, 54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, where according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is 40 meters tall and wrapped in 250 tons of gleaming stainless steel. It stands on top of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, a visitor center that itself is 10 meters tall, with 36 columns representing the 36 khans f... Read more
US$ 1955
per person, based on 2-people group
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26 Oct - 13 Nov 2018
02 - 20 Nov 2018
09 - 27 Nov 2018
16 Nov - 04 Dec 2018
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30 Nov - 18 Dec 2018
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14 Dec 2018 - 01 Jan 2019
21 Dec 2018 - 08 Jan 2019
28 Dec 2018 - 15 Jan 2019
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Price for persons:

Our flexible payment options allow you to pay 20% of a deposit first and the remaining 80% in 14 days prior to your tour date - payment can be done both online or over the phone. This gives you the peace of mind knowing your spaces are booked on the tours and that you do not miss out on making the most of your time in Russia.

Also you get the best, top-rated and most experienced and knowledgeable hand-picked tour guide appointed on a priority basis.
In our experience, exceptional travel experiences are almost always delivered by exceptional people. With that in mind, we utilize a comprehensive approach to select and employ the best tour guides only. Multilingual and well travelled, each possesses deep insight into the diverse attractions and cultural patterns throughout the region. With us guides undergo a rigorous selection process, achieving outstanding knowledge of local culture and language. Rest assured that the best tour guides only will be working on the tours to give you excellent opportunity to explore the best of the sights during both short and long-term stay in Russia.

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Speak to an expert
Call us now

+1 (888) 845-8877

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