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A Russian Christmas By Luxury Train

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • Moscow
  • Golden Eagle Luxury Train
  • Vladimir
  • Suzdal
  • Murmansk
  • Kirkenes
  • Petrozavodsk
  • St Petersburg

13 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 28 Dec 2021

Be awed by natural and cultural spectacles. We begin in Moscow, then board the Golden Eagle, spending New Year’s Eve, the start of Russia’s 11-day Christmas holidays, immersed in its most historic towns. We cross the Arctic Circle in search of the Northern Lights before a grand Christmas dinner in St Petersburg on 7 January, as dictated by the Julian calendar.

a russian xmas land only map revised

Itinerary

Moscow welcomes us cloaked in winter snow, its streets and monuments festooned with fairy lights. The greeting is warm at the Four Seasons Hotel Moscow, just steps from Red Square and the Kremlin, where a private evening supper eases us into Russian hospitality after our long flight.

The capital’s traditional Christmas markets beckon, while the adventurous might choose to ice skate near Red Square, which we then explore in depth, taking in ornate St Basil’s Cathedral, the evocative Lenin Mausoleum and GUM department store, which dates from the Tsarist period. We also discover some of Moscow’s most distinctive architecture in its expansive subway system, with stations designed in baroque, Art Deco and Futurist styles.

Time to settle into our indulgent Golden Eagle cabins, departing Moscow for Vladimir, viewed as the cradle of Russian language. Today is the beginning of Rozhdestvo, the Orthodox Christmas period, and we spend part of it in the walled city of Suzdal, with its distinctive wooden cottages. We visit St Euthymius Monastery for a choral performance by its monks, then enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride. And we celebrate New Year’s Eve on board the train.

A relaxing day aboard the Golden Eagle, snug in our warm carriages as we cross the Arctic Circle in our quest to see the Aurora Borealis, the famed Northern Lights. Situated almost 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, and halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, Murmansk’s port is ice-free year-round thanks to the Gulf Stream, and is home to Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet. We visit the Lenin, a decommissioned vessel that is now a museum.

We head for magical Kirkenes, where the Snowhotel, built of snow and ice, awaits for a drink in the Ice Bar at -4 degrees. Your World experiences offer the chance to see the landscape by snowmobile, snowshoe or husky sled. Wish for clear skies and an appearance by the Northern Lights as our astronomer joins us for stargazing. We venture by snowmobile-drawn sled across the ice to fish for Arctic king crab. We warm up by the fireplace at a fisherman’s lodge, as our crabs are cooked.

Today we cross the border back into Russia after our Norway adventure, and re-join our train, which is waiting for us in Nikel. We spend the afternoon on board travelling through Arctic Russia, watching the ever-changing winter landscape passing outside our window or chatting to our fellow passengers. A special treat is afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cookies served in the stylish Bar Lounge Car.

We spend the day travelling through romantic Arctic landscapes, rolling past pine forests and small villages cloaked in snow. We arrive in the capital of Russia’s Karelia region, Petrozavodsk, which sprawls across a bay on the shores of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake. Petrozavodsk is one of the major cultural centres of Russia’s north-west, and its traditional links with Finland give it a notably European air.

Our epic train journey ends in glorious St Petersburg. Bidding farewell to the Golden Eagle, we tour the city’s imperial treasures, including Catherine’s Palace and the State Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace that now houses more than three million works of art; St Isaac’s Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect. We also see Peter and Paul Fortress, the city’s original citadel, then take a break from the religious and Tsarist glories to pause at the Vodka Museum for a tasting and lunch. Our Farewell Dinner is a special celebration of Russian Orthodox Christmas.

Morning is free before lunch at the hotel and a late check out for our evening flights.

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