A Trans-Siberian trip is the perfect tour to unravel some of the region’s most unique and awe-inspiring tourist destinations. A journey by train gives visitors a glimpse of the area’s most dramatic photogenic locations as well as indigenous wildlife. Major cities along the way such as Yekaterinburg and Kazan are also worth checking out. The following is an outline of some of the top spots to revel in during a Trans-Siberian tour.
Of course, a journey through Trans-Siberia should ideally begin in the grandiose city of Moscow. It is one of the most populous cities in the world and has a rich cultural background that promises to enthral even the most jaded of connoisseurs.
Among the top places to visit is the Kremlin, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The majestic fortified complex is situated at the centre of Moscow and overlooks Saint Basil's Cathedral, the Red Square, and the Alexander Garden. Currently the official residence of the Russian President, it attracts millions of visitors every year. The site is several centuries old and its buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times due to waves of skirmishes and dynasty changes.
For entertainment, the Bolshoi Theatre won’t disappoint. It offers some of the city’s most captivating ballet performances.
Widely referred to as Sverdlovsk during the USSR era, Yekaterinburg is located between Asia and Europe and is generally a bit laid-back when compared to other Russian cities. It boasts more than 600 cultural monuments built between the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of its most impressive monuments is the famous Keyboard Monument which is built at a scale of approximately 30:1. Constructed in 2005 by Anatoly Vyatkin, it is made up of 86 keys. Each key weighs at least 100 pounds.
For music fans, Yekaterinburg also has a Memorial centre dedicated to The Beatles. It also offers some amazing music festivals such as the Ural Music Night to indulge.
A Trans-Siberian trip would be incomplete without a stop at Kazan. The city is culturally significant and is situated between the Volga and Kazanka rivers. It has both traditional and modern influences which exist in almost perfect harmony.
Among the main highlights in the city is the Kazan Kremlin Fortress. Demarcated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is hailed as the only Tatar fortress in the country. It was conquered in the mid-sixteenth century by Ivan the Terrible.
Krasnoyarsk is located close to the Yenisei River and surrounded by various mountains which include Mount Karaulnaya. It also has the must-visit ‘Stolby’ Nature Reserve which rock-climbers will love. The area also abounds with hiking trails featuring photogenic views and backdrops.
Lake Baikal is located in Eastern Siberia. It is believed to the biggest and deepest lake in the world. While here, visitors can indulge in a range of activities including fishing, relaxing in thermal saunas, and taking in the natural sights that surround the water body.
Situated in Eastern Siberia, the glimmering blue lake is among the most popular attractions in the region. Its frozen wave effects during winter are world-famous. Visitors can also indulge in a bit of mountain climbing at Chersky Mountain, and marvel at the Circum-Baikal Railway which is a popular architectural monument.
For accommodation, Listvyanka which is situated at the shores of the lake offers visitors a wide range of lodging options. Olkhon Island, the biggest island on Lake Baikal, is also preferred by many tourists.
Visitors would be remiss to skip Mongolia in their Trans-Siberian trip itinerary. The country which is located between China and Russia is landlocked. It is a secluded haven full of lash picturesque sights and wildlife as well as beautiful mountains and valleys.
Among the main tourist hotspots is the Mongolian Steppe which has unique wildlife such as the Siberian ibex, argali sheep, and cinereous vultures. The amazing wilderness also offers glimpses of the Mongolian horse-riding and herdsmen culture.
Beijing can be reached if you use the Trans-Manchurian Railway secondary route. The capital of China, it gives visitors a chance to immerse themselves in exotic oriental culture.
There are stark differences between the Western and Chinese cultures, and they range from culinary delights to religious practices, and so Beijing offers a unique experience for everyone.
Main attractions include the Forbidden City. It was the main imperial palace for the Chinese dynastic leadership centre between the years 1420 and 1912 and was built during the Ming Dynasty. For sightseeing tours, Beihai Park and Nanluoguxiang won’t disappoint.