This is the second article in a series of two articles on the Transsiberian Railway in Russia.
In Novosibirsk, there are two things you should dedicate your day to: the Siberian Train Museum and the Children and Youth Planetarium. In the Train Museum you can see exhibitions about old Soviet trains, including the large ones used during the icy winters of Siberia, and older ones used to process wood. You can climb aboard the train and look inside all of them. There is even one train that used to be a jail train! If you decide to do this, plan ahead: the museum is about 30 min from the center of Novosibirsk and as much of it is outdoors, this is a summer activity that requires decent weather. If you have time to spare, try to visit the planetarium! It has a large model of the moon, a full playground, and models of different space shuttles. It also has small theatre where you can learn about the plants in our solar system.
After two more days on the train from Novosibirsk, you arrive in Irkutsk, only 70 km from Lake Baikal – the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lake! In your day in Irkutsk, explore the old Siberian wooden huts that make up much of the center of the city. Have a meal in one of the many nice café’s. If you have time, take the crammed bus an hour south of the city to the town Listvyanka on the shore of Lake Baikal. Here you can hike some of the path that goes around the lake in Summer, or go ice-skating on the lake in Winter. If you are spending more than a day here, you can also go on dog-sledding trips with a guide.
After another 3 days on the train, you will finish your journey in Vladivostok, one of the easternmost cities in Russia. If you arrive in Summer, you should try to find a tour on a boat around the important harbor of the city. Here you will go under impressive bridges, see a beautiful lighthouse, and experience winds that are truly Siberian: even in high summer, you will be very, very lucky to get anything over 10 degrees, and in Winter, there will not be a boat tour, as the small boats cannot make it through the ice. Either way, dress appropriately! If you would rather stay inside during your time in Vladivostok, visit the Chapel of Holy Martyr Tatiana – although it is far from as big as many of the Cathedrals you saw in Moscow, it is a beautiful, simple Chapel that is worth a visit. Be sure to wear long sleeves and trousers, as churches in Russia require conservative clothes. For lunch and some shopping, go to Svetlanskaya Street, the mains street of the city, where you will find many restaurants and another GUM department store.
I hope you have had a wonderful trip that you will never forget! Remember that this is a trip you can change as you want to – you can do the journey in 7 days, or you can visit many more cities and take three weeks! You can also chose other routes than the traditional Trans Siberian; For example, switch to the TransMongolian railway in Irkutsk, and go south instead of East. Look out for an upcoming guide to Mongolia!