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The Luxury train Travel Company

Luxury Train Vacations, Luxury Rail Tours & Holidays

Luxury train rides conjure up romantic notions of meandering through the snow-capped Swiss Alps, animated storytelling on-route to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian Railway, or departing Gare de l’Est station in Paris aboard the Orient Express. Luxury rail holidays are an incredible way to travel, making it as much about the journey as the final destination. The best luxury train vacations are focused on slowing the pace of life so you can take in the scenery.

The Luxury Train Travel Company offers the finest and most opulent luxury rail journeys across Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Australia. Luxury rail road tours allow you to sit back and unwind on a luxury sleeper train, enjoy fine dining, and soak up spectacular diverse landscapes from the comfort of a suite or observation car. Nothing quite matches the character or charm of luxurious trains, and we provide the best luxury train trips in the world.

explore the world of luxury trains

Explore the luxury train travel company.

Explore Our Range of Luxury Rail Tours Across the Globe. Learn About The Different Luxury Trains We Can Offer. View Our Tours by Region & Destinations. View our train departure Calendar.

Independent

As a family run company we go to greater lengths to ensure you have the best experience.

We give open and impartial advice and it is important to us that you book the right rail trip for you.

Your trip is financially protected through our ABTA membership, IPP cover and ATOL bonding.

We will not cut corners and take the time to make sure your tour is suited to your requirements.

Select a Train Below to View The Tours

We offer a selected range of the world’s finest trains which you can see below. Click on any train for more full details including cabin classes and tours on offer.

DANUBE EXPRESS

African explorer, deccan odyssey, golden chariot, palace on wheels, maharajas xpress, le grand tour, golden eagle, prestige c. e., glacier pullman, andean explorer, royal scotsman, transcantabrico, costa verde ex., the luxury train travel company, contact us about our luxury train tours.

We look forward to hearing from you and are happy to answer any questions you have – just email or call us or use the form below.

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How Can We Reach You?

How can we help, which region(s) are you interested in, which train(s) are you interested in, how did you hear about us, exclusive global luxury train tours with recommended expert itineraries for the finest luxury train travel.

Every traveller that boards luxury trains bound for the distant horizon will have their perception of what to expect from a luxury rail tour. Whether it’s taking a popular route or one less travelled to expectations of service and accommodation and intriguing off-train excursions during luxury train rides. Thankfully, through years of engaging with luxury train holiday companies, we have put together curated itineraries for the most predominantly requested luxury rail tours.

Harking back to the golden age of luxury train travel in the 1930s, luxury rail road vacations have been designed to accommodate the ultimate luxurious experience for each guest aboard these dream train journeys. Whether travelling on the Golden Eagle Danube Express on an adventure, the Rovos Rail through South Africa, or the Glacier Pullman Express in Switzerland. Luxury train packages with The Luxury Train Travel Company have itineraries to please every guest and fulfil their luxury train vacation fantasies.

Offering You The Finest Luxury Rail Vacations Across The Globe

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Why Choose Luxury Train Holidays with The Luxury Train Travel Company?

Deciding on one of the most luxurious train rides anywhere in the world may be a lifelong ambition, a retirement treat, or a last-minute decision. Whatever the reason behind setting out on any of our luxury rail road tours, you’ll need to be assured that nothing will take away from your relaxation, luxury, or comfort. That is why having The Luxury Train Travel Company take care of booking your luxury rail travel makes perfect sense.

From the moment you contact us to organise any of our luxury rail road vacations, we’ve got your best interests at heart. We want you to immerse yourself in the experience of a luxury rail tour without having a care in the world outside of enjoying yourself. We’ve got your back from luxury train tickets, transfers, and travel times to day trips, excursions, and schedule changes. Luxury scenic train vacations are a chance to kick back, relax, take in the scenery and let us do the heavy lifting.

Featured Luxury Train Tours

Working with the industry’s preeminent luxury rail travel operators allows us to accommodate an outstanding lineup of luxury rail road holidays. You can relax on a journey through four regions in Spain. Begin with a stay in the opulent surroundings of the Parador Santiago de Compostela hotel before disembarking for a 1250km luxury train vacation. Maybe a trip through Montenegro, Italy, Slovenia, Turkey, or Switzerland is a luxury train holiday you’re looking for.

Moving farther afield for luxury train rides and you could head east for Asia. Travel the original Trans-Siberian route from Moscow to Beijing, or travel south and explore central Asia and India. Switch continents and explore Africa by enjoying luxury train journeys from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The exceptional collection of slowly meandering tours and luxury overnight trains afforded you here are sure to provide the best luxury train packages.

Client Feedback For Our Amazing Luxury Train Journeys

Over the years we have sent many clients on luxury train tours. These luxury train journeys are often important, milestone tours for our clients. Luxury train holidays are ideal for birthdays or anniversaries or perhaps a retirement trip long dreamed of. Consequently, we are acutely aware of how important it is that the right luxury rail tour down to the right cabin is booked and that arrangements proceed as smoothly as possible. We will work with you to recommend the best luxury train vacation options that are available. Below you can see some of the feedback from our luxury rail tour clients.

Luxury Scenic Train Vacations Offering The Most Luxurious Train Rides In The World

Slowly winding your way through the astonishingly rich plains of South African National Parks on luxury rail tours or relaxing with a glass of Champagne on luxury overnight train trips heading toward New Year celebrations in the shimmering city of Vienna. You can recline in comfort in wonderfully decadent train cars, soak up the awe-inspiring scenery and indulge yourself on a luxury train vacation bound for some of the most stunning global destinations.

Passengers aboard these luxury rail holidays can navigate routes across six continents, making stops to absorb many cultural and historical attractions. Enjoy stays in beautiful hotels and ride luxury overnight trains towards cities such as Vancouver, Denver, and Whistler. Take the Rocky Mountaineer train through Jasper National Park in Canada or a luxury rail tour to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Decide upon your dream destination for a luxury train holiday and get packing for Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, or the USA today!

Unforgettable Luxury Train Tours & Luxury Train Packages You Will Treasure For Your Lifetime

Our finely crafted luxury train journeys have been faultlessly curated through years of industry knowledge and experience to ensure that the reality of your luxury train holiday surpasses your expectations. Some passengers have waited a lifetime to go on luxury scenic train vacations, while others book luxury rail road vacations that promise a lifetime of fantastic memories. Whichever of our luxury train packages suits your tastes, we’re sure that the routes you’ll take and the destinations you see with be unforgettable.

Set off on a romantic luxury rail tour through India on board the Deccan Odyssey bound for the majestic Taj Mahal and then take luxury overnight train trips to the holy city of Varanasi. Marvel at the landscapes afforded you on luxury rail road holidays in South America, where you can visit the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru and the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco. Luxury rail vacations are a splendid way of creating unforgettable memories.

Discover New Places & Experiences With Our Luxury Train Holidays & Luxury Rail Tours

Setting off on an adventure to discover new places is always tremendously exciting. Many people think only about the destination, but with luxury rail travel, passengers are indulged from the moment they step on board these luxury trains. Luxury train rides ensure that every second of a vacation is an adventure, with stunning scenery, making stops in new cities, enjoying good company, and spoiling yourself with gourmet food in the dining cars. The best luxury train trips in the world are a feast for the senses.

Whether it’s your first luxury train tour or your fiftieth, there are always new destinations, routes, and trains to discover. We are fortunate to work with the leading luxury train holiday companies and can offer the world’s best luxury train vacations. Across six continents and dozens of countries, you’ll always have new luxury train rides to immerse yourself in and unique experiences to unearth and explore with The Luxury Train Travel Company.

Exceptional Luxury Train Journeys & Luxury Train Vacations To Be Remembered

Vacations and time spent with loved ones are about having a wonderful time and creating memories that last a lifetime. Luxury train journeys are an enchanting way of slowing down the pace of life, taking a step back, breathing, and having time to appreciate everything around us. Ride along in the world’s most luxurious trains. Unwind in your cabin, complete with polished wood furnishings and creature comforts. Relax at an onboard spa, in the bar car, and eat great food.

Luxury train rides are about the journey as much as the destinations you see along the way. Luxury rail vacations are, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on an adventure and explore new countries, cultures, and destinations. Luxury rail road holidays ensure you can do all of the above at the height of comfort and style. The best luxury train trips in the world will leave you feeling refreshed and energised at the final stop upon the conclusion of your luxury train tour.

luxury train departures

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Click to download our calendar of luxury train departures as a pdf file.

One of the best ways to learn which trips depart and when is to download our train calendar page where you can scroll through departures in date order and view each tour.

THE MOST POPULAR QUESTIONS

Luxury train holidays & luxury train vacations faqs, what luxury train tour destinations do you offer.

We offer luxury rail road holidays that include New Year in Vienna, luxury train tours of castles in Transylvania, luxury train packages for Africa, India, Spain, Switzerland, Asia, the Americas and Australian luxury rail journeys.

What is the best luxury train vacation?

What the best luxury train trips in the world would be is a matter of opinion, but here at The Luxury Train Travel Company, we have our favourites. Boarding The Danube Express for Venice to Istanbul is a beautiful luxury train tour. Passengers get to visit nine countries, with breathtaking scenery, including Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, while enjoying gourmet meals, a champagne bar, and luxury cabins with en suite bathrooms.

What is the most luxurious train journey in the world?

We provide the best luxury train vacations available, and all the trains used for our tours are very opulent. The individual cars are superbly maintained, the food on board is superb, the fixtures and fittings are very high-quality, and the staff are all customer-centric professionals. The feeling of luxury is a combination of all the elements working together. Whether you take a luxury train vacation in Australia or India to Canada or Peru, you’re assured of the height of luxury and the vacation of a lifetime.

How much do you charge for luxury train vacations?

Our luxury train packages start from as little as £2205 for a 9-night trip on the Orient Silk Road Express through Uzbekistan. At the other end of the scale, luxury rail holidays can cost more than £25,000 if you want to stay in the finest suite onboard and go on longer journeys.

Why should I experience luxury rail travel at least once in my lifetime?

The golden age of luxury train travel was the 1930s, and we tend to think of the Oriental Express. Go back 30+ years, and The Blue Train and Royal Scotsman were famous for travellers looking to visit new exciting destinations in luxury. These days we live in such a fast-paced world that it’s nice to take a step back, relax, travel, and once again enjoy luxury rail journeys to some fantastic places. There can’t be anything more therapeutic for the sole than slowly meandering through the Canadian Rockies, winding down the Silk Road, or heading towards the Taj Mahal on a luxury train vacation.

How do I get started if I want to book a luxury train holiday?

If you would like to look further into taking a luxury scenic train vacation, then you can contact our customer-centric team today. You can discuss the details with us, and we’ll ensure you get the luxury train holiday you’ve always dreamt of.

Why is it best to purchase a luxury train tour from a professional operator rather than buy luxury train tickets by myself?

It’s perfectly possible to purchase luxury train tickets yourself, but there are significant advantages to booking luxury train holidays through a professional operator. Professional operators like The Luxury Train Travel Company have many years of experience organising luxury rail vacations. With these expensive holidays, your trip would be financially protected through our ABTA membership, IPP cover, and ATOL bonding.

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Trans Siberian Express Eastbound

MOSCOW – VLADIVOSTOK

MOSCOW – KAZAN – YEKATERINBURG – NOVOSIBIRSK – IRKUTSK – LAKE BAIKAL – ULAN UDE – ULAAN BAATAR – VLADIVOSTOK

Undoubtedly the world’s greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across mysterious Russia connecting east and west from Moscow over the Urals, across the magnificent and endless steppe and alongside the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake.

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Trans siberian express westbound.

ULAAN BAATAR – MOSCOW

ULAAN BAATAR (FOR THE NAADAM FESTIVAL) – ULAN UDE – LAKE BAIKAL – IRKUTSK – NOVOSIBIRSK – YEKATERINBURG – KAZAN – MOSCOW

Please note all Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian departures have been suspended indefinitely due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been subsequently placed on Russia.

View Westbound

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The Zarengold Private Train

Your Home on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

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Browse Our Zarengold Journeys

Tailor your trip with the most extensive selection of Trans-Siberian tours available. Plot the path of your adventure as you wish—travel through China, Mongolia and Russia on our broad range of routes, flexible options and myriad destinations. Click here to go directly to our current routes featuring the Zarengold private train.

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Attentive Service

Our patented Three Guide System guarantees absolute comfort and security for the entire journey and includes a multilingual tour director, a group guide and a local guide. An attentive guest relations manager is available to answer questions and requests throughout the journey. Be a part of exclusive tour groups of no more than 26 guests per route. Enjoy delicious, freshly prepared regional delicacies and international cuisine by our team of chefs. A doctor is on call 24 hours a day between Moscow and the Mongolia–China border.

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Your Home Away from Home on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

The Zarengold private train is not only a classic way to travel the famous Trans-Siberian Railroad—it is also a train like no other in the world. Its well-appointed dining cars, comfortable sleeping compartments, amazing staff and stellar service make the train itself an experience to remember forever—your home away from home on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railroad.

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More Compartments

The Zarengold features the widest selection of compartments on any Trans-Siberian train . Choose between six compartment categories—from the popular Classic, Superior and Nostalgic Comfort categories, to the premium Bolshoi and Bolshoi Platinum, which feature private bathrooms and showers.

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Seasoned Experts

Travel with the world’s most seasoned Trans-Siberian tour operator . We have 30 years of experience—over 750 tours—on this legendary railroad. The Zarengold private train ensures your comfort, enjoyment and security as you embark on one of the greatest travel adventures in the world.

Trans-Siberian-Railway

Flexible Sightseeing

See sights planned for the group or only sights that you wish. Stay overnight on your private train as well as hotels along the route— get the best of both worlds! Knowledgeable and friendly tour guides provide historical and cultural insights. Get a unique introduction to the Russian language and the Cyrillic alphabet. Experience a Russian tea ceremony and vodka tasting session with traditional toasts and customs.

Trans-Siberian-Railway

World-Class Staff and Crew

Welcome aboard! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help. We have experience providing over 750 successful private train tours on the Trans-Siberian Railroad to more than 30,000 satisfied customers. Your comfort, convenience and security are paramount. We even have a doctor on call 24 hours a day.

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Delicious Food and Drink

See you for dinner at seven? Well-appointed dining cars delight guests with international meals and lovingly crafted local specialties. Perfect for relaxing with new friends over an after-dinner drink as you take in the stunning scenery. Ornate dining cars with panoramic windows provide breathtaking views—the romance of Russian rail travel at its best.

Trans-Siberian-Railway

Fun and Informative Talks

We have carefully curated a program of events and sightseeing opportunities to provide you with profound insight into the rich lands and heritage you explore with us. Hear fascinating talks on local histories and the magic of the Russian language. Enjoy traditional tea ceremonies or a sampling of exquisite vodkas, complete with authentic toasts and customs.

Train Compartments

The Largest Selection of Compartments Available on the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Category V Bolshoi Platinum

Cat. V - Bolshoi Platinum

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 2 guests ● 1 lower bed sized 47.2 x 72.4 in/120 x 184 cm ● upper bed sized 32.3 x 68.5 in/82 x 174 cm Features ● Large compartment sized 77 sq ft/7.15 sq m ● Small sofa ● Table ● Window ● Large closet ● Private bathroom with sink, toilet and separate shower ● 5 compartments per car

Category IV Bolshoi

Cat. IV - Bolshoi

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 2 guests ● 1 lower bed sized 43.3 x 72.4 in/110 x 184 cm ● 1 upper bed sized 31.5 x 68.5 in/80 x 174 cm Features ● Large compartment sized 60 sq ft/5.57 sq m ● Small sofa ● Table ● Window ● Small closet ● Private bathroom with sink, toilet and integrated shower ● 6 compartments per car

Category III Nostalgic

Cat. III - Nostalgic Comfort

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 2 guests ● 1 lower and 1 upper bed ● 31.5 x 72.8 in/80 x 185 cm Features ● Large Window ● Table ● Armchair ● 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car ● Semi-private shower shared between 2 compartments ● 8 compartments per car ● Nostalgic interior design

Cat II - Superior

Cat. II - Superior

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 2 guests ● 2 lower beds ● 26.7 x 73.6 in/68 x 185 cm Features ● Large window ● Table ● 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car ● Shower shared between 1 to 3 cars ● 9 compartments per car ● Distinctive interior design

Cat II - Classic

Cat. II - Classic

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 2 guests ● 2 lower beds ● 26.7 x 73.6 in/68 x 187 cm Features ● Large window ● Table ● 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car ● Shower shared between 2 to 4 cars ● 9 compartments per car

Cat I - Standard

Cat. I - Standard

Number and Size of Beds ● Sleeps up to 4 guests ● 2 lower and 2 upper beds ● 26.7 x 73.6 in/68 x 187 cm Features ● Large window ● Table ● 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car ● 9 compartments per car ● 3-person occupancy available for a supplemental charge

Category IV Bolshoi

Zarengold Frequently Asked Questions

Electricity and power sockets.

Power sockets are available in the corridors of sleeping cars and in Category III, IV and V compartments. Every car has both 110- and 220-volt AC sockets, intended for charging electric razors. Therefore, we recommend that you ask your tour guide to show you which sockets are rated for which voltage before using them so that you do not damage your devices. We also recommend that you bring along sufficient extra batteries for your electronic devices just in case. Click here to read more frequently asked questions about the Zarengold Private Train on Trans-Siberian-Travel.com

Zarengold Private Train Journeys

Make the Legend a Part of You

Zarengold: From Beijing to Moscow

15-day private train journey on the trans-siberian railroad from beijing to moscow.

Experience one of the last great travel adventures. Your journey along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, one of the world’s most fascinating and safest train routes, is even more interesting, comfortable, and entertaining with our privately chartered train.

Zarengold: From Moscow to Beijing

16-day private train journey on the trans-siberian railroad from moscow to beijing, zarengold in winter: from moscow to ulan bator, 13- or 16-day private train journey on the trans-siberian railroad from moscow to ulan bator or beijing.

Experience the magic of Siberia with a 13-day private train journey through Russia and Mongolia with possible three-day extension to China.

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Rail Tour Packages

Embarking on a train journey is always exciting, especially when scenic views are guaranteed! Choose from the list of carefully planned rail journeys in Russia and marvel at the spectacular surroundings while crossing authentic towns, awe-inspiring natural wonders, and other scenic sights along the way. The renowned Transsiberian train journey is an excellent choice for those who love train travel and seek unforgettable adventures. Stretching for almost one-third of the world, it takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok or even Mongolia! You can also extend your trip to Beijing or enjoy a train ride to St. Petersburg while exploring Russia.

Things To Do & Places To See on rail tours

Don't miss out on any important sights & experiences on rail tours

Enjoy one of the most unique travel experiences, rail tour, and see the most inspiring and stunning sights of your destination. Contact our destination specialists for a perfect rail journey itinerary.

Highlights of rail tours

  • Witnessing the beauty of Lake Bakal
  • Stepping foot in two continents at once
  • Exceptional activities in Mongolia
  • Bustling hubs on the Trans-Siberian
  • Crossing awe-inspiring sceneries
  • Authentic towns along the way

Rail Tours Travel Tips

Embark on the exciting rail tour and check out top-rated tips for your future adventure.

Train Travel

What to pack

Make sure to wear comfortable and warm clothing, especially on overnight or long-haul train rides.

Depending on the destination, meals might not be included. Pack some snacks and quick bites for such cases.

It is advisable to check the local currency of any country online and have some cash with you for small expenses.

When to travel

Please contact our destination specialist for more details about every season.

The weather in Russia can be unpredictable. Make sure to wear comfortable and warm clothing, especially on overnight or long-haul train rides.

It is advisable to have your tickets, ID, and other valuables on the carry-on baggage.

Linda and I enjoyed our Grand Deluxe Trans Siberian Tour

This is just a note to say how much Linda and I enjoyed our Grand Deluxe Trans Siberian Tour Rail adventure with Travel all Russia. We were especially glad to have seen the subways in Moscow which were not on the original agenda, but that our guide made sure we saw. Also, the opening ceremony at Naadaam in Mongolia was not in the schedule, but we were delighted to have a front row seat. It was an outstanding show.

Small Group Trans-Siberian Journey summer 2016

Our journey to Russia was a great one. All of the guides were wonderful and everything was so well organized.

There are just a few things I'd suggest. I think you need to warn future travelers about the Chinese train. There were not two lower berths as we were told and since neither of us was able to climb to the top bunk, we had to take turns sleeping! Also, the train was disgustingly dirty.

Other than that, the other accommodations were fine. As far as the food, there was much too much fish and borscht.

We were totally thrilled with our trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway

We were totally thrilled with our trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway!

The trains were clean, comfortable and always on time.

The hotels, though varied, were always welcoming and attractive. The restaurants, for the most part, served us well.

Our guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Once a guide could not join us because of a medical problem, and the next day another guide took us to two days' sites in one day.

Many thanks for arranging a most memorable Epic Trans-Siberian Adventure journey for us!

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Trans Siberian Railway Tours

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Home / Russia Trip Styles / Trans Siberian Railway Tours

Trans Siberian Railway Tours Explore our life-enriching Trans Siberian tours and uncover the beauty of Russia via the world's longest railway.

Why is a trans-siberian railway tour one of the best ways to travel around russia .

Experience one of the great train journeys of the world as you travel across one-third of the planet, from the heart of Moscow to the Russian Far East. You'll definitely be needing some overnight stops to sight-see along the way, because the Trans Siberian Railway is the longest rail line in the world.

Spanning two continents, our Trans Siberian railway tours bring some of the most remote and exotic parts of Russia, Mongolia and China right to your window, from the comfort of your own cabin. From beautiful lakes to flourishing forests, panoramic plains and magnificent mountains, you'll get to experience the entirety of Eurasia's beauty in one spectacular trip!  

  • Journey along the longest railway in the world, the Trans Siberian Railway, which crosses the divide between Europe and Asia and passes through no less than eight different time zones.
  • Experience Russian, Mongolian and Chinese culture in a single train journey.
  • Marvel at the dramatic, ever-changing dramatic scenery of Europe's and Asia’s most superb landscapes. 
  • Travel to must-visit destinations such as the ancient Chinese provinces of Beijing, the serenely beautiful Lake Baikal and the unique Mongolian heritage of Ulaanbaatar.

The Trans Siberian Express ranks on just about every traveller’s bucket list. The world's most famous train journey should be up to of an unforgettable series of memories for you and your companions, and our guided Trans-Siberian tours will ensure your trip is the experience of a lifetime. 

Our Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway tours give you a variety of options to suit your interests and travel comfortably with the changing seasons. For example, to see the countryside at its greenest, the best time to travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway is during summer, from May through to September. Yet, some say the best season to travel on the Trans-Siberian is in winter when the landscape transforms completely. As well as eerily bare sub-Arctic taiga, fields of glittering snow (as well as far fewer tourists!) between February and April you'll be able to ogle the incredible transparent ice of Lake Baikal. Traverse from one end of Russia to the other on the 9,289km Trans-Siberian Express tour from Moscow to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. Alternatively, start in Moscow and take the connecting rail line through Mongolia to end in Beijing (or vice-versa) on our Trans-Mongolian Railway tours (total length, 7,621km). Either trip takes you across the forested ridges of the imposing Ural Mountains and includes an overnight stay on the shores of enchanting Lake Baikal.

Travel along the Trans Mongolian Express during the annual Naadam Festival and witness an ancient, wildly colourful sporting competition preserved by the Mongol warrior tradition. For those set on nothing less than luxury train travel in Russia, our first class Trans Siberian Railway tour with the Golden Eagle is limited to just 120 private tour passengers, promising fine dining, personalised service and comfortable ensuite cabins. With planned excursions at every stop along the route and a range of exciting optional activities, we have custom-created award-winning Trans Siberian tours and Trans Siberian railway itineraries.

Are you a train travel enthusiast seeking something beyond what our featured itineraries cover? We will happily sit down with you and tailor-make your perfect Trans Siberian railway adventure.

Trans-Siberian tour

Trans-Siberian Odyssey Across Russia

What can be more captivating then crossing Russia from West to East in a train? It gives the full understanding of country’s scale and treasures, of how diverse and united it is at the same time. You will see all major sites of Russian cities, visit planet’s deepest lake and enjoy the views of Russia’s endless areas.

Trans-Siberian tour

Tsars Gold - A Trans-Siberian Railway Adventure

Experience one of the last great travel adventures - a journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, one of the world’s most fascinating and safest train routes. Starting from Moscow and ending in Beijing (or wise versa), this journey on a private train Tsar's Gold, will deliver the highlights of three fascinating countries directly to your compartment.

Russia tour Kazan Moscow St Petesburg

Imperial Russia, Classic Trans-Siberian Journey

Embark on a classic two-week adventure across Russia to China onboard the comfortable Imperial Russia train. Starting either from Moscow or Beijing, this train journey will show you the country from the inside and open for you its very spirit.

Trans Siberian winter tour Imperial Russia

Trans-Siberian Winter Fairytale

Go on a troika sleigh ride or stroll through a snow forest under the winter morning sun. Sleep snugly on the Tsar’s Gold, your heated private train, on this 13-day private journey from Moscow to Ulan Bator via Lake Baikal, with the option to prolong your journey for 3 more days and travel to Beijing.

Winter Murmansk Trans-Siberian Northen Lights Aurora Russia

Northern Lights in Russia - Railway Adventure to the Arctic Circle

We invite you to feel the atmosphere of the magic of winter St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Vologda and witness the Northern Lights beyond the Arctic Circle on the shores of the Barents Sea with a glass of sparkling champagne, joy and laughter. Truly, an unusual and colourful journey, like the elusive Aurora Borealis themselves!

Golden Eagle Luxury Trans-Siberian tour

Golden Eagle, Luxury Trans-Siberian Express

The Trans-Siberian Railway journey, onboard of the luxurious Golden Eagle across mysterious Russia from Moscow over the Urals, across the magnificent and endless steppe and alongside the shore of the world's largest freshwater lake.

Trans-Siberian-Moscow-to-Mongolia-Naadam-Festival-Golden-Eagle-luxury-train

Naadam Festival - Trans Mongolian Express

Join us and experience 'The Big Event' in the Mongolian calendar. Soak up the exciting atmosphere of the Naadam Festival from the opening ceremony to the 20km horse race, an opportunity very few people get to see up close.

Trans Siberian Winter Northern Lights

Arctic Rail Explorer - Quest for Northern Lights

Take in the beautiful cities of St Petersburg and Moscow before exploring deep into the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle in pursuit of the magnificent Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

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A custom tour made to order

We understand sometimes our set departure dates do not align with your ability to travel at that time, or you just want to travel bespoke. We got you covered.

Go custom — gives you the choice & flexibility of creating your own bespoke itinerary, using our tours for inspiration.

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The Trans-Siberian Railway journey is easily one of the most talked-about train journeys in the world, and arguably the best way to experience ...

Trans-Siberian tour

Top 13 Trans Siberian Stops Travellers Should Take time to explore

It is safe to say that a journey along the famous Trans-Siberian Railway would be a dream come true and a tick on the travel bucket list for many ...

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The 6 Longest Train Trips On Earth

Posted: May 20, 2024 | Last updated: May 20, 2024

<p>If you like the thought of listening to your favorite music or reading a captivating story on a long journey, you might enjoy long train trips. The world's longest train trips are an excellent way to learn about other cultures, see beautiful, different landscapes, and either socialize with the other passengers or spend quiet time by yourself.</p>  <p>You can make many memories on your long journey and perhaps make lifetime friends. It is also a way of interacting with nature because you can pass through national parks and view wildlife from the train. Here are some of the longest train trips you can take, from one end of the earth to the other.</p>

If you like the thought of listening to your favorite music or reading a captivating story on a long journey, you might enjoy long train trips. The world's longest train trips are an excellent way to learn about other cultures, see beautiful, different landscapes, and either socialize with the other passengers or spend quiet time by yourself.

You can make many memories on your long journey and perhaps make lifetime friends. It is also a way of interacting with nature because you can pass through national parks and view wildlife from the train. Here are some of the longest train trips you can take, from one end of the earth to the other.

<p>Have you ever considered cruising over 10,214 km for seven days and 20 hours, crossing two continents and a whopping eight time zones? If you want an experience like this, pack your bags and prepare for the longest train trip from Moscow to Vladivostok.</p>    <p>The Trans-Siberian is the longest passenger train in the world and travels across China, Mongolia, and the famous, beautiful Siberia. The journey is full of adventure, and you will be able to disconnect as you meditate, listen to music, read, or take in the gorgeous scenery.</p>    <p>The main train stops are Perm, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Ulan Bator, and Beijing, and cover a distance of 10,214km. The ride costs $805 per person for the 2 class bunk and $1,600 per person for the 1 class bunk.</p>    <ul> <li>Passengers take a break from the train to view sights during the journey and sleep in luxurious hotels.</li>    <li>It is the longest train trip in the world and offers wildlife and culture. Travelers can visit Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.</li> </ul>

1. Trans-Siberian from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia

Have you ever considered cruising over 10,214 km for seven days and 20 hours, crossing two continents and a whopping eight time zones? If you want an experience like this, pack your bags and prepare for the longest train trip from Moscow to Vladivostok.

The Trans-Siberian is the longest passenger train in the world and travels across China, Mongolia, and the famous, beautiful Siberia. The journey is full of adventure, and you will be able to disconnect as you meditate, listen to music, read, or take in the gorgeous scenery.

The main train stops are Perm, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Ulan Bator, and Beijing, and cover a distance of 10,214km. The ride costs $805 per person for the 2 class bunk and $1,600 per person for the 1 class bunk.

  • Passengers take a break from the train to view sights during the journey and sleep in luxurious hotels.
  • It is the longest train trip in the world and offers wildlife and culture. Travelers can visit Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.

2. The Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver, Canada

Once you pack your favorite books and headsets and have your playlist ready for the adventure, you can check the next departure of the Canadian Train. One of the longest journeys in the world is from Toronto to Vancouver.

The Canadian passes through Toronto, Sudbury, Edmonton, Kamloops, and Vancouver. You will experience beautiful prairies, Rockies, and serene nature areas from Toronto to Vancouver for four nights.

Passengers can enjoy the blue skies and national parks with beautiful, fascinating animals and can take those relaxing moments to meditate. The train fare is $4,655 per person on the Prestige and $444 per person on the economy. The key stops of this train are Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Jasper.

  • Travelers view beautiful sights like pristine lakes, plains, mountains, and wildlife.
  • You also get to sleep in luxurious hotels in Toronto and Vancouver.

<p>The Shanghai to Lhasa trip is one of the longest train trips in the world, and the train cruises across eight provinces in China. On the trip, you will enjoy beautiful mountainous terrains and landscapes.</p>    <p>It takes two days to cover 4,373 km, and the train fare is ¥1310 for the soft sleeper section, ¥841 for the hard sleeper, and ¥402 for the hard seat. The key stops of the Shanghai to Lhasa train are Suzhou, Xi'an, Lanzhou, and Nagchu.</p>    <p>Some of the places you will see while on the long journey are Qinghai Lake, Nagchu Grasslands, and Tanggula Mountains. Domestic and international passengers should get a Tibet Travel Permit. This is an entry license issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau to allow foreign nationals to enter Tibet.</p>    <ul> <li>Beautiful sights like the Tangula Mountains that passengers can feel the train snaking its way through.</li>    <li>Enjoy some snacks in the dining car. The menu has the basics: bottled water, beer, and beef jerky. You can also buy a hot breakfast and dinner from the train service.</li> </ul>

3. Shanghai to Lhasa, China

The Shanghai to Lhasa trip is one of the longest train trips in the world, and the train cruises across eight provinces in China. On the trip, you will enjoy beautiful mountainous terrains and landscapes.

It takes two days to cover 4,373 km, and the train fare is ¥1310 for the soft sleeper section, ¥841 for the hard sleeper, and ¥402 for the hard seat. The key stops of the Shanghai to Lhasa train are Suzhou, Xi'an, Lanzhou, and Nagchu.

Some of the places you will see while on the long journey are Qinghai Lake, Nagchu Grasslands, and Tanggula Mountains. Domestic and international passengers should get a Tibet Travel Permit. This is an entry license issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau to allow foreign nationals to enter Tibet.

  • Beautiful sights like the Tangula Mountains that passengers can feel the train snaking its way through.
  • Enjoy some snacks in the dining car. The menu has the basics: bottled water, beer, and beef jerky. You can also buy a hot breakfast and dinner from the train service.

<p>If you enjoy watching the blue waters of the oceans and lakes, hop on the Indian Pacific and get ready for a long train trip from Sydney to Perth. The train travels from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, and the views are breathtaking.</p>    <p>You can have a drink, and your favorite snacks, or meditate as you cruise through the spectacular landscapes, sandstone cliffs, and the stunning Blue Mountains. You will also see the famous South Wales and Broken Hill.</p>    <p>The train takes four days to cover 4,352 km, and the fare is $1,819 per person. The main stops are in Broken Hill, Nullarbor Plain, and Barossa Valley. You will pass through Sydney, Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, and Perth. Get ready to tick this trip off your bucket list!</p>    <ul> <li>There are well-balanced meals in the dining car. You will enjoy a communal dinner of lamb and snags and coleslaw in the desert.</li>    <li>Enjoy the sights of the Nullarbor Plain and the wildlife.</li> </ul>

4. Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, Australia

If you enjoy watching the blue waters of the oceans and lakes, hop on the Indian Pacific and get ready for a long train trip from Sydney to Perth. The train travels from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, and the views are breathtaking.

You can have a drink, and your favorite snacks, or meditate as you cruise through the spectacular landscapes, sandstone cliffs, and the stunning Blue Mountains. You will also see the famous South Wales and Broken Hill.

The train takes four days to cover 4,352 km, and the fare is $1,819 per person. The main stops are in Broken Hill, Nullarbor Plain, and Barossa Valley. You will pass through Sydney, Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, and Perth. Get ready to tick this trip off your bucket list!

  • There are well-balanced meals in the dining car. You will enjoy a communal dinner of lamb and snags and coleslaw in the desert.
  • Enjoy the sights of the Nullarbor Plain and the wildlife.

<p>If a seven-day trip is too long for you, choose a two-day trip! The Blue Train takes two nights to travel from Pretoria to Cape Town in South Africa and passes through beautiful sceneries. It is a luxury train, and passengers enjoy comfortable accommodations, good services, and food.</p>    <p>The train's windows are tinted to protect adventurers from direct sunlight, but you can view the beautiful landscapes, mountains, and lush forests.</p>    <p>The Blue Train takes two days and 3 hours to travel a 1,600 km journey from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa. The fare is 10,120 Rand per person, and the main stop is the Open Mine Museum. Throughout your journey, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Pretoria, Kimberly, and Cape Town.</p>    <ul> <li>Passengers travel to a five-star hotel on the rails and enjoy meals prepared by executive chefs.</li>    <li>Visits to fascinating Kimberly and Matjiesfontein.</li> </ul>

5. Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa

If a seven-day trip is too long for you, choose a two-day trip! The Blue Train takes two nights to travel from Pretoria to Cape Town in South Africa and passes through beautiful sceneries. It is a luxury train, and passengers enjoy comfortable accommodations, good services, and food.

The train's windows are tinted to protect adventurers from direct sunlight, but you can view the beautiful landscapes, mountains, and lush forests.

The Blue Train takes two days and 3 hours to travel a 1,600 km journey from Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa. The fare is 10,120 Rand per person, and the main stop is the Open Mine Museum. Throughout your journey, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Pretoria, Kimberly, and Cape Town.

  • Passengers travel to a five-star hotel on the rails and enjoy meals prepared by executive chefs.
  • Visits to fascinating Kimberly and Matjiesfontein.

<p>Another long yet fun train journey is from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia. Passengers are served a regionally inspired menu on their trip, and they get to taste the fine, selected wines as they enjoy the spectacular beauty of Australia.</p>    <p>You can meditate, read a book, or get to know your seatmates on your two-day journey. But don't forget to take in and enjoy the beautiful, unique historic sites of South Australia.</p>    <p>This train covers 2,979 km in 2 days and 6 hours, and passengers pay $1,919 per person. The main stops are Katherine and Alice Springs, and its route is through Adelaide, Manguri, Marla, Alice Springs, Katherine, and Darwin.</p>    <ul> <li>Travelers go for a half-day excursion to Katherine Gorge, and it is part of the package.</li>    <li>The cabin has comfortable beds and clean bathrooms.</li> </ul>

6. The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia

Another long yet fun train journey is from Darwin to Adelaide in Australia. Passengers are served a regionally inspired menu on their trip, and they get to taste the fine, selected wines as they enjoy the spectacular beauty of Australia.

You can meditate, read a book, or get to know your seatmates on your two-day journey. But don't forget to take in and enjoy the beautiful, unique historic sites of South Australia.

This train covers 2,979 km in 2 days and 6 hours, and passengers pay $1,919 per person. The main stops are Katherine and Alice Springs, and its route is through Adelaide, Manguri, Marla, Alice Springs, Katherine, and Darwin.

  • Travelers go for a half-day excursion to Katherine Gorge, and it is part of the package.
  • The cabin has comfortable beds and clean bathrooms.

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Russian Tours and Cruises from Express to Russia

  • Moscow and St. Petersburg Tours

Our 20 Best Combined Moscow and St. Petersburg Tours of 2022

A perfect way to see the most that Russia has to offer is to take a tour that combines visits to Russia’s largest cities - Moscow and St. Petersburg. Each tour is fully customizable and can be adjusted to fit any budget. Our most popular tours are listed below. Please click on the tour details to learn more or contact us for more information about our combined Moscow - St. Petersburg tours using the form at the side of the page. You can also schedule a call with one of our Russian travel specialists to learn more.

Photo by Serge Kutuzov on Unsplash

Highlights of Two Capitals

This is a well-balanced tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg that includes all must-see sights, such as the Kremlin, Red Square, the Peter and Paul Fortress, Peterhof with its world-famous fountains and, of course, the Hermitage Museum.

Accommodation

PRIVATE TOUR

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 4-star cruise by Vodohod

With this 12-day cruise, you will visit Russia's largest cities - Moscow and St. Petersburg - and several charming small towns and villages, all rich in Russian culture and history: Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi, and Mandrogui

Cruise Ship

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 5-star cruise by Vodohod

Enjoy an 8 day Russian river cruise on our luxury ship. Besides visiting Russia’s two capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg, the cruise will also take you to the ancient towns of Uglich and Goritsy, Kizhi island with its outstanding wooden architecture, and Mandrogui village, famous for traditional handicrafts.

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Group tour Taste Of Russia by Intourist

Taste the Russian culture, traditions and way of life by visiting 3 completely different cities: Europe�s largest megalopolis Moscow, provincial Novgorod with medieval Russia spirit, and gorgeous St. Petersburg with glittering baroque palaces and romantic canals.

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Jewels of Two Capitals

It is our most complete and popular tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg. In addition to visiting all the emblematic places, you will also have free time for your own discoveries. On your free nights you can watch the shows at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters or a folkloric show.

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St. Petersburg - Moscow 3-star cruise by Vodohod

This is our most popular St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise. Besides in depth visits to St. Petersburg and Moscow, the cruise covers all the most important areas between the two capitals: Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island with its beautiful nature and wooden architecture, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

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St. Petersburg - Moscow 5-star cruise by Vodohod

This 8-day Russian river cruise by luxury ship will take you to the jewels of Russia - St. Petersburg and Moscow as well as the most significant towns between these 2 magnificent cities: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island with its amazing wooden architecture and Uglich and Goritsy with their tranquil, country atmosphere.

Photo by Andrey Basov on Unsplash

Group Tour Golden Ring, Moscow and St. Petersburg

This tour is a perfect combination of the 'Two Capitals' of Russia - Moscow and St. Petersburg, and the charming ancient towns of Suzdal and Vladimir located in the Golden Ring area of Russia. The tour is highly recommended to those interested in Russian history.

MS Mustai Karim lobby, photo from Vodohod website

Moscow - St. Petersburg Luxury Cruise by Vodohod

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 3-star cruise by Vodohod

This is our most popular cruise covering Moscow and St. Petersburg and all of the significant towns between these 2 cities. Besides the Two Capitals, you will visit the ancient towns of Uglich, Yaroslavl and Goritsy, the island of Kizhi, and Mandrogui village.

photo by Sergey Gorbachev on pixaby

Two Capitals and the Golden Ring

This tour covers the best sights of Moscow and St. Petersburg along with a trip to the Golden Ring - a group of medieval towns to the northeast of Moscow. Ancient Kremlins, onion-shaped domes and wooden architecture is just a small part of what awaits you on this amazing tour.

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Group Tour St. Petersburg Break by Intourist

Explore St. Petersburg, the former capital of Imperial Russia with its magnificent palaces, parks, and monuments. Our engaging and most importantly fun tour includes all the most important highlights, such as Peter and Paul Fortress, the Hermitage Museum, and the Catherine Palace with the Amber Room.

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Group Tour Highlights of Russia by Intourist

This classic tour will leave you with unforgettable memories of Russia's most important and exciting cities. You’ll get to know Moscow, an exciting and vibrant city rich in history and St. Petersburg - Russia's most romantic and culturally important city.

Photo by Alexander Smagin on Unsplash

Two Capitals at a Glance

This is a brief tour of Moscow and St. Petersburg that will give you a good idea of the two cities. On this tour, you will spend one night in each city and travel between the cities on board of a high-speed Sapsan train. The highlight of the trip is the Hermitage, the fourth largest museum in the world and Russia’s former Imperial residence.

Photo by Andrey Basov on Unsplash

Group Tour Treasures of the Golden Ring, Moscow and St. Petersburg

This tour is perfect for those who are interested in Russian culture and its history. Not only you will see two fabulous capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg, but you’ll also visit the magnificent smaller towns of the Golden Ring including Suzdal, Vladimir, Bogolubovo and Yaroslavl. You will see world famous sights and even a Russian poultry farm!

MS MOONLIGHT SONATA, photo by infoflot website

St. Petersburg - Moscow 3-star cruise by Infoflot

This is our shortest St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise and it is a perfect choice for those who have already been to Moscow and St. Petersburg and would like to explore the small, charming towns lying between the Two Capitals.

Ms Mustai Karim, photo by Vodohod website

St. Petersburg - Moscow Luxury Cruise by Vodohod

This 8-day Russian river cruise on a luxury ship takes you to Russia’s two capitals – Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as to the ancient towns of Uglich and Goritsy, Kizhi island with its outstanding wooden architecture, and Mandrogui village, famous for traditional handicrafts, and Valaam archipielago with its amazing monastary.

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Moscow to St. Petersburg 3-star cruise by Infoflot

This is our shortest Moscow to St. Petersburg cruise and it is a perfect choice for those who have already been to Moscow and St. Petersburg and would like to explore the small, charming towns lying between the Two Capitals.

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Two Capitals and Veliky Novgorod

You will actually see three capitals on this tour: Moscow, Russia’s political capital; St. Petersburg, which is considered the cultural capital of Russia, and also Novgorod, the ancient capital of Russia - you will be enchanted by its serenity and medieval atmosphere

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 4-star cruise by Crucemundo (long)

This cruise includes the most important sights on the Moscow to St. Petersburg route. Besides in depth visits to the Two Capitals, you will visit the ancient towns of Uglich, Goritsy, the island of Kizhi, and Mandrogui village.

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Group Tour Moscow Break by Intourist

Russia's capital has so much to offer, from the Kremlin and the Metro to the Old Arbat street and the Tretyakov Gallery. Besides these sites, you will also visit a fascinating country estate which today is quite off the beaten path, Gorky Estate, where the Soviet leader Lenin spent the last months of his life.

Photo by Radik Sitdikov on Unsplash

Winter Fairy Tale

One of the best times to visit Russia is winter. At this time of year, all of Russia becomes festive and full of activity, the streets and parks turn into wonderlands of snow and frost with families out and about strolling and taking in the beautiful nature.

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 3-star cruise by Infoflot (long)

This 11-day cruise covers Moscow and St. Petersburg and all the significant towns on the route between the two capitals. Besdies Moscow and St. Petersburg, you will visit the ancient towns of Uglich, Yaroslavl, and Goritsy, the island of Kizhi with its beautiful nature and wooden architecture, and Mandrogui village.

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St. Petersburg - Moscow 3-star cruise by Infoflot (long)

This 11-day St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise covers all the important places: Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

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Moscow - St. Petersburg 4-star cruise by Crucemundo

Enjoy a short Russian river cruise on a comfortable 4-star ship. Our program includes all the most important sights on the Moscow to St. Petersburg route. Besides the Two Capitals, you will visit the ancient towns of Uglich, Goritsy, the island of Kizhi, and Mandrogui village.

MS CRUCELAKE, photo by Crucemundo website

St. Petersburg - Moscow 4-star cruise by Crucemundo (long)

This St. Petersburg to Moscow cruise is a great way to discover Russia. The cruise includes in-depth visits to Russia’s two capitals and also makes stops at all of the important sites along the route including Mandrogui - a colorful village famous for local handicrafts, amazing Kizhi Island with its beautiful nature and wooden architecture, as well as the ancient towns of Goritsy, Yaroslavl, and Uglich.

MS Crucelake, photo by crucemundo website

St. Petersburg - Moscow 4-star cruise by Crucemundo

This is a great Russian river cruise on a comfortable 4-star ship that will take you to St. Petersburg and Moscow and the most significant places between these 2 cities: Mandrogui village, Kizhi island with its amazing wooden architecture and Uglich and Goritsy with their tranquil atmosphere.

Customer

I have just returned home from a wonderful holiday visiting St Petersburg and Moscow. My guides and drivers were the most amazing people, very knowledgable and went out of their way to make sure I was happy with my holiday. Russia is beautiful, the places are gorgeous and I loved the people I met who were extremely welcoming, warm and hospitable. Thank you Express to Russia, I recommend you highly and without hesitation to anyone considering a holiday to Russia!!

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Historical Museum, Moscow

Your tour will take you to Moscow, the capital of Russia as well as the largest city in both Europe and Russia with a population of over 12 million. Moscow has a rich history dating back to medieval times. World events have been shaped here. You will learn about Moscow’s history during the period of the reign of the Grand Duchy of Moscow , the Russian Empire and the Soviet period. You will see some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture on visits to the Kremlin and Red Square . You will see monuments from Stalin ’s period and also see modern Moscow, one of the most vibrant cities on earth. We encourage you to read the descriptions of each individual tour to learn more.

Rostral Columns, St. Petersburg

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St. Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities on earth. It is the former capital of Imperial Russia , and was home to the Russian Tsars for over 200 years. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great , the city sits on the banks of the majestic Neva River and the Gulf of Finland. Saint Petersburg is famous for the important role it has played in the development of Russia and the Russian Revolution as well as its artistic and cultural significance. The city was home to such eminent figures such as Catherine the Great , Tsar Pavel, Nicholas II the last Tsar and Rasputin , Dostoevsky , Pushkin , Gogol and many more. St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city with a population of over 6 million. The city is extremely beautiful with dozens of canals and beautiful palaces. St. Petersburg also houses the Hermitage Museum containing one of the world’s greatest collections of art. Welcome to St. Petersburg, this most beautiful and mysterious of cities .

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Moscow and St Petersburg are two completely different cities and difficult to compare. Both are beautiful in their own way. Moscow’s sprawling cityscape reflects centuries of history in a mixture of architectural styles - gilded cupolas of medieval Russian churches merge with Stalinist monoliths and towering glass skyscrapers, and cobble-stone alleys balance grand boulevards. St Petersburg’s centre was laid out over a matter of decades, its regular and harmonious city plan lined with Neoclassicist, Art Nouveau and Baroque masterpieces, intersected with meandering canals. If you can’t choose between the two, check out our best combined Moscow and St Petersburg tours.

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  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Best of Moscow by high speed train

By shuguley , February 15, 2014 in Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Cool Cruiser

Sure would appreciate someone who has taken "Best of Moscow by high speed train" from St. Petersburg could please share their impressions of this shore excursion. From the description this sounds like a very long day.

Wondering how the 4 hour train trip was in terms of accommodations, etc. Also what time did you leave the ship and what time at night did you return? Were both legs of the trip on the high speed rail (I read that slower trains also travel the same tracks)?

My wife and I are considering this excursion. We thought that if we are making all the effort to go to Russia then how could we pass up going to Moscow, walking in Red Square, seeing St. Basil, etc.

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If you are considering this on the 2015 June Baltic cruise on Voyager; my suggestion is don't. There is so much to do in St. Petersburg and although a train is one of my favorite ways to travel the time would be far better spent in St. P.

Thanks for the advice. Yes, this would be on the Voyager during the 2015 season but not yet sure exactly which cruise.

5,000+ Club

We did the Moscow excursion "on a different luxury line", but from your brief description it sounds very much like the same trip, so I will operate on that assumption. It is a VERY long day! We left the ship at 5:30 AM and returned at 12:30 AM. The highspeed train trip is comfortable, and while they call it "Business Class" it does not compare well to the equivalent class on say Rail Europe. When we did it in 2011, we did have highspeed both ways, and the trip back seemed much longer as the adrenaline and excitement had worn off!:D

Moscow itself is not that terribly different from any other big city in the world, but this Cold War kid never thought he would ever stand in Red Square, never mind walk the grounds of The Kremlin, or tour The Kremlin Palace, or see (but not visit) Lenin's Tomb, or visit The Armoury. But he did, and he loved every minute of it! Yes, it is a long day, and you barely scratch a scratch on the surface, but it is worth it. There is a tremendous amount to see in St. Petersburg, but every Baltic cruise goes to St. Petersburg, so you can go back if you choose to. Not every cruiseline offers you the chance to see Moscow.

RachelG

I have not personally done this tour, but our last time in St Petersburg, the private guide that we hired for a day was leading the regent tour to Moscow on the high speed train the next day. He said it was way better than the previous alternative, which was flying to Moscow and back. He said that you actually got to Moscow faster because you didn't have to deal with airline checkin etc. it did seem like a very long day to me, and there is so much to see and do in st. Petersburg that I didn't consider doing it.

countflorida

countflorida

We toured to Moscow from St. Petersburg via the hi-speed SAPSAN train last September, from a Baltic cruise on the Oceania Marina. You need to have a two-night, three day port call in St. Petersburg to take this tour because the tour typically leaves the ship around 5:00 - 5:30 AM and doesn't return until after midnight the next day. We didn't take the ship's tour; we made private arrangements with TravelAllRussia for three days of touring, the first and third days in St. Petersburg and the second day the tour to Moscow by train. Our cost for the private tour for three days was about the same as what the ship charged for the excursion to Moscow alone. There are a number of private tour agencies that operate in St. Petersburg and offer the Moscow train tours; we would strongly recommend them over the ship's tours.

All three days had private guides with car and driver. The second day, the driver picked us up at the ship and took us to the train, but we were alone on the train, and met in Moscow by the guide on the station platform. After our tour and dinner, we were brought back to the train and after the return train trip met by the driver and taken back to the ship. Because you are alone on the train you must have your own Russian visas.

If this is your first visit to St. Petersburg, I would agree there is much more to see there. We found Moscow somewhat a disappointment, particularly Red Square. The Kremlin and the cathedral in Red Square were also worth seeing. But the best thing we saw was the Moscow subway! I worked for the Washington Metro system back in the 1980s as it grew from 40 to 80 miles and although I was in the computer area, I learned a lot about the challenges of running a subway system. We used the Moscow system to get across the city from where we had dinner to the train station, and I was amazed at the cleanliness', speed of operation, the short headways maintained, and the courtesy of everyone involved. A very impressive experience!

We had been to St. Petersburg before, and so had the time to take a day and go to Moscow. Also, I really like trains, and the SAPSAN is a German train set running on Russian rails. Seats are like first class domestic air, spacious but not too plush or comfortable, but with enough room. Not too much recline, and almost 8 hours on the train in two shots is a lot for an old man. They come through and sell drinks, candy, etc. but the sellers don't speak English and no one around us helped, so we had just poor coffee once coming, and brought stuff with us for the trip back. Not too much to see from the train either, particularly on the return when it is night the whole way.

If you decide to go, take a private tour and avoid the overly expensive ship's tour. I'm glad we did it, but wouldn't bother to repeat the tour; we've seen Moscow.

Thanks so much to all of you for the thorough and thought insight. Yhe information you have provided is most helpful.

countflorida: Your detailed post is very helpful. We are not quite ready for a Baltic cruise but should do so within a year. Time enough to do our pre travel research, bookings and visa gathering.:) Thank you!

Emperor Norton

Emperor Norton

Sure would appreciate someone who has taken "Best of Moscow by high speed train" from St. Petersburg could please share their impressions of this shore excursion. From the description this sounds like a very long day.   Wondering how the 4 hour train trip was in terms of accommodations, etc. Also what time did you leave the ship and what time at night did you return? Were both legs of the trip on the high speed rail (I read that slower trains also travel the same tracks)?   My wife and I are considering this excursion. We thought that if we are making all the effort to go to Russia then how could we pass up going to Moscow, walking in Red Square, seeing St. Basil, etc.

I did this on Seabourn. IMO DONT. Take Aeroflop (er Aeroflot). The train has non folding seats where you are literally knee to knee with your fellow passenger (facing each other). Further they don't believe in air conditioning. It's also the worlds slowed bullet train. I think I would have found more enjoyment wandering around the St. Petersburg and Moscow airports.

Countflorida,

This is a little off topic,, however we had planned a river cruise in Russia but decided we would rather stay on land and have booked about two weeks with Travel-All-Russia using the private guide and driver. I'm curious as to how you found them as a tour company.

The guides they provided were fine. We had a different guide each of the days in St. Petersburg, but both were flexible, pleasant, knowledgeable and spoke English very well, as did the guide in Moscow, incidentally. She was a bit aloof, distant, not too friendly, but otherwise fine. In fact, she was the one who suggested taking the Metro, which unexpectedly became one of the highlights of the Moscow excursion. If I have a complaint with AllTravelRussia, it is with their plan and its execution (more later).

I had requested emphasis on World War II (in Russia, the Great Patriotic War) sites and info. In scheduling us, they weren't careful about dates and a couple of the sites we wanted to see were scheduled on the third day, after we'd been to Moscow. But both sites were closed that day of the week, and that info was readily available, right on web sites describing them. Also, the included meals (lunches in St. Pete, dinner in Moscow) were not what we asked for: light meals with some choices, so we could avoid things we didn't like and choose things we did like. My request was ignored; we were given full Russian meals with a fixed menu, no choice. On the first day, a fish dish was the entre, but I am allergic to fish. Fortunately, I had the e-mail I'd sent with me and showed it to the guide, and she was able to change my entre to chicken, which was very good actually. But we didn't want a 3-4 course lunches or dinner (in Moscow). We had the guide drop the lunch the third day, although we never got any credit or refund. But, particularly in contrast to the ship's tours, the prices were so reasonable we didn't worry too much about it.

The people who were on the ship's tour to Moscow saw us boarding the same train for which they were forced to queue up and wait on the way back, and asked us what we had done. I was candid and open so they were not happy when I explained what we had arranged and particularly what it had cost. Also, when we returned to the ship, we found they had laid on a late supper for those who had gone to Moscow, so up we went and had something. Well, it turns out the late supper was supposed to be just for those on the ship's tour, but we and others on 'independent' tours, there were a dozen or more of us, crashed the party, actually got there first, and they didn't realize it until the larger group arrived and there weren't enough tables/places set. By that time, the 'independents' had all gotten served and were eating; what could they do?

A couple from the larger group sat down with us and asked us about our tour, and they were the ones I told about our arrangement and its cost. They turned to others who’d been with them and announced the details, loudly enough so the whole room heard, which started a lot of bitching and complaining. I gathered they weren't very happy with the ship's tour to begin with, and this was the straw that broke the camel's back. We finished up and beat it out of there, but overheard later that one of the excursion staff came to check on something and ran into a real mess. I caught a cold on the trip, which forced me to bed the second day following in Tallinn, so by the time we reappeared we heard about the contretemps' but apparently no one recalled who started it, thankfully.

Because of what happened to us, I would probably not use AllTravelRussia if I were to go again, or if I did, I would be sure to get confirmation of every detail of the tour. They do have good reviews generally, and we were certainly helped by their visa department and liked the guides and drivers. Their weakness, I say now with full 20:20 hindsight, is that once the sales person who plans the tour, sells it to you and collects your money, he (or she) transfers the plan to their Russia office for implementation; there is no follow-up to make sure it gets done right. And that is where our problems arose; we paid for a custom tour but got a standard package with a few destinations switched, and no one checked them out, even to see when they were open the day we were scheduled to go. If you check every detail that’s important to you, it should be OK, but that’s a hell of a way to have to do business, in my opinion.

Thank you for the 20/20 hindsight observation on your Russian tour operator, and better priced than the ship's excursion cost.

Thanks very much for the feedback.

We had the same experience as you so far as price. We originally booked a Viking Cruise but, hearing some things about the river cruises that made us unhappy, looked into other options. T-A-R cost the same or less than a cruise and had us in hotels for 11 days. We opted for the private tour. They have three tour levels, based on hotels. We originally opted for the four star as it did not cost much more than the three star hotels. Finally we decided to throw it all in and upgraded to five star. In Moscow we will be at the newly opened Kempinsky which is two blocks from Red Square. In St. Petersburg it is the Grand Hotel Europe, one of the most vaunted luxury hotels in Russia. Location is important for us as the tours use up only part of the day so being in the center of everything for our independent touring is important. As with many other cities, the less you pay, the farther out of the center of town you are.

We have been working with our salesman in D.C. and he seems to get back to us with the changes we want. He recently returned from Russia so is up on everything. When I asked they said they paid the full TA commission if I wanted so I got my usual TA on board so he is watching our back and giving us that extra level of comfort. He also set up our air, which I know pays him little or nothing, and got us business class for much less than T-A-R wanted for economy, though it took working for a while with a consolidator. He's happy to get his 10 percent on this trip without having booked it. He also took care of the trip insurance. We've been doing a lot of research on the CC sister site Trip Advisor and will write a report there. We will, I guess, become a source of info for CC members after having spent 5 days in Moscow and 6 in SP.

  • 4 months later...

scubacruiserx2

scubacruiserx2

Anybody considering a day trip to Moscow from St. Petersburg on the Sapsan may want to look at our travelogue filled with pictures.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1927687

greygypsy

Very informative. Thanks dor sharing. Jeff

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Trans-Mongolian Railway Route

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Home / Trans-Mongolian Railway Route

The Trans-Mongolian Railway traces the route of ancient tea caravans, winding its way from Russia to China via the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar. The Trans-Mongolian splits off from the main Trans-Siberian Railway at Zaudinskiy, just a few kilometres after Ulan-Ude, before crossing the Russian-Mongolian border 250km further south. This railway route from Ulan-Ude to the Mongolian border was constructed in the 1940s and 1950s.

Trans-Mongolian Railroad Map

Ulan-Ude

The capital of the Republic of Buryatia is Ulan-Ude, a large city of 400,000 inhabitants which lies 100km southeast of Lake Baikal. Ulan-Ude was founded during Mongol rule and retains its unique eastern atmosphere. It is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Russia and nearly one-third of its population are ethnic Buryats.

Zaudinskiy

This village lies in the suburbs of Ulan-Ude and boasts beautiful landscapes which you can admire from your carriage, as the train does not stop for long at Zaudinsky Station.

Sayantuy

At this little station the Trans-Mongolian stops only for two minutes. After departure from Sayantuy, the railroad crosses the Selenge River and travels westwards.

Zagustay

The village of Zagustay is situated just a few kilometres from Gusinoozersk, a monotown centered around the coal industry. The train only stops for a couple of minutes.

Gusinoe ozero (Goose lake)

Gusinoe ozero (Goose lake)

The Gusinoye Lake takes its name from the abundance of geese which used to live on an island in its center. The Trans-Mongolian traces the western shore of the lake.

Gusinoe ozero town

Gusinoe ozero town

The Trans-Mongolian makes a short stop at the village of Gusinoye Ozero. It is home to the Tamchinsky Datsan, a Buddhist monastery which is one of the most important monasteries in the region and one of the oldest in Russia, and which is open to visitors. The surrounding landscape is picturesque, with deep valleys and mountains on the horizon.

Dzhida

Dzhida is a small village which was formerly home to a military airbase. The train stops for 1-5 minutes.

Naushki

Naushki is a town on the Russia-Mongolia border. The Trans-Mongolian will stop here for 2-3 hours depending on the type of train, before travelling south across the border.

Sukhbaatar

Sukhbaatar was established in 1940 near the confluence of the Selenge and Orkhon Rivers, and is the capital of the Selenge Province. 20,000 people live in this town, named after a founding member of the Mongolian People’s Party. When crossing the Mongolian border passengers’ luggage is carefully checked. The train will stop here for between 1 ½ and 3 hours, but taking photographs at the station may result in your camera being confiscated.

Darkhan

Darkhan is Mongolia’s third-largest city, with 95,000 inhabitants. Although it is an industrial city (Darkhan means ‘blacksmith’ in Mongolian) the southern part of the city is more attractive. The train stops here for 30-50 minutes, giving you plenty of time to stretch your legs.

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia, and home to nearly half the country’s population. The city was established in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist settlement, and changed location 28 times before settling permanently on Tuul and Selbe Rivers. Ulaanbaatar was a major center on the trading routes between China, Russia and Europe. The Trans-Mongolian stops for 30 minutes in Ulaanbaatar, and you can visit some of the many platform traders at the station.

425-470 km

Heading south from Ulaanbaatar, the Trans-Mongolian passes through grassy steppe on its way to the Gobi Desert. After passing through a hilly landscape, the train descends along a winding route and offers the chance to admire the beautiful panorama unfolding below. This is a great place to get pictures of the landscape and the train.

Choir

Choir is a small town located in the very centre of the Gobi Desert, and was founded as an airbase by the Soviets. During the train’s 15-minute stop you can admire the interesting architecture of Choir Station and see a statue dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the station, founded as the first major stop along the new Ulaanbaatar Railway.

Dzamin Ude

This town lies on the Mongolia-China border. Passengers must show their customs declaration and immigration forms, and your luggage will be checked. The train will pause here for at least one hour.

Erlyan

  • 842 km from Beijing

After crossing the Chinese border, you should be prepared to wait another four hours at Erlyan Station as the wheels of the Trans-Mongolian are changed to Chinese gauge wheels. You may have to disembark the train during this process, so bring warm clothes.

415 km

The Trans-Mongolian Railway crosses the Great Wall of China at this point, just over 400km from Beijing.

Datong

Datong is a large city home to more than two million inhabitants and is a major hub of the coal industry. One of Datong’s primary tourist attractions is the Yungang Grottoes – ancient Chinese Buddhist temples comprising 250 caves and 51,000 statues, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train stops for 8 minutes at Datong.

295-272 km

Here, the train travels alongside the Great Wall of China for over 20km, offering a fantastic view of the Wall at the 284km mark.

Beijing

Beijing is the capital of China and one of the first sites of human civilization. In Beijing’s historical heart is the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Imperial parks and gardens. Throughout the city are attractions which showcase millennia of Chinese history, religion and culture. Perhaps Beijing will be the end of your journey – or maybe, only the start!

Get ready to be whisked along on a smooth and magical ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Purchase your ticket safely and securely , then relax and let your train adventure begin!

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Ukraine war latest: Armed ship destroyed in Crimea, Kyiv says; controversial US television host launches show in Russia

Ukraine says it hit and destroyed the Russian missile ship Tsiklon in Crimea over the weekend. Meanwhile, analysts say Moscow is seeking to draw out Kyiv's forces - as Putin makes another significant change to his cabinet.

Tuesday 21 May 2024 23:00, UK

Ukrainian servicemen patrol an area heavily damaged by Russian military strikes, amid Russia&#39;s attack on Ukraine, in the town of Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer

  • Kyiv claims it has destroyed last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles in Crimea
  • Tucker Carlson launches new show in Russia
  • Putin sacks minister in new sign of shift in war strategy
  • European country now pushing to let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons
  • Russia using 'understaffed and incohesive forces' in bid to draw out Ukrainian troops
  • Big picture: What you need to know as war enters new week

We're pausing our coverage of the Ukraine war for the moment.

Scroll through the blog below to catch up on today's developments.

Vladimir Putin has praised the late president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, and said he was a "reliable partner".

Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash near the Azerbaijan border over the weekend along with his foreign minister and seven others.

Speaking on the leader, Mr Putin said he was "a man of his word" who carried out any agreements the pair made.

"He was truly a reliable partner, a man sure of himself, who acted in the national interest," Russian news agencies quoted Mr Putin as telling Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of Russia's lower house of parliament.

"He was, of course, a man of his word and it was always good to work with him. What I mean is if we came to an agreement on something, you could be sure the agreement was carried out."

The Kremlin leader asked Mr Volodin, who will be attending memorial events in Iran, to pass on "words of our sincere condolences in connection with this tragedy".

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has strengthened political, trade and military ties with Iran in a deepening relationship that the US and Israel view with concern.

Heavy fighting in the Pokrovsk area in eastern Ukraine has forced Ukrainian troops to engage in "manoeuvres," the Ukrainian military's general staff have said.

Their report said Pokrovsk, northwest of the Russian-held city of Donetsk, remains the front's "hottest" sector.

"In some areas, the situation requires our troops to engage in manoeuvres," the general staff report reads.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has referred to the region and adjacent areas as "extraordinarily difficult" in his nightly video address.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said allies are taking too long when it comes to decisions on military support for Ukraine.

In an interview with Reuters, the Ukrainian leader said every decision which everyone came to was "late by around one year".

"But it is what it is: one big step forward, but before that two steps back. So we need to change the paradigm a little bit," he said.

"When we're quick, they fall behind. And then there's a gap - six, eight months of unpassed (aid) packages, and then two-three months of supplies - and a year goes by. We would like not to lose the advantage."

Mr Zelenskyy also said Ukraine had never used Western weapons on Russian territory.

A senior Russian diplomat has said that the EU plan to channel profits from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine would have "unpredictable" consequences, according to the TASS news agency.

According to TASS, Kirill Logvinov, Russia's acting permanent representative to the EU in Brussels, told Russia journalists: "The only predictable thing is that those in the EU will be obliged sooner or later to return to our country what has been stolen."

For context : In March the European Commission proposed transferring to Ukraine profits generated by Russian central bank assets frozen in Europe.

The plan would see 90% channeled through the European Peace Facility fund to buy weapons for Ukraine. 

The rest would be used for recovery and reconstruction.

Russia's defence ministry has said it has begun a round of drills involving tactical nuclear weapons. 

The exercises were announced by Russian authorities this month in response to remarks by senior Western officials about the possibility of deeper involvement in the war in Ukraine.

It was the first time Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, although its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises.

According to the ministry's statement, the first stage of the new drills include nuclear-capable Kinzhal and Iskander missiles.

The maneuvers are taking place in the southern military district, which consists of Russian regions in the south.

A Moscow court has ordered a Russian journalist who covered the trials of the late Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and other dissidents must  remain in custody pending an investigation and trial on charges of extremism.

Antonina Favorskaya was arrested in March. 

She is accused of collecting material, producing and editing videos and publications for Navalny's Foundation for Fighting Corruption, which had been outlawed as extremist by Russian authorities, according to court officials.

Today, Moscow's Basmanny district court ordered that she remain in custody until at least 3 August.

Kira Yarmysh, Navalny's spokeswoman, said earlier that Ms Favorskaya did not publish anything on the foundation's platforms and suggested that Russian authorities have targeted her because she was doing her job as a journalist.

Former Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson has launched his own show in Russia.

The controversial US media personality, who this year became the first Western journalist to interview Vladimir Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine, will host his show on the state-owned Russia 24 (Rossiya 24).

In the first episode, Carlson will discuss the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease.

Who is Carlson?

Carlson, who has been a vocal supporter of Mr Putin in the past, was sacked from Fox News in April last year.

He took up the prime-time weekday evenings spot on Fox News in 2016 with his show Tucker Carlson Tonight, and quickly established himself as a key player in the network and an influential voice in Republican politics.

The presenter often embraced conspiracy theories and far-right issues. He repeatedly questioned the efficacy of COVID vaccines and compared mandates to "Nazi experiments".

While he found success with viewers, his inflammatory comments caused some advertisers to distance themselves from the programme.

After his departure from Fox News he rebooted his show on X last year, calling Elon Musk's site the last big remaining platform to allow free speech.

Ukraine says it has destroyed the last Russian warship armed with cruise missiles that was stationed on the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

It comes after we reported earlier comments by Ukraine's military, which said they had hit the Russian missile ship Tsiklon (see post at 3.09pm).

Ukraine's military reported conducting a long-range attack that destroyed the Russian minesweeping navy vessel on Sunday and said it needed more time to confirm what else had been damaged.

"According to updated information, the Ukrainian defence forces hit a Russian project 22800 Tsiklon missile ship in Sevastopol, on the night of 19 May," the general staff said today.

The Ukrainian navy later said on X that the vessel had been "destroyed".

Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said the Tsiklon was Russia's "last cruise missile carrier" based on the peninsula.

Tsiklon never fired a cruise missile while on active service, Mr Pletenchuk said in televised comments.

Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 and is home to Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters at Sevastopol.

The Russian defence ministry has not commented.

European Union countries say they have reached an agreement to use the profits from frozen Russian assets to provide military support to Ukraine and help rebuild the war-torn country.

The 27-nation EU is holding around €210bn (£179bn) in Russian central bank assets, most of it frozen in Belgium, in retaliation for Moscow's war against Ukraine.

It estimates that the interest on that money could provide around €3bn (£2.56bn) each year.

Ukraine is desperate for more weapons and ammunition as Russia presses its military advantage.

EU headquarters said 90% of the money would be put into a special fund known as the European Peace Facility that many EU countries already use to get reimbursed for arms and ammunition they send to Ukraine.

The other 10% would be put into the EU budget. The programmes that this money funds would help to bolster Ukraine's defence industry or to help with reconstruction, should some countries object to their share being used for military purposes.

A small group of member states, notably Hungary, refuse to supply weapons to Ukraine.

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As Russia Advances, NATO Considers Sending Trainers Into Ukraine

The move could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war. The Biden administration continues to say there will be no American troops on the ground.

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A line of military vehicles travel on a highway surrounded by greenery as trucks and cars drive in the other direction.

By Helene Cooper ,  Julian E. Barnes ,  Eric Schmitt and Lara Jakes

Helene Cooper reported from Brussels; Julian E. Barnes from Washington; Eric Schmitt from Tampa, Fla.; and Lara Jakes from Rome.

NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces, a move that would be another blurring of a previous red line and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war.

Ukraine’s manpower shortage has reached a critical point, and its position on the battlefield in recent weeks has seriously worsened as Russia has accelerated its advances to take advantage of delays in shipments of American weapons. As a result, Ukrainian officials have asked their American and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new recruits closer to the front line for faster deployment.

So far the United States has said no, but Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that a NATO deployment of trainers appeared inevitable. “We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he said.

For now, he said, an effort inside Ukraine would put “a bunch of NATO trainers at risk” and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield. General Brown briefed reporters on his plane en route to a NATO meeting in Brussels.

As a part of NATO, the United States could be obligated under the alliance’s treaty to aid in the defense of any attack on the trainers, potentially dragging America into the war.

The White House has been adamant that it will not put American troops, including trainers, on the ground in Ukraine, a position that an administration official reiterated on Thursday. The administration has also urged NATO allies not to send their troops.

But in February, President Emmanuel Macron of France said that “nothing should be ruled out” when it comes to sending Western troops to Ukraine. Mr. Macron has doubled down on his comment since, including after senior American diplomats asked him to stop.

The government of Estonia has not ruled out the possibility of sending troops to western Ukraine to take over rear roles that could free Ukrainian troops to go to the front, Estonia’s national security adviser said this week .

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, backed Mr. Macron’s stance in an interview with the The Guardian last week. “Our troops have been training Ukrainians in Ukraine before the war,” he said, adding, “So returning to this tradition might be quite doable.”

The American military has done training for Ukrainian troops in Poland, Germany and the United States, but pulling troops out of Ukraine is time consuming. American officials now acknowledge that the current training by Ukrainian forces is not sufficient, and that they need better and faster training to push back on an expected Russian drive this summer.

The United States used to help run a NATO training program at Yavoriv, in western Ukraine, but American troops were pulled out from there at the start of the war.

American and allied training has not always been successful. Before a Ukrainian counteroffensive last summer, U.S. soldiers provided training in Germany to Ukrainian units on maneuver warfare, mine clearing and other tasks. But learning how to use tanks, artillery and infantry troops in a coordinated way is difficult, particularly in a short 12-week period. Compounding the problem is that Ukrainians are facing a battlefield far different and more intense than what American forces have fought on in recent years.

Moving the training into Ukraine, military officials acknowledge, would allow American trainers to more quickly gather information about the innovations occurring on the Ukrainian front lines, potentially allowing them to adapt their training.

NATO last month asked Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, the supreme allied commander for Europe, to come up with a way for the alliance to do more to help Ukraine that would mitigate risks. A U.S. official said on Wednesday that one possibility could be training Ukrainian troops in Lviv, near the country’s western border with Poland.

But Russia has already bombed Lviv, including a few weeks ago when Russian cruise missiles struck critical infrastructure there.

Some officials say that large numbers of new Ukrainian recruits might still be sent to sprawling training ranges in Germany and Poland.

But logistically that requires transporting the troops to the U.S. Army’s training grounds in Grafenwoehr, Germany, putting them through complex maneuvers meant to teach them combined arms warfare and then sending the troops nearly 1,000 miles through Lviv and then Kyiv for deployment to the front lines.

“Remember, when Russia first invaded Crimea in 2014, we sent increased troop numbers into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces in western Ukraine, and we kept rotating them in all the way to 2022, when we got spooked and withdrew them,” said Evelyn Farkas, the former top Pentagon official for Ukraine during the Obama administration. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone now, when manpower is in short supply at the Ukrainian front, that NATO members and the alliance leadership consider how to help again from the rear.”

Other NATO allies, including Britain, Germany and France, are working to base defense contractors in Ukraine to help build and repair weapons systems closer to the combat zone — what military officials have described as a “fix it forward” approach. Current and former U.S. defense officials said the White House is now reviewing its ban on allowing American defense contractors in Ukraine, although a small number have already been allowed in, under State Department authorities, to work on specific weapons systems like Patriot air defenses.

“There is an element of ally malpractice in the fact that we’re providing masses of Western equipment to Ukraine, but not giving them the resources to sustain it,” said Alexander S. Vindman, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a Ukrainian-born American combat veteran.

Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent. She was previously an editor, diplomatic correspondent and White House correspondent. More about Helene Cooper

Julian E. Barnes covers the U.S. intelligence agencies and international security matters for The Times. He has written about security issues for more than two decades. More about Julian E. Barnes

Eric Schmitt is a national security correspondent for The Times, focusing on U.S. military affairs and counterterrorism issues overseas, topics he has reported on for more than three decades. More about Eric Schmitt

Lara Jakes , based in Rome, reports on diplomatic and military efforts by the West to support Ukraine in its war with Russia. She has been a journalist for nearly 30 years. More about Lara Jakes

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

As Russia’s war effort in Ukraine intensifies, it is increasingly clear that efforts by the West to squeeze Moscow’s oil revenues are faltering .

The United States and Europe are coalescing around a plan to use interest earned on frozen Russian central bank assets to provide Ukraine with a loan to be used for military and economic assistance .

The Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s talks with President Vladimir Putin of Russia were a show of solidarity  between two autocrats battling Western pressure.

Europe’s Defense Industry: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine jolted Europe out of complacency about military spending. But the challenges are about more than just money .

Putin’s Victory Narrative: The Russian leader’s message to his country appears to be taking hold : that Russia is fighting against the whole Western world — and winning.

A Boxing Win Offers Hope: The Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk became the world’s undisputed heavyweight champion, a victory that has lifted morale  in a country struggling to contain Russian advances.

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

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