This Christmas Eve is going to be fantastic.
Standing on the top of Chersky Peak in Siberia, you are sipping hot mulled wine. In just hours, a wooden chalet on the shore of the magnificent ice-covered Lake Baikal will greet you. The best of winter fun is awaiting – husky sledding, troika riding, meeting Father Frost...
What can possibly match it? Probably seeing the New Year in in the heart of the Russian capital in a 5-star historic hotel right across the Moscow Kremlin! Imagine the Red Square covered with white crisping snow, the Spasskaya Tower chiming twelve and the grand firework sparkling above. Those who wish to continue the holiday may extend the tour to St Petersburg, the Northern Palmira of Russia.
Welcome to Russia!
At the airport you will be picked up by our driver and transferred to your hotel. The balance of the day is free to unpack your belongings and explore the city. Enjoy Vladivostok – Russia’s largest port city on the Pacific Ocean situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay. Just 100 km from the border of China and North Korea, the city is home to the Russian Pacific Fleet.
After breakfast we invite you to an interactive theatrical performance that will take you back to the old Slavic times. Come as a guest to the traditional Russian “gornitsa” (chamber) and spend one hour as a true Russian. Your hostesses are beautiful ladies wearing traditional sarafans (embroidered dresses) and kokoshniks (woman's headdress in old Russia). After a seance-excursion about Slavic traditions it is time for the Kokoshnik Tea Party, where you are offered to taste tea balms prepared from Primorskii herbs and age-old Russian drink called “Sbiten”. In the evening the driver will take you to the railway station and the journey along the Transsib will start. Say Goodbye to the Lord of the East!
On the Transsib train
We are traveling to Irkutsk! Don't miss a chance to see astonishing Siberian scenery from the train window. Enjoy the view of Siberian taiga, rivers and lakes - this intense nature is now very close – you honestly will really begin to feel it. Drop in the dining car – the heart of social life on board! It is a great place to meet fellow travelers, share your experience of your journey and try Russian food as well (smoked salmon, caviar and some vodka).
Your train arrives in the evening in Irkutsk where our representatives will meet and escort you to Lake Baikal, the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world. On the way from Irkutsk, we will rise by cable way at Peak Chersky. Enjoy the Baikal view from the highest peak of the Baikal Mountains with a cup of hot mulled wine. We then transfer you to a wooden chalet on the shore of the fairytale-looking Lake. Can many people boast they saw Christmas in this great?
Dog sledging&Siberian banya
Today is a fantastic day indeed! Have a breakfast and find your guide at the reception. We'll take you to the Limnological museum where exhibits of the unique fauna and flora that surround the lake are displayed. There is also an aquarium where you can see different species of local fish and the Baikal nerpa – the earth’s only fresh water seal. But don't call it a day yet! Dog sledging trip is waiting for you. You'll be pulled at high speed across the Siberia, and as the wind kisses your face, you'll get a taste of what life was like in the old days, when dog sledding was a much more common mode of transportation for many. At the end of the day take your time to relax at hotel, enjoy your lakeside surroundings, or experience the real Siberian “banya”.
Welcome to Irkutsk
After breakfast we transfer you back to Irkutsk (the distance between Irkutsk and Listvyanka village is appr. 70km) and take out for a city tour. The tour includes a visit to the Cathedral of the Holy Sign (Znamensky Cathedral). Apart from ornate and rich iconostasis, the cathedral is famous for its graveyard rest the Decembrists Mukhanov, Beschasnov, Trubetskaya and the Russian Columbus Shelekhov. We then proceed to the Museum of the Decembrists – the Russian aristocracy who were banished to Siberia after their ill-fated attempt in December 1825 to overthrow the Russian Tsar in favor of a Constitutional regime. The museum is house in a mansion of one of the leaders of the Decembrists' revilt and evokes the period of 18th century Russia.
Leisure time in Irkutsk
You can spend an entire afternoon walking the streets of Irkutsk and not come across two homes that are alike. This city is comprised almost entirely of old, traditional Siberian houses, and each one is completely unique. They often have bright, carved shutters that contrast sharply with the dark wooden exterior. Paris of Siberia is getting ready for the New Year celebration and the fur tree and ice sculptures are already afoot. In the evening the driver will take you to the train station to catch the train to Moscow.
On the train to Moscow
On the train – one of the high-class expresses. The one who undertakes the trip along the way will necessarily observe all the beauty and charm of Russian nature and culture. You will be passing Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Yekaterinburg along the way. The trains along Trans Siberian stop only for 5 to 20 minutes. If you decide to go outside, don't miss the hiss as the train might start leaving. We suggest you enjoy your comfortable compartment and amuse yourself with one of the Russian novels from your free Trans-Siberian Kindle.
Welcome to Moscow
Evening arrival in Moscow – the capital and the largest city in Russia as well as the largest metropolitan area in Europe with a population well over 10 million. Our driver will meet you at the platform and will be holding a meeting-board with your name on. You'll be transferred to the 5 stars hotel near the Kremlin and the Red Square. On the way to the hotel, you will have the opportunity to get your first glimpse of the city.
New Year in Moscow
After breakfast at your hotel let's go to Kolomenskoye, a unique oasis in the centre of Moscow and the summer residence of the Czars since the time of Ivan the Terrible, or to Pavlovsk Park in St Petersburg, close to Catherine Palace and Pavlovsk. You can enjoy a troika ride through the scenic parkland. In the evening New Year's Firework on Red Square. Russia celebrates the New Year! “S Novym Godom!”