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If you’ve always dreamed of taking a long and impressive train trip, there’s nothing more epic than the Trans Siberian Railway. Connecting Moscow with eastern Russia, the Trans Siberian Railway is the longest rail system in the world at over 5,700 miles in length, with the train’s main line running from Moscow to beautiful Vladivostok. Yes, such a journey may sound daunting (it will take at least 7 day), but this trip is more of a marathon than a sprint; take your time and explore a few of the sights and charming towns along the way. Here are a few that you shouldn’t miss!

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Novodevichy Convent | Photo courtesy of Carline Lupini

To begin, you will board the train at Yaroslavsky terminal, Moscow station. Before your trip, don’t forget to enjoy some classic Moscow attractions such as the Bolshoi Theater, Red Square and the Kremlin. Or take a trip a little outside of the city center to the UNESCO-listed Novodevichy Convent or the Ascension Cathedral. Even the business district, featuring stoic skyscrapers forming an impressive skyline, is appealing. When you are ready to hit the tracks, head to the station and get ready for an incredible trip!

Stop in Perm if you’re hungry, because Gastroport is a delicious place to satisfy your cravings. In fact, it’s the absolute best food you’ll eat in all of Russia! Accompany an expertly prepared fish or steak dish with a classic cocktail and enjoy lovely views of the Kama River. This stop is almost 900 miles into the journey, and is also home to charming museums and galleries. Check out the Perm Art Gallery which features a stunning collection of Russian wood sculpture.

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Nearly 600 miles from Perm is your next stop, Tobolsk—but you’ll have to change trains in Tyumen to get there. This alluring little town is located on the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. Featuring classic Russian architecture, the Tobolsk Kremlin is the perfect place to stop and snap a few pictures; the building is especially beautiful when it’s snowing.

The town of Krasnoyarsk is about 2,500 miles from Moscow and lies on the shore of the Yenisei River. This is the perfect stop for nature lovers because Krasnoyarsk is home to the Stolby Nature Sanctuary. Located on the northwestern edge of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, Stolby is a vast reserve of forest, hiking trails, and rock pillars that were formed by old magmas. Take a quick day-hike or hire a guide for a wild trek; either way, Stolby is worth a visit. If you’re hiking on your own, be careful about what you read online because hike lengths aren’t always accurate. We went on what was supposed to be a 4-mile hike and it ended up being closer to 8!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhEU6fsD66b/?taken-by=caroline.lupini

Next up is the town of Irkutsk, located where the Irkut and Angara rivers meet. Roughly 45 miles southeast of Irkutsk is the village of Listvyanka, situated on the shore of stunning Lake Baikal which is famous for its beautiful clear ice formations. The lake itself is huge, measuring nearly 400 miles in length and 20,000 square miles in surface area, and it is the oldest and deepest lake in the world. When the water is completely frozen during winter, you can even take a dog sledding excursion from Listvyanka to the middle of the lake! Take a quick trip or schedule a multi-day adventure across the water and through the forest; there are several hotel option nearby, including the Mayak Hotel featuring an indoor pool and free breakfast.

Finally, you will arrive in Vladivostok at a total distance of about 5,800 miles from Moscow. This buzzing metropolis is located on the western side of the Sea of Japan, just east of China and northeast of North Korea. Vladivostok, or “Master of the East,” has been likened to Istanbul and San Francisco by astute observers, likely due to its sandy coastline, hills and captivating suspension bridge. On the eastern coast of Vladivostok, you can find a glittering glass beach; this beach is the result of large-scale pollution by glass bottles and waste from a porcelain factory. Now, the beach shimmers with sea glass! Sad but beautiful. Settle in for an extended stay at one of the city’s affordable hotels; the super modern AZIMUT Hotel is just one option.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiXW3qpg7Z7/?taken-by=caroline.lupini

What to know before you book

There’s no right or wrong way to do the Trans Siberian, but here are a few helpful things you might want to know based on our trip.

All of our trains were booked with Real Russia, and unless you have pretty flexible travel plans you definitely should book your tickets in advance because trains do sell out! We did the journey in a combination of 2nd and 3rd class with a bunch of stops for almost exactly $500 per person. With less stops the price would be slightly lower, all else equal. Second and 3rd class are both still sleeper cars, so it’s great for overnight journeys. Some trains do have seats available, but you’ll probably want to avoid those unless you’re just on the train for a few hours.

There’s no best season to book the train, but keep in mind that it does get really cold in the winter! This leads to some stunning scenery, but you’ll definitely need to bundle up. We did the journey in March and would love to go back and do it in the dead of winter and also the middle of the summer because it would be an entirely different experience.

Where will you stop during your Trans Siberian Railway adventure?

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Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has lead her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (carolinelupini.com).

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