We traveled from Moscow in the west of Russia to Ulan-Ude almost 6000 kilometers to the east. The journey by train takes almost 4 days when you decide to do it non-stop. The train journey is a destination on itself. But we think you shouldn’t miss out on the beautiful stops along the train track. There are 58 stops along the way from Moscow to Ulan-Ude, and 71 between Moscow and Vladivostok. Where should you get off to visit authentic Russia and to see different sights of the country? We will tell you in this blog so keep on reading.
Do you want to learn about the practicalities of traveling by train through Russia first? Check our blog “Trans Siberian adventure – traveling Russia by train”.
You could consider to start your Trans Siberian express adventure in St. Petersburg instead of Moscow. Most people would call it the most beautiful Russian city and the city is known for it’s wealth of culture. You will fill your days with visiting the extravagant palaces, the Hermitage and admiring the historical buildings.
When you are in Russia you naturally pay a visit of at least two days to the impressive capital Moscow. Pay a visit the best museums in the country (and world), the subway corridors and stations built in Stalin time that look like art pieces, the most luxurious cars racing around, the famous St.Basil’s cathedral and the red square. Moscow will keep you busy and entertained.
32 Train hours from Moscow, this capital of Oeral is the place where the last Tsar Nicolaas II got murdered. The Church on the blood is a beautiful building to visit. It has been built on the place where the tsar family got murdered. Yekaterinburg is good for a night or two.
Tobolsk is not situated right next to the railway but worth a visit for sure. After a train ride of 9 hours (that is nothing in Russia!) from Yekaterinburg to the north east you will arrive in this small city. Your main reason to come here is to gaze in awe at the beautiful local kremlin – it is another word for city fortress – with it’s golden blue details and glitter. Tobolsk is also the city where famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky was in exile for ten years. You can visit his statue.
Baikal Lake (via Irkoetsk)
A lot of people visit Irkoetsk as a gateway to the Baikal Lake. From the city it is only a 2 hour ride by van to the lake. The Baikal lake is the deepest lake in the world and owns the title of being the biggest sweet water reservoir in the world. Currently a group of people and volunteers puts a lot of effort in creating The Great Baikal hiking trail around the lake. Starting from Listvyanka the first stop is Bolshi Koty. The trail for the first days of hiking is ready. Find more information about the current status on www.greatbaikaltrail.org.
Irkoetsk is a very nice destination on itself with beautiful old wooden houses and an attractive river. Find yourself strolling on the river boulevard and relax for a little while before you get back on the train.
The trip from Irkoetsk to Ulan-Ude makes up for a beautiful train ride along the shores of the Baikal Lake. The city is a pleasant stop for one or two days. From here you can hop on the train again to continue your journey onwards to Mongolia or the far east of Russia. Advice for budget travellers heading to Mongolia: taking the bus to Ulaanbaatar instead of the train is a lot cheaper for this part of the track.
Besides this destinations there are more destinations along the Trans Siberian track. For example Vladivostok in the far east. This are the places where we got off and that we recommend. We think you won’t be disappointed with what they have to offer you.
What are your favourite spots along the train routes through Russia? Let us know in the comments.
More Trans Siberian reading
Read the blog: Trans Siberian adventure – traveling Russia by train. For all ins & outs of traveling by Trans Siberian express. What is essential to bring with you for example?