Imperial Russia, Classic Trans-Siberian Journey

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 11th Oct 2018
Trans-Siberian Journey

A bucket list experience, the monumental Trans-Siberian railway weaves it ways through taiga forests, vast grasslands and sun-baked deserts, skirting the edges of shimmering lakes and raging rivers, passing through modern cities and villages seemingly forgotten by time. On this classic 15-day Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway journey, you’ll get the chance to see Russia in all its historical greatness – in the mixture of cultures and fortunes, in the extravagant and humble architecture, and in the diversity and unity between different people and religions. Choose to begin your journey in Moscow, the mighty capital of Russia, or take the westbound route from Beijing, China. Along the way, we’ll enjoy several fascinating stops including Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Lake Baikal and Ulaan-Baatar, Mongolia – each destination concealing its own secret treasures and unique cultural discoveries.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kazan: Our first stop will be the city on the Volga River known as the “third capital” of Russia. On a tour of Kazan, you’ll discover its intriguing Islamic influence and enjoy a Tartar folk performance with tastings of the local cuisine
  • Yekaterinburg is a modern city steeped in history and mythology. Our guided excursion will include the Church upon the Blood, dedicated to the last days of the Romanovs, and the monastery and temples considered to be the pearls of Russian religious architecture
  • Set foot on the shores of Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake, with a visit to Listvyanka village. Take in panoramic views of the lake, taste fresh lake-caught fish and enjoy the village’s cozy, holiday ambience.

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Reindeer Herders' Festival in Yamal 2019

Written by Anna Schneider
Last updated on 16th Oct 2018
Reindeer herders festival

The Reindeer Herder’s Festival is a one-day holiday, celebrated annually in the Salekhard and Aksarka, the two major towns within the Yamal-Nenets region in the Russian Arctic. In 2019, the festival will take place on 23rd March (Saturday) in Salekhard and 6th April (Saturday) in Aksarka village. For the nomadic Nenets people, a festival day is a major event, which offers a chance to meet with friends and compete in contests of physical skill and a variety of other competitions. It has also become an event in which the Nenets are able to share with the world a fascinating slice of their unique culture, which has remained relatively unchanged through the centuries. On this tour you not only will witness the Reindeer Herders’ Festival in Yamal but also will stay with a Nenet family far from the city, giving you an amazing opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the nomadic way of life.

Trip Highlights:

  • Salekhard (population 43,000) is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Despite its remoteness, it harbours a great deal of wealth as the city at the centre of one of the world’s richest oil and gas regions
  • Reindeer Herder’s Festival Day: On the day of the festival, thousands of Nenets and Khanty descend on Salekhard. The day is a massive celebration, a huge social event for the usually isolated nomads and an incredible spectacle, with reindeer sleigh races, reindeer wrangling, wrestling competitions, a beauty contest for the women in their finest traditional dress

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Reindeer Migration with the Nenets in Yamal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Reindeer herders migration Nenets of Yamal Peninsula, Russian Festivals

As the world gets smaller, there’s a desire to travel further – and there are few places as enchantingly far away as the Yamal Peninsula. This cultural tour transports you deep into Siberia’s isolated Arctic region. ‘Yamal’ means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of the indigenous Nenets. The Nenets of Yamal carve out a unique way of life, seemingly at the limits of human tolerance. Each spring, the Nenets migrate from winter pastures on the Russian mainland to the summer pastures in the Arctic Circle, a one-way journey of up to 1,000km. This is your chance to experience a small part of this epic journey alongside these extraordinarily resilient people. This is a remarkable extraordinary opportunity to get to know one of the world’s last true nomadic reindeer herders through their eyes.

Reindeer Migration TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Salekhard is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Among the highlights on our tour of the city is the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum, which includes an exhibition on mammoth remains found in the region
  • From Salekhard, we’ll board an all-terrain vehicle for a drive for up to six hours over the frozen surface of the River Ob to Yar-Sale village. The river is the only way to access the village – either by boat in summer or by driving the ice in winter

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Golden Eagle, Luxury Trans-Siberian Express

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Moscow to Vladivostok tour, Trans-siberian railway, Trans-siberian express

The world’s greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across Russia, connecting  Moscow to the East over the Urals, the forested mountain range separating Europe from Asia. Skirting alongside the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake, the rail line then crosses the Mongolian border into a land of baking deserts, majestic steppe country and vast grasslands where columns of smoke still rise from the nomad camps of the last of the Mongol horsemen.

To travel along this route is by far the best way to experience the vastness and grandeur of Russia’s rarely visited interior. This private 15 day Trans-Siberian Railway tour spans the entire 9,288km length of the world’s longest rail line, with a total of 12 days aboard the luxurious Golden Eagle, beginning in Moscow and ending in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, close to the Chinese and North Korean borders.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Moscow City Tour: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest metropolises on a guided exploration of Moscow, taking in the Red Square, the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb and the world-famous Moscow Metro tour
  • Kazan is the epicentre of ethnic Tartar culture. Discover the city’s mediaeval Islamic influence, tour the grounds of the picture-perfect Kazan Kremlin and enjoy a private concert of the music of Feodor Chaliapin, Kazan’s most famous opera singer

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Arctic Rail Explorer - Quest for Northern Lights

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Northern Lights train tour, northern lights Russia tour

Experience a train journey unlike any other. An adventure on rails to the top of the world, the lands above the Arctic Circle where the mythical Aurora Borealis performs her breathtaking celestial dance in the velvet black Polar night sky. This compelling 12-day Northern Lights Train Tour showcases the unique contrast between two of Russia’s most majestic cities and the isolated yet charming communities deep within the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle. Commencing in St. Petersburg, we visit some of the city’s most prominent historical and cultural sites, before embarking on this remarkable Arctic railway adventure in search of the elusive Aurora Borealis.

Arctic Rail Explorer Tour Highlights:

  • Admire the architectural splendour of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities on a guided two-day tour of St Petersburg that includes St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Hermitage, as well as a trip to Pushkin to visit the extravagant Catherine Palace
  • In the extreme north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle lies Kirkenes, a tiny frontier town near the Russian border. Ride a snowmobile across the frozen fjords outside town and try your hand at fishing for the Arctic’s most prized seafood, the king crab

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Legend of Lake Baikal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Legend of Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal Summer Tour

Dive into the Legend of Lake Baikal on this glorious summer excursion to the glittering Blue Pearl of Russia. Plummeting to 1,642m at its deepest point, Baikal is also the world’s most voluminous lake. Its mirror-clear waters are a reflection of Siberia’s wildness, its vastness and its beauty. Baikal is a place where shamans still speak to the spirit world, wildlife-rich virgin forests thrive and lake-living seals fish and frolic in freshwater. Surrounded by jagged mountains and taiga of pine, fir and cedar, Lake Baikal is a protected World Heritage site. Unsurprisingly, it is the most famous attraction in Siberia, but Baikal’s sheer size means there’s always an escape from the crowds.

Legend of Lake Baikal Tour Highlights

  • The Taltsy Museum between Irkutsk and Listvyanka is a fabulously comprehensive open-air museum, set over 64 acres. Over 40 historical buildings from both the Russian and Buryat cultures of Baikal have been painstakingly reconstructed and authentically furnished. Wander through the streets of an 18th-century Siberian village and get a feel for life in a nomadic Buryat summer camp
  • Cruise to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the “capital” of shamanistic culture. On a day tour of Olkhon’s natural wonders, discover untouched Siberian forests, craggy capes, pristine beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets

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Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 5th Sep 2018
Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Our Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour takes place during late February and March. The beginning of spring in the Baikal region, at this time of year, the temperature climbs above zero, but the surface of the lake is still largely frozen, covered by solid winter ice so clear you can see rocks and other objects at the bottom of the lake as far as 40m below. During spring, Baikal receives few visitors compared to the summer high season, allowing you to feel an inspiring sense of isolation and communion with undisturbed nature during this handcrafted 6-day tour. Be amazed by the frozen beauty of the world’s oldest and deepest lake and experience real-life walking on water. We’ve included a few activities exclusive to the cooler months such as ice skating, ice rafting and ice golf to add a sprinkle of spills and thrills to this thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

Lake Baikal Ice adventure Highlights

  • Embark on an over-ice expedition by 4WD to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the centre of shamanic energy for the Buryat people. Spend two nights on the island and discover pristine beaches, craggy capes and untouched Siberian forests 
  • While on Olkhon Island, participate in a round of special activities for Baikal’s ‘ice travellers’. Take your pick from ice golf, tube riding or ice skating, or just head out on to the ice for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot! 

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Lake Baikal Cruise

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Lake Baikal cruise, Lake Baikal boat tour

After the winter-time freeze, Baikal becomes a balmy summer boating paradise – a vast expanse of calm water with shimmering azure bays and a shoreline hugged by dramatic mountains, pristine forests and quaint ethnic villages. This relaxing three-day Lake Baikal cruise will take you to some of the most picturesque beauty spots in and around Lake Baikal, travelling on board the modern cruise ship Sibiryak with just 11 other guests. In three days, you’ll be able to take in a truly memorable taste of Siberia’s unique culture and nature – including a scenic journey on the magnificent Circum-Baikal Railroad and a walking tour of the Baikal National Park.

Lake Baikal Cruise Highlights

  • Discover one of the most extraordinary man-made attractions in Baikal, the Circum-Baikal Railway. Cruise to one of the most picturesque stretches of the train line, set between the coast and the dramatic slopes of the Primorsky Range. Later, we’ll disembark for a walking tour of the railway’s abandoned tunnels and galleries
  • Steam into Peschanaya Bay as the sun rises, a secluded cove renowned for its long, white sand beach, clear shallow water and majestic, panoramic mountain backdrop. Hike the scenic two-hour mountain track between Peschanaya and Sennaya Bay within the protected Baikal National Park
  • Olkhon Island is the largest island in Lake Baikal, housing forests, mountains, Buryat settlements and sacred shamanic sites. Pass through the narrow Maloe More, the 70km strait that separates Olkhon from the mainland

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Yakutia: The Pole of Cold Festival

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Yakutia, visit Oymyakon Pole of Cold tour, Oymyakon Tour

The “Pole of Cold” is a place where the coldest temperatures on Earth have ever been recorded. In the northern hemisphere, the honour goes to a remote Siberian township known as Oymyakon, widely regarded as the coldest permanently inhabited place on the planet. Our Oymyakon tour is not just about experiencing one of the most unique cultural festivals on Earth. It’s about immersing yourself in a completely different reality, a place where people rely on time-tested traditions to live in a place that challenges the very limits of human endurance. READ MORE

Yakutia - Russia's Winter Wonderland

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
discover Yakutia

Discover Yakutia – a faraway place that plays host to ethereal polar nights and the northern lights, permafrost tundra and vast expanses of taiga forest. About 40% of Yakutia lies above the Arctic Circle, and much of it remains wild, pristine and largely unspoiled by development. One of Siberia’s most ethnically diverse regions, Yakutia is home to the Turkic-speaking Yakuts, many of whom still practice shamanism and nomadic lifestyles. The region is blessed with spectacular wildlife and is renowned for producing some of the cleanest diamonds on Earth. If you are searching for a unique and genuine Russian winter experience, this is the place to be. READ MORE

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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