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The Transsiberian Railway Across Russia, Part1

The Transsiberian Railway Across Russia, Part1

This is part one in a series of two articles about taking the Transsiberian railway across Russia.


With its rich history, beautiful, impressive landscape, and unique culture, Russia is an increasingly popular destination for travelers. Within Russia, one of the more inspiring things to do is the Transsiberian railway; the longest train journey in the world, which carries you almost 10,000 km through the largest forest in the world, lakesides, and mountains.

If you are going from West to East, the two common starting points for this journey are St. Petersburg or Moscow. It is also possible, though less popular, to start an East to West journey in Vladivostok. Moscow has some beautiful buildings and there is history everywhere you go. If you start your journey here, your number one priority should be to make it to the Kremlin which lies on the Red Square. The Kremlin is a fortress with several buildings inside of it: besides 4 huge beautiful cathedral with golden domes which make any Game of Thrones fans think of King’s Landing, it also contains 5 palaces, and it is the official home of any current President of Russia (just like the British Prime Minister lives in Nr. 10, and the American President lives in the White House).

If you have explored the treasures and beautiful domes of the Kremlin, and you still have some energy left, you are in luck: next to the Kremlin is St. Basil’s Church, a beautiful cathedral with multi-coloured domes. The rooms inside are small and – like many Russian orthodox cathedrals – it is filled with sinister paintings. It is however, a beautiful building, and it is worth going inside. When you have walked around the Kremlin and St. Basil’s square, you are probably ready to sit down for a while and get some lunch: go right next door for lunch at in the GUM mall, where you can get a cheap meal in the top right corner of the mall, in a soviet style canteen.
For the actual train journey across Siberia, you will need supplies in the shape of both entertainment and snacks. Although there is a food carriage attached to the train, the meals are overpriced, and the fact that you move through 9 different time zones on your journey – and the train and its staff remain on Moscow time for the duration – may mean that you turn up at the wrong times for a meal. Instead, ensure that you have snack bars, nuts, vegetables, fruits, etc. Also bring cards, games, books, audiobooks, an ipod, etc. Remember there is no Wifi or internet in the middle of Siberia – this is part of the adventure! Enjoy it as much as possible.

There entire trip across Russia takes 7 days. You should plan to have at least two long stops in that journey for two reasons: there are only showers in the pricey 1st class, and not in the comfortable, yet cheap 2nd class that most Western travelers use. As such, you need to plan some time off the train simply to shower and freshen up at a hotel. Also, sitting down on a train for nearly 170 hours can you make you feel a little bit…crazy. So plan some days off the train! Two good stops would be Novosibirsk, 2 days from Moscow, and Irkutsk, nearly 4 days from Moscow.

To get the rest of this article, please read the next part, called The Transsiberian Railway Across Russia, Part 2


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