Everything about Trans-siberian journey: prices, tickets, itinerary, map
The Trans-Siberian is a railway line stretching from Moscow to Vladivostok. It is 9,288 km long, crosses the entire territory of the Russian Federation, and passes through hundreds of cities. At the beginning of the last century, this railway line was referred to as the costliest gem in the royal crown. Every year, thousands of tourists travel along the legendary line, crossing the vast Russian plains and forests in just one week, plunging into the very heart of this vast country.
For some tourists, the Trans-Siberian railway constitutes their lifelong dream, but for others it is only one of the many items on their personal list of discovery and adventure. One thing for sure: this adventure leaves no one indifferent and is worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime.History of Trans-Siberian Railway
The Trans-Siberian Railway is not the name of a train, but the name of the railway line that runs from West to East, crossing the entire territory of the Russian Federation. The line is more than a hundred years old; construction began in 1891. The Russian Empire needed such a railway line primarily for political and military purposes, but, in fact, the authorities and engineers began talking about it way back in 1857.
The idea was submitted by Count Muraviov-Amursky, who was Governor-General of Eastern Siberia from 1847 to 1861.
He instructed his employee Romanov to work on a construction project, but unfortunately, it was not approved.
The issue of construction was raised once again in 1891. The railway was needed to advance and develop the economic situation in Vladivostok and across the entire Siberian territory, and strengthen border management along the Russo-Chinese frontier.
In addition to boosting the Siberian economy, the Trans-Siberian Railway also contributed to the development of the Pacific Fleet and the Russo-Chinese border.
The new railway was inaugurated in 1916. It took three to four weeks to travel from Moscow to Vladivostok. Today, this journey takes only seven days.
Traveling along the Trans-Siberian Railway: which itinerary to choose?
Your itinerary will depend on which cities you want to visit; there are three travel options:
Not only can you visit Russia, but you can prolong your trip to Mongolia and China!
Why you should embark on this journey
The spirit of adventure
For some people, holidays mean sea, sun and beach, but for others, traveling means new adventures, new discoveries and meeting new people and locals. Changing landscapes seen from the train window, life in a train compartment side by side with locals, meeting people from different regions, a new city every day... Such a memorable journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway will appeal to anyone and everyone who wants to experience different emotions.
A kaleidoscope of cultures
As you cross this territory populated by 190 different peoples, you will be amazed by the variety and differences of the cities and their inhabitants. You will experience a kaleidoscope of cultures. Modern and dynamic Moscow; Irkutsk, which has preserved its old “izbas” (ancient wooden dwellings); Kazan with its eastern charm and colourful mosques; the seaport of Vladivostok, which is called Russia’s gateway to the Pacific Ocean…
The heart of Russia
A journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway line is highly recommended for people that want to see the real Russia, touch the very heart of the country, visit not only the capital, but also Siberia, the central and eastern territories of the Russian Federation, get acquainted with different regional cultures, and experience Russia’s amazing multinational mosaic.
A variety of landscapes
Looking out your train window, you will see a breathtakingly beautiful series of constantly changing landscapes.
You will cross the endless taiga, picturesque forests and rivers, famous Lake Baikal... 5,000 km of never-ending
forests of the Siberian taiga - pines, birches, larches and spectacular landscapes await you!
Which cities to stay in? What to see during the journey? There is certainly plenty of choice: not only can you stop and relax in different cities and villages, but you can also extend your journey and visit Mongolia and China. Itineraries and information about certain cities can be found here.
Traveling through time
When you travel along the Trans-Siberian Railway line, you pass through eight different time zones. However, time is of no importance… it seems to slow down and stop.
Main cities along your itinerary
From West to East or from East to West?
It all depends on when you want to see Moscow: at the beginning or at the end of your journey. Tourists usually travel from West to East. To make it easier for you, we suggest that you consider the pros and cons of both itineraries.
Traveling from Moscow to Vladivostok:
Will you have to adjust to all the changes in time zones? Not really…As you travel from West to East, you start feeling that you’re “ahead of time”; as you travel from East to West, you seem to be moving back in time, from the end to the start of the day”. True, crossing so many time zones might affect the body’s internal clock.
Traveling from Vladivostok to Moscow:
Pros: this is a more romantic route, because we leave the best for the last – the capital of Moscow. In
addition, it will be easier for you to fly from Moscow back to Europe, because you do not need to adjust to
such a huge time zone difference (only 1-2 hours difference with Europe).
Cons: the flight to Vladivostok is very long, and it will be difficult to adapt to such a sudden change in time zones. (there is a 7-hour difference between Moscow and Vladivostok, which you should add to the time zone difference with your country).
The best time to travel
It all depends on what you want to see. If you want to see the picturesque landscapes of Mongolia and Siberia, travel any time from May to August. If you want to be caught in the middle of a winter fairy tale, then plan your trip any time from November to February.
Summer (from mid-May to the end of August)
Pros: it is much easier and more comfortable to travel in summer, because the weather is good, and the cities will appear all the more attractive with their lush greenery and glorious flowers.
Cons: summer is peak tourist season, so you need to be prepared for the influx of tourists and long queues near all the places of interest. Train and hotel tickets will be more expensive than in winter, so we recommend booking them in advance. We advise you to avoid traveling through China in the first week of May, during the official Chinese holidays.
Winter (from the end of November to mid-March)
Pros: you will see the incredible beauty of the Russian winter, snow-covered houses and forests. Yes, indeed, you will be in the heart of a winter fairy tale! There are fewer tourists than in summer; there are no long queues at the sightseeing attractions. However, we strongly advise you to book your accommodation and tickets in advance. Trips in late December - early January are especially impressive as this is when all the cities are decorated for the holidays (New Year’s and Christmas), or you might try early February - late March, when you can walk freely on the frozen surface of Lake Baikal.
Cons: if you plan a winter journey, be prepared for freezing winter weather, when temperatures can drop well below zero - on average, -15 degrees Celsius.
Autumn (from late August to early October)
Pros: We think that this is the best time of the year, because it is not so hot, there are fewer tourists than in summer, and ticket prices are most favourable. Autumn is the season of change, as taiga forests don bright autumn shades and the green hues of summer foliage are transformed into vivid colours. Such a striking carnival of colours seen through your train window!
Cons: This is usually the rainy season. We do not recommend traveling in October-November, when it starts snowing, or in March-April, when the snow starts melting. It will be cold and wet, so your journey will probably not be very comfortable.
What is a Trans-Siberian ticket?
There is no such thing as a single ticket for the Trans-Siberian Railway. You will have to transfer from one train to another, and in every city where you plan to stay, you will need a train ticket for your next destination. The ticket shows the train number, seat number, station and platform, as well as the date and time of departure. Everything that you should know about the train…
TRANS-SIBERIAN TRAINS: WAGONS, CLASSES, MEALS
Like most long-distance trains, Trans-Siberian trains are divided into three separate classes. You can choose a class based on your budget and the level of comfort that you prefer.
First class or “SV” in Russian (abbreviation for “sleeping car”) - the most expensive and comfortable class; a two-berth compartment; some wagons have folding berths.
Second class or “kupe” in Russian - a compartment with four berths: two two-tier berths situated opposite each other.
Third class or “platskart” in Russian – the cheapest way to travel. The sleeping berths are not separated by partitions and are placed opposite each other.
Drinking water is available in all wagons; there is a lavatory at the end of each wagon, but no shower. You will be welcomed by a conductor, who is there to help and serve all the passengers.
Choosing your seat
Your seat selection depends on your budget and your preferred travel format. Third class (“platskart”) is suitable for people who are not too shy or embarrassed with strangers, who want to travel with locals, communicate and get to know other persons. If you prefer comfort and want to travel with family or friends, two or four people, then the second class (“kupe”) will be more appropriate. The lower berths are great for relaxing and very convenient for watching the changing landscapes. However, the landscapes are only partly visible from the upper berths.
Most trains have a restaurant. When you travel in Russian territory, you will be offered Russian cuisine, Mongolian cuisine in Mongolia, and Chinese cuisine in China.
Prices are affordable, but if you want cheaper meals, you can buy food at the stations whenever the train makes a stop. Drinking water is provided free of charge in all wagons.
No worries if you don’t speak Russian. Many tourists travel through Russia along the Trans-Siberian Railway without knowing the Russian language. Nevertheless, we advise you to learn the alphabet, which consists of 33 letters, so it will be easier for you to understand the signs and inscriptions, as well as the names of cities, stations and streets.
Our offers for Trans-Siberian tours
- Without a guide: this tour includes accommodation, transfer from the train to/from the hotel/place of accommodation. You will visit the cities included on your Trans-Siberian program without a guide.
- With a guide: this tour includes accommodation, transfer from the train to/from the hotel/place of accommodation. A guide will meet you in each city, show you the most interesting sights and share his/her knowledge and love for the city that you are visiting.
How should I organize my Trans-Siberian journey?
That’s all for now! Now you know everything about the Trans-Siberian Railway, and you can start planning your journey! We are ready to help you out in any way we can, and we can also organize your entire travel program.