Rail Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow aboard the Golden Eagle

Overview

Explore the beautiful cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow, graced by festive decorations and nature's own wintry adornments, and delve deep into the Russian and Norwegian Artic Circle with five nights aboard the Golden Eagle Train. Visit the magical Snow Hotel, take a snowmobile sleigh across frozen fjords, and watch the winter wonderland roll by as you enjoy freshly baked Russian cakes from the dining car. Optional excursions include snowshoe walking tours, adventures with huskies, and snowmobiling in search of the Northern Lights.

Note: This rail journey is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the operator.

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1
St. Petersburg

Arrive into St Petersburg and transfer to the Four Seasons Hotel (or similar) for a two-night stay. This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers before our exclusive welcome dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.

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Day 2
St. Petersburg

St Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World. Today you have a guided tour of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and the Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums. Make your evening in St Petersburg extra special by purchasing a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at one of the world-renowned St Petersburg theatres (subject to schedule and availability and pre-booked at least six weeks prior to departure).

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Day 3
St. Petersburg

Today there is a tour of St Petersburg featuring the key sights including St Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect. This afternoon you transfer to the station to board Russia’s premier train, the Golden Eagle and settle into your modern, stylish cabins to embark upon our rail adventure to the Arctic Circle. You have a unique opportunity to celebrate your arrival on board at the signature Gala Caviar Dinner in the beautifully designed Restaurant Car.  Enjoy complimentary champagne and international wines with dinner and live musical entertainment.

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Day 4
Crossing the Arctic Circle

You have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to the day and to unwind after your evening of celebration. You can reflect on the many sights you are about to experience on your rail journey, maybe listen to a talk or simply relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window. The Guest Astronomer will host an afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cakes and talk about the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in your stylish Bar Lounge Car.

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Day 5
Kirkenes & Northern Lights

This morning you leave your train with an overnight bag at the Russian border station of Nikel and transfer by bus (90 minutes drive) across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two night stay at the Thon Hotel (or similar). You will visit the magical Snow Hotel just 15 km outside Kirkenes. You’ll have a welcome drink in the snow bar and a tour of the Snow Hotel with its ice sculptures and snow paintings by local and international artists. After a traditional meal including a reindeer hot dog in the snow hotel’s warm lodge restaurant you’ll take an evening bus tour in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). If the sky is clear your guest astronomer will be on hand to advise you during star-gazing and will bring the night sky to life with their extensive knowledge.

Optional Activities in Kirkenes: You may like to book some additional optional activities such as a Snow Shoe Walking Tour (2 hours), go in search of the Northern Lights by snowmobile (3 hours) or take a magical excursion by husky dog sledge (2 hours). Each sledge is pulled by a team of eight dogs and can seat two people and a driver called a dog musher. These activities have limited places and should be requested at the time of booking the tour - please contact us for prices.

For a really memorable experience why not choose the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around and stay overnight at the Snow Hotel? Upgrades to the snow hotel are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. The snow hotel stays at a constant minus five degrees centigrade and thermal sleeping bags are provided. Showers, toilets and a Scandinavian sauna are provided in a building next to the snow hotel.

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Day 6
Kirkenes & Northern Lights

Today a unique winter experience awaits on your King Crab Fishing adventure. The excursion begins with a snowmobile drawn sleigh across the frozen fjords. Warm clothing and a helmet is provided. Through a hole in the ice you will be shown by your guide a catch of the magnificent Arctic King Crab (which can span two metres and weigh up to 15kgs). You then continue by sleigh to the nearby Fisherman’s Lodge, where it is here by a roaring log fire that your fresh King Crab meal awaits.

Also included during your stay in Kirkenes is a one-hour husky dog sledge ride and a visit to the resident reindeers.

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Day 7
Northern Lights

Today you cross the border back into Russia and re-join your train which is waiting in Nikel. You’ll spend the afternoon on board travelling through arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window, or chat to fellow passengers. Afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cookies will be served in our stylish Bar Lounge Car.

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Day 8
Murmansk & Northern Lights

You will continue to Murmansk, a city halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round. Homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers you’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.

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Day 9
Petrozavodsk

Petrozavodsk stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega - the second largest lake in Europe. It is one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.

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Day 10
Moscow

This morning you arrive at Moscow station. Included in your time spent in Moscow is two nights at the five-star Four Seasons. Superbly located in Moscow city centre, and within easy walking distance of Red Square, the Kremlin and the Bolshoi Theatre, this historic hotel offers spacious and luxurious accommodation. Today you'll visit the Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store, constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb. Your touring program also takes you to the grandeur of the Kremlin - the spiritual, historical and political heart of Moscow and to see the treasures of the Tsars in the Armoury Chamber.

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Day 11
Vladimir & Suzdal

Today you travel by regular train to the historic city of Vladimir, which was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned.

From Vladimir you travel to Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir. Here you visit the atmospheric St Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by the resident monks. No Russian winter experience would be complete either without the horse-drawn sleigh ride through this stunning location. This evening you return to Moscow to enjoy your Farewell Dinner.

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Day 12
Moscow

Breakfast in the hotel brings the tour to a close and airport transfers are provided for your departure flights.

IReverse Itinerary-in-Brief

Days 1-2:  Two nights hotel Moscow. Full day city tour Day 2.
Day 3: Vladimir & Suzdal. Embark Golden Eagle in the afternoon Day 3
Day 4: Cross the Arctic Circle
Days 5: Murmansk & Northern Lights
Days 6-7:   Kirkenes & Northern Lights, Norway
Day 8:  Cross the border into Russia. Reboard train
Day 9: Petrozavodsk
Day 10: St. Petersburg. Disembark Golden Eagle.  Two nights hotel St. Petersburg. 
Day 11: St. Petersburg Full day tour
Day 12: St. Petersburg / Depart

Highlights

Highlights

Enjoy first-class service and a room with a view that constantly changes as you travel aboard a luxury train—a hotel on wheels!
Experience the classic sights of Moscow and St. Petersburg
In Norway, have the opportunity to witness the stunning Northern Lights

Details

Length: 12 days
Cost From: $12,595  
Arrive: St. Petersburg, Russia
Depart: Moscow, Russia
Lodging: 5 nights aboard the Golden Eagle, 6 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Journeying by Rail
Trip Level:

11-day rail journey, cultural explorations and walking tours
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