Day 1 - Moscow
Arrival in Moscow.Transfer to your hotel.
Day 2 - Moscow, guided walking tour
As Russia's vibrant capital, Moscow makes for one incredible visit.
Moscow's central district is characterised by a network of tiny streets and lanes, and walking through it, you'll find out all about the many theatres, hotels, museums and state institutions situated here.
Giving a real flavour of the unique combination of modern, ancient and Stalinist architecture is Tverskaya Street, Moscow's busiest thoroughfare.
The tour ends on Old Arbat Street, where your time is now your own to browse the many souvenir shops enjoy performances by street dancers, or a meal or drink in one of the many cafes and restaurants.
Day 3 - Moscow - Red Square and the Kremlin
Once best known for its communist military parades, Red Square is now the vibrant heart of this energetic capital city. Impossible to find a building here that isn't world renowned, you'll find out more about the lavish St Basil's Cathedral, the imposing Lenin Mausoleum, the impressive GUM department store and the magnificent Kazan Cathedral.
A kind of ancient mini-city, the Kremlin comes complete with five palaces, four cathedrals, and a set of very impressive walls and towers.
Not just a site of historic interest, the Kremlin is now the seat of modern Russian government and also where Moscovites like to hang out – giving this venerable destination a distinctly contemporary edge.
The Armoury Museum
In 1508 the Armoury Museum was in use purely as a weapons store for the Kremlin, but within a few decades, a workshop and a repository for imperial treasures had been added.
By 1813, the building was officially an exhibition centre and a museum. Offering a myriad of exhibits, just the 50 Faberge eggs on show would be enough to get the pulse racing, but there's a whole lot more than that. Particularly impressive is the set of Boris Godunov's armour, although the Russian, European and Eastern applied art, spectacular weaponry and other precious artefacts are pretty amazing too.
Travel to Yekaterinburg
Our driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you to the train station.
Your train journey to Yekaterinburg can be completed in first class (two berth) or second class (four berth) compartments. Clean linen, including towels, sheets, pillows, and blankets are provided. There is also a dining car.
Arrival in Yekaterinburg will be late in the evening, the next day.
Day 4 - Yekaterinburg
On arrival in Yekaterinburg, our driver will meet you at the station and take you to your hotel.
Day 5 - Yekaterinburg
Ganina Yama and Church of All Saints guided tour
Yekaterinburg history has been turbulent. Tsar Nicholas II and his family were assassinated here in 1918.
Drawing on this bloody history, first we will visit the golden-domed Church of All Saints, which was built in 2003 on the Tsar Nicholas assassinations' site.
Next up is Ganina Yama, where the assassinated royals are buried. An Orthodox monastery built in 2000 on ancient imperial burial grounds, this poignant structure is built around seven wooden churches situated in centuries-old pine forest.
Europe - Asia border, guided tour
The Europe-Asia Obelisk marks the border between the two continents and provides a great opportunity to stand with a foot in each one. We'll celebrate your cross-continental experience with a glass of champagne, as is the local tradition.
Next we'll visit a memorial honouring the victims of Stalin's repressive regime. To mark their passing, 18,500 names run alphabetically along a series of walls.
At the end of the day, our driver will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you the train station. Arrival in Irkutsk will be early in the morning in three days time.
Days 6 and 7 – en route to Siberia
Sit back and relax as the boundless grassland and impassable forests of the Altai Republic unfold outside your window. Crossing the River Yenisei at Krasnoyarsk, you'll then head deep into Asia.
Day 8 - Irkutsk, Listvyanka
Arriving in Irkutsk early in the morning, our driver will meet you at the station and take you to you accommodation in Listvyanka.
A pretty village with views towards the distant snow-capped mountains, Listvyanka is perhaps best known for its easy access to lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Your time is your own to explore the village – make the most of boat and horse rides in the summer, and dog sledding in the winter. Don't forget though to pop in to the pretty St Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church and the Baikal Lake Museum, where you can learn about Siberian traditions and the flora and fauna of the lake.
Day 9 - Listvyank, Irkutsk
Our representative will meet you at your hotel to take you to Irkutsk.
Wooden Architecture Museum
The Wooden Architecture Museum in Taltsy makes for a perfect stop on the way to Irkutsk.
Situated on the wooded banks of the Angara, it's a beautiful, open-air museum which features an impressive collection of original houses and yurts dating back to the 16th and 19th centuries. Authentically furnished too, the museum is an opportunity to see how the Buryat and Evenk people lived. You'll get to look round a Russian fort and a 15th century watchtower too.
Irkutsk city tour
Irkutz is called the Paris of Siberia – and it's certainly as beautiful as its namesake. Renowned for its wooden houses, particularly those decorated with carvings and threadwork, you'll also get to see some great examples of modern Russian architecture.
Day 10 - Irkutsk
Our driver will meet you at your hotel to take you to the train station.
Day 11 - Ulan Bator – Terelj National Park
On arrival in Ulan Bator, you'll be driven by car to the Terelj National Park.
Genghis Khan Monument, guided tour
On the way we'll stop at the gigantic Genghis Khan monument. Erected in 2008, this 40-metre tall, stainless-steel equestrian statue makes for an impressive site. Pointed east towards his birthplace, there are also spectacular views over the Mongolian hills.
Stopping off at the visitor centre and archaeological museum, you’ll be able to find out more about the history behind this incredible man and the lands he ruled over.
Terelj National Park, guided tour
Terelj National Park is famous for its unique granite rock formations, pristine alpine scenery and diverse flora and fauna – making it a beautiful place to visit. It's also a brilliant insight into the kinds of lands Genghis Khan used to roam. A brilliant, tough, well-drilled horsemen, his military might meant that for 500 years from the 13th century, lands and cities from the river Yellow to the Danube were united as one.
We will explore Turtle Rock, a peculiar rock formation which looks like a turtle, and after lunch at the camp, hike to Aryabal monastery. We'll also get to visit a Nomad family and experience their traditional way of life by milking cows and preparing dairy products.
In the summer, you'll stay overnight in a traditional Mongolian ger - a sturdy tent made from wood and felt - while in winter, a wooden lodge will keep out the cold.
Day 12 - Terelj - Ulan Bator
Transfer to Ulan Bator by car.
Ulan Bator, city tour
The capital of Mongolia is situated on the banks of the river Tuur amidst four mountains that are believed by locals to be sacred. The tour of the city includes Mongolia's largest remaining monastery, Gandan Hiid and central Sukhbaatar Square.
Natural History Museum, guided tour
The National Museum of Mongolian History is one of the leading museums in Mongolia, offering a fascinating collection of Mongolian artefacts.
Top of the list is perhaps the real dinosaur remains, as well as other archaeological finds from the Mesozoic Era found in the Gobi desert. You'll also find out about the Hunnu, Turkish and Uighur periods as well as the Mongolian Empire in the 13th and 14th centuries.
There are some great displays of Mongolian traditional clothing and jewellery too, as well as information on current democratic reforms and modern states of affairs.
Day 13 - Ulan Bator
Transfer to the railway station for the journey into China. Our driver will meet you with a sign board at the lobby of the hotel.
The most popular way of getting from Mongolia into China fast is on train 24. More popular with tourists than locals, it's a good way to meet people from all over the world.
First class compartments are two birth, with one upper and one lower birth. Second class compartments are four berth, with two upper and two lower berths. First class compartments also feature a comfortable chair, a small table and a toilet with a shower shared between two neighbouring compartments. Second class compartments do not have private facilities. There are two toilets in each carriage, but no showers. Hot boiled water is available in all carriages and attendants can supply thermos kettles. The train has a reasonably priced dining car and a bar.
Day 14 - Beijing
On arrival in Beijing, our driver will meet you at the station and take you to your hotel.
Hutong, guided tour by rickshaw
Travelling by rickshaw, we'll explore the narrow, curving alleyways of the hutong neighbourhood by Shichahai Lake.
An ancient part of the city, a hutong generally means an area with narrow streets and the word dates back to the Yuan Dynasty in the 13th century. Due to Beijing's rapid development, many hutongs have been demolished to make way for new modern roads and buildings. However, some hutong areas have been protected to preserve Beijing’s cultural heritage.
The picturesque Shichahai Lake is one of three lakes in the centre of Beijing. You'll get to enjoy fantastic views across the water and its surrounds. These include former princes' houses and well preserved Chinese courtyards, and also a pretty drum tower. An optional boat trip is on offer.
Free evening in old Beijing
There are lots of small restaurants, cafes and bars in Shichahai. Opt to relax and enjoy this fascinating area in your own time, or you can choose to return to your hotel with a guide. If you decide to stay in the hutong area, getting back to your hotel by taxi or metro is easily done. Your local guide will explain the easiest way.
Day 15 - Beijing
Tiananmen Square – guided tour
Tiananmen is the largest city square in the world. an area of 440 thousand square metres, to be specific. The square though is perhaps better known for it’s cultural significance and being the site of several key events in the Chinese history. The most memorable in recent years is undoubtedly the government massacre of pro-democracy protesters in 1989.
Forbidden City and Imperial Palace, guided tour
The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City are listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. The impressive Forbidden City is situated to the north of Tiananmen Square and was the royal palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Summer Palace, guided tour
The magnificent Summer Palace is about 15 kilometres outside central Beijing. Representing a spectacular example of Chinese landscape design, it's another UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 16 – Great Wall of China
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China is an incredible symbol of Chinese civilisation. The tour will take you to the Badaling Great Wall, the best preserved part of the wall, which is situated about 70 kilometres north of Beijing, and is also the site of the 2008 Olympic Park.
The Olympic Park constructed in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics includes the Beijing National Stadium, the Aquatics Centre, Green Hockey Field and makes for a pretty impressive trip.
Day 17 - Beijing
Transfer to the airport and return flight home.